Monday, November 29, 2021

Guest Commentary



Mr. Harris, try using facts instead of misinformation!

In his most recent LETTER TO THE EDITOR Bill Harris once again attempts to mislead the Marco Island Community with misinformation and irrelevant statements. To wit:

He specifically challenges my comments that despite the contention of a small group of people at the July 20 Regular Council Meeting that while they demanded that Council “listen to the people” that, in fact, the number of petitions submitted only represented about 20% of the registered voters. He states: “Councilor Sacher should recall that year 204 only showed about 36 percent overall voter turnout, so the 20 percent that signed is pretty impressive.” According to the Collier County Supervisor of Elections, 8,628 of 12,455 registered voters actually voted, or 69.3%; almost double what Mr. Harris claims. It was very hard to confirm this data—I asked the SOE for the information!

With respect to the comments about the Marriott: the project has been underway since this past May and to-date the number of emails and letters of complaint from our community = 0!

As to Councilor Joe Batte: the Marco City Charter clearly provides that Members of Council shall not give direction to any City Staff; if the emails from Councilor Batte to the MIPD are accurate, than he might well have violated the City Charter, however the Charter provides no remedies whatsoever if the rule about directing Staff is violated. Further, no where in either the City Charter or Council Rules of Procedure are there provisions for Council to get involved in the actions of a Councilor.

I have had some interaction with the media; I have not “….finds no fault with Batte’s abuse of his position and power…” but rather, I have merely stated that Councilor Batte’s actions as a private citizen are the same rights that every other member of our community enjoys. To state that “If he approves of Batte’s excesses” are a reason for me to step down is absurd. If Mr. Harris feels so strongly that either Councilor Batte or myself are guilty of ethics violation than instead of writing letters and emails and disseminating misinformation he should simply follow the procedures and file an ethics complaint with the State.

Joe Batte has devoted the last five and a half years of his time to serve the Marco Island community; in addition, he has also served prior to Council in voluntary capacities. Besides being a gadfly at Council meetings and writing letters and emails, what have you done for the community Mr. Harris?

I regret that I find it necessary to write Commentaries for the media, however our Community deserves to know the truth about baseless statements.


Larry Sacher
Marco Island City Council

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