To the editor:
The pathetic voter turnout for the primary on Sept.10 was partially atoned for during the week of Oct. 7 in courtroom 5F where the bond validation hearing was held for Cape Coral's Fire Service Assessment (tax). The hearing was scheduled for one hour starting at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, but lasted until 5:30 that day, continued from 9 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and even spilled over into Wednesday from 9 till 10:45 a.m. Of the 130 or more attendees on Monday, probably a quarter were from the city staff or proponents of the assessment. The remainder in the audience were residents/taxpayers there to support the challenge to this action. Of course scattered among them were familiar faces, some identifiable from the "Cap Cape Taxes" movement, but many new faces (at least to me) were in evidence. Although only a pittance of what we need to turn out at the polls on Nov. 5, it was evidence to me that maybe we can reach some of you residents/taxpayers/voters to get involved and ultimately to the polling places and get this City back in our (the residents/taxpayers) hands again. The only two Council members who were there all three days working for and representing you, the taxpayer, were John Sullivan and Chris Chulakes-Leetz.
Cape Coral has become a "company" town and the "company" controlling it is the City administration and employee unions. My calculations are that City administration and unions including extended family and friends probably account for 7 or 8 percent of the voters. They can get almost 100 percent of those votes out. I believe they only got about two thirds of their voters out in the primary. I believe they were confident that they would have at least one candidate to their liking in each race in the general election. Believe me, they'll roll out their voters for the general election, so we'll likely need a turnout of 20 to 25 percent to have hopes of overcoming them. So please, please, PLEASE pay attention to what's going on and get out and vote!
It's so important to not only re-elect Mayor Sullivan and Councilmember Chulakes-Leetz, but also elect Rick Williams and David Headd to the Council. Instead of working to find ways to provide essential services more economically, this administration and the "slick six" voting bloc on Council have provided what they call "economic substantiality" by simply adding more taxes. I believe you've only seen a drop in the bucket of where they will go if they're not stopped. The "economic sustainability" they speak of is to provide City Administration with everything on their wish list, but has nothing but an adverse effect on the economic sustainability of the taxpayers, many of whom are "up against it" already. Don't let them fool you about the new pension package that's supposed to save $125M over the next 25 years. I'm reluctant to use the three letter l-- word; the kindest thing to call it is misleading. There won't be a dime of savings until new hires from this point on join the retirement program, and the way things are going now, there won't be significant savings until they actually begin to retire.
It's terribly important to elect people to Council who are financially responsible. In District 1, David Headd is that person. His opponent, Jim Burch, campaigned in 2007 as a fiscal conservative, but on Council was generally just the opposite. He's campaigning again in the same vein, even citing his "record" to support it. The things he's citing are often at best "distorted." Believe me he's a "spender."
In District 4, Chris Chulakes-Leetz has shown himself to be an extremely capable councilman. Not only is his opponent extraordinarily inexperienced, has demonstrated doubtful reasoning, but he's already indicated he's prepared to go along with everything on the administration's wish list.
In District 6, Kevin McGrail has demonstrated he's of the tax-and-spend school. There are potentials for huge economies without loss of services that he and his "slick six" cohorts refuse to consider. Rick Williams has the fiscally responsible outlook and the experience with his activities with the City, the NWNA, and the NSEMA to provide that District with far better representation.
As for Mayor, to me there's no contest. I never cease to be amazed at the number of areas John has delved into and mastered. He works tirelessly for the residents and taxpayers. Ms. Sawicki stated unequivocally at the Veteran's Museum debate that she was in favor of replacing the Ceitus Barrier. Fortunately, she later clarified that position, but certainly demonstrated a lack of understanding of the issue.
As I said before, please, please, PLEASE get informed and get out and VOTE!