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Recommendations recap, Election 2016

November 4, 2016
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It's down to the wire for this year's General Election.

Early voting wraps up today and Saturday at 10 locations throughout Lee County, including three here in the Cape. Voters may pick the most convenient site and cast a ballot between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m either day.

For those waiting until election day to vote, precinct locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Over the past few weeks, The Breeze has offered some recommendations for the Nov. 8 ballot. We endorsed in three non-partisan races, weighed in on a non-binding local referendum that wraps up the 2016 ballot, and offered our opinion on the four proposed constitutional amendments.

Our full endorsements and recommendations may be found here online under opinion, editorials.

For your convenience, we are also offering the following recaps:

* General Election Recommendations:

The Breeze targeted three non-partisan races - Lee County Supervisor of Elections and the at-large, everyone-votes Lee County School Board seats 6 & 7 - for endorsement this year. Those races, and our recommendations are:

Supervisor of Elections: Vote Tommy Doyle

A promise of change is all well and good but a candidate who challenges an incumbent must demonstrate something more: The ability to not only do the job but the potential to do it better.

We believe Tommy Doyle, candidate for Lee County Supervisor of Elections, has that potential.

We endorse Tommy Doyle for Supervisor of Elections. He has done his homework, he is willing to listen to the needs of the community, and he is ready to go to work.

Also running: Sharon L. Harrington, incumbent

School Board Member District 6: Vote Jane Kuckel

This is a critical time for public education in Lee County. Leadership - proven leadership - is needed at the top.

For the new at-large District 6 seat, we believe the candidate who has best demonstrated that ability is Jane Kuckel, who served 12 years before opting not to run four years ago.

Saying she is proud to have earned a reputation as a "voice of reason" on the board, Ms. Kuckel stresses what she says is her proven ability as a team builder and mediator.

These two things, she believes, will help the district through its transition from a five-member, all-elected-at-large board to one that has seven members, five to now be elected by district, with only two elected by voters countywide.

We agree.

We endorse Jane Kuckel, for school board member, District 6.

Also running: Don H. Armstrong

School Board Member District 7: Vote Cathleen Morgan

Cathleen Morgan has the experience garnered in her four-year term in the District 3 seat, now districted in the voter-mandated restructuring.

She has focused her current platform on achievement - quality governance, fiscal responsibility, innovative classroom methods and effective teaching and learning techniques that lead to at-grade-level accomplishment on the part of students. She recognizes that Lee County cannot reach its long-stated goal of becoming a world class school district without providing students with a strong educational foundation and preparing them well for the challenges ahead.

It is for these reasons we endorse Cathleen Morgan for school board member, District 7.

Also running: Chris Quackenbush

* Local initiative:

Conservation 20/20 Non-binding Referendum:?Vote YES

Originally approved by voters in a similar, non-binding initiative in 1996, implementation of the Conservation 20/20 program two decades ago has resulted in the purchase of nearly 25,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land. The 124 parcels purchased from willing sellers constitute 45 preserves countywide, including multiple preserve areas in Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Pine Island, Sanibel and Captiva, Fort Myers Beach, and outside Lehigh Acres.

Simply put, Conservation 20/20 is a stellar success story.

It is for that reason that the ballot initiative has received not only the support of all the expected pro-environmental organizations but the support of every city and town government throughout Lee County.

Best, yet, as it is an existing program, continuation of the initiative comes at no additional cost to the taxpayers.

Make sure you don't accidentally miss this one: It's the last item on the ballot appearing after the races and below the state constitutional amendments.

We urge a resounding "YES" vote on the Conservation 20/20 Non-Binding Referendum.

Our environment - and our children and grandchildren who will enjoy its preservation in the future - deserve no less.

* State Constitutional Amendments; 60 percent approval required for passage

No. 1 Constitutional Amendment, Rights of electricity consumers regarding solar energy choice: Vote NO

If there ever was a descriptive misnomer, the so-called "Rights of electricity consumers regarding solar energy choice" amendment title and ballot summary wins the prize.

Proffered by some of the state's largest utility providers in response to a consumer-driven petition drive that failed to make it to the ballot, Amendment No. 1 squeaked itself on after its confusing language was challenged and the state Supreme Court narrowly allowed it by a 4-3 vote.

Do not be fooled by this ballot initiative: it is NOT pro-solar. Vote NO on Amendment No. 1, solar energy.

No. 2 Constitutional Amendment, Use of marijuana for debilitating medical conditions: Vote YES

Amendment 2 would allow licensed Florida physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for "debilitating medical conditions," defined specifically as cancer; epilepsy; glaucoma; HIV; PTSD, post traumatic stress syndrome; ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease; Crohn's disease; Parkinson's; multiple sclerosis or other disease of like class.

Its passage would allow doctors to decide whether medical marijuana would be less harmful, or more beneficial, than the array of drugs already legally prescribed that are now the only options available; whether its use would "likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient" - something physicians do for every script they currently write.

And no - fright ads to the contrary - no one is going to open a pot shop next door to a school; no one is going to authorize handing kids a wink-wink "prescription" or "pot candy;" and no one is going to start a legal grow house next door.

As we did in 2014, we urge a YES vote for Amendment No. 2, medical marijuana.

No. 3 Constitutional Amendment: Tax exemption for totally and permanently disabled first responders; and No. 5 Constitutional Amendment, Homestead tax exemption for certain senior, low-income, long-term residents; determination of just value.

Both are expansions of exemptions already on the books. Although we have some concerns philosophically, we are comfortable with YES votes for Amendments 3 & 5.

- Breeze editorial



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