Monday, June 27, 2005

Letter to Council Member Bertolini

Council Member Bertolini:

My wife and I have been permanent residents of Cape Coral since 1998. We are not golfers, but we have enjoyed the beauty of the Cape Coral Golf & Tennis Resort since we first discovered it in 1997. We have enjoyed dining there and in recent years have even had Club Banquets and Luncheons there.

I am aware, from newspaper articles, that you, fellow Council Members and the Mayor were blindsided by these same newspaper articles. This is both inexcusable and unconscionable on the part of the City Manager. He is not an elected officer of this City. If he were, then he could be subject to recall. As an employee, he is subject to not only reprimand but also dismissal. I prefer dismissal because I cannot see how his "poor judgment" can be trusted in the future. How many other under-the-table deals has he been involved in these past years? We will never know but certainly can speculate and distrust his every action in the future. Is this a situation a city of 145,000 people should be in? I don't think so.

Superintendent Browder, the angel of the Lee County School Board, first threatens that the deal must go through, then in his normal slippery manner, speaks out of the other side of his mouth and states that "If this can't be a win-win for the citizens in the community, we won't do it". Yet he has already played games again with his $25k signature authority. He is the School Board's problem not the Council's but can the School Board take this land by eminent domain without Council approval? That point should be made public now not later.

I suggest that the City Council tell the School Board to rein in Browder by canceling the $24,999 contract. Then the Council or Mayor, not Stewart, enter into negotiations with The Golf Club owners for the City to purchase The Golf Club. The City to operate or lease the property for continued use as a golf course only.

I can understand the current owners desire to sell. Profit motive is not greed in the private sector. However, a city the size of Cape Coral should not expect to make a profit or even to regain expenses on recreational facilities.
Take funds from the CRA that wants to make us another Naples to help purchase the land. We are and will remain for years to come, a retirement area. With the cost of housing in Cape Coral rising exponentially, young families with children will soon become an endangered species. What happens then to the proposed five school complex in the middle of a residential area? Will the School District then be busing students in from the Northeast, Northwest and Fort Myers?

The timing of this power move by Browder is also questionable. Many residents have gone away for visits with families and friends in cooler climates as they do each year. In fact, my wife and I are leaving for Minnesota and Massachusetts on July 6th and won't be returning until Labor Day. We will not be able to attend forums, protest meetings or informational meetings on this or any other subject. We do want to go on record with you and the Council that we are strongly opposed to the purchase of The Golf Club for any other use than as a golf course. We do not abut the Club property but we live near it and enjoy its' presence.

John A. and Barbara E. FitzGerald
1109 SE 40th Street, Unit 101
Cape Coral, FL 33904
(239) 945-3459