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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 12 years ago

Letters to the Editor


+ ‘Road to Prosperity’ editorial overstated Bush’s record
Dear Editor:
I enjoyed your essay on the “Road to Prosperity.” However, you might have overstated just a tad a few points concerning George Bush.

As I recall, Bush did not leave office until January 2009. Had the world ended in 2007, we all would have gone out with nice (but hardly bulging) portfolios and high-priced homes. Unfortunately, the Bush years were not over, and the recession was just beginning to hit.

As a result, the Bush years saw a decline in the Dow of about 2,721 points (from 11,497 to 8,776). So the “enriched school teachers and middle-class retirees” you cited in 2007 actually saw their nest eggs not only not grow in eight years but saw them go down 23%!

Compare this to the Clinton years, when the Dow climbed from 3,169 to 11,497 (growth of about 262%!). I will agree that during those years the school teachers and the retirees were “enriched” if they were invested in stocks.

As far as job growth, once again if 2007 had been the end for Bush, then he would have had a net growth in jobs that was not great but was not embarrassing. But, once again, he still had two years to go. By the end of his presidency, he had overseen an overall growth in employment of 2.24%, one of the lowest on record. Contrast that with Clinton who saw an employment growth of more than 19% in his eight years.

So to say that George Bush brought back prosperity seems to be reaching just a bit, wouldn’t you say? By the end of his presidency (remember, it was 2009), our entire economy was in chaos and on the brink of collapse. The recession that he and his team had been denying was in full force. And that’s without even mentioning the housing market.

By the way, Lyndon Johnson had a job growth of 20% during his presidency as well as a healthy increase in the S&P of 40%. So maybe he wasn’t a total stooge.

But, hey, as they say, never let the facts get in the way of a good story! Wouldn’t want to write that “The Road to Prosperity” actually led to a cliff.

Steve Del Viscio

Yes, you’re right. From 2007 on, George Bush II was an economic disaster. He caved to Congresses (Democrats and Republicans) that continued to spend beyond our means. Indeed, he wasn’t so swell on the spending side during both terms. But the facts of the overall message are still true: Tax-rate cuts stimulate the economy. Spending/borrowing beyond our means and government intervention do not. Oh, and let’s not forget, Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America made Bill Clinton’s batting average better than it would have been. — Ed.

+ Perception is reality to Key residents and voters
Dear Editor:
The 11th hour OMG Comprehensive Plan timeout recommended by some commissioners appears to the electorate, those who favor the Longboat Key Club project, to be a transparent ploy to derail the application. It appears the planning and zoning board couldn’t find enough excuses to turn down the applicant, so it bucked it to the commission, which also can’t find enough excuses, so let’s dust off the Comp Plan and create some!  

The commission has known this huge project was coming down the pike for a year and a half — plenty of time to revise the plan. Why now when a quality, $400 million improvement project is offered by the private sector during a deep recession that will benefit all citizens, businesses and tax coffers? It may be just the appearance of impropriety or incompetence, but perception is reality to voters.

Bob Gault
Longboat Key

+ Shouldn’t commissioners listen to the residents?
Dear Editor:
In today’s editorial, “Another moment of truth,” you state the following: “Lenobel won’t let the elections change his vote. He does what he believes is right, not what’s popular. Approving the Key Club is more important than re-election.” Are you suggesting that the residents (the voters) will not re-elect him if he votes to approve the Longboat Key Club proposal? Doesn’t he and the other commissioners represent the residents? Shouldn’t he and the other commissioners listen to their constituents?

Ray Rajewski

Longboat Key

+ There should be no zoning code changes for the Key Club
Dear Editor:
We do not believe there should be changes in the zoning code. A massive group of buildings along Longboat Club Road is not what we expected when we bought our condo. We always loved our area because of the open spaces, which did not remind us of the East Coast of Florida.

When the club has held large functions, there has always been a traffic problem. If all these buildings go up, along with the “meeting center,” it will compound the problem; the whole Key will be affected.

With a project this size, both sides should sit down and try to work out a compromise rather than Loeb saying it’s its way or nothing.

Judi and Charles Stern
Longboat Key

+ The Longboat Key Club and the town must go forward
Dear Editor:
I would like to express my support of the proposed development at the Longboat Key Club. I have been a regular visitor and member of the Key Club for about 15 years. The owners of the condos behind the gate see themselves as “well, we have ours, so we are not concerned about yours.”

My opinion is that the infusion of the amount of capital Loeb is proposing would be positive in every way with regard to the overall financial health of the Key. Businesses have closed; others are trying to survive.
Bringing additional tourists in exposes this area to future owners and customers. If you are not going forward, you generally are slipping backward.

Jim Kelly

+ Commission meeting courtesies were not apparent
Dear Editor:
At its Jan. 4 meeting, the Town Commission voted to approve the construction of the Christ Church of Longboat Key, a huge project at 6400 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

I attended the meeting as an independent videographer. Here is what my camera saw.

After a lengthy, two-hour presentation by the church spokesmen, minister, architect, engineer and others from the town planning department, it came time in the meeting when the community is allowed to speak.

Though the church spokesmen had unlimited time to present its proposal, Jules Rauch, chairman of the Sleepy Lagoon Homeowners Committee, had to practically beg to get more than three minutes to present some 150 homeowners’ grave concerns about some aspects of the church construction  plan.

Several residents yielded their time to give Mr. Rauch a few more precious moments on the floor, during which the commission listened with pretty much a deaf ear. (The one exception was Mayor Lee Rothenberg, who seemed to be listening.)

Their minds were made up and the hour was getting late.

Other residents passionately expressed their concerns about the project. Mostly, the neighborhood is worried about parking congestion on those small, quiet streets, and the grave issue of drainage of storm water.

On the drainage issue, the homeowners believe the church’s plan is unsafe and unhealthy to the environment and to children. But they didn’t just complain. They offered a viable, workable alternative to which the commissioners barely paid attention.

When the homeowners stood to speak, they took care to preface their comments by saying they were happy to have the church and welcomed them into the neighborhood.

When they expressed their concerns about the project, church members in the audience nudged each other, rolled their eyes, groaned. When it wasn’t their turn, they were stunningly rude.

Mayor Rothenberg tried to steer the commission to take some more time to explore the concerns that had been raised, but they rushed to a vote, which was of course in favor of the church project.

It would seem to me that a church building a new sanctuary in an established community would be deeply concerned about the effect of its actions on the neighbors. And that the town government would act to protect the lives and well-being of the neighborhood.

My camera saw none of this.

Diane Mason

Longboat Key

+ What motivations are behind comprehensive-plan tactics?
Dear Editor:
I attended the Longboat Key Club expansion hearing before the commissioners Friday, Jan. 8. I was appalled at the way these elderly gentlemen handled this hearing. They did not seem to understand nor fully grasp what is in the Comprehensive Plan.

Even Commissioner Hal Lenobel brought up the subject of making changes to the plan and doing it before even allowing the club to present its case at this late stage of the game. 

The club has spent thousands of hours at considerable expense to get its application approved by the zoning board, and the contents of the application had to comply with the plan in the first place.  Now the commissioners want to revisit the plan and change it. These delay tactics makes one wonder what their true motives are, especially since there is an election coming up soon.

After listening to Mayor Lee Rothenberg, I decided he should not be re-elected. I also strongly believe that there should be an age limit for those who want to become a commissioner.

It is frightening to me to see how these inept politicians locally and nationally are controlling us and running our lives.

Beverley Albertson

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