Council candidates share legislative priorities
Editor’s Note: Each week, The Breeze will ask candidates for city council their views on an issue of interest to the voters. Each candidate is asked the same question in a phone interview This week’s question is: What ordinance or ordinances would you propose, modify or eliminate and why?
District 6 candidate John Cataldi, Jr., a 69-year-old retired police detective, said he would like to see some ordinances revised that affect the quality of life for the average Cape Coral citizen.
“I’m talking about rules involving garbage collection and code enforcement officers,” he said, referring to a health and sanitation ordinance that allows access into homes. “I just think it’s a poorly written code that I think puts the officers at risk and also puts the city under liability.
He listed two others.
“I would certainly want to look at the budget and do anything I can about the water rates. Even though that is an assessment, it can only be changed by ordinance.”
Kevin McGrail, a 53-year-old medical technologist also running in District 6, said Cape Coral should work on making the city more welcoming to potential businesses.
“I believe that the city has gotten a reputation for being very business unfriendly and that has caused a lot of them, businesses, to just throw up their hands and in frustration and walk away,” he said.
McGrail agrees quality of life for the citizens of Cape Coral should be a top priority for the city council.
“We need to make sure that, no matter what, we need to make sure that growth doesn’t cause the quality of life to suffer,” he said.
McGrail also said he wants to make sure than an ordinance forbidding the keeping of farm animals with city limits is not overturned.
Chris Chulakes-Leetz, a 53-year-old USCG-licensed captain, is seeking the District 4 seat. He said that under the current economic conditions he would like to evaluate and possibly modify the commercial vehicle ordinance in residential areas to help people to continue to work at home-based businesses.
“This issue currently deserves our attention, both for the benefit of the city and for the voters/citizens at large,” he said.
Dolores Bertolini, 75, who is looking to retain her District 4 seat, said she wants to revise the architectural design standards.
“There are some modifications that need to be made to some things that came up that we didn’t anticipate and that we’ll have to deal with,” she said.
Bertolini said she and the council have been communicating with other communities in the area, such Estero and Bonita Springs, to see how they have dealt with design standards and modifications.
Jim Martin, a 77-year-old a retired aerospace engineer, is seeking the District 1 seat.
He said he would be reluctant to start modifying or changing any legislation until he first had to time to see what the final budget is going to be and what impact any ordinance changes would have upon the budget.
“One thing that I would like to see is the sign ordinance,” he said. “The work trucks (ordinance) would be another I would like to see revisited, but, again, I would have to see what impact that would have on the budget.”
His opponent is Marty McClain, a 51-year-old construction consultant
McClain said one modification he would like to see is to the recently passed landscaped ordinance
“It still has some holes, such as the requirement for a signature from a certified architect; it still requires some clarification,” he said.
McClain further stated that the city should take another look at laws pertaining to the parking of recreation vehicles and boats in private driveways.
Mayoral candidate John Sullivan, a 66-year-old retired broker/IT consultant, said two ordinances that require immediate attention are the new millage rate and the city’s budget.
“The millage rate at 7.9 percent is too high,” he said. “Also 57-09, which set the budget which is, again, too high.”
Incumbent Mayor Jim Burch, a 58-year-old land surveyor, cited two ordinances, one passed, one proposed, that he would like to see addressed.
The recently passed ordinance involving landscape regulations is going to need some tweaking in the future, he said.
“I would say that that one would certainly need some given that it is still a living, breathing document, especially in the area of where a landscape architect is involved,” Burch said.
The second, which is pending, is a “local bidder ordinance” which would give local businesses a “little bit of an edge” on city projects.
The ordinance has been in the city attorney’s office in draft form, for review, for at least six weeks, Burch said.
“What it would do is provide a percentage or monetary advantage to local businesses, or a number of points to professional contracts, to enhance the possibility of local business getting the award of city projects or contracts,” Burch said.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3 with early voting to begin Monday, Oct. 26.
Cape Coral mayor and city council elections are non-partisan and citywide meaning voters registered within the city can cast a ballot in every race, regardless of party affiliation or the district in which they live. Everyone votes in every race.