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Listen to the people

April 26, 2013

To the editor: After listening to family, friends, neighbors and citizens input at council meetings....

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May-01-13 9:34 AM

Eileyn...Case in point. Never assume what someone tells you. Go directly to the Clerk's office. They have to comply with your request, or they had better have a real good explanation why they cannot produce it. Try it.

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May-01-13 7:12 AM

Lolita, I hope you are more successful. Kirsten asked for it, and was told it was proprietary and to come to a public town hall meeting for the information. That was not from the Clerk's office though, but from someone who had shared with her in a previous email that if she wanted more information or had questions to ask her.

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Apr-30-13 9:43 PM

Just put in a records request at theClerk's office. That's all it takes. If you don't get it going that route, then go straight to the CM.

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Apr-29-13 8:56 PM

CapeCoralCuestions, I normally agree with you. However, the information has NOT been provided at any of the meetings. The CONCLUSIONS have been provided but never has the data and assumptions about HOW they arrived at those conclusions been provided. The conclusions are only as good as the data used to achieve those conclusions. Personally, I want to see that data; it is not that I don't trust but I do want to verify. I want to see the numbers telling me HOW they arrived at the conclusion that 749 employees need to be laid off as of Oct 1 without the PST. The financial data that I am looking at doesn't indicate such a dire financial situation. Is it too much to ask of our leadership to share the financial data they are using to reach such an extreme conclusion?

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Apr-29-13 3:42 PM

We have a city manager and six council person who are liars. They are in the pocket of the unions and city workers. This money will go from your pocket to a city workers. This council is bought and paid for by the unions. I understand the concept that you dance with the one who brung you, unfortuantely this Slick Six do a table dance. A more disgusting group I have never seen. I only hope they are out of office before they can see one dime spent on their buddies. We got rid of Burch and we got rid of Bertolini. These amateurs should be east.

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Apr-28-13 10:32 PM

Hey lightswitch we did stop the twerps on council. We sent them packing, now we are fixing the mess. In other posts I stated I had mixed emotions. You wanna know why? Here is the reality... It is never gonna go away.... Never. If you think future council is going to vote to do away with a tax that could shut down senior centers and other prominent facilities you are as foolish as the RAGS we just sent packing. It ain't gonna happen.

We have a serious mess to fix. We have a choice either pay now to fix or continue to blame the Mayor Feichthaler and Terry Stewart for all of our woes an ignore it.

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Apr-28-13 9:17 PM

@lightswitch: In your haste to criticize and demean you missed the operative word "elected." You did use the words "Council people" did you not? Some residents, like you, want elected Officials to be as savy as Steve Forbes, so they attract those candidates by offering 16 thousand dollars to "lure" only the best and the brightest. What we get are just regular residents who run for office to do a "good" job at best, some, not so much. It is what it is!

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Apr-28-13 8:13 PM

and my comment about "it doesn't matter how we got here" Of COURSE It does, but sitting around doing the blame game isn't going to get us anywhere but NOwhere fast.

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Apr-28-13 8:11 PM

Cape Coral Cuestions..I'm biased alright, I'm biased against a lot of things. But I don't profess to have all the answers, I am trying to understand things. But I am for a PST, so what? I think that is the fairest and most equitable way to get there. Tell me why it is not. Can you do that, or are you just someone who hides behind a moniker throwing insults? (yawn)

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Apr-28-13 7:10 PM

This tax rewards large vacant land owners, seasonal residents, real estate investor who bought up 100 foreclosed homes at a time, and the rich who have energy saving solar etc.

It penalizes the single parent, Disabled Veteran, widow(er) on social security, under employed, familes and business in our City! Shame on Council! Join the Recall Movement of the Council that vote for this tax!

City needs a one time assessment for each item they over spent, we need to see what we are paying for!

Shame on the City Manager for hiring a snake oil salesman from out of town "Burton" to educate us! That is your job!

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Apr-28-13 1:03 PM

Now stop the BS go over to the county and ask Ken Wilkenson the Property Appraise what his best estimate is on prperty value and begin a*****budget.

It may be incorrect but it is not going to be as incorrect as this city council and city manager are RIGHT NOW.

This I will tell you and the city you are going to have to cut to bring in a BALANCED BUDGET.

State goes first they say they had a banner year. If the Cape did not it is not due to lack of service! It is due to bad marketing and the knowledge it is not a good value!

I challenge the council/city manager or anyone else to make me wrong!

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Apr-28-13 12:57 PM

Why it was Gary King! It was also Gary King who was fired for NO CAUSE.

So far I see the county sheriff NOT being able to pass out a 5% bonus because it is not fiscally responsible to do it. So what is proposed to our council for the city police a 5% bonus, offset by a number that could change next year of $73 million over 25 years? With the statement by our city manager the biggest savings will come at the end? Szerlag will be long gone from Cape Coral when it even may make a difference.

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Apr-28-13 12:47 PM

Packer if you do not stop the twerps on the council to justify the wrongs they more than helped develop 2 years, 5, years, 10 years nothing will have CHANGED!

The change was started in a planned orderly way 4 years ago. The city had no money in its treasury, it had directors giving lip service as they had (some over 12 years) for so long.

The Slick 6 fought the changes which brought good accounting practices that were no existent 4 years ago. The city's credit bond rating went back to A from where it had dropped. Money it was collecting was put into actively managed investments. The list goes on. But should it have been spending on capital improvements? Yes. Could it? No. Why because a city manager not Gary King and a pre RAg council let a water plant and other costs like THE DEBT SERVICE on so many other things not allow it to add to the capital improvements that were already being done. Who gave McGrail's district 6, $6.5 million in road repairs before he ran that city man

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Apr-28-13 12:34 PM

Nanna II I do not see that the city said no to everything. Rather it said yes to most everything.

It spent and overspent revenues time and time again. It spent money on a whim. Enen contractors who came to city council meeting stated "The city owns better equipment than they do". How did we get the equipment? We bought it even when it was not necessary. It purchased a dredge from a source that had no title to it as an example. The legal fees and time wasted on this were not necessary. Ah yes all things of the past. Well add up all the wasted money and time and you have a financial train wreck. Why you even have a councilperson responsible for much of the fiscal folly. Mrs. Bertolini has the audacity to come to council and give an analogy about her buying shoes she does not need. Very telling how she runs her private affairs as she did the PEOPLE'S money. Reckless! She didn't even have the brains to believe that the Swim Center Deal was a fraud. She needed a pool for her gr

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Apr-28-13 12:17 PM

Hey 1Sandy the city manager John Szerlag was not here 2 weeks when he assessed the directors/managers. He stated and it is documented on all of the media as to the problems he assessed. Trouble planning and scheduling. He is not paid $16,000 a year and neither is any of the directors/managers/staff. How does Steve Forbes from Forbes Magazine fit into the equation? The only thing I can figure he knows how to manage/schedule and follow up to make sure his managers and staff follow through. If you mean the city should pay its city council as much as Steve Forbes makes I find that and (most of) your posts suspect at best.

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Apr-28-13 10:11 AM

I have mixed emotions about the tax. I see some good that could result from it and some bad. The reality is we can't ignore problems any longer. I do know the ghosts of yesterday did not exist.

All I ask either way is this. Can we please never live through the infamous lets put our buddies on the Dias, in the office, and get together and stroke the trunk monkey on the weekends again. It is embarrassing for a community to live through the pursuit of the ghost of yesterday. Of course, much like the weapons of mass destruction they were not there.

Whether it goes through or not we need fresh and new ideas on the Dias. I once heard a very wise Woman stand at the podium and say... It is time to put your big boy pants on. No one listened.

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Apr-27-13 5:25 PM

LynnRosko, your crew had their chance, couldn't deliver, and failed miserably. They spent all of their tenure looking for ghosts that weren't there. All the while lining the pockets of their inner circle with tax payer money. Every one of you destroyed the credibility you may have once had. The old addage is true, "absolute power, corrupts absolutely".

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Apr-27-13 2:48 PM

This Ordinance is poorly written and poorly conceived! No where is an exemption given for our disabled veterans of war. As it stands right now if they are disabled veterans they do not pay property taxes because of their war related injuries. Conversely they would be required to pay the PST! If they cannot get it from your right hand they reach for your left hand! No where in the Ordinance do I see that the first 500 KWH are not counted (exmpt) as was stated at the meeting. There was no research into the increases in property values that ultimately will bring in tens of millions in additional revenue to the City. What about families that use more electricity because of kids in the home and are just getting by? What about people that own older homes without all the energy savings features of a newer building? What about all of our residents on fixed incomes that just don't have another dollar to spare? This Ordinance should be tabled until more research is done!

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Apr-27-13 10:07 AM

Eilyn: it DOES matter how we got here. Ignoring history condemns us to repeat it. “Back up your numbers Do it before 4/29”? There have been at least 5 public meetings about this report and its affects and recommendations and you were at NONE OF THEM? After all the meetings and sessions displaying, explaining, and talking about the Burton Report, you—who run a political FB page—say you don’t know what’s IN IT? You are a fraud! You don’t know what the*****is going on in this City and pretend to be a critical activist to the politics of it! “Get Out and Vote—Take Back the Cape” but don’t bother to educate yourself, just do as I hint!” (Eilyn can’t risk being labeled biased) Beyond words right now . . . . (sadly shaking head)

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Apr-27-13 9:56 AM

James, you fail to understand what diversification means. This plan is a three part plan with the PST only one part. The fire assessment is the second, which will cover all properties. And the third is an adjustment to the millage, which helps all taxpayers. Future revenue streams will then be more stable and better positioned to withstand volatility in the housing market.

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Apr-27-13 8:41 AM

@lightswitch: I really was amused at your statement, "I hear council people talk "we are not here to put the residents out of business? I see them to be empty wooden heads." So you expect Steve Forbes for 16 thousand dollars a year? Bawhahahahaha! These officals are regular residents, who got elected by regular residents and are trying to solve complex problems for all. For 16 thousand dollars a year. Bawhahahahahaha! Now that's freaking funny. Ladies & gentlemen, you get what you pay for.

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Apr-27-13 6:30 AM

At this point it doesn't matter HOW we got here. Bad leaderships and Bad Politicians. That's a known constant. What we need is a plan to get us out of this, and prevent future issues like we are facing now. I want to see the Burton Report, and I want to see the true scenario, "not just the 1/3 of the employees will be gone in 10/2014, take my word for it". Proof is in the numbers, so come on guys, back up your numbers, and do it before 4/29/2013.

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Apr-27-13 12:54 AM

What is being done hear is just not working or making anything better. What makes anuone think more money extracted from households is the answer?

One more thing I listened watched the information presented by the consulting firm and was amazed. No one on the entire city council questioned the comparison of Cape Coral to The City od Ft. Myers (not the unincorporated Lee County) and the City of Northport. Then compare us to Ft. Lauderdale? Like comparing LaBelle to Tampa. Waste of money and a waste of time. The problem is the city lacks personnel that can analyze itself and come up with a workable plan it can genuinely afford. I hear council people talk "we are not here to put the residents out of business? I see them to be empty wooden heads. So if you can not live (and you haven't) within a budget with current dollars and about 20,000 less people than the city's high population of 172,000. Plan for 25% of the county's 4% growth that is 1% for Cape Coral!

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Apr-27-13 12:37 AM

It all boils down to this city ignored and is still ignoring the reason the Homestead Exemption was put in place, to control spending.

In another blog today it is pointed out population growth for the entire Lee County will be at 4% a year. Logic will tell one that it is not all coming from Cape Coral. Based on the percentage of the county we may reach 1% of that total growth per year. If the utility tax and the fire district tax is put through I feel confident this city will not see that 1%. Another blog if it is believed to be valid states a person having bought here and living in that home 1 year wants to sell it because over the over taxation this city is planning. Stop blaming 4 years of the RAG regime because it was the sweetheart deals, the ideas not followed up on, the poor financing, accounting, and give a ways to developers, builders, (GAC?AVATAR) that has put the city where it is today. It has been going on for 40 years and I have seen it up c;lose and personal for 32

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Apr-26-13 9:04 PM

Let us all remember that the group of "friends" and "neighbors" being referred to in this LTE are the very same people whose cronies, (the fab 5), put us into this mess to begin with. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

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