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Thoughts on candidate forum

By Staff | Feb 18, 2015

To the editor:

The candidates for city council at last night’s League of Woman voters forum for the most part ducked the issues and deferred their decisions to “experts.”

Mr. Jennings showed some gumption, however, when he declared that our obnoxious traffic jams represented a huge influx of tourists and was really good for Sanibel. Also, Mr. Jennings drew upon his days as a science teacher to cast doubt on global warming and declared that rising seas would pose no threat to Sanibel for at least one hundred years. He must not have grandchildren.

The issue of traffic led me to wonder why none of the candidates thanked the Chamber of Commerce and Lee County for hawking Sanibel as a tourist destination. If there was truth in advertising, the publicity folks should mention the hours-long wait in traffic before they reached the beaches. They might also mention that the only collectible shells on the island are in stores and museums. Sadly, tourists long ago snatched up the best conches, cockles and sand dollars. Pollution destroyed the rest.

That brings us to the eternal problem of water quality. All candidates praised the council’s fertilizer ordinance, but failed to mention that the vaunted regulation is only a Band-aid, and what is really needed is a total ban on fertilizer and pesticides for at least five years to allow our local waters a chance to recover. None of the clueless candidates suggested a statewide ban on septic tanks or measures requiring farmers to set aside conservation easements for grassy swales and wetlands to capture their nitrogen and pesticide-rich run off. Any politician worth a vote would call for a nationwide boycott on Florida sugar. Yes, bring the sugar millionaires to their knees until they sell their land for Everglades restoration. They can then return to Havana.

There was one bright moment; one candidate, Francis Slane, would put the interests of citizens ahead of commercial interests. Now, there is cause for celebration.

John Raffensperger, MD