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Grassroots group plans town hall meeting

By Staff | Sep 18, 2010

Eileyn Sobeck-Bador says that an upcoming citizens town hall meeting is not aimed at bashing city council, but instead educating the public about city issues and the voting process.
Sobeck-Bador’s Facebook page “Get out and vote…Take Back the Cape” was the impetus of that effort, she said, and has been growing its “Like” list since its June inception.
As of Friday afternoon, 533 people “Like” the page.
The page started as an effort to reach out to a younger voting demographic, Sobeck-Bador said, but has since crossed that barrier to include voters of all age groups.
“We want to encourage education and information,” she said.
Now that effort will jump off computer screens into the Cape Coral Public Library, where Sobeck-Bador has a town hall scheduled for Oct. 2.
She said the town hall is not an effort to find candidates to run in next year’s election or, again, to attack council, but instead to provide information to the public.
“We’re not waging war on anyone, we’re not in counter attack mode at all … the only thing we’re waging war on is voter apathy,” she said.
But at least one like-minded person has already announced his candidacy for the District 3 city council seat.
Dave Montrose, a teacher in the city’s Charter School system, said he’s not campaigning yet, but has made it public that he intends to run.
Montrose, one of those who “Like” the page, said he would likely mention his intent to run during the town hall meeting, but does not view the town hall as a “campaign stop.”
Montrose said the Facebook page has so far accomplished its goal of attracting young people, has spoken to voters of all ages.
“It’s a group of people from diverse origins … each one has an issue with the way that things have been handled in city hall,” he said.
This group’s organizational efforts are not unlike that of the so-called Road Ahead, who used the internet, social media, and their own self-styled town hall meetings to reach out to city voters and to look for candidates who would support their platform last year.
Sobeck-Bador said that no true platform exists as of yet for the Take Back the Cape folks, but an agenda has been set for the Oct. 2 town hall.
While no true platform may exist, some could argue political views are expressed on the page, which offers “This is What Voter Apathy Looks Like” T-shirts.
Those shirts feature the photos of five sitting council members — Mayor John Sullivan and councilmen Bill Deile, Pete Brandt, Chris Chulakes-Leetz and Erick Keuhn, all of whom signed or supported The Road Ahead Contract with Cape Coral last election.
Sullivan, who was elected along with Chulakes-Leetz last year, said he was aware of the group but has paid little attention to them.
Sullivan did not comment on whether there were parallels between the organizational efforts of the two groups, but did say, “A lot of the stuff they’re putting out there is pretty far out.”
Get out and Vote…Take Back the Cape’s town hall meeting is set for Saturday, Oct 2, 10 am – noon, at the Cape Coral Public Library.