+ We question the Town Commission’s dealing with the Key Club
Dear Commissioners Spoll, Larson, Younger and Siekmann:
I am shocked and appalled after reading a report of the Town Commission's proceedings in the Longboat Observer online. Whatever were/are you thinking?
Perhaps you were not truly hearing either the Key Club when they said that the proposal you approved was not financially feasible or hearing (what appears to me to be) a clear message voters sent in the last election. Perhaps you are not savvy enough to understand how the world works, or you think your position entitles you to become a business adviser/kibitzer. Perhaps you are not personally comfortable to vote for a proposal with a small, well-organized and vocal minority of the community opposed. No matter.
What kind of a rinky-dink operation floats an unheard of proposal and brings it to a vote at first blush — over the objections of the business who would implement it? In my opinion, bringing a surprise proposal developed by a town employee to a vote within moments of its introduction calls into question whether the council has been acting in good faith when dealing with the Key Club over the last years. At the least, it is breathtaking incompetence.
My view is that your action seriously calls into question your ability to serve responsibly and, sadly, your political future.
Donn Osmon and Barbara Nelson
+ The weight of this decision sits on the commission’s shoulders
First, I would like to thank you, Commissioner (Jim) Brown, for being the lone vote for the proposal that the Longboat Key Club brought back to the table after a weekend of furious work and compromise.
That said, it was apparent by Bob White’s request today to move the project over to Harbourside that there will be no satisfying him or his group. One would have thought that you all could have figured that out when he proposed to have the sandbar at New Pass removed. He does not speak for the majority of this island, but somehow he carries enough weight to keep you from approving the project.
Much has been said about Commissioner (Lynn) Larson’s vote in the final few minutes of the meeting, but the writing was on the wall when six of you sided against the club earlier and Commissioner Brown was the only one who could see the big picture. I think we were all shocked and dismayed to witness the continued moving of buildings and the Chicago-style politics including financial blackmail being practiced right in front of us. It is doubtful that the Hilton, Publix or any other business would now want to even attempt to do any type of development in Longboat Key. Who could blame them?
I will never be able to understand what happens to you intelligent and seemingly caring people once you get elected to the Town Commission of Longboat Key. We do not elect you because you were once, in a former life, a doctor or a town planner, or a land use attorney, or an architect, or a builder, or an airline pilot, or a developer, or a mayor, or a communications guru, or a CEO, or a newspaper editor, or a CIA operative or a hotel manager. We elect you because we believe you when you tell us that you have the best interests of the community as a whole in mind. We appreciate that you bring incredible experience to the table but we are not asking you to apply it literally. We expect you to respect the people who are today doing the jobs you once did. That is why they are the experts and you are retired. They are in touch with the way things work today, not they way they did back when you were doing their jobs.
Today was a very sad day. There was absolutely no leadership … ego and posturing were allowed to take center stage. You made no sense at all, acting as if this wA the first time you had been asked to think about the design of this project, moving buildings, stacking garages and just being obstructionists. Then, when you hastily decided to vote, no one in the audience understood what you were voting on and I have to wonder if you even understand what you did.
A leader would have realized that the project being discussed was not so insignificant that it should be hastily voted on so that you did not have to worry about Commissioner Hal Lenobel being able to return after lunch or whether you would be on time for a funeral. Both the condition of Commissioner Lenobel’s wife and the funeral service for Andy Cail could have been treated respectfully by simply requesting that the meeting be recessed at lunch and resumed on Wednesday or Thursday. What was the rush? Why were you so willing to just pull the plug on this project?
You have wasted the time of all of the citizens who have been coming to these hearings for years. You have wasted the time of the attorneys on both sides and you have caused incredible expense to be incurred by all the parties involved as well as the town. You have misled us, but shame on us for not paying attention. The fact that you still have not acted upon the Vision Plan was a huge red flag but we believed that you were so busy working on the project that you just had not gotten around to it. The truth is, you have no use for it. You have made a mockery of the voters who campaigned for you and believed that you would do the right thing. When all is said and done, no one will blame Bob White and his IPOC group or the Longboat Key Club for this failure to rejuvenate and revitalize Longboat Key. I hope that you all have very strong shoulders because the responsibility for this debacle sits squarely on them.
Former chairwoman of the Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key Chamber of Commerce and Realtor with Re/Max Excellence
+ Please do whatever is necessary to get the application right
You need to get this Key Club application right! Do what you have to do to correct this apparent commission blunder of great proportion. Your job was to vote up or down on the application as presented to you last Wednesday, June 9.
Project redesign is for their architects, not for you.
Extraction of dollars is not something you should press hard for. It is not right! Please do whatever is necessary to move this forward.
Time is rapidly running out for the applicant on this application.
Please get on with this.