The County has requested a meeting between the two Commissioners and the two members of our City Council that were designated to work together on the issue of the Ceitus Boat Lift. The suggested meeting dates are at the end of September.
I don't believe we should meet with the County on this issue. The agreement between the city council and the Lee County Commission was to resolve their concerns about the scientific study. So far to date there has been no exchange of information between Lee County and The City of Cape Coral. Our staff attempted to find out what the county needed, since the county stated at the meeting, that the data presented was incomplete and that the model was faulty. Our staff contacted Lee County staff in order to find out what methodology they wanted to use in order to have these questions answered to everyone's satisfaction. Once this was accomplished then we were to meet within 30 days of the completion of gathering the necessary data and make any adjustment to the model to everyone's satisfaction.
Due to a lack of cooperation of Lee County there has been no headway. There has been no collaborative effort to resolve the model or data question. Therefore I believe that there is a breach of good faith and a disregard for the vote that was taken at the last joint meeting (between council and the county commission) on May 15, 2012. I personally feel that the county is putting a gun to our heads especially after listening to the commission discussion at the July 31, 2012 meeting related to the Ceitus Boat Lift. I have to say it is quite astonishing that the commission has been fighting this in excess of two years without any science to back up their argument. This was actually admitted by one of the commission members in a public meeting on July 31. It also seems they want their own study and only want that study to cover one time frame which it appears would be more beneficial to their case. This is an insult to our intelligence and indicates a lack of integrity by The Lee County Commission. In fact without being a scientist I would suspect that any study would have to be taken all year around in order to reach a sound and solid conclusion. Instead they appear to be "stacking the deck." They must really believe that we are stupid and will put up with this type of activity.
It is quite apparent that they are under pressure from activist groups and only caving in to groups in order to get their support in the election. I believe it is imperative that for every vote they win from this group must be offset by 10 votes from the residents of Cape Coral. This should send a very strong message to our commissioners. We are the sleeping giant and it is about time for us to wake up and take our rightful place in Lee County.
I believe our position must be formulated at a council meeting before we even consider setting any date for a meeting with the county. I believe there has been a breach of good faith and the agreement has been violated. I feel that someone who comes into our chambers and is not truthful and open should not be taken seriously and if they break an agreement then they cannot be trusted.
The fact that the county allocated $500,000 to gather data and for expert witnesses in order to sue Cape Coral is very troubling to me. It appears that at least $300,000 of the $500,000 was for litigation. I believe this is a serious breach of good will, and anyone agreeing to this in light of our so called agreement cannot be trusted to do the right thing. My vote on what must be done will be driven by the science not by emotion. If the science says put a barrier in I will support putting it in. If the science says don't put a barrier in then that is what I will be supporting. From what I have seen the commission has already made up their minds without any science to back up their misguided opinion. To put the cherry on the icing on the cake, the county is using our own resources to use against Cape Coral. I cannot support any further discussion with anyone that I don't feel can be trusted.
The bottom line is we need to get out the vote and put people in commission seats that can be trusted to do the right thing and make decisions based on facts not just to placate someone. Keep in mind that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection rejected our request for a permit to replace the barrier. I believe that the only thing we were obligated to do under the NSEMA agreement was to request the permit. The rejection by FDEP was the game stopper and I believe requesting the permit is the end of our obligation under the NSEMA agreement. When I ran for office, I ran with the mantra, "Had Enough Yet ?" I can say without reservation, that I have had enough of this bunch.
John J. Sullivan
Mayor of the City of Cape Coral