Click Here To Subscribe View Cart  

Missy Layfield - Editor

Vote

Surely something on the ballot this November is important to you. Whether it’s conservation of Florida land, the legality of medical marijuana or who selects Florida Supreme Court justices, there are questions on the ballot that need your input. How about whether Lee County Schools should take a baby step toward single member districts or should our County Commissioners have term limits?

All those questions are on the November 4th ballot. Plus there are important local races – two seats on the Fort Myers Beach Fire Board will be decided. Plus seats on the School Board, Lee Health Board, County Commission – all important decisions and we haven’t even crossed the county line yet.

Voters are turned off on this election thanks to the ugly gubernatorial race. If you let that keep you from the polls, your community will lose out on your voice in how it’s governed. Hold your nose and vote for the least offensive candidate, or vote for a third party candidate or skip the governor race entirely on the ballot, but please, VOTE! Your community needs your voice!

Cool – Warm – Perfect!

Our streets are lined with zombies, baseball players and swimsuit-clad northerners eager for some sun time. It must be almost November. October flurries in some northern cities seem to have triggered a rush to our sunny shores.

Welcome! Those of us who have been here all summer are a little giddy over our recent low humidity and overnight temperatures in the 60’s. Kind of a "fall fever” after months and months of unending high temps and high humidity, it’s a refreshing feeling that’s brought many of us outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather.

It’s ironic that the beach is filled with locals loving the "cool” weather and visitors loving the "warm” weather and it’s all the same weather. It’s all about perspective.

Charter

Regardless of who sits on the Fort Myers Beach Town Council, or who is Mayor or who the Town Manager is, there is one prime document that governs our Town and that is the Town Charter. That Charter, written when the Town was first formed in 1995 determines all the most critical aspects of our Town governance.

How many council members we elect – how long they serve – how many terms they can serve – how the Mayor is chosen – all determined by the Charter.

But it’s more than that. How can citizens petition the Town Council about an ordinance? What are the restrictions on debt the Council can take on?

Pretty important questions for our Town. Especially as we approach the ripe old age of 19. We have no permanent Town Hall and are at the mercy of a landlord in our current rented space as the economy recovers and land prices rise, with rent expectations surely to follow.

That’s just the tip of the Charter iceberg. The 17 Articles cover topics from elections to referendums to special districts to Town boundaries. While Islanders may not find each one a riveting topic, they are all essential for our Town. And right now, each of us has the opportunity to participate in a review of those articles.

The Charter Review Committee, a group of 5 volunteer residents, are working their way through a review mandated by…wait for it…the Town Charter itself. They will take a close look at everything in the Charter, take comments and suggestions from residents and eventually decide what to suggest to Town Council as far as revisions to the Charter.

This opportunity won’t come along for another 10 years, so grab hold of it now while it’s here.

Last time around the Charter Review Committee suggested that Island voters elect Town Council members island-wide rather than by seats, a suggestion approved by voters and how we now elect them.

Unfortunately the Charter Review Committee has not had a lot of input from Town residents at their first two meetings. They welcome suggestions, are actually begging for some input from Town residents. They meet the 2nd and 4thThursdays of the month, so the next meeting is November 13th at Town Hall.

Find a way to participate in this process. It’s your Town! Reach out to one of the review committee’s members, drop off a note at Town Hall or email the Town Clerk with your ideas. Don’t wait until this committee has worked for months and months and created a proposed list of changes to jump in at the last minute – get involved now. Read our front-page story for details on how to get involved.

You know the saying…be part of the solution!

Missy Layfield