This is about your story regarding Forbes' cities - Cape Coral among 25 best places to retire.
Don't think so.
Perhaps if you are rich and you don't mind paying high water rates, paying high sewer and water assessments, paying for a $50 million police station that is half empty.
And then paying for high salaries of the police and city staff that are above $80,000 a year for doing what they do best - finding ways for the taxpayers to pay more. An example - look at your phone and cable bill we pay the city for that along with other charges.
Also a city council that would spend $13 million buying land instead of lowering our water rates, more Cape city waste.
Most people I speak to can't wait to sell their homes and move. The only thing keeping them here is they are under water on the mortgage or the prices are too low to sell; they can't even break even. This is not even close to being the best place to live with the people we have in power.
Attic water pipes a surprise
To the editor:
Cape Coral is notorious for its water issues but there is another issue that warrants discussion, retrofitting plumbing in old Cape Coral houses.
I discovered the problem while attempting to wash my hands in the summer while in an old house that had apparently had the water supply pipes relocated into the attic. I don't know if this strange practice occurs throughout Southwest Florida or if this is just typical in Cape Coral but here's the problem with retrofitting.
I turned on the cold water faucet and near boiling hot water came out. I quickly pulled my hands back to avoid injury because the water temperature was the same as the roof of the house, over 100 degrees. I was shocked and then disgusted that this ridiculous practice is allowed in Lee County.
If it is typical to put supply water pipes in the attics of Florida homes, what does this say about the caliber of local government in Cape Coral, Lee County and the contractors who would offer such a "fix?" Is it really typical to replace plumbing in Florida homes by abandoning pipes from under the house to installing these pipes in the attic - in Florida - really? Does anyone have any foresight into potential problems or has the intense Florida sun fried their reasoning ability?
Buyers beware because most of Cape Coral is a retrofit since Cape Coral is unique in its lack of planning which necessitates retrofitting in just about every aspect of Cape Coral. This retrofitting is why you will see nice homes of size next to rundown concrete boxes. Cape Coral could have been modeled after the lovely Columbia, Maryland, which was developed by the Rouse Company where every detail was addressed. Check out: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia,_Maryland to see how a well planned community should be developed. I bet you won't find one incident where a house in Columbia has water supply pipes in the attics.
Thank you for clarifying
To the editor:
On June 18 I wrote a letter to the Councilmen and the Mayor expressing my disappointment in what turned out to be, a mistaken understanding of the Watering Code violation enforcement.
It was my understanding that the first violation was a "No fine warning" and that that was the only warning you would get in a lifetime unless the law was passed to another enforcer. I felt this was very unfair and also went to the codes department to complain. I talked to the codes supervisor and he explained that this was a correct assumption.
On June 19 I received a very nice letter from Councilman Kevin McGrail (District 6) and also a letter from Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan. Mr. McGrail explained that I had been mistaken and that the warning was only for a calender year. On the same day, I received a letter from Mayor Sullivan who had been kind enough to present the letter to our City Attorney, Ms. Dolores Menendez. He also explained that it was for a calender year, and sent a copy of the reply from Ms. Menendez.
I want to thank the Mayor and the Councilman for their prompt response and kind reply to this misunderstanding. It is my hope that many other residents of Cape Coral will upon reading this understand the penalties of this law, but will respect the importance of water conservation during these restricted periods. But also appreciate the attention given to the residents of Cape Coral by our City Councilmen and Mayor.
Deaf and dumb leading the blind?
To the editor:
The recent knee-jerk, or opportunistic, termination of the Charter Review Commission (CRC) by the City Council, in the guise of normal "sunsetting," is but the latest in a string of atrocious acts to silence the voices of qualified, credible citizens seeking to present ideas and information and ensure that issues relevant to the public interest are heard and considered. Since the City Council made no credible effort whatsoever to determine the facts of what actually transpired or hear from the commission itself, but instead relied on those speaking in complete ignorance, the question must be asked: Are the deaf and dumb leading the blind? Such a civic calamity is aided by the pathetic situation of Hear, Speak and See no evil mentality that grows out of fear of in-group retribution and citizen apathy.
This is a destructive reaction to participatory government which is the very purpose of voluntary citizens committees and commissions, but is abhorrent to the current council dominated by what has come to be aptly known as the "Slick Six" gang of Carioscia, Nesta, McGrail, Erbrick, McClain and Donnell. Talk about marching in lock step! It is, perhaps, more fitting that this council be renamed the "Sinister Six" to better fit their malevolent attitudes and method of gangster governance.
The modus operandi of this gang is to kill the responsible messengers, if what is presented in good faith and after due diligence is not to their liking. The FAC merely called for the reconsideration and recertification of discount rate planning assumptions that would have a significant impact on the future obligatory debt burdens of taxpayers to ensure the availability of adequately funded benefits due retirees in the future. The unfunded pension and other employee benefits liabilities is a very pressing issue that cities and states across the country are addressing, but not here in River City.
There was nothing in the legislation that required the FAC to be a benign, meaningless "here-is-what-you-want-to hear" committee. Is the newly resurrected Budget Review Committee to fulfill that role? Beware bearers of unwanted news and questions!
Was the FAC fulfilling its legally designated mission responsibility of being an advisory body? I think so, and the council and staff, especially Financial Services and the unions, damn well knew so.
This method of eliminating the messengers was again applied to the CRC even when what was to be presented was misrepresented to select council members in intended malevolent bad faith by the lackeys and informants of the SS gang itself. These are the same characters that disgraced the podium in their attacks leading to the dismissal of former City Manager Gary King. Clearly, there is no need to teach old dogs new tricks, if the old ones still work so well with their masters.
The killing of the CRC was over the issue of putting before council for its consideration and approval to add a referendum relating to single-member districts on the 2013 November ballot for voters to decide. Sounds like democracy at work to me. However, the lies that reached the council were that the CRC was somehow going to "by-pass" council and put a referendum directly on the ballot. The fact that this would have been a violation of the process and Charter itself and impossible, was of no import. Why deal with facts and reason? The hidden motive and opportunity were there, so the SS gang committed the deed, or more fittingly, assignment, and denied, once more, all evidence of obvious foul play.
The justifications given by the "Big Four" members of the gang, ie, McGrail, McClain, Erbrick and Donnell, for killing the commission, whose members were assigned with six-year terms, should have come with a shovel. Any comments in opposition by the "Silent Duo" were not even contemplated.
Not surprisingly, the bearers of such misinformation before council were none other than the ever sharp Betty Dill and Lyndia Bradley of Cape Coral Civic Association leadership, and, of course, we cannot forget the erudite Nancy Patti. Only Dill attended the CRC meeting. By admission, no one on council has heard the tape, read any minutes, asked any questions, at least of those with real answers. How uninformed can you be?
The saving grace to this disaster may be that those who have volunteered their services freely and in good faith are not going away quietly to hide in some hole of oblivion, but will continue to try to do the best they can in the public interest.
As the saying goes, "give them enough rope ...."
Former CRC Member
Request for justice
To the editor:
Oh lady of Justice, oh lady of Justice, you pillar of strength and hope, please come to Florida. Our majesty, the governor, has unsheathed his sword and vows to slash peasants from the voting rolls. All peasants who might support the opposition must go.
He has sent his biased, uninformed subjects out to help do the slashing. A recent poll of his subjects says we should be purged of any vote. They do not include any peasants in the poll though, as their voices do not count. Those biased, uninformed subjects do not know that his majesty has already promised all votes, our labor, and our estate, to corporate America and the Koch Brothers, etc.
The 99 percent must coalesce and protect the vote from the tyrants. Pray tell how can we inform the biased, uninformed that they are also oppressed and serve the tyrant? While here in Florida, lady of Justice, please ask his Majesty Scott to restore parole to the deserving, many in our over-crowded prisons.
Lady of Justice, please stop in Washington, D.C. and ask our Congress and Supreme Court to cut their lunch break with big corporations and Koch Brothers and return to work for the people of America.
Lewis Robinson, M.D.
Law enforcement is failing
There is no easy way to say this: We are not safe anymore. Law enforcement is failing us.
Crime is up all over. Violence is rampant in our streets. In some places, gunshots are a common sound and the body count keeps climbing.
Just in the past month, we've had drive-by shootings, murders and now two people (one pregnant) shot and killed while sitting in their car. Thankfully, the 3 year-old child asleep in the back of the car wasn't killed.
According to the 2011 Uniform Crime Report by Florida's Department of Law Enforcement, last year there were 38 murders in Lee County. Twenty of them occurred in the City of Fort Myers alone (up from 7 the year before - a 35 percent increase in violent death in Fort Myers). This year there have been 12 murders in Fort Myers already. Keeping at the current trend, this will be another record-breaking year of murder. Already, Fort Myers is ranked as one of the most violent cities in Florida.
Last year, there were 107 rapes (sexual battery) forced upon people in Lee County. Over 600 robberies occurred (a robbery is theft while using force - think of a bank robbery with guns) and 5,326 burglaries were reported (a burglary is where someone breaks into your house, car or business).
Don't be fooled. Violence brews in our streets. It is no longer confined to a particular area. Unchecked, violence will continue to spread. Last week there was a shooting on Colonial Boulevard in broad daylight. How many people drive on Colonial Blvd on a given morning or afternoon? What are the chances an innocent person might become an unintentional victim?
So where's the help? What is preventing law enforcement from doing its job? What is keeping us from safety? Politics is the answer. There are too many politics in law enforcement. There are too many "invisible" lines drawn on the ground. There are too many turf wars over whose responsibility it is to work one crime or another. There are too many jurisdictional disputes.
The fact of the matter is simple: The criminal element does not pay attention to imaginary lines drawn on maps hanging in police headquarters somewhere. Criminals will hurt and kill when and where they want to unless there is a reason not to. That reason is why law enforcement exists.
The sheriff of Lee County is responsible for everything that happens in this county. Period. A leader knows that he/she is responsible for everything that happens, or does not happen, under his/her watch. So said, the sheriff is responsible for crime in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Sanibel Island, Lehigh Acres and everywhere in between.
The Sheriff's Office has more resources to fight crime than the municipalities do. So why isn't the sheriff helping to curb the violence in Fort Myers? Again, it's politics.
There are too many kingdoms in Lee County. The sheriff doesn't communicate well with other municipalities. Imagine the chaos if the Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard did not coordinate their efforts and communicate. Imagine if each service were to do what its respective commander wanted to do. Chaos would reign. Our safety would be jeopardized. People would get hurt. The same concept applies here in Lee County, too.
It's an election year. The sheriff wants to continue on his "Crime Down, Budget Down" campaign. He is quick to point out that the cities are responsible for the crime within those imaginary boundaries. If he assumes responsibility for the city's high murder rate, then he can't stay on the Crime Down aspect. So, in the name of politics, he doesn't get involved in stopping the bloodshed.
Ask yourself, what is a life worth? What is your mother's life, brother's life, or children's life worth to you? While many have the luxury of sitting back and watching the violence on television, many people are living it day-in and day-out. As the violence continues to spread, you can rest assured it will be at your door sooner than you think.
On behalf of all the victims of violent crime, I want to see a cooperative Violent Crime Task Force enacted. The Sheriff's Office has the resources. Members of all law enforcement bodies need to contribute and seek out those who aim to harm. It's time to stop being politicians and worrying about numbers. It's time to become cops again.
If I were sheriff today, this would be done already. I don't care who gets the credit or who gets to stand in front of the cameras. It doesn't matter to me who gets an award or who gets invited to a special dinner. I can't bear the thought of an innocent person needlessly dying - especially when the resources are present to stop this threat.
So again, I ask you - What is a life worth?
Lee Bushong is a non-party affiliated candidate for Lee County Sheriff and a former lieutenant, detective sergeant and homicide detective with the Lee County Sheriff's Office. His name will appear on the General Election ballot in November.