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Beach Civic group endorses Whitehead/ disputes Kiker’s record

October 17, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

The Fort Myers Beach Civic Association is endorsing Charlie Whitehead for the Lee County Commission seat 3.

Whitehead's opponent, former Fort Myers Beach Mayor Larry Kiker, has a dismal record in public office. His record as mayor of our town for six years was one of complete failure to fulfill any of his campaign promises regarding our island's most pressing issues.

We believe it's necessary that Lee County voters are made aware of his record prior to the November general election. Our board has followed closely Mr. Kiker's years on the island's town council since his 2007 election.

*Larry Kiker's campaigns in 2007 and again in 2010 promised to fix our island's serious neighborhood flooding problems. Six years later, the flooding hasn't been fixed.

*He said he would see to it that the county's five-mile beach re-nourishment project finally got done. It did not.

*He said he'd see to it that the Mound House historic home on our island opened to the public. Six years later the home is still not open to the public.

*He said he'd see to it that bike paths and new sidewalks were built along Estero Boulevard and that the road was rebuilt. Six years later, none of that has happened.

*He said he'd see to it the island's broken water system was rebuilt. It hasn't been, and the on-going repair costs to his constituents have totaled as much as $55,500 a month.

*He said he'd cut property taxes. But he has voted to raise our property tax rate four times. He also voted to give island residents a brand new tax a 10 percent town tax on our electric bill.

*He said he'd keep our town government small. Instead, he has doubled its size. And he voted to pay our town's manager $176,000 a year in a town of only 6,800 permanent residents.

Instead of correcting the problems that have faced our town, he has chosen instead to pick a needless, year-long fight with our elected library board, a fight he lost badly when the state looked into his allegations and declared the library board had done nothing wrong.

He spent the last year and a half pushing his plan to allow the sale and consumption of alcohol out along our bathing beaches, a plan he and the council adopted last month despite significant opposition from beach residents and all six former beach mayors.

We believe voters across Lee County know nothing at all about Larry Kiker. So far he hasn't had to answer any tough questions about his record as a public servant on Fort Myers Beach. He has had only to make foggy, sound bite promises with no specifics. His candidacy for the county commission, paid for mostly by outside special interest groups like the sugar and gambling industries who will later expect huge favors, so far has been one of smoke and mirrors while escaping any reference to his failures as a public official on our island.

Voters shouldn't settle for that in electing people who will have such a huge effect on our lives, our homes and our money.

Charlie Whitehead has no allegiances to the special interests currying favor. He will represent all of us honestly without even the appearance of conflicts of interest.

Lee Melsek

for the Fort Myers Beach Civic Association Board of Directors

(Board members include Dennis Boback, Pat Smith, Frank Schilling, Tom Cameron, Sandi Suter, Dean Southworth, Kathleen Cameron and Doris Grant.)



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