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Residents who speak before Council vs. fair rules (Part 1)

February 8, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

On Jan. 17, from 6:30 to 9:45 p.m., I attended a Council Meeting. Mayor, you stated that Council rules are followed. Rules quoted were, "No answering Public input questions or discussions. BUT the Rules were broken several times. You and the town manager corrected several people with answers and brief discussions. Am I concerned? Well, in most instances, "Yes." Some, "No." It is generally good when you can deal with simple solutions on the spot as you did with one situation at a Meeting.

However, not all things are simple. My presentation to you and council members just before those several residents problems was quite different. I attempted to remind you that you are not obligated to approve the serving of beer and alcohol on the white sandy beach of our town for anyone. Then, a few minutes later, the rules were broken again when you requested the town manager to explain the circumstances by which he is proceeding toward allowing beachfront businesses to serve alcohol on the white sandy beach? His answer basically shot down my presentation with his eight- or 10-second statement (second time in two meetings) by saying, "Their property extends into the sandy beach." You were satisfied! I suspect many residents were not. Why? Because you had to know what he would say. The manager had his director of the LDC re-write that part of the ordinance, as you and council well knew. I don't believe that is quite fair.

My point is this mayor, anyone who comes before Council will likely have serious issues to share - pro or con. Each member of council should be thinking as they talk: "Is this something that we can use?" - rather than "How can I or we shoot this issue down or push it aside?" If you will listen, it is just possible that you may like their suggestions better than what the five of you have come up with. After all, you are only a few making the consideration, where as there are many residents whose ideas may also be worthy. Please, try hard to not cut us off or put us down. This is a small town. Let us work together.

Regarding serving alcohol on the public beach, I am not against the businesses. And, I want all to understand that. I am here objecting to this issue because this is a family-oriented island community! Also, I am disappointed that residents aren't flocking to your chambers to oppose the miss-use of the sandy beach! It would seem prudent if each of you T.C. Representatives would hear, read, and share the information that residents have brought today.

Garr Reynolds

Fort Myers Beach



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