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Friday, October 26, 2007

A Candidates Way Of Responding To A Future Constituent

By Joe Batte
Note: Mr. Batte is a candidate for the Marco Island City Council.

It was nice meeting you Wed Eve. at the Mackle Park Meeting. Thank you for taking the time to ask in your email to me, the very critical questions that every candidate better be ready to answer. Let me do so in summary, & perhaps we can follow w/telephone contact if necessary. I am also posting this writing on my web site because I feel you have hit upon many of the critical issues and concerns that residents have shared with me.

If you have looked at my web site, www.votejoebatte.com, I have tried to address some of your questions. No quality candidate can run on a single issue. However I must tell you the overriding issue I see, revolves around your question #5. This current council has no credibility w/their constituents because they have ignored their concerns. A new council must change this to where the people begin to feel that their concerns are important and will be acted upon. I call this constituent buy in. The lack of harmony in our community was born from this. All the issues, such as fiscally irresponsibility, ignoring health concerns, lawsuits, POP petitions, Recall, bloated bureaucracy, strp, are all symptoms of this council being out of touch with its constituents and DEAF to their concerns. Not to mention their being dishonest (Asbestos-Dewatering) & I can go on. This is the reason I am in the race. Major expenditures must have voter buy in via referendum. No longer will an elitist city council majority determine the destiny of their constituents. No longer will a City Manager have such latitude to spend taxpayer dollars. Harmony will come when qualified Councilors achieve the above!

As for Tourism, this is important to the life and well being of our Island, given the needed revenue it produces. However, we must always support Tourism in line with the input & guidance we get from the residents and voters, the shareholders of our city. We must insure that we maintain the quality of life our residents came here for. Reaching out and listening to the people in this regard is critical. And working with the Tourism industry to represent our residents concerns in this regard (for a change)is critical.

I will move to STOP the STRP when elected. The 70% of the Island already sewered, combined w/the remaining residential onsite treatment facilities, closely monitored and inspected, seems to be a good mix for me. But most importantly, this is what the people want, and the current science seems to say that total sewering is not a good idea, i.e. Katrina in New Orleans. If I have my way, the proposed second deep injection well will never see the light of day. Its bad science, & we don't need it.

As for short term rentals, I must say we have all been affected by this problem that hurts our quality of life. A new effort has begun by Counselor Kiester to form a citizens committee to deal w/this. I am confident good recommendations will come forth. While I am concerned about quality of life here, I must say that I am equally concerned with government not taking away rights that people have to rent their property. Whatever recommendations come from this committee, there must be emphasis on developing STRONG ordinances with real TEETH so that current laws and new laws can be enforced by our law enforcement community to protect the quality of life!

As for our Charter and the change to "upscale tourist destination", once again we must address the concerns of our residents and the reasons folks came to Marco. Accordingly, because of this as well as several other issues, once elected I will move to establish a Charter Review Committee to get us better in line with the current views of our residents and constituents. I will call upon key community leaders to participate in this endeavor.

As for our current financial situation, I see grave concerns here. Our city budget has been stripped by this administration. Voodo economics and dangerous attacks against the Cap, along with this councils attempt to exclude Marco from State Tax Reform, building a unnecessary bureaucracy, & spending millions on a utility (STRP) program that is unnecessary and unwanted by the voters, while seeking new fees and taxes to try to fund our needed infrastructure repair, demonstrates this council's inability to govern & warrants their immediate removal. This city must get a taste of fiscal conservatism & I plan to give them the first fork full! In this area, I plan to move to have a full internal AUDIT of our current expenditures and fiscal crisis and critical government program operations. Lets learn where the money has gone, what deals were made, and get justice and restitution where needed. I think the taxpayers deserve this!

Final Comment:
The folks I talk to want to be REPRESENTED by their elected officials, not ignored by them. The new council I see in March, will change the current atmosphere at city hall. Staff will carry out the policy of council, not the opposite. Council will determine policy based upon resident input, sought out by council, coupled with their good judgment and advice and recommendation from staff. Staff will be polite and responsive to the needs of our residents & council will ensure that our employees are held accountable for their actions no matter what position they hold. The new council I see will reach out to citizen groups to participate in governance. Never again will major public health issues be ignored for the sake of a utility program! And to preserve our ability to make certain our elected representatives will always be just that, our representatives, I will move to change the charter and have councilors serve for 2 year terms. As a Councilor I will see myself in a position of Public Trust, and I want this Trust to be renewed every two years via election by the people! Lets never again get stuck with non representative Elitists for 4 years! I will LEAD & not be LEAD & with a thorough and continuing knowledge of the views of the PEOPLE, I will never go wrong.


Joe Batte
Candidate, Marco Island City Council


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