Denham announces bid for Council re-election
In an effort to continue the work he started as a Sanibel City Councilman, Mayor Mick Denham has announced his intention of seeking re-election to his expiring council seat in March.
Although Denham had originally planned on serving only one term on Council, he said his work in the areas of water quality and reducing the size of government in these tough economic times is much too important to be abandoned just yet.
“It is too soon to ride off into the sunset,” said Denham in a press release announcing his bid for re-election.
Denham, who was born in the United Kingdom, has been a naturalized citizen of the United States for 30 years, and a resident of Sanibel Island for 10 years. He worked as a high tech senior executive in several major U.S. corporations, and volunteered at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge until the demands of his position on the Council forced him to drop out of the program. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club.
Denham has made a name for himself on local, regional and state levels for his untiring work on issues of water quality. Serving on a number of boards and committees, Denham has lobbied many government bodies, spearheading the initiative to establish ordinances to control the pollution caused by groundwater runoff.
“We must continue to put pressure on local, state and federal agencies to enact and enforce legislation that will preserve the quality of water surrounding Sanibel,” said Denham. “This issue is not only vital to our own quality of life, it is also a financial issue, since our island economy is based largely on attracting visitors to Sanibel.”
Attributing a number of the city’s most recent accomplishments to the increasing harmony and cooperation between the current Council and a “highly competent and hard-working city staff,” Denham expressed a desire to finish what he started.
“We have accomplished a great deal – the new Rec Center, new beach parks and play areas, the re-routing of the shared use path on Periwinkle,” said Denham. “I would like to continue what we have started as a team, finding solutions to issues that can have a serious impact on our island lifestyle.”
Denham also said the re-routing of the shared use path is an accomplishment of which he is particularly proud.
“After many years of Council disagreement, we proposed a safe solution to re-routing the shared use path on Periwinkle Way without acquiring private land,” he explained. “[This has] resulted in an attractive new shared use path at a fraction of the cost of the original concept.”
Among the issues that Denham sees as most challenging to the City are plunging property values sparked by the major downturn in the national economy. As revenues continue to shrink, the city will continue to face serious fiscal challenges, noted Denham.
“We must continue to reduce the size of city government, control costs and ensure a sound fiscal future for the island,” he said.
Other issues of particular importance to Denham include managing the redevelopment of aging resort properties and condominiums, which is already under discussion, and the continuing preservation of a clean, healthy and natural beach and dune system.
When asked about his most unforgettable moment in public service, Denham was quick to respond.
“I would have to say being sworn in as a Council member for the first time, in March of 2005,” he replied. “The room was packed with supporters, and family members traveled down from Sarasota to support me. After a hard-fought campaign, it was very emotional.”
The election will be held on Tuesday, March 3. The qualifying period for candidates ends on Friday, Jan. 16 at noon. For more information, call the City Manager’s office at 472-3700, or the Lee County Supervisor of Elections at 239-533-8683.
(Editor’s Note: As of press time, six candidates had filed petitions of candidacy for the three Sanibel City Council seats up for election in March. Those seats are currently occupied by Mayor Mick Denham, Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane and Councilman Marty Harrity. All three incumbents have filed for candidacy, as well as Dr. David Berger, Dr. John Harries and David Bath. This article is the first in a series of weekly profiles on each of the candidates.)