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Criticism based on inaccurate information it is unfair and out of place

By Staff | Jun 29, 2016

To the editor:

There were a number of inaccuracies in a letter by Gary Taibbi in the June 22 edition of the Island Reporter that I would like to address so that readers are not misled.

First, Mr. Taibbi incorrectly asserts that Councilman Goss “voted for the new Doc Ford’s restaurant location.” Actually, the hearing at which the Doc Ford’s location was approved was conducted before the Sanibel Planning Commission, not the City Council.

Second, Mr. Taibbi goes on “Oh yes he (referring to Councilman Goss) voted for the new Doc Ford’s restaurant location, a “chain” restaurant against city code restrictions prohibiting chain restaurants.” Aside from the fact that Mr. Goss never voted on the matter, Doc Ford’s is not subject to the code restriction on “formula” restaurants (there is no restriction on “chain” restaurants) because it does not meet the definition of a “formula” restaurant in the Land Development Code.

Third, Mr Taibbi incorrectly characterizes the parcel where Doc Ford’s is under construction as a “natural, but unsanctioned government designated preserve.” Though it abuts Sanibel Gardens Preserve, the lot in question is, and has, for many years been zoned commercial. Given that Sanibel has about 8,000 acres of conservation land, it is not uncommon for commercial properties to abut conservation land.

Fourth, Mr. Taibbi, tells us “all” the members of the City Council are “local entrepreneur, business owner islanders,” implying that the councilmen gave Doc Ford’s a break – even though the City Council never heard the case. That important fact aside, only Mr. Harrity, one of the owners of Doc Ford’s is a local business owner. The remaining council members are either retired from off-island careers, or have current off-island business interests.

Criticism of governmental officials is an American tradition and a right guaranteed under the First Amendment. However, if that criticism is based on inaccurate information it is unfair and out of place.

Larry Schopp