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

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

City Council Meeting Overview

(As experienced on May 4, 2009)

Contract for “Electric System Study”
The morphing from hostile takeover of LCEC on Marco Island (euphemistically referred to as electric Municipalization) to a “subsidy study” didn’t fly, convinced no one, conned no one, and left the two syndicate-controlled councilors the only ones voting for it.

The discussion was somewhat revealing albeit suffused with grotesque errors.

Councilor Gibson stated that FPL charges less. Take it from someone that lives in an FPL area – it doesn’t.

He also stated during a futile attempt at revisionism that people are complaining about water rates going up 16% but are not complaining that electric rates in the same five year period going up by 41%. Amazing how the uninformed rule our lives: all fuel costs have risen dramatically in the past five years – oil, coal and even nuclear. Additionally, new environmental regulations caused the rates to go up. Fuel costs and environmental regulations are out of the control of the electricity producers. (And if you think electricity costs are bad now, wait for the cap-and-trade scam coming soon.) So in this context it is inconsequential how much electric rates went up – could not have been controlled – even if the syndicate had the electric municipality on the island.

So … let’s tackle something we can’t do anything about (electric rates) and ignore that we can do something about (water rates).

If the syndicate was truly serious about “studying” electric rates to see if Marco is subsidizing other areas – they are not – they could simply request the tons of paper in the public domain with the PSC in Tallahassee and have all of those “geniuses” “very qualified” “the greatest generation ever” that served on the Municipalization committee conduct the study for free.

And lastly on this subject, it’s not going away, despite being voted down, given the threat “No matter what you do here, you will hear about this subject again”.

Kudos to Councilor Popoff for exhibiting, courage, common sense and fairness on this issue and was not swayed by the intimidation of the syndicate.

Staff Screws up Code Enforcement Fine
A fine on a property went from approximately $30,000 to $11,500 to an offer of $2,000 to – as argued by the attorney representing Regions Bank – to probably zero. Though the council correctly and unanimously voted to accept the recommendation of $11,500, Regions Bank clearly intimated litigation. The city attorney agreed with the technical merit of the bank’s position that bank owes nothing.

Regions Bank’s position was pathetic if it not were so disingenuous.

Emergency Bridge Repair of $1.7million …
So this citizen gets up and details how the council was hoodwinked by current and past city management to pass “emergency” funding to repair a bridge that was in urgent need of repair. The bridge has still not been repaired. The funding is questionable if it is under or above or in the around or besides or inherent in the cap that no one seems to honor anyway. So when the city manager is asked to explain, he does the professional and ethical things and claims that the mess was started by the previous management. Then the public works director is asked about the matter, and although present during the previous management, he sets off on some story about how a few years ago he went looking for a grant and since he did not get one he then put in for another request.

If it was an emergency, don’t you repair the bridge right away? And the money?

This issue will too disappear as it was concluded that “staff” will get wit the citizen to explain to the citizen what really happened. The End.

Parking Wars
Don’t get this one. Seven restaurants out of 100 (the island has 100 restaurants?) want something different for the 180 hours a year that they get tourist trade. OK. So, what exactly does the planning and zoning board do if they can’t put forth a recommendation or act upon the issue? Why take the time of the entire city council?

Have the board decide, or if need be draft new rules for the city council to vote on.

This is the problem when governments cease to be what they were set up to be by Jefferson, Madison, Jay and as explained by Adam Smith and Milton Friedman – they become embroiled in petty details on petty issues to “level the playing field” of the mountain of petty rules and regulations. Namely too much government regulation backfires and draws more government regulations and now 7 are feuding with 100 and on and on at the taxpayers expense.

By the way, for those that want to forget, it was the very same restaurateur that a few years ago successfully swayed the city council to redesign and rebuild the median on Collier Boulevard – after it was already designed and built – to add a turn lane into his restaurant. Amazing.

Oddity if it were not Marco Island
City council passes something or other despite the astute councilor Recker noting that the two attachments referring to the something or other in the councilors’ packages were missing. STRP déjà vu.

Quote of the Night
After Regions Bank’s pathetic argument that they did not know about the problem, and its not their responsibility, and the city should go after the original owner, and that this thing was filed before that thing but not after some other thing that the planning board did or failed to do, the city council votes unanimously against the bank. As the bank’s lawyer storms out, councilor Forcht comments
and where do we send the bill to since no one takes responsibility?


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