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Discord for what purpose?

June 30, 2012
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

The recent musings provided by various writers regarding the Charter Review Commission (an ad hoc committee established by the Charter) and Finance Advisory Committee (a standing committee established by Council resolution) are unfortunately consistent with too many others appearing in the media over the last few months. The question I raise is whether these individuals truly are concerned about the issues they claim to be focused upon, or are they truly just trying to generate discord in the community. So, a quick review is in order.

With regards to the CRC, the argument that this council sunsetted the commission due to some nefarious reason(s) is unjustified. The commission, as are others similar to it (including the 2006-2007 CRC on which I served over a nine-month period), is ad hoc in nature and enabled by Charter provisions. Once the tasks required are completed, as occurred when this commission provided its recommendations to the last council regarding proposed Charter changes in 2011, it is normal to sunset the commission. The other part of the story that these writers are not conveying is that, per the Charter, any resident of the Cape can bring before the Council items for consideration relative to the Charter. And the Charter provides specifically for methods, in Section 10, to bring change to the document via referendum by the electorate without Council support. Nothing that has been done by this council impedes this group of individuals, or any other, from pursuing their agenda. For reasons known to them, this group has apparently determined that it desired to again pursue the issue of single member districts even after it failed to garner the required support during its normal meeting period. The fact is that single member districts were discussed by this CRC and not placed on the last ballot for consideration by the voters by the last council. This same issue was also vetted by the previous CRC in 2006-2007 and rejected as an item for proposed change by that body for various reasons particular to the Cape. Given all of this, it would appear that certain members aren't truly concerned about the single member district issue as a focus of their complaints, per the recent letters. It does appear that it is now to generate some type of discord within the community in a rather disingenuous manner, however.

With regards to the recent FAC discussions, the issue many of these same letter writers claim to be focused upon is generally consistent with similar committee "killing" claims for those same nefarious reasons regarding the reestablishment of the Budget Review Committee focus, wrapped in the long discussed area of pension liability issues. The pension issue is one which has also been the focus of multiple BRC/FAC members since at least 2007, and specific recommendations were made to the previous councils and not acted upon, including the last council. Most relevant is the fact that the last council included many of the same writers' "friends," who took no action relative to any of the recommendations associated with the writers' discussions about their pension concerns. As a member of the BRC/FAC from 2006-2010, I know this to be true, as well. So, given this, I can only provide that it appears that these same writers aren't truly concerned about the pension issues as a focus of their complaints, but, again, it does appear that their comments are intended to generate the same type of discord within the community as is being attempted relative to the CRC.

Finally, I truly hope that those consistently denigrating the City and others in the community who don't share their perspectives will find ways to better channel their enthusiasm for helping the City to move forward. The last council did what they thought was right for the City, and that direction didn't work for many reasons. This new council and City manager need time to work through the many issues that have existed and/or developed for so many years due to the many unique characteristics of our City, its formation and formulation, and its history. Discord is acceptable for decisions deemed inappropriate, and blind acceptance of decisions is not. Just pick the right issues and decisions to contest, and bring solutions when you do. The issues raised about sunsetting the CRC and reorganizing the FAC just don't meet these conditions. It is time to move on to the important issues for the future of our City.

Steve Riggs

Cape Coral

 
 
 

 

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