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

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

An Elected Body That Gets It

Note: The following is an article that appeared in the March 15, 2007 issue of The Miami New Times. A link to the entire article in below the excerpt that follows. You are welcomed to read the entire article. You will note that the elected controlling body did not walk out on its citizens nor did it squelch public comment. We could only be so lucky - actually we will be - see the above countdown clock when a respectful elected body that gets it returns to Marco Island ...

Harvey Houtkin, the self-proclaimed "father of day trading," is speaking into a microphone. Houtkin, a stout man who won a 1993 federal appeal against the SEC that expanded small-trading access on NASDAQ, wears a black polo shirt and glasses. He and the other eleven men at the table form the board of the Williams Island

Property Owners Association (POA), whose January meeting is being videotaped.

"I personally believe that the least qualified person to run this island is Rod White," Houtkin says emphatically, referring to the president of the POA, who sits a few feet away. Some of the meeting's few dozen attendees break into applause. Houtkin waits for the noise to subside, then qualifies his statement.

"He has demonstrated bad judgment, and in my opinion," he says, and pauses. "Moral turpitude."

A roar of dissent erupts from some of the chairs. Houtkin groans loudly and runs his hand across his forehead in exasperation.

"It's not the forum!" complains a derisive voice in back.

"The truth cannot be said — "

"Shut up!" croaks one woman.

"You shut up, you witch!" Houtkin yells.

"You're out of order!" screams a man not visible in the video.

"You're out of order."

Following a cacophony of scuffling and expletive-laden shouting among various audience members, Houtkin faces the group and asks, "You going to beat me up?"

"Yeah I'll beat you up!" says a man.

"Come on!" taunts the retired stock trader.

At the bottom of the frame, Jerry Cohen, a silver-haired man in his seventies wearing a pink button-down shirt, is seen standing up. He heads to the table where Houtkin sits. The camera pans toward him. Uniformed security guards run into the frame.

"THIS IS A DISASTER FOR OUR ISLAND!" yells Houtkin. "THIS IS A DISASTER!"

He turns to his restrained would-be assailant. "Smack me! Go ahead, smack me!"

The video was shown in a loop on Williams Island's private television network for days following the altercation. Houtkin and his neighbors live a life of luxury in this elite gated community of high-rise towers in Aventura, but lately the mood has been tense. The exclusive enclave on Dumbfoundling Bay appeared to be experiencing growing pains.


the entire article can be read at http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2007-03-15/news/paradise-lost/

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