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Election 2017 Question of the Week: What are the top three planks of your platform?

By Staff | Jul 21, 2017

Each week through the primary, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. As you review the races, please note that Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan, citywide elections. This means all registered voters can cast a ballot in each race, no matter party affiliation, no matter the district in which they live.

The second Question of the Week is: What are the top three planks of your platform?


– Joe Coviello: Integrity: We must improve Cape Coral’s image. The City needs to make headlines for the RIGHT reasons. I am a strong advocate of professionalism and no nonsense leadership. Promote and market the City’s positive qualities to solidify our future.

Community: I will be accountable and represent all the citizens of Cape Coral. As your productive voice in local government, I will accomplish vital goals including the health, safety, and well-being of our residents.

Efficiency: Simplify, streamline, and remove bureaucratic red tape to encourage growth. Strong business acumen to achieve results for sustainable economic development and prosperity.

* * *

– Derrick Donnell: Number 1- Honesty. I will always be honest with you. Honesty develops trust and trust facilitates respect.

Number 2- Maintaining a Safe City. Families continue to move to our beautiful city because of our reputation for being safe. I will work hard and do what is necessary to support our police, fire and all first responders that risk their lives every day to protect our community.

Number 3-Maintaining a Fiscally Responsible Budget. I will work hard to ensure that the budget we adopt is as lean and efficient as possible while adequately funding all services that are needed for us to continue to enjoy our enhanced quality of life.

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– Rana Erbrick: 3. Efficient/Effective use of resources. Streamline processes, eliminate waste, increase use of newer technologies where possible.

2. Economic Development. The City needs to take this from a hobby to a core value. I will continue to lead Council and City Management to increase funding/staffing of the Economic Development Office and target infrastructure expansions and improvements to support growth.

1. Sustainability. Sounds so simple. Every decision sets the City in motion for 1, 5, 15, 50 years from now. Everything from budgets, beautifications of medians, public facilities maintenance, roads/bridges, parks and other capital items all need to be affordable today and in the future.

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– April Freeman: 1. We need to bring in new industry that will offer competitive and good paying jobs, in order to draw a strong younger workforce.

2. Repair existing roads and bridges, install neighborhood streetlights, sidewalks and bike paths, while focusing on the expansion of infrastructure in the north end of the city, that will provide a direct ramp to and from I-75.

3. Increasing Public Safety by expanding law enforcement and fire services.

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– Michael D. Hollow: Job Growth – One thing is for certain. Far too many people cross the bridges each day; we can greatly minimize the number of residents driving out of Cape Coral. Right now, Cape Coral offers a lot of jobs, not careers.

Leadership and accountability- We hear a lot of “we should have” or “we need to.” Here’s an idea, let’s start doing. All the while making sure we stop wasteful spending.

Maintaining our safety – The city is growing rapidly; we can’t afford to not be proactive. We need to make sure CCPD and CCFD have the resources they need to keep up with the growth.

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– Kevin Koch:The top three planks of my platform include public safety, economic expansion, and a freeze on increasing taxes including special assessments.

Public safety will be my first priority. Nothing else matters if our city isn’t safe and secure. We need to give our police and public safety personnel the tools and resources they need to keep our city safe.

Economic expansion would bring businesses into our city so we can spend our money right here in Cape Coral.

There will be no additional special assessment taxes when I’m your mayor.

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– Daniel James Sheppard III: I am running to accomplish three basic ideals that I believe will quickly move Cape Coral forward as a prosperous community.

The first is to improve our City’s Branding in order attract industry to our City.

The second is to aid in the creation of jobs by removing the red tape that is currently in the way.

The last, is to focus on creative, but common sense ways to lower taxes by increasing the overall tax base, and putting an end to any reckless spending that exists, much of which I have personally witnessed by attending council meetings for the past several years.



– Jim Burch (Incumbent): Mr. Burch has withdrawn from the race; he is no longer running.

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– James Frederick Foraker: 1. I want to create a more business friendly atmosphere. Streamline the permitting process to encourage new business.

2. I want continued growth with fiscal responsibility. Taking care of the taxpayers’ money.

3. Taking care of our existing assets. Our city employees need to be the best trained and equipped so they can serve the public.

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– John Gunter: We as leaders need to re-invest in our existing city to raise the level of expectation on the Quality of Life for our citizens. We need to set the bar higher, and demand a level of expectation that will make our city stand out when involving the Health/Welfare/Safety of our citizens.

Financial Responsibility, we need to ensure that we are spending our taxpayers’ money the most efficiently, and the most economically way possible, with proven results.

Proper Growth, we need to establish a greater commercial tax base that will help take the burden off the shoulders of our homeowners, and bring jobs to our community.

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– Graham Madison Morris: 1 – Guarding the Public’s Health, Safety, and Well-being. This is the FIRST responsibility of ANY elected official and this includes always protecting the public trust, acting ethically, and minding the government’s power of taxation in the most responsible way possible.

2 – Land Use and Development Regulations. These are the metaphorical “welcome mat” of our city to businesses and future residents. They must be evolved to be inviting and serve the best ideas for the Cape’s future.

3 – Innovation. Use technology to manage information more efficiently. Produce better outcomes and cut the cost of consultants for our city.



– Jeffrey Alan Jones: Restoring a booming economy and quality of life is a goal worth the time and energy. Economic growth is now attainable.

There are so few communities where we feel as safe, and feel “at home,” as we do in Cape Coral. Governments such as ours need a budget but slashing budgets. I will not be a proponent of cutting previous budgets.

I will seek those businesses through research, and collectively advertising the City of Cape Coral looking for relocation. We need industry, colleges / universities who are willing to relocate to the Cape.

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– Richard Leon (Incumbent): Accountability: It is our responsibility to make sure City government and our elected peers are working for the people and not against. We must continue to find ways to not just reduce costs but lower property taxes and hold accountable City management.

Streamlining our City Codes: If we want to get serious about attracting businesses, major city projects, and completing infrastructure, we need to continue to streamline our codes. Next up, Land Use and Development Regulations; followed by the Comprehensive plan.

Projects: Parks Master Plan, Bimini Basin, Seven Islands. These projects can be a driving force for the Cape, but we must make sure the private sector is leading the way, not the City Government.

* * *

– Jennifer I. Nelson: My platform consists of 3 simple concepts: Vision, Sustainability, and Transparency.

I have made a career out of making visions a reality. I have worked on multiple projects simultaneously and brought them to fruition by following a well, thought out plan and implementing the plan. I can do the same for our city.

Sustainability is about looking within our city to be able to streamline processes and getting our programs to sustain themselves so that we are not so reliant upon the city or our taxpayers to support them.

As leaders, we should be transparent in our efforts so there is never any question of our actions, ethics, or integrity.


DISTRICT 5 (General Election ballot only)

– James Schneider: Will be to protect, preserve and battle our parks and recreation land deficit. “Once it is gone, it is gone.”

Work with our valuable city employees, from city hall to the fire houses and police station… They need to know that the city cares about them, their future, their financial commitment from our city.

I wish to see Seven Islands succeed, but in a practical fashion with public space, low rise (at most) buildings, and mixed use. The Bimini Basin should be finished properly without taking residential properties, if planned with restrictions. Be good stewards with the CRA, hospitality/entertainment associations.

* * *

– Dave Stokes: #1 To keep taxes low, keeping Cape Coral affordable to our current residents especially those retired on fixed incomes. This will also encourage new business growth which will bring high paying skilled jobs to our City.

#2 To ensure that Cape Coral receives from the state and county its fair share of tax dollars for parks, greenspace, schools, roads and public safety needs.

#3 To participate in City Council meetings in a professional and positive manner treating the public, council members and staff with respect projecting a positive image for our City.


DISTRICT 6 (General Election ballot only)

– John Karcher: 1. No Nonsense – In management, I worked to get retailers products they needed to be successful in their market location. That’s reality based decision-making with a team approach. Stay focused, avoid personal issues and never sugarcoat the truth.

2. Make every dollar count – You can’t grow the city on the back of taxpayers. Get more aggressive with grants, public-private partnerships and use fewer consultants. Look for more short-term gains to pay for long-term investments. We must be good stewards of the people’s money.

3. Listen to the People – Council works for the People. Do not fear public input, embrace it.

* * *

– Rick Williams (Incumbent): We’re the 10th largest city in FL and growing at 10 percent a year! Prosperity is returning. We must continue to closely manage our growth and raise our commercial base to be ready for our future at full buildout. Being reactive won’t cut it! We must:

(1) Keep our utilities and infrastructure projects on schedule, while controlling costs.

(2) Accelerate our parks, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities for quality of life, while keeping a lid on taxes.

(3) Continue to increase citizen participation in all that we do!

I created our Youth Council that is bringing our youth into the dialog for the first time ever. That’s responsible leadership. I’m your experienced voice of common sense.


Important dates

PRIMARY, Sept. 12, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Voter Registration Book Closes – Closed Aug. 14

* Early Voting (primary election) -Sept 5-9;

– Lee County Elections Cape Coral Branch Office, 1031 S.E. 9th Place Unit 3

– Cape Coral Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace

– GENERAL, Nov. 7, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Voter Registration Book Closes, Oct. 10

* Early Voting (general election), Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 1-4

– Lee County Elections Cape Coral Branch Office, 1031 S.E. 9th Place Unit 3

– Cape Coral Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace

– Voter registration:

Applications are available online at www.leeelections.com, at all Lee County libraries, and other locations including Cape Coral City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce at 2051 Cape Coral Parkway, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, and all Lee County Supervisor of Elections offices including the one in the Cape at 1031 S.E. 9th Place Unit 3 A full list is available at www.leeelections.com.