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Where’s all the water?

May 19, 2012
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

One of the most effective psychological tools used in the game of politics is commission projection which is a slick propaganda tool and quite useful for misleading a viewer into drawing an erroneous conclusion. It also is a way to misdirect one away from the real problem. This is one reason why it pays to do your homework for your own enlightenment and ask questions, especially of lawmakers.

Projection (onto others of what one is actually perpetrating) was a trick used during the political campaigns of last November, and also against the former City Manager, Gary King, after the election to fire him. Like they say, "All's fair in love and war." You can add "everyday politics" here in River City to that old adage.The saying that "There is truth in jest," must be judged in relation to its rarely-mentioned corollary, "There are lies in propaganda." If not outright lies, then, surely, a sinister contortion of the facts or their outright suppression is at hand. Comedians and cartoonists, at times, make great use of this trick.

If I did not know better, having viewed the council meeting and the voting related to irrigation restrictions in cases of declared water emergencies, my conclusion would be that the Mayor championed the ordinance and its abdication of responsible decision making powers for water usage restrictions to the city manager, including a kind of metaphorical power to punish, with sobering finality, at least financially, for violators.

The enabling legislation, Ordinance 11-12, was sponsored by Councilman McClain and voted for by the members Donnell, McClain, Erbrick, Nesta, with no need for Councilman Carioscia as the absent 6th member of the gang in control. Ooops! There's that "like-minded" action again! A disdained "no-no" falsely attributed to the old Fab Five now taken to new heights by the elected replacement gang. Mayor Sullivan and Councilman Chulakas-Leetz voted against it.

So, why have McClain and the other Slick Six members not been cited as the givers of our new water laws, i.e., comply or its your butt! It was they who pushed to create a water emergency dictator, in the person of the City Manager. The Council would have no say. What input required by the CM need only come from the Utilities Director. That is, of course, assuming, as prescribed, after all due diligence has been performed to determine that a shortage actually exists. Also, would it exist in other adjacent locations, e.g., North Fort Myers, Fort Myers, Pine Island, and other places in Lee and Collier Counties or is it just in Cape Coral that such conditions may occur with our vaunted dual water system?

There is looming in the background the scandalous fact clouding this issue: up to 19 million gallons of water are mysteriously going unaccounted for on Tuesdays, when watering is now prohibited; and, quite possibly, a comparable amount on other legal watering days. Is it theft, new and old infrastructure leaks, watering abuses, waste, faulty metering, faulty data bases, a combination of all and, perhaps, more troubling, human error or manipulation? Remember the case of the missing fuel?

A reading of the Ordinance shows that residents are the first to be sacrificed and put on the punitive restricted list, if such an emergency condition be declared. "Ongoing business enterprises" with "integral" irrigation dependencies, will, in effect, be exempted. Let's keep all those popular golf courses green; nurseries watered; and persons keeping boats salt-water free; cars, trucks and trailers pressure-washed clean and shining. To Hell with residential properties and their upkeep efforts for what they call home! There is, however, always potable water to replace irrigation water in case of declared emergencies - at a cost, of course.

Taxpayers and ratepayers have paid millions for a Cadillac dual-water system and its attendant support structures - including human resource organizations- that are not yet complete and now shown to be probably inadequate to effectively meet current demands for irrigation water, much less for an anticipated growing demand. Such problems notwithstanding, the City Council is forging ahead with a legislative solution that makes no mention of what the real problems might be and how to solve them.

Let's just put a legalized solution in place and figure out the real problem(s) later, if at all. That is a secondary issue.

Oh, yes! In keeping with the River City's "pour-the-concrete-first" modus operandi, the City Council just purchased, on our desperate behalf, 652 acres of foreclosed land for $13.1 million with funds nowhere identified in the FY 2011-12 budget, therefore being unappropriated, that magically appeared. Is that legal?

Stay tuned as this latest pit of snakes is explored.

Larry Barton

Cape Coral



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