Each week through the primary, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. The question for Week Six is: What is the most pressing issue facing the city of Cape Coral? How will you address this issue?
Mayor - PRIMARY
DANIEL (DAN) ASHBY
The biggest issue is changing the culture of "NO" to an attitude of "YES." Being a government that finds ways to bring quality jobs, veterans/medical services, recreation options and RESPECT to our city. This is the top priority detailed in my 50 point plan. As Mayor I will sponsor a targeted reduction in fees for specific business sectors such as light industry, medical, and education. This will bring jobs for our residents and eliminate the need for additional taxes. Solutions to all our issues begins with the idea of working with residents and business to ensure they are successful.
ALAN (AJ) BOYD
People here have been hit hard over these last few years and they need a Mayor who can relate to them. What I'm hearing, when speaking with people, is "AJ, we need jobs." We need to entice LARGE companies to locate here while working with current ones to expand. In order to do this we need to do three things. First, we need to market Cape Coral everywhere we can (it takes money to make money). Second, we need to look at changing the current process for opening up or building a business in Cape Coral (too many hoops to jump through and unnecessary expenses). Lastly, we MUST be competitive and offer incentives whether they be tax reductions, per year for the first 3-5 years during business start up or possibly impact fee waivers to name a few. "Keep it in the Cape."
DAVID P. CARR
Voter turnout is a major issue. If you are a voter and reading this, Vote Sept. 10. Why? I witnessed part of our council destroy a community by listening to exterior consultants and not the people. I will listen to find solutions not taxes.
I urge all Cape Coral residents and businesses "To Keep It In The Dark" like our council+ believes we should be. My answer to the PST tax is to turn my lights and computers off unless reading or working, turn the A/C up, and a fully stock my fridge from a store on FPL. This could be eco-friendly protest for the color of our river water and how our marine life feels. A Brighter Future for All!!!!
VINCENT A. CUMMINGS
The polluted discharge flow from Lake Okeechobee is the most pressing matter facing our community. Millions of gallons transit our city on a daily basis. Canals bloom, sea grasses die, fish are killed, and yacht club beach gets closed. Our environmental sustainability hangs in the balance. However, the issue continues to remain ignored. The City Of Cape Coral must provide leadership on this matter. It needs to shepherd the lobbying of Congress to pass the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA). This law will strengthen regional watersheds, raise our quality of life, and reinforce water resources we depend upon to exist.
MARNI LIN SAWICKI
Jobs/Economic Development. To address this, I will act immediately to create new incentives, reduced costs and a better business climate for small and large businesses with a range of partnerships and strategies. This will include the support of existing Cape Coral businesses; the successful promotion of the City's Economic Development Plan; aggressive recruitment, nationally and internationally, of new firms to Cape Coral; leveraging talent in Cape Coral to create high-quality jobs in growing industries; and other efforts so that Cape Coral is a true hub of excellence, innovation, and excitement we need it to be.
JOHN J. SULLIVAN (incumbent)
We have many pressing issues today. The tax and spend mentality of our current council is hurting our future. We need to increase old revenue streams and build new streams (true revenue diversification) not add more taxes. Every time we create another tax, that kills the likelihood of bringing in new commercial development. The ability to create new jobs is destroyed. It hurts existing businesses and weakens our economy. It drains disposable income and hurts the residents. Many can barely put food on their table.We are mortgaging our future for a quick inflow of new revenue. This same game has been played time after time. The money will be spent and our administration, in a few years will again tell us "The Sky is Falling!" "We need more!" Can you feel the infrastructure crumbling beneath your feet? If this is really the case, then why are the new taxes not dedicated to infrastructure? Where will this money really go? Your guess is as good as mine. Be sure to get out and vote for the right candidates.
District 1 - PRIMARY
JAMES (JIM) BURCH
Leadership and balancing spending with revenue. Growth, neglected maintenance of roadways, infrastructure, staff morale, public safety and quality of life, all stem from that delicate balance and our pre-platted nature challenges each. Unfortunately, government takes and rarely shows any tangible results. In addition, we have a Council that likes to fight and obstruct instead of work. We must move forward! I think people understand if you tell them what you need, why you need it, how you will use it and then show the results. The bottom line: We need a source other than the same residents that we continue to take from. I will continue providing leadership, as in the past, and work with our State Representatives to convince the State Legislature that pre-platted communities should be treated differently with revenue sharing. That, by apportioning differently and recognizing the unique challenges of pre-platted cities like Cape Coral, all can prosper, including the State.
STEVEN L. GOLUB
Without a doubt the largest problem we face is the Utility Project. There are no words to explain the rage among the Capers newly effected. They must come up with approximately $400 more a month (including water) for the next six years. Where do they sell seeds for the money tree? I offer Capers an alternative to politics as normal in the Cape.
The same old, same old DOES NOT WORK!. Pushing full time residents into a corner DOES NOT WORK! I feel confident enough that my neighbors are as fed up as I am with our problems. The Good Old Boys will be replaced one at a time.
DAVID R. HEADD
We are currently experiencing the same problem on the local level as we are having at the national level of our governing bodies. The opposing viewpoints are so entrenched that a paralysis is in place. If we study the various problems that our founders faced in the formulation of our constitution, their concerns seemed insurmountable but they were able to verbalize these concerns and had the welfare of common good in mind. The representatives of each territory debated for an extensive period but in the end COMPROMISED for the greater good and as a result, we became one of the most enviable countries in the world. The simple technique they used was COMPROMISE. When we understand that we can neither be right nor wrong 100 percent of the time, then we can begin to work in the best interest of the people we serve.
GRAHAM MADISON MORRIS
It is not, for me, any one issue that presses us the most, but the rather the perception of a fundamental lack of governmental empathy, character, virtue, and philosophy that continually oppresses the Cape's efforts to realize its potential. Our city struggles to develop new revenue streams without just as heavily taxing the public's trust; likewise, nary a project breaks ground armed with the prudence necessary to avoid disturbing the public's confidence to some measurable degree. I will address this first by allowing your vote for my presence on the dais to serve as a direct declaration to council, from its own public, that it demands these core values of a democratic republic be restored to this city.
District 4 - GENERAL ELECTION
CHRIS N. CHULAKES-LEETZ (incumbent)
A well rounded, experienced and fully involved Council member or candidate could not possibly identify "a most pressing issue." With our diverse population there are hundreds of pressing issues depending on constituents' points of view and concerns. I work daily to represent all citizens of Cape Coral and will continue to do so. To pick a most pressing issue would indicate other issues are not as important. What is important to me is what is important to the citizens and voters.
The number one issue that has and will continue to affect Cape Coral is applying a financially stable budget that fits the needs of our community. My role in the next four years will be to work with residents, staff and council to ensure spending is prioritized and distributed according to those specific needs defined by the people of our city. Furthermore, working with Economic Development staff and our city manager to continue to create an environment that promotes growth and opportunities in the business sector. This will allow in the future for our tax base to stray away from the status quo of relying on residents to bear the brunt of the complete cost of the operations of the city. Giving a true diversified tax revenue to properly operate Cape Coral.
District 6 - GENERAL ELECTION
KEVIN M. McGRAIL (incumbent)
The single most pressing issue for Cape Coral, and most of America, is JOBS. Economic prosperity for our city residents is vital to the health of this community moving forward. How we are going to obtain this goal is by making our City the destination of choice for new investors and business ventures. I have helped Cape Coral along this path by providing the infrastructure for business. We are making the City more business friendly by implementing the 432 findings of the Zucker report. Finally, I believe we should pursue becoming a high bandwidth "Google City." Several communities have recognized that the information "superhighway" is the future of commerce. We must also enhance our connections to I-75.
Taxation without representation. We need to stop creating new, rapid-fire taxes without listening to our taxpayers and digging deeper for other alternatives. Six council members led the charge to prematurely pass new taxes, even before we knew how property values would affect ad valorem revenue. When property values far exceeded conservative estimates soon after the public service tax and fire assessment were passed it created a windfall of new revenue. I will vote for eliminating wasteful spending of this increased revenue, repealing the public service tax, and reduction of the millage rate. While I like tax diversification, these new taxes are still coming out of the same pockets. It's time for real fiscal responsibility through taxation restraint, more citizen involvement, smarter budget management, and true diversification based on commercial growth.
Voter registration, early voting
* Voter registration:
Applications are available
online at www.leeelections.com,
at all Lee County libraries, and other locations including Cape Coral City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce at 2051 Cape Coral Parkway, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, and all Lee County Supervisor of Elections offices including the one in the Cape at 1031 S.E. 9th Place,
Suite 3. A full list is available at www.leeelections.com.
* Early voting locations:
- Lee County Elections Cape Coral Branch Office 1031 S.E. 9th Place, Suite 3 (behind the Lee County Government Center).
- Lee County Elections Main Office at the Constitutional Complex in Fort Myers at 2480 Thompson St., third floor.
* City of Cape Coral
Primary Election: Sept. 10
Voter Registration Book
closed: Aug. 12
Early voting Aug. 31, Sept. 3-7
* City of Cape Coral
General Election: Nov. 5
Voter Registration Book
closes: Oct. 7
Early voting Oct. 28-31, Nov. 1-2.
Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan,citywide elections meaning registered voters can cast a ballot in each race, no matter party affiliation, no matter the district in which they live.