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Missy Layfield - Editor
10/26/2012 at 6:07am Delete

Once upon a time…

…there was a village by the sea. It was a beautiful village. The villagers loved the land and the sea and took care of each other. Oh, sometimes they didn’t all agree with each other, but they did all agree that the village was a wonderful place to live.

As happens in many villages, an ogre came to live in the village. He opened a shop that sold coconuts, but not regular coconuts for this was a magical village, these were special talking coconuts. The talking coconuts helped the villagers know what everyone was doing in the village. If someone was having a party in one part of the village, the talking coconuts would let those living in other parts of the village know about it so they could all come and enjoy the party. The talking coconut business was good.

The ogre was very friendly with some villagers, but mean to others. He would tell some of the villagers that if they didn’t buy his coconuts, he would tell others about how bad they were, even if they were not bad at all. He would use his magical power to be sure that the talking coconuts said bad things about the people who did not buy his coconuts. They did not want other villagers to think they were bad, so they bought the talking coconuts from the ogre. But they did not like the ogre. They did not dare say so out loud for fear that the ogre might hear. So the whole village went on buying talking coconuts from the ogre for many years.

The villagers who the ogre was always nice to could not understand why other villagers did not like the ogre. His talking coconuts always said nice things about them. If the ogre’s friends did anything bad, the talking coconuts did not ever talk about it.

And so the village lived in fear of the ogre and his talking coconuts.

Then one day the ogre grew weary of the coconut business. He traveled to far off lands. His talking coconuts told all the villagers about the ogre’s travels and the ogre’s opinions about the village and the villagers. The more tired he became of the coconut business, the more often he traveled. The serfs who took care of his talking coconuts and sold them in his shop worked very hard when the ogre was away. They worked long hours and when the ogre was in the village, had to listen to the shouts of the ogre.

10/18/2012 at 12:39pm Delete

37 Decisions

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the steady tinkling on our office door bells this week as people have come to pick up a copy of the Voter Guides mentioned here last week.

Universally, people say they are confused by the number and complexity of the amendments they are being asked to vote on. There are 11 proposed amendments. The supposedly simple summaries are not simple at all.

For Beach voters, there are a total of 37 decisions on your ballot this November 6th. While the TV would lead you to believe that the only decision is Romney or Obama, there are state, county and local offices up for grabs.

The lengthy ballot and confusing amendments would lead the weak of heart to throw their hands in the air and claim they can’t decide, so they’ll stay home and not vote. Beach residents are apparently not weak of heart. On the contrary, I’ve noticed that people really do want to know and understand what they’re asked to vote on. They’ve been walking in our door all week.

Election Day is November 6. Are you ready to vote? Early voting begins Saturday, October 27 and runs through Saturday, November 3 from 7am-7pm at 5 locations around Lee County. One of them is the Election Center across from Bell Tower Shops at 13180 S. Cleveland. If you want to vote by mail, call 533-6919 to request a ballot.

In the last Presidential election, over two-thirds of Lee County voters had cast their ballot before Election Day either by mail or early voting. I suspect that one of the reasons is that people want more time to consider the lengthy amendment proposals. It takes time and effort to know what’s on the ballot and how you want to vote. Those who walk into the voting booth unprepared should be ready to spend a lot of time in the booth just to read the entire ballot.

10/11/2012 at 4:35pm Delete

Are you ready to vote?

Do you know how you want to vote for any office beyond President, Senator and Congress?

The ballot you will vote is four pages long, both sides, so you’re looking at 8 pages of decisions. This election is one that definitely calls for taking your notes into the voting booth.

We’ve been highlighting the races for Beach Fire and Library Board positions, as well as County Sheriff, School Board, Commissioner and Lee Memorial Health System Board. We’ve given those candidates the opportunity to answer questions and provide guest opinion articles in their own words so that our readers hear directly from the candidates.

Aside from those races, the ballot also includes retention decisions on seven Supreme Court and District Appeals Court judges and a slot machine referendum.

The remaining 6 pages are devoted to the 11 Constitutional Amendment proposals.

This year all 11 amendments were put on the ballot by the Legislature. They cover everything from health insurance to taxes to religion. Though you can’t always accept the name of the amendment as being representative of what it will do if passed. The Legislature has a tendency to "pretty up” these things so people who don’t dig into the fine print will glance at the title and think, "Oh yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” And vote yes. Someday I’m expecting them to propose an amendment and label it the "Rainbows and Puppies” amendment. Who’s against rainbows and puppies?

It would take more space than I have here to delve fully into each amendment. I encourage you to stop by our office to pick up a Voter Guide that lists them all and includes an explanation of what a yes and no vote for each means. I’ll try to summarize the amendments below.

Amendment 1, labeled Health Care Services is nothing more than a political referendum. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is constitutional, so voting yes on this amendment will not allow Florida to opt out of the ACA.

10/04/2012 at 4:25pm Delete

Support Your Local Pirate Fest!

What a difference a week can make.

Last week, our island community was stunned when the promoters of Pirate Fest backed out of the event 10 days before the event was to begin. Citing "circumstances beyond our control”, they told sponsors, vendors and patrons that "due to obstacles, both new and old” they felt it best to postpone the event.

Scratching our heads as to what went wrong so close to the event, we began to ask questions.

We learned that SIK and Pirates of the Treasure Coast, promoters of Pirate Fest, had submitted their permit application only 3 weeks prior to the event. Experienced promoters tell us that they usually submit permit applications several months in advance of an event, allowing extra time for the unexpected delays that pop up during the process.

So, was bureaucratic red tape at Town Hall to blame?

Nope, we learned that the Town of Fort Myers Beach had bent over backwards to help the promoters get their permit in time. The permit application requires that event organizers notify residents who live within 500 feet of any amplified music early enough that residents have the opportunity to speak to Town Council before the permit is issued. Due to the timing on the permit application, there was only one Council meeting between the application and the event.

The Town made arrangements so that if the promoter got the notification letters out in time, there would be space on the Council agenda to hear from residents and act on the permit application. However the promoters did not send any letters and withdrew the application last week.

That is all history. I recap it only because the promoters spin on this situation includes some dirt throwing toward the very people who have stepped in to fix the problem created by the erstwhile promoters.