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Budget veto spurs protest

By Staff | Sep 8, 2011

Residents and union members plan to “Save the Cape” with a rally today at city hall prior to the city council’s first budget hearing.

Aimed at Mayor John Sullivan’s decision to use his line item veto power to excise the budgets of both the police and fire department, the rally is an effort to let the mayor and council know public safety is of the utmost importance, according to Dave Montrose.

“This is our safety we’re talking about,” said Montrose, rally organizer. “We shouldn’t play political games with that.”

Montrose has been the target of political attacks because of his blog, “Spotlight on Cape Coral,” which is often critical of the mayor and the city administration.

A teacher at Oasis Middle School, a city-run charter school, Montrose’s website has clashed with some on council, who have, in turn, called his role as a teacher into question.

Montrose has not violated any school policies, according to the charter school administration. The rally on Thursday also is separate from his duties as a teacher, Montrose said.

The rally is expected to start at 3 p.m., but Montrose plans on staying at school through the time required by his contract.

The rally is expected to attract about 200 people, he said.

“This is purely people coming out and making their statement. This is an example of people saying they’re not going to take it anymore,” Montrose said.

Cape Coral Professional Fire fighters Union Local 2424 President Mark Muerth said he’s encouraging union members to show in force to make a statement.

Muerth said he thinks the community is done with the council’s “shenanigans.”

“It’s important for people to show this mayor and council they are not in support of eliminating the police and fire departments on Oct. 1,” Muerth said. “I don’t know why they (council) would think this is the way to go.”

Sullivan did not return phone calls for comment Wednesday.

Montrose said he spread the word about the rally through his blog, “Spotlight on Cape Coral,” and Facebook.

With the police and fire departments currently unfunded, Montrose worries that a privatized police force would damage the city.

“The thought of bringing in rent-a-cops for our police is absurd and dangerous,” Montrose said.

The “Save the Cape” rally is scheduled for 3 – 5 p.m. at City Hall on Cultural Park Boulevard.

The budget hearing begins at 5:05 p.m.