Monday, December 6, 2021

Letter to the Editor: Councilor Batte’s commentary,



Councilor Batte’s commentary, while passionate and eloquent, misses the point on many fronts. I am responding not so much to him as to all of City Council. Obviously Councilor Batte is in the majority, and I suspect his feelings about the matter reflect the majority of Council as well. Here’s where Councilor Batte is just plain wrong:

First, the rental ordinance recall petition is not “government by special interests,” as he charges. It is an attempt by the people to take back the government that has been hijacked by those who have hidden agendas that go way beyond “quality of life.” Marco Island’s City Charter provides the mechanism, and it’s not easy, for citizens to say “stop!” Even Councilor Honecker said in a recent City Council meeting that he wanted a referendum, to “hear what the people have to say.”

What the people have to say is that if you want to control the noise and the other problems with renters, then control that! There is no need for a bureaucratic overlay. The problem is the City Manager, and the Chief of Police, who in the past have not taken an aggressive stand on controlling noise. The rental ordinance does nothing to give them this authority, so why is it necessary? It’s the Noise Ordinance, which is not the subject of a recall petition, that gives the City the authority it needs.

As to the citizens involved, there are far more than Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce, as everyone will see shortly when the required number of signatures, over 1,200, are obtained and certified. The Island a whole is hopping mad that City Council settled on a rental ordinance, and then upended it when some Councilors decided that “everyone” had to be regulated. This is like setting out to stop speeding on Marco Island, and then enacting an ordinance requiring annual car inspections even if you only ride a bike.

Second, Councilor Batte uses words like “despicable” to ask “Since when do duly elected officials of the city council” etc. Well, to Councilor Batte I would say, with respect, “since” those duly elected officials decided to address problems not in the jurisdiction of local government, that’s when. “Since” those officials ignored the hundreds of requests. “Since” those officials changed their mind after the decision had been made and everyone had left town.

Third, to Councilor Batte, it’s not a “phony” attempt, as you called it. It’s a serious redress of government overreach. Councilor Batte asks what will happen if the ordinance recall effort is successful. What should happen is that City Council gets serious about solving the problems created by problem renters and quits whining when their almighty “legislation” is too much for the citizens of Marco Island to stomach.


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