Friday, October 22, 2021

County Commissioner Fiala begins campaign

Donna discussed many accomplishments in the district during her tenure as commissioner. Photo by Val Simon

Donna discussed many accomplishments in the district during her tenure as commissioner. Photo by Val Simon

Eleven years ago, islanders had no voice in the Collier County government and there was a bit of contention between the islanders and those ‘over the bridge’ in Naples. Then, an East Naples resident stepped forward and ran for County Commissioner, Donna Fiala. She won the seat and now proudly states there isn’t an issue that she put forth for Marco Island in the past 11 years that hasn’t been won! Donna Fiala moved to Collier County in 1974 from Ohio and has lived in the same East Naples home ever since. She is the mother of five and she is entrenched in Marco Island and East Naples and in all areas in between. She’s seen at a variety of events and community gatherings and frequently speaks to clubs and organizations in an effort to keep her constituency informed. She writes columns for local newspapers including Coastal Breeze News.

Recently Donna announced she would seek another term. Shirlee Barcic is Donna’s Marco Island campaign manager and Ken Drum is the East Naples campaign manager. From the rousing support demonstrated by so many of the attendees at a recent fundraising event, Donna would have had little choice except to run again as her constituents love her and would have demanded it of her! Bill and Cindy Howey of Hideaway Beach are just such constituents and firm believers in Donna’s effectiveness for Marco Island. Recently, they hosted a reception for Donna at the Hideaway Beach Clubhouse. It was a packed house with standing room only. “Out of 650 residents in Hideaway about 85 contributed.” Bill Howey noted, “Between today’s contributions and a two week letter writing effort, we’ve raised $18,000 for Donna’s campaign. We have a long way to go however. Donna’s supporters will work diligently to get her re-elected. It is very important for every islander that we maintain a voice on the Collier County Board of Commissioners.”

Donna noted the primary election will take place in August 2012 with the general election following in November. Two other candidates have announced their interest in the seat she currently holds. “One candidate lives in North Naples. In reviewing the requirements for district commissioner candidacy, it doesn’t matter where you live when you file, you only have to move to the district if you win. That doesn’t sound to me like someone who is really interested in representing the people in the district. There is another group who is interested in gaining total control over the County Commissioners’ Board. They’ve made it known their intention is to replace me and Jim Colleta so they would ‘have control over the board’. You would have to wonder what type of group wants to take control and why?” Donna commented.

One man commented he was probably the lone democrat in the room. He asked, “Clarify how I can vote for you in the primary?” He wished more people understood it was possible. Donna replied, “Sure, anyone can switch parties before the primary and switch back again before the general election. It is especially helpful for an Independent, Libertarian, Green Party, and a Democrat, because usually they can’t vote in this Primary, where most of the decisions are made for Collier County.”

Questions from the audience included one from City Councilman, Larry Magel regarding a letter sent to the City of Marco Island from the County Manager regarding the Tourism Development Council’s requirements for public beach access. Donna noted that “The issue is, there is plenty of access if you come up to the beach by boat, and some of the excursion companies bring tourists who want to go shelling. People can also walk to Hideaway from Tigertail Beach. The problem is people driving into a private gated community to access the beach. No other gated community I am aware of has to allow people to drive in. I will look into the official meaning of ‘public’. It seems there is quite a bit of public access already, which has helped in getting the sand to renourish the eroding Hideaway Beach. Now remember, Hideaway has also participated in the cost of the renourishment. They provided the dollars for all the sand and the Tourist Development Council provided the dollars for the T-Groins. The beach looks marvelous now, and in my opinion, that process has also helped to stabilize the rest of the Marco beaches.”


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