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Some clarification

By Staff | May 13, 2015

To the editor:

In a letter to the editor in the May 6 issue of the Island Reporter, Harold E. Johnstone. M.D. expressed displeasure with some of the tactics, like an exaggerated anonymous mailing, used by some of those who opposed the issuance of a conditional use permit for a new Doc Ford’s restaurant on Tarpon Bay Road.

He somehow equated those efforts with a 2004 lawsuit by the City of Sanibel to require the county to honor a contractual commitment to rehabilitate and maintain the causeway.

He erroneously stated that COTI was a party to that lawsuit – it was not – and suggested that COTI engaged in anonymous scare tactics. It does not and did not.

To set the record straight, there were actually two lawsuits relating to Lee County’s management of the causeway filed at about the same time.

Neither involved COTI.

In one, the City of Sanibel argued that it and its citizens had been damaged by the county’s mismanagement of and failure to rehabilitate the existing drawbridge.

In the second, a private citizen and an organization called Save our Bay, Inc. sued the county alleging that causeway tolls were not being used to fund necessary causeway maintenance and were being misapplied to fund other parts of the county road system.

Doctor Johnstone is confused not only about who the parties to those cases were but what they were about. Neither had to do with “making it as difficult as possible for the hated daytrippers to access this beautiful island paradise” as Doctor Johnstone suggests.

They focused on the county’s obligation to maintain the causeway and to apply toll revenues for that purpose.

It was because many people on the island, including the five members of the City Council at the time, believed the county had failed to fulfill its obligations with respect to the causeway that the suits were brought.

Larry Schopp

Board member,

Committee of the Islands (COTI)