Those of you who know me know that I do not write letters to the paper except on rare occasion. There was a time before I was elected that I continually wrote letters to the editor. I am making an exception today because I would like to clarify some comments that were made in two council meetings regarding the open Mic incident. These comments were made on 07/18/12 & 07/23/12.
First of all I believe in true transparency in our government at all levels. It appears that there are council members who would like to have you believe that you had heard something other than what you did hear with your own ears. They would rather sweep this whole thing under the rug. First I would like to say that what I heard is not good for our residents. If council is voting on huge projects in 10's of millions of dollars and not getting all the information then we have a serious problem.
This happened in the past. Do you remember the $110 million dollar public safety building complex that was so necessary? We wound up building it for around $25 million (the name was changed to police department building). The emergency operations center was expanded for $1 or $2 million and everything needed was completed for around $27 million, a long way from $110 million. Do you remember the sick building that would have to be torn down? You know the same building that is now being "rehabbed" and populated? And do you remember Ordinance 55-08 the budget amendment? One week council was told that $134 million was going into reserves and the council voted based on that premise. The next week after the amendment was passed it turned out to be something else, over $55 million dollars went directly into current operating accounts in order to increase city spending. You can see it with your own eyes by playing the two links listed below:
Some council members would have you believe that myself and Council Member Leetz pulled off a stunt in order to stop the U. E. P with the open Mic incident. There are 6 members on council who want that project to move forward. Councilman Leetz and myself can count votes. No matter what we think or say, that project will go forward unless two other council members change their votes. What the council members and the city manager fail to explain is the resident who stepped forward and heard the same thing that I heard. The allegation that we fabricated anything is preposterous.
I consider this an attack on my integrity and feel that if anyone can question my ethics then I must question their motives. Aside from that, there were some very interesting comments made by one council member in particular, a retired detective. On Wednesday 07/18/2012 he stated that he listened it for about an hour and he did not hear anything inappropriate, it may have been later or earlier but the hour he listened he stated that," there was nothing there". Interestingly that same council member said on 07/23/2012 that he heard all of the statements made by 2 of the participants and part of the statements by another participant. He maintains he still heard nothing wrong. My question has to be, how did he know everything that was said by anyone when he didn't listen to the whole discussion? He contradicts himself and invalidates his own testimony.
He also asked, why was nothing done for two days? This was another attempt to give the impression that I sat on my hands, I did not, I didn't contact the local Comcast Office I decided to contact Comcast Corporate in Philadelphia thinking I would stand a better chance of retrieval. I do not believe there would be a recording per se but that it would be stored on a server. I still believe that to be the case and am still talking to Comcast Corporate in Philadelphia. I did not want to jump the gun and attempted to get verifiable substantiated information from Comcast.
This council member also stated he believed that the representative from the auditors office and the attorneys office, who do not work for the city manager, but who work for the council signed a form attesting to the city manager's explanation or made a statement that they agree with the city manager's document. No one I know of heard any such statement. I guess he had to just about fall off his chair when the city auditor spoke. He had the city manager's document just like the rest of us. It included the names and initials of the people who maintained the city manager's document is accurate. His comments were just another way to create a false perception.
The document was signed solely by employees who work under the city manager. It was not signed by the city attorney or anyone in the city attorney's office and was not signed by the city auditor or anyone from her office. This same council member said he was under the impression that someone from the city attorney's office and the city auditors office had signed the document or agreed with the document. This was more misinformation. The city auditor said she agreed with the document but stated clearly she did not hear all of the conversation which does not make any sense. That council member had the city manager's document and created another misrepresentation. This was another attempt to reinforce a false perception.
There was no slot for the Pledge of Allegiance on that agenda. This is common, there is no Pledge of Allegiance on the utility committee of the whole meetings. The mayor pro tem stated that we were in such a hurry that we did not even do the pledge. I would remind that council member that we don't do the pledge at the utility meetings. So his attempt to embarrass me at the meeting was laughable at best. In fact it was so absurd that I didn't bother to comment.
If one listened to what the city auditor stated at the meeting when she was asked to comment. She said that the day of the open Mic there were lots of conversations going on at the same time and that she was at the other end of the room and did not hear everything that was going on. This directly disputes the comments made by our former detective. In view of the city auditor's comments I have to wonder if the city manager heard everything that was spoken in various discussions and at the microphone. I can understand his position but I will not allow my character to be unjustly assassinated without commenting.
Mayor of the City of Cape Coral