Monday, December 6, 2021

Open Letter to Councilor Jared Grifoni

Councilor Jared Grifoni:

You strike me as a bright, young, ambitious lawyer-turned-politician. However, your guest commentary demanding citizen support for replacing the current County’s ambulance service with a similar City-owned service, (COCPN- Support the city’s efforts. 20 October 2017) is worrisome in that you focused more on insinuations and emotion rather than on informative, substantiated pro AND con facts. The latter is required in order for Marco Island voters to reach a knowledgeable, intelligent decision, is it not?

You stated the city cannot have a Certificate of Public Convenience and Need, (COPCN), unless the county approved it. However, Senator Passidomo told me the city could bypass county completely and apply directly to Florida State. Like a driver’s license, a COPCN is a state-issued certificate, not county.

You implied county “outright opposition” to the city’s COPCN application. Wrong. In fact, the county said they would support Marco’s COPCN “as long as it did not cost the county anything.” That county condition ought to be emphasized to Marco voters instead of being glossed over. It translates into “Marco must continue paying for county medical services, (currently around $3M a year), even if they are providing and paying for their own separate medical service.

You suggest many, if not most Marco Islanders support efforts to get our own COPCN, citing a 64.9 percent “yes” response to a MICA survey. However, you forgot to mention the number of responders. If fifteen thousand folks responded, that 64.9 percentage would certainly be significant, (about ten thousand). Conversely, if only fifteen hundred returns were received, the resultant five hundred “yesses” well, not so much. This sort of numbers game is always popular with politicians. Don’t do it, Jared.

You complained that “During Hurricane

Irma, Collier County pulled our only EMS unit from the island which left our citizens in a dangerous situation…” C’mon, Councilor Grifoni, are you not aware that the City had issued a Mandatory Evacuation Order with the warning that there would be no emergency services available to those who ignored that order? Would you have kept the ambulance and crew onisland during the hurricane risking either or both being taken permanently out of service by the predicted ten to fifteen feet tidal surge and hundred fifty MPH winds?

Please do not misunderstand my position. At this point, I have not reached an informed opinion regarding the COPCN issue due precisely to a lack of objective data, i.e. costs, obligations, responsibilities, (what are we signing up for?), new bureaucracies, what specific problems will be solved and what new problems created. However, two thoughts keep reoccurring:

1. Beware any political issue constantly playing the emotional card and

2. Beware replacing what has worked with what sounds good.

Russ Colombo

Marco Island

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