On Marco Island: Independent Reporting, Documenting Government Abuses, Exposing the Syndicate, Historical Records of Crimes Against the Environment

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Marco Island City CouncilChairperson: Terri DiSciullo

Dear Terri;

I just saw the piece we shared on Fox4 news and thought I would pass along somecorrections to the snippets of me in the story. Although the final version looked as though I was agreeing with you, nothing could be further from the truth. The ten seconds of tape with me were taken completely out of context, and I have sent a message to Fox4 letting them know that they need never darken my doorstep again.

I am, however, truly saddened by your apparent belief that last night’s meeting had to be abruptly adjourned due to the perception of an unruly crowd. That was not a crowd; those were Marco Islanders.

Marco Islanders, concerned that our government would condone anything but the highest level of honesty and professionalism in our elected officials. You heard some of those thoughts from the podium last night. I too heard them. You heard applause, as did I, and you heard laughter and an occasional boo. What neither of us heard, or saw was an unruly crowd. In a conversation I had earlier on Monday with another councilor, I was told that “Civil disobedience leads to violence”. That was his quote. After seeing the way the meeting ended, your face on the TV tonight, and thinking about all this when I had time to reflect, I realized thatthis whole thing probably stemmed from a briefing you councilors received prior to the meeting. Obviously this is my theory, only you would know if such a seed was planted leading towhat I perceived as being a very tense and contentious atmosphere right from the start. Contention not from the crowd, but from you. Your opening statement was curt and bordered on abrasiveness. Your comment about people laughing at you, I believe, was an overreaction to anadmittedly inappropriate action, but once again it appeared that you were very anxious.

Whoever told this other councilor and I suspect you as well that civil disobedience leadsto violence, may have contributed to your trepidation, but that person obviously doesn’t know much about history. Henry David Thoreau, the author of “On Civil Disobedience” was completely non violent. He opposed an unjust tax and spent time in jail as a result of this action, but eventually the tax was repealed. Mahatmas Gandhi brought down British Imperialism in India following Thoreau’s tenants of civil disobedience. A gentler, caring, nonviolent man outside of Jesus Christ has never existed on the earth.

Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and the list goes on. Nonviolent civil disobedience in the face of injustice is the moral high ground that these great men chose to bring about beneficial change for millions of people, and they did it by adhering to the principals set down byThoreau.

Our fight is nothing compared to what these people did, but it is just, it is right, and it is and always will be nonviolent. I told you back in the summer that this will not go away until you involve the people in the decision making process. I also told you that the Arceri email was troublesome and would not go away. The STRP is the most divisive issue this little Island has ever dealt with. Its purveyors have made some incredible mistakes in the creation, structure, and execution of this program, but the paramount mistake was not being honest with the people. John Arceri will have a guest commentary in today’s Eagle. He will try to justify someof the statements in his emails condoning hiding the truth, not involving the people in a workshop, and directing the city manager to convince the rest of the council to see things his way. This was wrong. John will blame Ed Bania for publishing these emails. He will claim they have been taken out of context, that they are being misunderstood or misinterpreted. The facts are clear. Read the emails.

Ed Bania is not to blame here. Nor is Butch Neylon or Ray Beaufort. The blame for themess Marco Islanders are suffering through now rests firmly with this council, and it’scowardess to stand up and do the right thing for the minority affected by this grievous abuse ofpolitical power.

As with the great men mentioned above, we will not go away, we will not relent nor will we be disrespectful or resort to name calling or personal attack. We will be tenacious incontinuing to bring out the truth of what happened at the genesis of the STRP. We will show where the inequity of the special assessments grows as we find out who is really paying for The Marco Island Utilities and we will make every effort to involve state and federal agencies to investigate what this council is allowing to go on on our beloved island.

I have always been truthful with you. I have offered facts and figures to support every assertion I have made. But for whatever reason, you either haven’t checked these facts or just have taken what others have told you on face value. Monday was a watershed event. This council must now make the decision which way they will go from here: Continue with a program that is unnecessary, inequitable, and has it genesis in deceit, or stand up and representthe people of Marco Island.

I and many others stand by to help Marco Island bring representative government back to our paradise. You and your fellow councilors have the power to bring about consensus on this issue. Without it you can only dictate; you cannot govern.


Butch Neylon


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