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Shocked, dismayed by Maughan’s final pitch

By Staff | Jan 26, 2021

To the editor:

On Jan. 21, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce sponsored a virtual “town hall” Candidate Forum for the six candidates seeking election to the Sanibel City Council, in order to introduce themselves and to present their credentials and perspectives to Sanibel voters. Kudos to the chamber; the forum was an invaluable opportunity for Sanibel residents to form an opinion on the choices available to them in the city council election for the three open seats to be held on March 2. This election does not have an incumbent seeking re-election. The forum was recorded and is available to be reviewed at https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/9jKiaM2MrNC_l7rpO3iOsL5I_m5yOmiKRl5TNgjbUQkzWzTnLJNs9m60v73uR_4.RP7BafTHd9-TX0uK and the access code is 2GR?Wxh1.

Each of the candidates was permitted to make a three-minute introductory statement, and then to answer a series of six questions not previously reviewed by or submitted to them. Peter Busch, the NBC2 News anchor, acted as the moderator and had received these questions from Sanibel residents and businesses.

Each candidate was then permitted to make a one-minute final summary statement. It is fair to say that there are at least several extremely well-qualified candidates with strong credentials who, if elected, will bring diversity and balance to the city council and will be able to work collegially and collaboratively with the continuing members of the council.

However, I was shocked and dismayed to hear Jason Maughan’s final pitch for votes, seeking — in his own words — to be returned to “his seat” on the council and to remind voters that he had the “endorsement” of former Mayor Kevin Ruane. Maughan’s concluding comments were as tone deaf today as they were last summer when, after losing a 3-1 council vote to require facial coverings, he felt compelled to issue a press release reminding voters of his opposition to the decision, instead of withholding further public criticism of the decision and joining the majority in supporting it.

Perhaps Maughan was mistakenly thinking about an “endowed chair” named for an emeritus professor at a private college or university, rather than a seat on the Sanibel City Council. It seems that Maughan needs to be reminded by Sanibel voters that there is no “Jason Maughan” seat to be filled this spring — or at any future date — and that an endorsement from a former mayor is not an appointment. Maughan has unsuccessfully run for higher office on two prior occasions. Sanibel deserves a city council candidate who is fully committed to the council, rather than someone with an as yet unfulfilled aspiration to leverage that position to an elective position that he feels is more important.

There will be two additional candidate forums: one sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Sanibel and one to be sponsored by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Peter M. Gaines