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

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Click this BIG button for ... All the evidence in one place! The documentation in pictures, documents and video of what was done to Marco Island .. and more!
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Billing for Services

As we all know, the present governance is looking to take many services from under the "cap" and in many cases bill them directly to the residents.

To that end, the following is the hypothetical monthly bill that each resident will receive if the present governance has their way:

City of Marco Island
Monthly Combined Utility & Tax Bill
(Prototype)

Utility Related Charges
Water - As Is
$25.00

Water - Reuse
$0.00

Water - Drinking (Not from City Water)
$9.00

Sewage
$25.00

Sewage Treatment Plant Repair
$9.00

Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade
$87.33

Sewage Treatment Plant Deep Injection Well # 45
$22.80

Beach Cleanup from Deep Injection Wells Suffusing Aquifer w/Contaminated Water Fund
$18.22

Reimbursement to Fortune 500 Hotel Chains for Loss of Business due to Beach Cleanup from Deep Injection Wells Suffusing Aquifer w/Contaminated Water
$109.67

Lease Payments for Fleet of Sewage Lift-Station Pumping Trucks
$99.20

Bond Interest Payments on Completed Phases of STRP
$45.00

Compensation to Family of Jorge Viera for being killed Implementing STRP
$0.00

Reimbursement to Contractor that Paid OSHA Fine Regarding Jorge Viera being killed Implementing STRP
$1.00

Special Assessment
(not subject to "Cap")
Fire Department
$14.75

Parks & Recreation
$1.25

Public Information Department (City-Wide Subscription to Naples Daily News)
$.50

Former City Manager Never-Ending Departure Compensation Package
$9.20

Police Chief Never-Ending Job Search Assistance Fund
$2.55

Police Chief Marital Issues Support Fund
$.60

Former Councilpersons Legal Defense Fund
$1.60

Jolley Bridge Toll - Supplemental Expenses
$1.90

Contractor Asbestos Cleanup Reimbursement
$45.80

"Marco Man" - Ray Charles Visual Art Appreciation Award
$1.40

Attorneys Fees: Hydrogen Sulfide Class Action Lawsuit
$809.09

"Teen" Center
$3.45

"Pre-Teen" Center
$1.20

"Post-Teen" Center
$2.00

"Post-Mortem" Center
$56.99

Stipend for resurrected Political Action Committee to hold more Hate Rallies (with wine and cheese)
$.80

Dog Defecation Monitoring Department
$.44

STRP Economic Impact Reimbursement Plan for Businesses
$2,909.55

STRP Economic Impact Reimbursement Plan for Residents
$0.00

Your Present Governance at Work!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

iDebate

The iDebate is being held on January 10, 2008 at Mackle Park. Doors open at 5:30PM and runs to approximately 9PM.

The iDebate enables anyone to submit a question to the candidates. Simply click the iDebate logo on top of this blog and enter your questions. The format of the iDebate is detailed when you enter your question.

The goal is to ask every question thereby making the concerns of the individual and the public in general the most important issues to be addressed by the candidates.

The iDebate is sponsored by Joey's Pizza and this the Marco Island Blog!

Submit your questions today - your voice is the most important one in a democracy!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

An Open Letter to The City Council

by Butch Neylon

Dear Councilors;

At the special called meeting scheduled for this coming Monday November 26th you are being asked to award a contract for the Master Lift Station briefly outlined in agenda item 2A. There are several issues with this award of contract that I would like to bring to your attention as they affect the residents of Marco adversely.

This lift station will not be needed until the Mackle Park District is constructed and ready to go online. Mackle Park is not scheduled for construction until Year-4, 2009. This lift station will receive no sewage until 2010. Why are we scheduling it for construction at least a full year ahead of schedule?

The start of construction is scheduled for January 2008 and the contract proposes it will take 11-months to build. You promised our residents construction would not occur during peak season. You must respect that promise even if that means straddling two off season construction periods. This location is a major intersection and construction will adversely affect traffic and the Tennis Club. Compounding the problem will be the major increases in traffic as part of the detour necessary due to the closure of the East Winterberry Bridge.

There is no rush to accept these bids. They are good until Wednesday March 19, 2008. Part B – Instructions To Bidders, Section 3.1 clearly states that no bid can be withdrawn within 120 days after the bid opening. The City can accept any bid up to the 120 day limit with no additional cost.

Rony Joel and Bill Moss modified the standard terms and conditions for this and the next set of contracts to provide for increased fees to contractors if these contracts are cancelled. This action is very adverse to the best interests of Marco Islanders. It is clearly designed to benefit the contractors at the expense of the citizens.

This stealth change to the boilerplate that has been standard cancellation clause language for both the industry and Marco Island contracts for the past several years raises serious questions and doubts about the loyally of Mr. Moss or Mr. Joel. This totally inappropriate and anti-city action suggest a very serious violation of their fiduciary obligations to the city. These city employees have consistently favored the contractors over the residents of this City, and it is time for that to stop!

The following details the contract changes made by Joel and Moss to make it far more profitable to the contractors and more onerous for the citizens to cancel this and subsequent contracts. This change should be reversed, the original language should be reinserted into the contracts, and these employees should be censured for this attempt to degrade the residents protection under these contracts.

This is the original language that has been in our contracts for years.

TERMINATION FOR CONVENIENCE AND RIGHT OF SUSPENSION.

Owner shall have the right to terminate this Agreement without cause upon seven (7) calendar days written notice to Contractor. In the event of such termination for convenience, Contractor's recovery against Owner shall be limited to that portion of the Contract Amount earned through the date of termination, together with any retainage withheld and reasonable termination expenses incurred, but Contractor shall not be entitled to any other or further recovery against Owner, including, but not limited to, damages or any anticipated profit on portions of the Work not performed.

This language is straightforward and unambiguous. All of our present contracts have this clause and there is no reason to change it.

Here is the language that Moss and Joel have quietly substituted which will ensure a major windfall profit to the contractor if the contracts are cancelled.

TERMINATION FOR CONVENIENCE AND RIGHT OF SUSPENSION.

Owner shall have the right to terminate this Agreement without cause upon seven (7) calendar days written notice to Contractor. In the event of such termination for convenience, Contractor's recovery against Owner shall be limited to:

1. For Owner supplied material- A payment of five (5) percent of the invoice value for all material supplied by Owner that has not yet been installed by the Contractor, where the Contractor was responsible for vendor selection, shop drawing preparation, receiving and securing the material at a location designated by the Owner, and the Contractor assisted the Owner in the purchase order process.

2. For Contractor supplied material- A payment of seven and one half (7.5) percent of the invoice value for all material purchased by the Contractor and delivered to the project site and not used or installed by the contractor.

3. For Construction Bonds- Actual bond cost (based on vendor invoice) for the payment and performance bonds.

4. Mobilization and Demobilization-

A. Mobilization/ Demobilization included as a bid item- A payment of ten (10) percent of the mobilization cost balance not already paid. A payment of one hundred (100) percent of the demobilization shall be paid only after the project has surpassed the fifty (50) percent mark based on the CPM schedule. Prior to the fifty percent marked based on the CPM schedule, the Contractor shall be paid twenty (20) percent of the demobilization item.

B. Mobilization/ Demobilization not included as a bid item- The Owner shall pay the contractor for the actual documented (labor, material and equipment) cost incurred by the Contractor.

5. That portion of the contract Amount earned through the date of termination including, but not limited to, documented costs for labor, materials, equipment, supplies and storage of same through the date of termination, together with any retainage withheld.

Contractor shall not be entitled to any other or further recover against Owner, including, but not limited to, damages or any anticipated profit on portion of the Work not performed.

This language conveys major financial benefits to the contractors. Not only do they get paid a percentage of all the material ordered for the project even if they never install a single foot of pipe, but they also get their full bond cost, a portion of an arbitrary amount called Mobilization, and 100% of another arbitrary amount called Demobilization.

By awarding a contract with this language you will expose the residents of Marco Island to cancellation fees that are not earned, not appropriate, and not in the best interests of the residents of this city. I respectfully request that you, at the very least, withhold awarding these contracts as you have 120 days in which to act. It would, however, also be prudent to replace this new cancellation for convenience clause with the original one which worked for years.

Many of our citizens believe there are hidden agendas in the very pro contractor manner in which our staff deals with our contractors. Other citizens believe the council’s actions, including this language and the unwarranted acceleration of unneeded construction is nothing more than one more attempt by City Staff to increase the cost to cancel the STRP in order to provide a political platform for pro-sewer candidates for city council to stand on. City Hall has no place entering into the political arena to the determent of the residents of Marco Island and either motivation is reprehensible.

The proposed Sheffield and Lamplighter contracts also have this new cancellation clause inserted. If you do not revert to our standard language or postpone award of those contracts you will likely obligate the residents for several millions in cancellation charges. Please review this information and act in the best interests of Marco Island. Given the shelf life of these bids there is nothing to be lost by postponing any action until the fate of the sewer program is clear.

Respectfully;

Butch Neylon

1 Comments:

  • November 25, 2007





    Dear Councilors;

    It would appear that there is some concern raised by my letter of yesterday, and although none of us enjoy finishing off a holiday weekend with controversy, I must believe we all would rather we deal with this situation up front rather than just pass it by as it does have far reaching consequences for the residents of Marco.



    Personally, I find it troubling that none of you were informed of this serious contract change by staff. If they were truly trying to protect the residents from cancellation charges, why would they keep such a laudable effort secret?



    In Mr. Joel’s email sent to all earlier today, (copy below), he leads you to believe that the City Attorney arbitrarily reviewed our contracts and decided to make changes to the Termination for Convenience clause, and staff simply included those changes in the most recent contracts. That is not the case. By reviewing all of the emails and communications, surrounding these contract changes quite another set of events emerges.



    Mr. Joel initiated the request by sending an email to the City Attorney asking him to review two clauses in our current contracts, (Liquidated Damages & Termination for Convenience), with the stated intention of clarifying the language to head off possible legal conflicts if these contracts were to be cancelled.



    The City Attorney responded by recommending the addition of one sentence to the Termination for Convenience clause to protect the City from cancellation problems. This however, did not satisfy Mr. Joel, so he contacted his former employer CDM and asked them to come up with a list of areas where the contractor could be compensated if the contracts were to be cancelled.



    Mr. Joel and Mr. Moss took the list produced by CDM, and essentially produced the five items you see in the final clause. It was then forwarded it to our contracts officer Bob Creighton for his review and comment. Mr. Creighton trimmed some of the items thereby saving the residents some money, but certainly not as much as if the clause had not been changed in the first place.



    This is a purely political move by Mr. Moss and Mr. Joel to add to the cancellation costs of the Master Lift Station and the Lamplighter and Sheffield sewer district contracts in order to perpetuate the STRP. It diminishes the protection of the original clause by granting specific payouts to the contractors for items they will never install if the contracts are cancelled.



    Cancellation is a fact of life in the contracting industry, and it is typically a negotiated settlement between the City and the Contractor. How would you negotiate if the contractor told you he wanted to be paid for work he did not perform? That essentially is what our new Cancelation for Convenience clause does; it pays the contractor for work not done.



    Staff made these changes to the contract, not the City Attorney, as Mr. Joel would have you believe. If these changes were good for the city, why would Mr. Joel try to mislead you into thinking the attorney, rather than he, recommended them?



    Staff kept this information from the council. Doesn’t it occur to you that decisions like this that could potentially cost Marco Islanders hundreds of thousands or possibly millions should come before the council?



    If the real reason for these changes was to protect the residents of Marco, why does the new language so blatantly favor the contractor? Staff has traditionally refused to exercise the city’s rights under these contracts and always acts to favor of the contractor’s. It’s time to ask why?



    In order to find some middle ground on this issue, I respectfully request that you postpone awarding any contracts containing this new Cancellation for Convenience clause until the fate of the STRP is clear.



    Nothing is lost by waiting. There is a 120 Day window in which to award these contracts with no additional cost. Please consider waiting sixty days, you have the opportunity to save residents from onerous cancelation payments that you never approved, that you shouldn’t take responsibility for, and should never have been allowed in the first place.





    Respectfully;





    Butch Neylon



    ____________________________________________________________________

    Mr. Joel’s Email:



    Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:11:31 AM
    Message
    From: Rony Joel
    Subject: Re: Fw:
    To: "Dr. William D. Trotter"
    Cc: bmoss@cityofmarcoisland.com
    "Alan L. Gabriel"
    Dr Trotter

    The master lift station is needed for the Sheffild sewer district which is to be constructed next year.

    The City standard construction contract was reviewed by our new attorney and they made various recommendations for change and these were implemented.
    The change that was made to cancellation of contract is to avoid legal challenge by a contractor should Council chose to cancel a construction contract. This contra ct clearly spells out the terms of cancellation.

    Rony

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Sunday, November 25, 2007 8:40:00 PM  

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Governance by Stealth

As was reported on this blog on November 13, 2007, the present governance convened a secret meeting to do something, as it turns out, regarding their ill-fated boating ordinance. What that something was, well, depends.

The issue raised herein was that if the present governance decided on anything during that secret meeting, then they would be in violation of the Sunshine Law.

So anyone that cared to follow this albatross began to wonder when and how was the decision was made to pursue the appeal. A published article alluded to conveyance of approval through body actions and non sequitur herd theory.

Not believing any of this, we issued a Freedom of Information request for the transcripts of the secret meeting in an effort to ascertain who voted for what.

We were denied the request via the following response:

"The transcripts for the closed meeting will be released following the conclusion of the litigation. See agenda attached for names of participants and explanation."

Now, with even the present governance knowing that they cannot admit to having made a decision on such action in such a secret meeting, we submitted another 119 request thus:

"Pursuant to Florida Statutes Chapter 119, provide transcripts of any and all events where the city council, or any city employee, or city attorney(ies) or any agent of the city voted for, or in any way decided that the city of marco island will pursue the appeal in the case against mr. david dumas and/or the boating ordinance."

To which the reply was:

"We do not prepare transcripts of regular Council meetings. The minutes from the November 5th 5:30 meeting have not been prepared yet. Those minutes will indicate that at the beginning of the meeting Chairman Minozzi commented that the City will continue its efforts to defend the anchoring ordinance through the appeal process. The transcript of the closed client-attorney meeting that preceded the meeting at 4:30 will be released following the conclusion of litigation of the matter."

Well, let's see ... nobody voted for it in the secret meeting, there is no record of a public vote, but the decision was announced in public by the council chairperson "commenting" that the city will pursue the appeal.

So ... that leaves us with the following choices as to how the present governance decided to pursue the appeal:

  • the council chairperson decided to pursue the appeal on his own,
  • the city manager and/or the city attorney made the decision,
  • there was a vote in the secret meeting but the transcripts will not be released until the "conclusion of the litigation" thereby affording time for the statute of limitations to expire on Sunshine Law violations - not that the present governance needs such cover given that the ever facilitating Inspector Clouseau of the Collier County Sheriff's Department wouldn't recommend Charles Manson for prosecution if Manson were part of the present governance,
  • a series of head nodding, arm flailing, beard stroking, eye-brow raising, head bobbing, grunting, hand wringing, winks, nods, mild eructation, emphasized harrumphing, and fidgeting reached critical mass in the secret meeting so as to leave no doubt that there was a vote - without actually voting,
  • the decision was made by a majority of the councilpersons and transmitted to the council chairperson telepathically.
Intentionally leaving citizens in the dark as to how their purported government makes decisions leads to such speculation. And worse, it is symbolic of an intentional wanton process set forth to avoid detection by moving carefully - the meaning of stealth - a process that must be intolerable in a democracy.

1 Comments:

  • I just finished watching Monday night's City Council meeting. Something happened that was most disconcerting. There was a question that a citizen had concerning bridge maintenance. The remark of our erstwhile City Council chairman was "I will stand by the recommendations of our City staff." As said chairman often shouts, "Excuse me!" The city council is supposed to represent the citizens who elected them not the city employees. But that has been the procedure in all the matters that have come up before our august tribunal. It is a situation of the Council and the staff against the citizens. Another case in point is the questioning of the new, stealth, contract language which seems to favor the contractor over the City. Ms. DiSciullo's reply was that she will stand by the city attorney's interpretation defending the change. That is precisely the point. The city attorney works for Mr. Moss and his cabal. A prudent thing to do would be to have an independent attorney examine the language. But no, Ms. DiSciullo will stand by staff's interpretation. Who is looking out for us poor taxpaying citizens? This madness has got to stop and, come January hopefully it will

    H. Sarlo

    By Anonymous H. Sarlo, at Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:48:00 PM  

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Top Ten Reasons to Celebrate Thanksgiving

(As Related to Marco Island ...)

  1. The city manager is leaving.
  2. The city police chief is perennially looking to leave.
  3. The detwatering is predominantly affecting the marine life - as opposed to predominantly affecting us.
  4. There will be an election on January 29, 2008.
  5. We can elect four persons to the next city council.
  6. Ten solid residents have announced their candidacies thereby affording us choices!
  7. None of the candidates have a last name of Clinton.
  8. We live on a beautiful island ...
  9. Striving to live in harmony ...
  10. In the greatest country!

2 Comments:

  • Dr. Sanchez,

    Regarding reason number six "Ten solid residents have announced their candidacies thereby affording us choices", please read my comment titled "A Dumb Idea" posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 12:25:00 PM, following Doug Enman's blog.

    By Anonymous H. Sarlo, at Friday, November 23, 2007 4:32:00 PM  

  • mr. sarlo
    you are correct - especially so as related to the dilution effect and the motivation for same.

    i should have been clearer in what my thoughts were in this regard. i should have expanded upon "solid" by first not using that word but by stating that the purposes for which each candidate is running is solidly supported by - in many cases - the special interests that they serve.

    and as you correctly point out the interest, intentional or inadvertent by their own hands, serves to water down the process.

    in summary on this point, "solid" as to who wants them to run.

    assuredly, i can not possibly claim that all candidates will be "solid" councilors since for the most part i have no idea what some of them stand for except that they want to continue the strp and bring unity to the island. ... akin to the line in the ms. congeniality movie where each beauty queen finishes her answer to the question of what is your goal with ... "and world peace".

    so ... thank you for pointing this out and an unintentional lack of explanation on my part on that issue.

    By Anonymous Dr. Mario Sanchez, at Saturday, November 24, 2007 8:50:00 AM  

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Your Tax Dollars (& Water)

Permit Application Under Review
Site Name:
CITY OF MARCO ISLAND/CR951/MARCO RIVER/ERP
FDEP Office:
SOUTH DISTRICT
Florida County:
COLLIER
Permit Type:
Water - ERP SGP No Conceptual Approval Permit
Application Number:
255209-003
Applicant Name:
A. RONY JOEL
Applicant Company:
CITY OF MARCO ISLAND
Application Received:
JUL-09-2007
Current Processing Status
FDEP is currently reviewing this permit request.

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I'm OK, You're OK

By Doug Enman

This is a story that began in spring of 2006. The place is Marco Island Florida. The issue is the location of a sewage lift station in an easement on my property. The point of the story is my opinion as to how Mr. A. William Moss, Marco Island City manager, used and misused his position and power to influence me, my wife and the Marco Island City Council.

The first part of this story opens in a conference room at the Marco Island City Hall. In attendance is the city’s attorney, the city’s STRP project manager, the Public Works Director, Mr. A. William Moss, a city council candidate, my attorney, my wife and myself. After the usual introductions, Mr. A. William Moss proceeds to explain that the sewage lift station, they plan to install, is benign, quite, almost odorless and will be well landscaped to minimize its intrusive appearance. After making each sub point in his presentation he looks at my wife and me and says OKAY.

When he is finished with his presentation, I tell Mr. A. William Moss it is NOT OKAY to install this lift station at his proposed location because it will damage my existing septic tank. Being the well informed and well prepared manager that he is; he pulls out a site survey of my property and shows me the location of a septic tank on the drawing. He then says that because the tank is here and not where you say it is there will be no damage to it by the construction of the sewage lift station OKAY. I respond with, it is NOT OKAY because your drawing is incorrect with respect to the driveway and the orientation of the house. I then pull out the FINAL site survey, filed with the Collier County Health Department, and show Mr. A. William Moss the ACTUAL location of the tank and in order to prove to him that it is too close to the easement to construct a sewage lift station without damaging my septic tank. We suggest alternative sites and configurations be discussed at a second meeting. A second meeting did occur and the final configuration of the sewage lift station was agreed upon. A configuration, which to date, is used to construct other sewage lift stations.

The second part of my story opens at a city council meeting. At this meeting Mr. A. William Moss is presenting his reasoning for awarding contracts for STRP and Collier Boulevard. After each sub point he looks at the council, takes a breath and says OKAY. Councilors dutifully buy into his reasoning by looking glazed over and remaining silent. After all, he has all the facts and they only have an executive summary yellow sheet, which, by the way Mr. A. William Moss writes for them. After a short comment period with very little or no debate the contracts are awarded as presented to the bidders recommended by Mr. A. William Moss. The city manager flashes his OKAY back to the councilors and their unanimous vote is duly recorded by the City Clerk. What other outcome could one expect after Mr. A. William Moss obtained ‘buy-in’ using the same OKAY technique with individual councilors during phone calls, in e-mails, and over lunch?

This event coupled with my personal experience with Mr. A. William Moss drove me to view some of the video tapes on the city’s web site. Several show a similar pattern to the meeting in which I observed this behavior originally. Any college freshman who has taken Psychology 101 will recall this behavior as the ‘I’m OKAY your OKAY’ theory in Transactional analysis. It seems, to me, that Mr. A. William Moss has artfully and masterfully managed to pre-destine a single outcome from council votes for most of the past ten years. I, for one, must give credit where credit is due however, when one uses a manipulative and bad behavior to influence outcomes it is a discredit to that person. I wish Mr. A. William Moss well in his future endeavors’ but I will not mourn his departure.

Doug Enman


1 Comments:

  • A Dumb Idea

    Normally it is a good idea for citizens to be interested in participating in shaping the future of their community by running for public office. But looking over the coming election on Marco Island we must put things in perspective. There are four seats up for election. If there are four candidates who are pledged to change the disastrous course of Marco Island they stand an excellent chance in unseating the one incumbent and winning. If however six or eight citizens are vying for the position then the votes will be diluted and the incumbent will retain his seat. A plurality of candidates on the side for change will be a disaster. If the "Johnny come latelys" are really interested in change they should remove themselves from the contest. Only in this way can we insure a victory for the citizens.

    By Anonymous Humphrey Sarlo, at Tuesday, November 20, 2007 12:25:00 PM  

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

In Florida, It's OK to Pollute

Proving once again, that in the Good Ol' Boy Network, permits or lack thereof is irrelevant to protecting our health and our environment. Its protecting the Iron Triangle that counts.

For Immediate Release: November 14, 2007
Contact: Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

CORPS SLAMS FLORIDA FOR VIOLATING WATER QUALITY STANDARDS — Army Corps Refuses to Share Costs of Deficient Everglades Clean Up Projects

Washington, DC — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refuses to contribute a dime to Florida water projects to reduce high levels of pollution flowing into and out of Lake Okeechobee, according to a memo released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Corps claims the state is disqualified from federal assistance due to its continuing violation of minimum national water quality standards, noting that the state “is not likely to come into compliance for several decades.”

These harsh pronouncements are contained in a May 25, 2007 memo from Major General Don Riley, Director of Civil Works for the Corps, to Army Assistant Secretary J.P. Woodley. In that memo, Gen. Riley rejects overtures for a “50-50 cost sharing” between South Florida Water Management District and the Corps on Lake Okeechobee water treatment projects, citing both law and national policy stipulating that “the State must be in compliance with WQ standards for the current use of the water and the work proposed must be deemed essential to the Everglades restoration effort.”

By contrast, Gen. Riley contends that the state plans fail to meet either prong of this test –

  • Polluted Water Revolving Door. “Cleaning water deemed essential to the Everglades restoration which then flows into Lake Okeechobee which has significant pollution issues and then to propose that the same water must be cleaned a second time as it flows out through canals from the Lake’s several outlets calls into question the economic wisdom of the water quality features being considered in this project.”
  • Lack of a Clean Up Plan. Gen. Riley points to the need for the state to set total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for the affected water-bodies so as to be able “‘to implement applicable water quality standards with seasonal variations and a margin of safety’ but that, as of April 1999, no TMDL program had been implemented.” In fact, Florida fired its key water quality lab manager after he reported horrendous pollution levels. Meanwhile, the state’s already long overdue TMDL program remains in limbo; and
  • Unclear Relationship to Restoring the Everglades. “The Federal Government would pay 50% of these costs in one limited instance – that instance being where the water quality features are deemed essential to the CERP [Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan] restoration effort…In the case of the Lake Okeechobee project, no such determination has been made.”

“Florida’s approach to water pollution is pure science fiction,” stated Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former enforcement attorney with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). “When a state lab confirmed Lake Okeechobee water so dirty that it might as well have come directly out of the rear end of a cow, DEP fired the lab manager and compromised the data, leaving the entire South Florida TMDL program in chaos.”

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Friday, November 16, 2007

CBS-WINK Coverage of EPA/FDEP Order

CBS Network local affiliate coverage as aired on Nov 14, 2007 at 5PM and 6PM covering Marco Island's present governance refusal to abide by EPA/FDEP letter ordering that all dumping of toxic effluent into the waterways cease immediately.




click arrow to play

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Videos of Effluent Dumping AFTER Cease Order

Four videos proving that the present governance continued to dump the toxic effluent from the dewatering into the waterways AFTER receiving the cease order from the FDEP/EPA are available in the VIDEO LIBRARY! and NEW! VIDEO INDEX links on this blog.

Videos taken November 14, 2007 at approximately 4PM on Marco Island.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Marco Island Governance Found in Violation of Environmental Laws

Note: Despite receiving this directive five days ago, today, the present governance ignores the letter and the dewatering continues as of this morning Nov. 14, 2007. The video, photographic and research evidence put forth herein was and is the basis for action.

SENT VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL

November 9, 2007


Mr. A. Rony Joel, P.E.
Public Works Director
City of Marco Island
50 Bald Eagle Drive
Marco Island, Florida 34145

Email: RJoel@cityofmarcoisland.com

RE: Collier County-DW

Marco Island
Dewatering site(s)

Dear Mr. Joel:

Our records indicate that you may be in violation of Chapter 403, Florida Statutes and the rules promulgated thereunder.

The City of Marco Island has discharged water from the dewatering site(s) to surface waters of the state without a permit. Florida Administrative Code Rule 62-620.300 (1) states that no person shall discharge wastes to waters without a permit from the Department, unless exempted by Department rule or statute.

Please submit an application and fee for these dewatering activities. You may qualify for a permit for discharging from Non-Contaminated sites. The requirements for this permit can be found in: Rule 62-621.300(2) , F.A.C. Generic Permit for
Discharge of Produced Ground Water from any Non-Contaminated Site Activity

- Provides specific discharge limits and operation requirements for discharges of produced groundwater from any site activity to surface waters.

The link for this is http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wastewater/rules.htm#industrial.

If these activities do not qualify for the above permit please contact this office to determine the type of permit required.

You are advised that any activity that may contribute to violations of the above described statutes and rules should cease immediately. Continued discharges from dewatering activities in violation of state statutes or rules may result in liability for
damages and restoration, and the judicial imposition of civil penalties pursuant to Sections 403.141 and 403.161, Florida Statutes.

Please notify the Department in writing within 15 days as to what actions you intend to take in order to address these deficiencies.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Deanna Newburg at (239) 332-6975, ext. 173, Charles Davault at ext. 165, or Keith Kleinmann at ext. 182. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Sincerely,

__________________________
Keith Kleinmann
Environmental Manager
DWF/jli

cc: Elsa Potts
Jon Iglehart
Elijah Fleishauer

=========================================
For the original letter, CLICK HERE.

2 Comments:

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Mario Sanchez, at Wednesday, November 14, 2007 6:51:00 PM  

  • Mr Reed
    > We are in receipt of your letter. Upon cursory review and past direction from the Department we disagree with the assessment that the City of Marco Island may be in violation.
    >
    > Specifically, the contractors are operating under a DEP permit and the City of Marco Island has a permit from SFWMD for dewatering activities.
    >
    > Are all activities statewide being asked to complete this permit application for active dewatering activities? We certainly hope that the City is not being targeted or singled out for some reason. We have been openly communicating about this issue for the past several months with no indication of these requirements. On the contrary we were told no IW permits were needed and DEP was not taking a lead role rather referring permitting concerns to SFWMD.
    >
    > DEP staff have been to the site and observed our activities. At no time was this permit mentioned. As recently as this week, the regulatory compliance manager at SFWMD was on site observing our activities and advised that we are in compliance with the permits.
    >
    > By copy we have submitted the letter for our attorney to review and we would entertain a conference call regarding this matter.
    >
    > A. Rony Joel, P.E., DEE
    > Public Works - Protecting Public Health
    > 239-389-5000
    >
    > ----- Original Message -----
    >
    > Friday, November 09, 2007 12:11:23 PM
    > Message
    > From: "Reed, Philip" < Philip.Reed@dep.state.fl.us>
    > Subject: Marco Island notice of violation
    > To: Rony Joel
    > Cc: "Fleishauer, Elijah" < Elijah.Fleishauer@dep.state.fl.us>
    > "Potts, Elsa" < Elsa.Potts@dep.state.fl.us>
    > "Iglehart, Jon" < Jon.Iglehart@dep.state.fl.us>
    > Attachments: Attach0.html 3K
    > Marco Islanddewaterncl.pdf 90K
    >
    > Attached please find the appropriate document as it relates to the Marco Island Dewatering Sites. Thank you.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > The Department of Environmental Protection values your feedback as a customer. DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole is committed to continuously assessing and improving the level and quality of services provided to you. Please take a few minutes to comment on the quality of service you received. Simply click on this link to the DEP Customer Survey. Thank you in advance for completing the survey.
    >
    >
    >
    > Mr. A. Rony Joel, P.E.
    > Public Works Director
    > City of Marco Island
    > 50 Bald Eagle Drive
    > Marco Island, Florida 34145
    >
    > Email: RJoel@cityofmarcoisland.com
    >
    > RE: Collier County-DW
    >
    > Marco Island
    > Dewatering site(s)
    >
    > Dear Mr. Joel:
    >
    > Our records indicate that you may be in violation of Chapter 403, Florida Statutes and the rules promulgated thereunder.
    >
    > The City of Marco Island has discharged water from the dewatering site(s) to surface waters of the state without a permit. Florida Administrative Code Rule 62-620.300 (1) states that no person shall discharge wastes to waters without a permit from the Department, unless exempted by Department rule or statute.
    >
    > Please submit an application and fee for these dewatering activities. You may qualify for a permit for discharging from Non-Contaminated sites. The requirements for this permit can be found in: Rule 62-621.300(2) , F.A.C. Generic Permit for
    > Discharge of Produced Ground Water from any Non-Contaminated Site Activity
    >
    > - Provides specific discharge limits and operation requirements for discharges of produced groundwater from any site activity to surface waters.
    >
    > The link for this is http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wastewater/rules.htm#industrial.
    >
    > If these activities do not qualify for the above permit please contact this office to determine the type of permit required.
    >
    > You are advised that any activity that may contribute to violations of the above described statutes and rules should cease immediately. Continued discharges from dewatering activities in violation of state statutes or rules may result in liability for
    > damages and restoration, and the judicial imposition of civil penalties pursuant to Sections 403.141 and 403.161, Florida Statutes.
    >
    > Please notify the Department in writing within 15 days as to what actions you intend to take in order to address these deficiencies.
    >
    > If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Deanna Newburg at (239) 332-6975, ext. 173, Charles Davault at ext. 165, or Keith Kleinmann at ext. 182. Your cooperation is appreciated.
    >
    > Sincerely,
    >
    > __________________________
    > Keith Kleinmann
    > Environmental Manager
    > DWF/jli
    >
    > cc: Elsa Potts
    > Jon Iglehart
    > Elijah Fleishauer
    >
    > Bill Moss
    > City Manager
    > bmoss@cityofmarcoisland.com

    By Blogger Mario R. Sanchez, Ph.D., at Wednesday, November 14, 2007 10:13:00 PM  

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hiding or Ashamed?

In yet another incredulous maneuver by the present governance, all residents of Marco Island will once again be involved in some expensive endeavor – without our approval – without knowing which councilors voted for it – without knowing who authorized it – without knowing where it’s headed.

Of course we are referring to the closed door meeting of Monday November 5 where it was decided to pursue an appeal of the present governance’s loss to their ill-fated “boating ordinance”.

The off-island press has correctly brought up two serious problems with this behavior, the most important of which is that a secret meeting where an approval takes place appears to violate the Sunshine laws. Of course, the present governance, having once again blundered, spins it with intellectually insulting comments by alluding to having made or not made or sort of made a decision using head nodding and positive grunting as opposed to an actual vote.

Yep, we are all stupid. But not to worry about prosecution since the county will never prosecute the present governance given the political prostitution that exists between the two. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office won’t recommend prosecuting this crew even with signed confessions and videos.

But beyond hiding or being ashamed of their actions, there are even far greater problems. Conducting a “strategy” session behind closed doors on a criminal matter is tantamount to setting up an ambush – which is not only unethical but arguably illegal.

Even being above the law, one would think that the ethical councilors would have the wherewithal to ask:

  • Why are we committing to moneys we can ill afford to spend on something that has no constitutional, human, environmental or practical value?
  • Why does the present governance insist in placating special interests at the expense of the residents?
  • How many reasonable people care if and when and where rich people park their yachts?
  • Aren’t there enough laws in place to regulate what boaters do in state waters ... without having to come up with another one that is being successfully defended by a quarter-million member organization?
We call on the principled councilors to remedy this abomination and demand the release of the transcripts of the meeting, enable public input at an open council meeting, then vote – in the open – lest you be hiding something or are ashamed of your position.

2 Comments:

  • Florida Attorney General
    Advisory Legal Opinion
    Number: AGO 2004-35
    Date: July 2, 2004
    Subject: Sunshine Law, risk management committee


    Mr. Donovan A. Roper
    Counsel, City of Palm Bay
    116 North Park Avenue
    Apopka, Florida 32703

    RE: GOVERNMENT IN THE SUNSHINE LAW–MEETINGS– MUNICIPALITIES–RISK MANAGEMENT–ATTORNEYS– meetings of risk management committee; announcement of closed attorney-client session at public meeting. ss. 768.28(16) and 286.011(8), Fla. Stat.

    Dear Mr. Roper:

    On behalf of the City of Palm Bay, you ask substantially the following questions:

    1. Are meetings of the city's risk management committee, established by city ordinance to review certain proposed claim settlements under the city's risk management program, subject to the Government in the Sunshine Law?

    2. Is section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, requiring an entity's attorney to advise the entity at a public meeting that he or she desires advice concerning litigation, satisfied by a previously published and posted notice of a meeting of the board that includes a statement that the attorney seeks the board's advice?

    Question One

    According to your letter, the City of Palm Bay by ordinance has created a risk management program for the administration of general liability claims, settlement of claims, a claims prevention program and a risk management fund.[1] The ordinance creates a risk management committee composed of the city manager, the city attorney, and one city council member.[2] The committee is responsible for reviewing all proposed claims settlement demands made either against the city or by the city except for those claims that can be settled for $10,000 or less and authorizing settlements not to exceed $50,000.[3]

    Section 286.011(1), Florida Statutes, Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, provides in pertinent part that "[a]ll meetings of any board or commission . . . of any agency or authority of any . . . municipal corporation . . . at which official acts are to be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times . . . ." As the Florida Supreme Court stated in City of Miami Beach v. Berns,[4] "[t]he Legislature intended to extend application of the 'open meeting' concept so as to bind every 'board or commission' of the state, or of any county or political subdivision over which it has dominion or control." As a committee established by city ordinance to review and approve or recommend settlements, the risk management committee clearly is a board or commission subject to section 286.011, Florida Statutes.

    While you refer to section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, which creates a limited attorney-client exception to discuss pending litigation, the provisions of section 768.28(16), Florida Statutes, would appear to be more applicable to your inquiry. Section 768.28(16) authorizes the state and its agencies and subdivisions to be self-insured, to enter into risk management programs, or to purchase liability insurance for whatever coverage they may choose, or to have any combination thereof, in anticipation of any claim, judgment, and claims bill that they may be liable to pay pursuant to section 768.28.[5] The statute includes several provisions dealing with the confidential treatment of meetings and records relating to risk management programs.

    Section 768.28(16)(c) and (d), Florida Statutes, states:

    "(c) Portions of meetings and proceedings conducted pursuant to any risk management program administered by the state, its agencies, or its subdivisions, which relate solely to the evaluation of claims filed with the risk management program or which relate solely to offers of compromise of claims filed with the risk management program are exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution. Until termination of all litigation and settlement of all claims arising out of the same incident, persons privy to discussions pertinent to the evaluation of a filed claim shall not be subject to subpoena in any administrative or civil proceeding with regard to the content of those discussions.

    (d) Minutes of the meetings and proceedings of any risk management program administered by the state, its agencies, or its subdivisions, which relate solely to the evaluation of claims filed with the risk management program or which relate solely to offers of compromise of claims filed with the risk management program are exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution until termination of all litigation and settlement of all claims arising out of the same incident."

    Section 768.28(2), Florida Statutes, defines "state agencies or subdivisions" to include "counties and municipalities[.]"

    Application of the exemption afforded by section 768.28(16), Florida Statutes, however, is limited to tort claims for which the agency may be liable under section 768.28, Florida Statutes.[6] Moreover, pursuant to section 768.28(16), a risk management meeting conducted by a city's risk management committee is exempt from the provisions of the Government in the Sunshine Law when such meeting relates solely to the evaluation of a tort claim filed with the risk management program, or relates solely to an offer of compromise of a tort claim filed with the risk management program. Unlike statutes such as section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, however, section 768.28(16), Florida Statutes, does not specify the personnel who may attend meetings.[7]

    Regarding the applicability of the exemption afforded by section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, that subsection provides:

    "(8) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, and the chief administrative or executive officer of the governmental entity, may meet in private with the entity's attorney to discuss pending litigation to which the entity is presently a party before a court or administrative agency, provided that the following conditions are met:
    (a) The entity's attorney shall advise the entity at a public meeting that he or she desires advice concerning the litigation.
    (b) The subject matter of the meeting shall be confined to settlement negotiations or strategy sessions related to litigation expenditures.
    (c) The entire session shall be recorded by a certified court reporter. The reporter shall record the times of commencement and termination of the session, all discussion and proceedings, the names of all persons present at any time, and the names of all persons speaking. No portion of the session shall be off the record. The court reporter's notes shall be fully transcribed and filed with the entity's clerk within a reasonable time after the meeting.
    (d) The entity shall give reasonable public notice of the time and date of the attorney-client session and the names of persons who will be attending the session. The session shall commence at an open meeting at which the persons chairing the meeting shall announce the commencement and estimated length of the attorney-client session and the names of the persons attending. At the conclusion of the attorney-client session, the meeting shall be reopened, and the person chairing the meeting shall announce the termination of the session.
    (e) The transcript shall be made part of the public record upon conclusion of the litigation."

    The exemption provided by section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, is not limited to tort claims. The exemption, however, does not create a blanket exception to the open meeting requirement of the Sunshine Law for all meetings between a public board or commission and its attorney. The exemption merely provides a governmental entity's attorney an opportunity to receive necessary direction and information from the governmental entity. The exemption may only be used when the attorney for a governmental entity seeks advice on settlement negotiations or strategy relating to litigation expenditures. Such meetings may not be used to finalize action or to discuss matters outside these two narrowly prescribed areas.[8] It was not intended to be used as a blanket exception for a board or commission, such as a risk management committee, to carry out its routine functions.[9] Moreover, its application is limited to pending litigation; it does not apply when no lawsuit has been filed even though the parties involved believe litigation is inevitable.[10]

    Accordingly, I am of the opinion that pursuant to section 768.28(16), a risk management meeting conducted by a city's risk management committee is exempt from the provisions of the Government in the Sunshine Law when such meeting relates solely to the evaluation of a tort claim filed with the risk management program, or relates solely to an offer of compromise of a tort claim filed with the risk management program. While the exemption provided in section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, is not limited to tort claims, it applies only when the attorney for a governmental entity seeks advice on settlement negotiations or strategy relating to litigation expenditures when there is pending litigation and was not intended to be used as a blanket exception for a board or commission, such as a risk management committee, to carry out its routine functions.

    Question Two

    You ask whether the provisions of section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, requiring that an entity's attorney advise the entity at a public meeting that he or she desires advice concerning litigation, may be satisfied by a previously published and posted notice of the closed meeting.

    Section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, permits any governmental agency, its chief executive, and its attorney to meet in private if the agency is a party to litigation and the attorney desires advice concerning settlement negotiations or strategy. The statute requires that must be met that the governmental entity's attorney "shall advise the entity at a public meeting that he or she desires advice concerning the litigation."[11] Thus, one of the conditions that must be met prior to the holding of a closed attorney-client meeting is that the entity's attorney must indicate to the board at a public meeting, i.e., at a meeting the public may attend, that he or she wishes the advice of the board regarding pending litigation to which the entity is presently a party before a court or administrative agency.

    Using the published and posted notice of a meeting of the board to advise the entity that the attorney seeks the advice of the public board does not comply with the terms of the statute. A legislative directive as to how a thing should be done is, in effect, a prohibition against its being done in any other way. Where the Legislature has prescribed the mode, that mode must be observed.[12] Moreover, the courts of this state have held that the provisions of section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, are to be strictly and narrowly construed.[13] If the attorney does not advise the board at a public meeting that he or she desires the board's advice regarding the litigation, the board is not precluded from providing such advice to the attorney but it must do so at a public meeting.

    Accordingly, I am of the opinion that the requirements of section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, that an entity's attorney advise the entity at a public meeting that he or she desires advice concerning litigation, is not satisfied by a previously published and posted notice. Rather, such an announcement must be made at a public meeting, that is, a meeting the public has a right to attend.

    Sincerely,


    Charlie Crist
    Attorney General

    CC/tjw

    -------------------------------

    [1] See City of Palm Bay Ordinance 2003-52 (Ordinance).

    [2] Section 3, Ordinance.

    [3] Id. And see s. 5. D. E. and F, Ordinance, providing:

    "D. Proposed settlements in excess of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) but not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) for each individual claim shall be reviewed by the Risk Management Committee. Payment shall be made upon consensus of that Committee, provided that such settlement or compromise shall be for all damages claimed for personal injury, property damage, or both.

    E. Proposed settlements in excess of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) shall be submitted by the Risk Management Committee to the City Council for its approval.

    F. In the event that a settlement has been tendered upon consensus by the Risk Management Committee in the amount of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) or less, and such settlement is not acceptable to the claimant, then the Risk Management Committee shall submit this matter, along with its recommendation to the City Council, for its ultimate decision."

    [4] 245 So. 2d 38, 40 (Fla. 1971).

    [5] Section 768.28(16)(a), Fla. Stat.

    [6] See Op. Att'y Gen. Fla. 00-07 (2000), concluding that the records of outside attorney fee bills for the defense of the county for alleged civil rights violations are public records subject to disclosure, even though those records may be maintained by the County Risk Management Office pursuant to the county's risk management program.

    [7] See Op. Att'y Gen. Fla. 00-20 stating that in the absence of direction from the Legislature with regard to the participants in a risk management meeting or proceeding under section 768.28(15), Florida Statutes (now s. 768.28[16]), it would appear that personnel of the school district who are involved in the risk management aspect of the tort claim being litigated or settled may attend such meetings without jeopardizing the confidentiality provisions of the statute.

    [8] See Op. Att'y Gen. Fla. 99-37 (1999).

    [9] See School Board of Duval County v. Florida Publishing Company, 670 So. 2d 99, 100 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996), and Zorc v. City of Vero Beach, 722 So. 2d 891, 898 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998), review denied, 735 So. 2d 1284 (Fla. 1999) quoting Florida House of Representatives Committee on Government Operations, CS/HB 491 (1993) Final Bill Analysis & Economic Impact Statement at 3,

    "This act simply provides a governmental entity's attorney an opportunity to receive necessary direction and information from the governmental entity. No final decisions on litigation matters can be voted on during these private, attorney-client strategy meetings. The decision to settle a case, for a certain amount of money, under certain conditions is a decision which must be voted upon in a public meeting."

    [10] See Op. Att'y Gen. Fla. 98-21 (1998).

    [11] Section 286.011(8)(a), Fla. Stat.

    [12] See generally Alsop v. Pierce, 19 So. 2d 799, 805-806 (Fla. 1944); Thayer v. State, 335 So. 2d 815, 817 (Fla. 1976).

    [13] See School Board of Duval County v. Florida Publishing Company, supra, and Zorc v. City of Vero Beach, supra; City of Dunnellon v. Aran, 662 So.2d 1026 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995).

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Tuesday, November 13, 2007 11:50:00 AM  

  • the statute that governs these secret meetings is limiting:

    Section 286.011(8), F.S., provides:

    Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, and the chief administrative or executive officer of the governmental entity, may meet in private with the entity's attorney to discuss pending litigation to which the entity is presently a party before a court or administrative agency, provided that the following conditions are met:

    (a) The entity's attorney shall advise the entity at a public meeting that he or she desires advice concerning the litigation.

    (b) The subject matter of the meeting shall be confined to settlement negotiations or strategy sessions related to litigation expenditures.


    it is clear that much more than this was discussed since the council opted to proceed with the appeal - which is beyond the two limiting factors of the statute.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:00:00 PM  

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Don’t Repeat History Here

As we gear up for the campaign to elect four city councilpersons, let us break the norm in politics and government practices –

As a community in dire needed of elected officials that represent all the people, respect all the people, rebuke those in their charge that denigrate people, and protect all the people, let’s see if we can start a road to these noble goals by having a campaign that is devoid of personal attacks, slurs, and character assassinations.

There must be no room for this ignoble behavior in the process leading up to the method by which we implement the greatest form of government ever to be conceived.

A campaign where the marketplace of ideas are in of themselves debated is what we desperately need, is what we urgently deserve. Challenge the ideas and plans on their merit, irrespective of who brought them to our attention. But challenge them with facts, as slurring the idea with vitriol and hate quite accustomed by the select few on this island and their organs in the press is tantamount to slurring the individual.

And there is a special plea to those souls in the blogosphere that put forth whatever of certainly dubious value under the disguise of anonymity. While this author affords no worth to anything posted by anonymous keyboard mechanics, it seems that others do.

You can instill credibility in our form of government by simply ceasing to look at anonymous or fictitiously assigned postings – rest assured that you will miss nothing since these nameless folks are not Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel García Márquez, or other Nobel Laureates in Literature, nor are they Madisons, Jeffersons, Jays or Tocquevilles.

For proof that the character assassinations posed by hacks afford no value whatsoever to the democratic process, consider the following makeup of our history:
  • “Our President has lied to us.”
  • “He has falsely led us into this war.”
  • “He has abused our civil rights.”
  • “He has exceeded his Presidential powers.”
  • “Americans are dying because of this war that should have never been fought.”
  • “He was overstepping his role as President and violating our civil rights.”
  • “He is a dictator and a tyrant.”
  • “A slangwhanging stump speaker.”
  • “A half-witted usurper.”
  • “A mole-eyed monster with soul … of leather.”
  • “The present turtle at the head of the government.”
  • “Unfit.”
  • “A political coward.”
  • “A dictator, timid and ignorant.”
  • “Shattered, dazed, utterly foolish.”
  • A speech by the target of all the above smears was branded as “ludicrous, dishwatery and silly” by the London Times.
Don’t repeat this history here for you may be preventing an Abraham Lincoln from even seeking office. And if there was ever a community that needed a Lincoln, and a “ludicrous, dishwatery and silly” Gettysburg Address, it’s here.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Get Ready ...

REUTERS
August 2007

WASHINGTON – The number of U.S. beaches declared unsafe for swimming reached a record last year, with more than 25,000 cases where shorelines were closed or prompted health advisories, an environmental group reported Tuesday. The Natural Resources Defense Council, which compiled the report from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, said the likely culprit was sewage and contaminated runoff from water treatment systems.

“Aging and poorly designed sewage and storm water systems hold much of the blame for beach water pollution,” the group said in a statement. “The problem was compounded by record rainfall, which added to the strain on already overloaded infrastructure.” Other factors include urban sprawl in coastal areas, which destroys wetlands and other natural buffers like dunes and beach grass that could otherwise filter out pollution, the group said.

In its 17th annual report on beach water quality, the group found the number of no-swim days at 3,500 U.S. beaches doubled from 2005 to 2006 along the oceans, bays and Great Lakes.

The beaches at highest risk are those that are most popular, close to pollution sources or both.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Indispensable Services

The candidates vying for the city council should be formulating their respective plans by which to help Marco Island recover from the seeming fiscal mess they are inheriting. No doubt that all services should be evaluated in terms of efficiency. However, such study must also evaluate the intrinsic but perhaps not inherently obvious benefit of every service in terms of the longer term effects to the city’s financial health.

Clearly, none of the declared candidates will opt to jettison police, fire and emergency services as part of a plan to reclaim the island’s wasted wealth. But what may not be clear and therefore become perceptibly easy marks for discontinuation are community programs.

Community programs should not be targeted as dispensable because there is much more at stake. By looking to eliminate community programs as a means to austerity, the recovery could be prolonged or otherwise thwarted.

The onus of the next city council is to re-establish the harmonious community congruous in its zeal for the way of life on Marco Island. Without a community, no fiscal rebuilding plan will succeed. The new council can’t simply rely on austerity measures, forensic audits, prosecution of malfeasance and seeking redress from the contractors’ bonanzas as the strategy by which to regain our financial wherewithal.

Analogously, the new council should not look at the revenue side of the budgetary spectrum as a money printing press – as all governments have the penchant to do – without due consideration as to ultimate source of those funding sources.

Namely, the forthcoming council can not simply address the pecuniary troubles through accounting and policy terms in order to rebuild fiscal sanity. They must be ultimately cognizant that the money roads originate from and lead to …

A community is but a cooperative collective of residents and responsible business entities, the former being indispensable to the latter. It is only with concerned and active residents that the new council will have the financial support and popular mandate to succeed in carrying out their vision for facilitating the transition of making Marco Island a paradise once again.

But because an appreciable number of residents have been driven out, maligned or otherwise alienated due to the spiraling cost of living, or because they happen to disagree with the ruling class, or because they simply became disgusted with the entire governing process, respectively, there must be a systematic agenda by which the most vital part of the community – the people – once again become active and willing participants

We can go a long way to that end by ensuring that the new governing body is an all-inclusive city council, respectful of all points of view and serving the residents and business interests – in that order.

And as an all-inclusive respectful government is essential in reestablishing the cooperative and collaborative spirit, but so are community programs and initiatives, for after all, the latter is but an extension of the former.

An expanded community/activities center with even greater programs is one of those essentials that must be identified. If anything at all ran exceptionally well during the dark years was the Marco Island Parks & Recreation service. Let that function and the related programs and activities expand so as to facilitate the embracing of a greater community – a community that must come together in their diversity of age, wealth and politics.

Also along these lines is bringing to Marco Island a high school for academic excellence. While the majority of those polled oppose a high school, consider the demographics of those being polled. Also consider that a community is made up of seniors, part time residents of all ages and young families with children. And also consider the numbers: Presently the elementary school and the middle school have approximately 900 children. Do we want those families to also flee – as their peers have done in droves over the last two years? We give away somewhere between $55,000,000 and $70,000,000 is taxes annually to the Collier Country School District. How about investing part of this money – our money – in our community? And talk about increase revenues by which to ameliorate the serious financial crisis we are facing? Bring a high school for exceptional education to a community and watch what happens to the demand for quality housing and the economic boon that comes with it.

There was talk of a teen center. Let’s go forward, for we desperately need to broaden the range of demographic inclusion in this community so as to ensure viability and survivability. And to that end, what better teen center is there than a premiere high school? One paid for already, many times over?

Generally it is not the role of non-socialistic forms of governments to provide for community efforts. This is true, affirmed as such by Hamilton, Madison and Jay. But the founders of this great experiment also knew that dire times call for dire measures. And arguably, irrespective of where one stands politically, Marco Island is in such times.

Hence this is a call to identify all of the indispensable services that will remake this community, and to protect them so that we may unite and rebuild in unexpected hours.

3 Comments:

  • Well if you went to last night council meeting you found out who is running Marco. When a councilman asked Moss about $ 300,000 in spending he refused to answer and of cause our chairman never said a word. So when asked how he is going to get this money which he does not have the authority to spend that much he just put up his back and would not answer the question. Nice and good lucky Naples, I can't wait until Jan 2 2008 to say good bye to him

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:57:00 PM  

  • In Praise of Mrs. DiSciullo ?

    At the last City Council meeting when Mrs. DiSciullo announced her retirement from politics she received a number of accolades for her service to the community from various citizens. I have been watching Mrs. DiSciullo's performance at council meetings since her election. Here are some of my observations. First off, she has commandeered the most microphone time of any councilor. She is intent on commenting on every topic...and at length. Her comments seem to show off her knowledge of the subject but do little for the enlightenment of others. She pontificates on subjects that are not her field of expertise. Example, at the last meeting she contradicted a medical doctor on the healthy weight of a newborn baby. Since her baby was six pounds at birth and was healthy therefore six pounds is the normal weight for a newborn. She asked about the weight of a mechanical member of the sewer treatment plant and when she was given the information her comment was, "Wow!" I could go on but here is my point. Mrs. DiSciullo's field of expertise is accounting. Her's was the ideal position to keep a watch on the finances of the City. She should have looked out for the fiscal condition of Marco Island. Instead what I witnessed in her performance at almost every meeting was that whenever she asked about financial matters whatever explanation she received from Mr. Moss or our shifty Financial Planner she accepted as gospel. She questioned nothing financial or, if she did, she changed no minds. She could have been instrumental in preventing the money mess that Marco is in today but she failed to act. That to me is her legacy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 3:20:00 PM  

  • i agree totally.

    now when i went back and re-read my article i realized that it could be looked at as a praise of the councilperson as those topics were two of her issues. but so was everything else as the previous post correctly points out.

    it is by sheer coincidence that my support of the community activities are the same as that legacy.

    fortunately for me i support them for completely different reasons: - 1. as an effort to heal this community from the actions of the majority of the present council and the governance AND 2. as a suggestion to the new council that there are much much bigger problems that they should focus on given that the entire service to this function is 1.7% of the total budget (based on the latest numbers from the present governance).

    the councilperson's reasons were always quite clear - 1) social engineering AND 2)an issue to be branded to.

    and lastly completely in agreement with the previous post - what a legacy - to leave such a fiscal debacle. how tragic.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 5:39:00 PM  

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Update on Super Poll #4

We are pleased to announce that the analytics – namely how the numbers, statistics and graphs were derived – have been validated and proven correct by an independent source. The source is an academic economist who was provided with the entire database and has no ties to us or the island.

By virtue of the fact that the poll was made available on the internet without restrictions, it was truly an open, fair and balanced poll. Efforts were made to reach out to as many potentially interested people as possible. Emails were sent to varying email lists, including several times to lists containing city supporters, members of the now defunct local neo-nazi hate group, and people that have made personal attacks against anyone who dares even to question the present governance.

Despite these extraordinary efforts, if those that are anti-city (by virtue of their personal anonymous attacks on those of us that have an opinion), opted not to vote, that was their choice. Their refusal to participate in an open community service was their decision apparently driven by their own questionable motives, but by the same token their repudiation of anything positive does not invalidate the openness and the effort of the poll.

But unlike closed, special interest polls, like those of the chamber of commerce (you have to be a member to vote), and MICA (you have to be a member of their mindset to vote), our poll was open to everyone, anyone and from anywhere.

Which raised a curious albeit ignorant objection from an anonymous member of the Hate Slate (An aside: we have been informed that the term Hate Slate is being used in postings. This blog will shortly pursue copyright infringement venues given that we were the first to use it quite some time ago to depict those that participated in the supremacists’ rally that fortunately was captured on video by a resident who was later verbally accosted by one the supremacist with a hoary racial trope). This anonymous person argued, not well, that a vote could be from someone not related with, interested in, nor have anything to do with Marco Island since the vote is via the internet and that voter could be anywhere. True. But why would anyone take the time to answer questions about Marco Island – and leave their computer address and often time their name – if they were not interested in the issues of Marco? Also, unlike the present governance, we don’t discount temporary residents or tourists – which are more than likely not on Marco Island.

We reached out to a city supporter and asked for input on formulating the questions. That person provided some suggestions which were used. Other suggestions did not apply to this poll, but will be used in future polls.

We used sophisticated algorithms to minimize, if not eliminate in its entirety, the chance that the final results included the same person voting several times. We are quite confident that these rubrics were successful, especially given the number of emails we received from voters complaining that they were locked out. In all of these cases, we were able to prove that they had voted before!

Invariably, many that don’t fare well in polls or in articles act out the worst of the zeitgeist – demean, besmirch, and threaten the messenger. As has happened here. Good news, isn’t it?!

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