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

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Final Article

This, the 401st original article written since this blog started over 3 years ago, is the last article.

The Marco Island blog will go silent.

The blog will stay on-line for a while, as there are two federal agencies with pending criminal investigations for current and former city employees, city councilors and city operatives (the syndicate). Federal FOIA requests are pending. There is near zero expectation that any documents will be released to satisfy this blog's now almost one year old FOIA request. If by some miracle some documents are released, they will be posted here.

Otherwise, this is the last posting.

7 Comments:

  • Mario, thanks for publishing the blog. It's always a good thing to have someone speak "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but".

    Good luck in all your efforts as you work for the betterment of our community.

    By Anonymous KarenGlaub, at Monday, May 25, 2009 9:13:00 AM  

  • I am sad to see your blog end.
    I have appreciated the information
    and your dedication. I wish everyone
    would open their eyes to what is happening to our community and Nation.

    Thank you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, May 25, 2009 11:33:00 AM  

  • Mario,

    I am very saddened that you are going to end your blog. There has been a wealth of information provided by you and, I personally will miss it. I sincerely hope that you are not simply throwing in the towel although it would be understandable. A good fight is fought to the end. Hopefully this is not the end for our community or our nation as we knew it. Again, thank you very much for your great contributions over the years.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, May 25, 2009 12:13:00 PM  

  • Why?!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, May 25, 2009 3:29:00 PM  

  • What a real shame. Very Sorry;

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, May 25, 2009 3:40:00 PM  

  • Dr. Mario

    Thank you for your heroic effort in trying to alert this complacent community to the dangers of our government. It seems that your warning has fallen on deaf ears. And so we have the inept leaders that we deserve. We will miss your voice at this site but you can be sure that you will be making some people happy, and that is the "syndicate". God speed in all you decide to do. Humphrey

    By Anonymous Humphrey, at Monday, May 25, 2009 4:58:00 PM  

  • Good timing. Good bye!

    By Blogger Randy, at Monday, June 08, 2009 11:48:00 PM  

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Regulate This and That

Why don’t we just regulate everything?

Now on the hell train to socialism, the populace is sitting in one of three cars: the car with the people that want socialism; the car with the people, corporations and special interests (a la the local syndicate) that suck at the government’s teat and lobby for protecting their particular scheme (or scam in the case of the local syndicate); and the car with the people that think the government can solve everything.

Left aghast at the station are those of us that have witnessed first hand what socialism accomplishes. We waive goodbye and shake our heads.

On a miniscule insignificant spec of nothing where a true representative form of government could flourish we are subjected to an all-volunteer hell train. At the root of what used to be a democracy is now the decay from partial representation, compromised "staff," the syndicate in charge, and the populace running around seemingly surrendering to the misbegotten hope that government will help them.

The latest farcical debate centers on rentals. The government regulates but doesn't enforce rental properties because the syndicate has interests in the rental business. So the city council fuels the hell train and appoints a rental committee infested with a majority representing a vested,
compromised special interest faction of the local syndicate - the real estate lobby. The people that want to live in a morgue complain to the government for relief. The people that complain about the people complaining express their anger that people are complaining, so they complain to the government that ignores complaints.

By the way, has the "staff" - the local version of Nancy Pelosi - come up with yet another ruse about who/what/where/when cisterns are regulated - the local version of the Speakerette’s lie about what she was told by the CIA?


Missing in all of this noise is the fact that the problem lies in the government, while the solution lies in We The People. Yet there are those that believe some form of government regulation in all but some affairs is required lest anarchy ensue.


And herein lays the problem. The slow, pervasive creep of control. First, the government decides what color you can paint your house. Then the types of foliage you can plant. Then, you can't use a cistern because everybody else in the state is using it. Then your child can't use your pool in the afternoon because the moribund neighbors don't like the sound of children, or find music too loud a few evenings a week - which begs the question since they are moribund, aren't they already deaf? Then we need an exiled audio engineer to tell us at what decibels are the child's playful sound or the music offensive so that a noise ordinance can be enacted with an exclusion exempting certain restaurateurs in such a way that 7 out of the 100 restaurateurs will claim discrimination for they are not in a strip mall that has the offending cacophony hence the need to "level the playing field"
whatever that means though all restaurants in a particular mall are also subjected to fire, zoning, city, state and federal regulations which some therein chose to ignore for they are after all related to the former city manager who was and perhaps still is the syndicate's poster child for having treated us to asbestos dumps, pulverized asbestos not a mile from two schools, millions of gallons of toxic effluent dumped in allegedly protected waterways and entire neighborhoods gassed with lethal levels of a known toxin despite state and federal regulations that purportedly punish such things though nothing happened for after all those are just regulations in a maze of regulations regulated by those regulators that you have chosen to allow to create regulations for their own protection.

Not sure, but is this chaos odd only to those of us that lost a world to universal regulations?


For those still not seeing the effect of how seemingly benign government regulation in our lives is a mortal threat, read Capitalism and Freedom. Therein the role of government is clearly delineated, as espoused by the Framers, the Founding Fathers and those eschewing socialism for a preservation of ... capitalism and freedom.

Since most of the populace is now on the hell train, the train will act erratically, the net effect of which is some more regulation that will only confuse matters, serve the syndicate and get more regulations on the books so as to then compete with the 13,458 page IRS tax code that the local polizia will selectively enforce. Wonderful.

Not sure, again, but what is the maximum number of neighbors does any one house have that can produce offending disturbances? One? Two? Maybe three? So exactly how difficult is it to personally address the problem without getting the government to create yet another regulation that will either 1)be ignored by the renters 2)be ignored by the government itself 3)be ignored by the landlords 4)be ignored by all three?

Does anyone else find it odd that the majority of the populace of this island derides President Obama's actions of empowering the federal government to control everything, but yet are the very same people that want local government to control everything locally? What leads them to believe that a small local bureaucracy is less evil than a big national bureaucracy? Analogously, people decry high taxes and the cost of government but are ignorant in understanding that every single law, regulation, rule, dictum and code costs us, the taxpayers, money to implement, to manage, to account for – and in the case of Marco Island, to selectively enforce.

Besides, do you think more regulations are going to solve any problem? How about if we just ban We The People altogether and have nothing but an Orwellian/Marxist/totalitarian system where everything is the government and everyone belongs to a government that tells us exactly what to do at all times?

The more power you vest in government, the less choices you have. The more you expect the government to solve problems and resolve petty disputes, the more you will be disappointed. The more regulations you request, the more the government can justify their costly labyrinthine bureaucracy. The more you seek solutions from government, the less freedom you have.

What is the solution? Your city government has failed to enforce regulations - good - sue it (outside of Collier County if you want to have a chance at a fair hearing). Get government out of the debate, stop relying on government to solve all of your problems, take matters into your own hands, and convince yourself that for there to be a free people to live in a true democracy, there needs to be less regulation.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

What/Who Really Killed the Birds on Marco Island?

From an Internal Interim Report:
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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that currently approved uses of fenthion, an organophosphate pesticide, pose unreasonable risks to human health and the environment. EPA said it would seek public comment of what measures should be taken to lessen risks posed by the pesticide, which is primarily used in Florida to combat mosquitoes. Fenthion is very highly toxic to birds and highly toxic to marine invertebrates. Its use has been implicated in several bird kill incidents, including recent bird kills on Marco Island, Florida, which are currently under investigation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

"There is reason for the EPA to be concerned about fenthion," said Carey Pope, a toxicologist who worked for the Defense Department. "It tends to hang in longer than other pesticides." Linda Farley from the American Bird Conservancy states that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife report documents the deaths of at least 16 species of birds caused by fenthion, including the Piping Plover.

Fenthion can also cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans; that is, it can overstimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, and at high exposures respiratory paralysis and death. EPA toxicologist William Boyes is reviewing a Japanese study that found a high rate of myopia (nearsightedness) in people exposed to fenthion. Another study, by fenthion manufacturer Bayer Corporation, indicates that rats that were given high doses of fenthion over a period of two years had eye problems as well. "A conservative approach is what is toxic to animals is hurtful to humans," Boyes said.

Bayer Corporation of Kansas City, Mo., maintains the pesticide is safe when used in accordance with label instructions. Bayer has said the pesticide does not pose a threat to birds or other wildlife when it is used properly. Organophosphates made by Bayer include azinphos-methyl, fenamiphos, isofenphos, tribufos and fenthion.

EPA said its decision is "interim" because the agency still must assess the cumulative risks of multiple organophosphate pesticides. After that assessment - which could be completed this year - additional risk mitigation measures may be required on organophosphates that share a common mechanism of toxicity, EPA said.

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

Note: Last year this author determined that the areal bombardment of Marco Island by Collier's mosquito control was dangerous. A call was placed to Collier County, and after a long and arduous technical debate (akin to that heard in the movie Andromeda Strain) I threw up my hands and agreed to simply be notified 24 hours in advance of any mosquito areal spraying - those days I stayed inside. Unfortunately for the birds, they were not notified ... By the way, the effect of these chemicals on the elderly is exacerbated.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Call for Openness

The latest incident confirming that there are too many committees and not enough direct action by the city council stems from the Audit Committee seeming refusal to conduct 100% of their actions in the “Sunshine”.

Every act undertaken directly or indirectly by any aspect of an elected local governing body must be conducted in the open. Namely, open to the public, proper notices, records kept, notes taken, and all material made readily available to anyone.

There must be no exception.

The fact that certain former and current elements of the City of Marco Island conducted city business in secret is no excuse to propagate such malfeasance into misfeasance.

Those on the audit committee, who made the decision to allow silo meetings with the consultant or anyone for that matter, opened themselves and the integrity of the committee to attacks by the syndicate, and instigated questions about their motives. A huge mistake.

For as sure as there are death and taxes, the syndicate and their minions jumped at the opportunity to denigrate and besmirch and to basically do what they always do – slur those they don’t agree with. As we saw at the recent council meeting and in comments to the local race tip sheets, we have already been entreated to the defamation from the syndicate’s puppet sycophants.

The syndicate has a lot to lose if the forensic audit proves what many have long suspected. Hence the audit committee should have had the common sense and foresight to be extra careful, extra diligent and to ensure transparency throughout every aspect of the process.

For the record, the audit committee was formed it was offered at no charge the opportunity to have their own web site for posting all documents, meeting notes, videos, and for even soliciting public opinion/input. The committee declined.

With so much as stake, it is urged that the independent city councilors become involved so as to prevent yet another committee from going up in smoke.

1 Comments:

  • Mario,

    I just read your latest blog re open government with which I totally agree---that is why I hold no grudge against those who initiated a state investigation into my lost emails (I still have to smile when I recall one bloggers comment of disappointment that the released files showed no particular relationship with anyone who was supposedly pulling my strings and, for the most part, mostly included emails related to transacting business with paying credit cards, etc. on-line. Nonetheless, I was tainted by the lawsuit).



    I agree with the audit committee’s request to hold off releasing information until the audit is complete, the reason for which is to avoid undue and possibly severe consequences to city employees (former and present) who may ultimately be found completely innocent of wrong-doing.

    Chuck Kiester

    By Anonymous Chuck Kiester, at Sunday, May 10, 2009 1:35:00 PM  

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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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Friday, May 01, 2009

Pretext for Bad Government & Easy Solution

Recent musings by certain elected officials would lead the uninformed to believe that if it were not for the coached comments from the "staff", committees, sub-committees and then sub-sub-committees – namely hired "consultants" – the governing body of the City could not function. It appears that in order to address the unwarranted municipalization tomfoolery, the shenanigans at Marco Walk, the sound or noise (depending on one's perspective) at the Esplanade, feuding restaurateurs, and on and on, delegating and relegating governing responsibility is the standard practice.

The logical next step to this abdication of governing responsibility by the City Council will be that the City is going to start formally naming Czars with their own committee. Consider:

  • Electric Municipalization Czar (already in place)
  • Jolley Bridge Czar (already in place)
  • STRP Czar (already in place)
  • Budget Czar
  • Noise/Sound Czar
  • Parking- Seat-to-Square Foot Czar
  • Forensic Audit Czar (already in place)
  • Parks & Recreation Czar (already in place)
  • Dog Park Czar (already in place)
  • Waterway Czar
  • Rental Property Czar
  • Hoteliers Czar
  • Restaurateur Czar
  • Veterans Park Development Czar
  • Tract K Czar
  • Disparage the Non-Syndicate People Czar (basically formalizing what already exists)
  • Cistern Czar
  • Environmental Crimes Restitution Czar (we can only be so lucky)
  • Marco Island High School Czar (unlikely, but we can only hope)

Here is a novel idea for the good folks that sought to be city councilors: stop relegating responsibility and take on these Czar-like roles yourselves! It's not like being a councilor for the City of Marco Island is akin to being the president of the United States.

This serial relegation of responsibility is nothing but bad government.

Bad government makes it easier to affix blame on others or to some inanimate thing such as a law as a means of justifying the unjustifiable, the incomprehensible or the outright illegal. American history is replete with the cowardly, those that are led by special interests, those that hide behind committees or immoral laws – the results of which were catastrophic.

However, American history is blessed with leaders that didn't blame laws for the inequities of the times, nor did they seek sub committees and Czars, but simply acted on moral convictions, virtues and ethics. These tenets are what drove the Founders and Framers of the Constitution to explicitly ensure inalienable rights as guaranteed by natural law. Namely, they sought and achieved the necessary improvements in government themselves by simply doing what was right on behalf of all the citizens.

Here on Marco Island it should be no different. The basis for many of the endemic problems on the island is predicated on abdication of responsibility to the vacuum that is invariably filled by the syndicate – to the disdain and chagrin of the majority – ergo the continual friction and impasses. Those that want to keep the citizenry in the dark love this renunciation approach to government for they will always have some queer interpretation laws, hide behind lawyers, rely on the biased "staff" and have greater opportunity to promulgate their special interests.

But with leaders of integrity, the solution to quickly resolve these seeming systemic issues is quite simple.

First, any problem, issue, or decision must and should be debated in the open. Backroom deals and private negotiations, a la the Tract K commercializing debacle, must be explicitly forbidden by city ordinance, and when violated, a stiff penalty must be levied.

Secondly, severely curtail the propagation of committees and sub-committees and "consultants". Explicitly forbid initiatives by the syndicate that bind the city – as in the solar panel scam on a public plot clearly deeded for a school site. City councilors should take direct control and direct charge – come on people, we are not NASA, so this is not rocket science. We don't need to pay $100,000 for a certified air analyzing team to detect lethal levels of gas when people by the hundreds are seeking medical attention.

Thirdly, city councilors must be personally familiar with the facts and never ever rely solely on "staff". Independent research is critical. The federal government has the independent, investigative General Accountability Office (GAO) – we can have the same here: to wit, there are scores of high school seniors and college students that would love to intern as researchers for sitting city councilors. Here is a novel suggestion: the City could forgo the wasting of $20,000 on some consultant to promulgate the electric municipalization white elephant, and instead use that money as an endowment to fund micro scholarships for high school seniors and college students that intern for sitting city councilors.

We the people are afforded on a daily basis the opportunity to seek out those councilors that will openly discuss the issues thereby encouraging citizen input. This process restores integrity to our democratically elected body.

However, practical considerations seem to make the exercising of our daily democratic obligation impractical, and that is why town hall chats with a city councilor is unfortunately infrequent albeit most welcomed. But so as to obviate the impractical nature of physical gatherings, that is why God invented the blog.

Hence, a simple call: the few independent councilors that have repeatedly proven to represent all of the residents and not just the special interest group should move to the 21st century and put forth their own blog. There, these councilors can exercise good, open and continual democratic leadership by posting their position and facilitating the input and exchange of ideas from the constituency. (The use of the newspapers' blog for this purpose is woefully inappropriate, and email blasts are woefully ineffectual).

With a constant virtual town hall, the objective councilors will find that the need for the serial committees vanishes, a layer of abstraction from the truth is removed, the influence of the special interest group is eliminated, and they can actually do what they are supposed to do – directly represent We The People.

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