+ PIC has lost its way
I am a long-standing member of the Longboat Key Public Interest Committee. When I first joined PIC, it was an organization devoted to protecting the interests of Longboat Key residents. In recent years, I believe it has become a voice for commercial/development interests both on and off the island. As I see it, PIC would best be labeled as the “Chamber of Commerce Auxiliary.”
I have maintained my membership in PIC only because I hope someday to help return PIC to the “voice of the residents” that it was in its “glory days.” It’s not surprising that PIC’s membership has declined from around 600 at its peak to fewer than 100 paid memberships today.
I deeply resent PIC’s board continuing to represent its views as those of its members while not surveying its members on important issues in advance of its position statements. PIC’s board has never taken advantage of my longstanding offer to provide the survey research expertise required to conduct surveys of PIC’s members on important issues before the board takes a public stand on issues.
I am particularly offended that PIC’s board would place a “paid election letter” and a political advertisement in the Longboat Observer without consulting its members.
To claim that the commissioners did nothing wrong in dealing with the Longboat Key Club proposal is simply outrageous in view of the fact that one judge characterized their behavior as a “miscarriage of justice.”
On the other hand, in view of the fact that I predicted the board’s candidate endorsements the day that the incumbents announced their candidacy, I found the description of its deliberations quite humorous.
The PIC board must realize residents are gaining a better understanding of the fact that the only similarity between the “old” and the “new” PIC is the name. Eventually, receiving PIC’s endorsement will be the “kiss of death.”
John O. Summers
+ Response to PIC facts
I find it interesting that the Longboat Key Public Interest Committee is taking a financial stake in the town election by paying for a half-page ad and a paid election letter.
Because it seems to be a serious matter, I would like to clarify and refute some of the stated facts in PIC’s ad and letter.
Your paid advertisement trumpets: All town legal expenses associated with the club’s proposal were covered by the applicant. According to correspondence with the previous town finance director, as of the end of the year 2012, the town actually paid $224,176.71 in tax dollars for its dealing and involvement with the Key Club expansion program. This consisted of $159,190.32 to Town Attorney David Persson and $64,986.39 for “hearing expenses.”
This does not include payroll for staff or other in-house expenses incurred after the completion of the initial staff report. Staff was heavily involved during this period, as well.
On the matter of density, Ordinance 2012-08, states that now within the Key Club’s two planned unit developments, 1,884 additional units can be constructed therein at the whim of the Town Commission. And, how will that affect our traffic and town infrastructure?
In regard to the cost of beach renourishment, the commission is just kicking the can down the road. Do you know what the cost of beach maintenance have been since it was made the law of Longboat Key? The original mantra of “sand or seawalls?” has now become “sand AND permeable groins!”
In addition, the town’s “Vision Plan” was conjured up by a small group of people who have succeeded in occupying the body politic of our town.
It really is time for a change.