To the editor:
I went to the Cape Coral City Council meeting Monday night to see if Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz would stand up, man up, and apologize to his fellow council members he had foolishly chastised at a council meeting and on FOX4. I was also interested to hear an apology to the citizens of this city for embarrassing each and every one of us. I should have known that would not happen.
What I would learn was that this was a more wide- reaching embarrassment than I thought. It turns out, as explained by Councilmember Lenny Nesta, that our delegation had to explain to the legislative representatives for Southwest Florida what prompted that kind of ignorant press conference rant. This is my paraphrase as Nesta was more polite. While Nesta was explaining the embarrassment caused by Leetz, he looked Leetz in the eye. Leetz's response was to smirk at times. There is an election coming so it's up to us if we choose to have this kind of person representing us, I say NOT. Another thing I noted was that Councilmember Derrick Donnell was late.
I also learned that Speed Politics is scheduled for April, all but one councilperson will attend. That one is Leetz. I'll be interested to see if he again schedules a town hall meeting on the same day and invites people to come to his event for some " Intelligent conversation"
I went to the Strategic Plan Review today, Wednesday. We are fortunate to have hired a city manager who looks at many solutions and all sides of the issue regarding our financial problems. This was one of the best meetings of this kind I've seen in years. He calls it his "Checkbook Approach" Instead of having citizens look strictly at the millage rate as what it costs to live in Cape Coral, it looks at total costs. For instance, you may have a city south of us with a lower millage rate, however, when you consider all costs, it's actually cheaper here. Many good solutions were put forward. There was a computerized chart on a large screen that could be modified as each proposal was explained. It was also modified to reflect and answer the many questions from those in attendance. It was outstanding.
In 2009 the millage rate was increased three points. This is after too many citizens opposed a fire safety fee. Then council member Tim Day asked Mark Mason how much the rate would have had to increase if the fire safety fee had been imposed, the answer was zero. The council knew this, knew it was a better option than millage increase, but ignored it due to citizens complaining and voted to raise the millage rate. Hopefully this time, with this plan, the council knows the right path and will implement it even if there is opposition. It will take courage but needs to happen.
Today's meeting was productive and informative. However, I did note that Councilperson Leetz, couldn't seem to ignore his need for a nicotine fix, this during what I considered to be an important discussion, he went outside to smoke.
Probably more aggravating was Councilperson Donnell who arrived two hours late. He then began asking questions that had already been asked and answered. This resulted in a rehash of the very technical aspects of the proposals and review of a graph that had been done numerous times before. Many of those in attendance verbalized displeasure with this, others walked out. I had hoped the mayor would have asked him to take it up later with staff instead of wasting the time of those who had arrived on time and had already received the information. As I noted earlier, Councilperson Donnell was also late to the council meeting on Monday. Two times in one week is not setting a very good example.