King says he did not sign petition
Cape Coral City Manager Gary King says he did not sign a petition supporting Bill Deile’s re-election bid, which is being circulated by a private citizen.
The name “Gary King” appears on the petition on Feb. 17, along with the comment: “We need you to keep moving forward.”
King’s “no” came through Cape Coral spokeswoman Connie Barron on Friday. Barron also said King “respectfully” declines comment on the issue, so it could not be determined as to why his name remained on the petition on Friday, or his thoughts on apparently being impersonated.
The Gary King name on the petition became an issue earlier this week as, had it been confirmed as genuine, he could have been deemed in violation of the International City Manager Association’s Code of Ethics, which forbids any city manager from being involved in the election or campaign processes of potential candidates. He also could have been deemed in violation of his contract, which holds him to that Code of Ethics while serving as city manager.
Harry Beeman, the petition’s founder, said he will remove King’s name if asked to do so.
“He would just have to give me a call, and I’ll see he gets off of there,” Beeman said.
Beeman, 89, said he started the on-line petition because he felt Cape Coral won’t have sufficient leadership without Councilmember Bill Deile, and he’s hoping the petition will help change Deile’s mind about a re-election bid.
Deile, whose term ends in November, said previously he would not seek another term.
Beeman, a World War II vet, said Deile is the best option for the city’s future. Beeman said he doesn’t know Deile or Gary King.
“Some of the people are thinking this is a plot. I don’t think Bill Deile and Gary King would know me if I walked in and sat down,” Beeman said. “I think someone is just stirring the pot.”
As of Friday, the petition had 158 signatures, among which “Gary King” still remained as the sixth signature. Embattled Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan’s name also appears on the petition as of Friday, along with a promise to help Deile’s campaign once she is released from jail.
King is not the only person whose name has appeared who has said he did not sign the petition.
The name of Ralph LePera — a citizen activist and vocal critic of Deile’s efforts on council — also appeared on the list as a petition signer.
LePera said he did not sign the petition and had his name removed.
LePera said he received the an email on Feb. 21 that confirmed his signature, stating, “Thank you for signing the “PETITION COLONEL BILL DEILE TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION” petition at iPetitions.com”
Your signature is valuable and makes a real difference. Please encourage others to sign the petition as well.”
“I replied and said I did not sign the petition, I would appreciate having my name removed, and within an hour the name was removed. It was that simple,” LePera said Friday.
LePera said he did not have to speak with Beeman personally to have his name removed, merely replied to the email confirmation.
LePera said the petition should have some type of security in place to keep Deile supporters from impersonating others, rather than a simple email reply.
“I’m not sure why there’s an unsecure site that allows this to be done and the games to be played,” LePera added.
Beeman said he expects to have “4,000 to 5,000” signatures when completed, and that he expects signatures to snowball very soon.
Beeman credits Deile with bringing the VA Clinic and U.S. Army Reserve Center to Cape Coral, among other accomplishments.
As far as building the site and setting up the petition, Beeman said “60 percent” of that work was done by his friends and neighbors, but it was done at his instruction and to his specifications.
Beeman said he had no idea when the petition was originally sent out via an email list that was then, in turn, circulated by others, including Mayor John Sullivan.
“I can’t do it all by myself. I asked many of my friends for help,” Beeman said.
Beeman doubts City Manager Gary King put his name on the petition.
“I don’t think he signed the petition, I think it was done as a practical joke,” Beeman said. “I don’t think Ralph LePera signed it, either. I believe someone, very devious, pulled a little joke here.”
The petition can be found at capecoralcouncilman.com.