Question of the Week, Week 11: Policies
Each week through the General Election, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response.
This week’s question is: What new policy(ies) should Council implement and/or what existing policy(ies) should Council modify or eliminate, if any?
In 2016 the Cape Coral council decided to reduce the number of city council meetings a month. I think we need to go back to meeting every week so that the length of the meetings are shorter, the ability of for our residents to address the council is increased, and the council can act faster on city business. We need to enact a code of conduct on the city council to ensure anyone elected does not abuse their power. We are elected by our residents and need to respect them. We should have no more abusive actions by our council members to our residents.
Because we are a rapidly growing city, that is spending millions of dollars on engineer work and design architecture for the ongoing UEP and other infrastructure projects, we should hire our own city engineer and design architect. Code enforcement needs to change to being proactive instead of reactive. Reactive damages the community by putting neighbor against neighbor. Businesses should have an appearance and exterior upkeep policy that is enforced. They are lowering the value of our city because they refuse to maintain the landscaping or even pick up trash. Our goal is to be a magnet for success!
There is already money set aside.
Council policies are very dated. Speakers at public input should never be berated by a Council Member. All speakers should receive some type of comment or direction regarding their topic from their District Member. Agendas need to be posted on time with no items added after being published.
Currently council is working on a code of conduct for all members. This code must have some rules that have penalties along with tools that will hold all members accountable for their behavior. Sanctions could include limited travel, committee positions etc. The number of any absences on votes should be a key issue as well.
A policy shift on how upcoming public meetings — especially Cape Coral City Council — are advertised with our local media. Currently, regular council meetings are posted on the city’s website. Only if there is a special meeting that did not originally appear on the city calendar or the public meetings to approve the budget is their notice given in the local newspapers. Those notices typically appear in the printed editions where circulation and reach is declining. Those notices are hard to find on digital platforms without multi-step searches. The city should work with the different media organizations to display all public city council meetings on digital platforms that are simple to find so that more people are reached about these important meetings.
Louis C. Navarra
New City Policies to Implement:
1. A policy setting up an independent committee to over see the Cape Coral Police Dept. for reform.
2. A policy to register “Vacation Rentals” since the State failed to take over regulation in 2020.
3. A policy set up review of all City Policies over a period of time (like Fla. Sunset law)
City Policies to Eliminate:
1. A policy abolishing the rule that a citizen in input time can not call out the name of the Council person.
2. A policy update on gift giving to a Council member or staff. Can be done in #3 above.
Council should implement a City Council Code of Conduct, along with back ground checks for all potential council members.
City Council should also consider implementing a policy whereby anyone running for a council seat should OWN and live in a residence within their district. Council members that vote on our ad valorem taxes should be the ones who are directly responsible for paying them.
Also, any investigations regarding high-ranking employees should be performed by an outside firm, not by our police department.
Jessica Cosden, incumbent
As blue-green algae has once again been found in Cape Coral, we need to revisit the enhanced fertilizer ordinance. This originally failed (4 to 4) last month. I supported the proposal, which was not out of the ordinary: 51 cities and 17 counties across Florida have similar laws in place. In Cape Coral, every drop of water runoff goes into the canals via our stormwater system. This law would have decreased the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering canals, protecting our waterways from algal blooms. Coincidentally, it was just days after this failed vote that we learned of blue-green algae in multiple landlocked Cape Coral canals. This policy would have a measurable impact on water quality.
Dr. Derrick Donnell
I strongly support continuous education and innovation. I look forward to working with the community and city employees to develop a new policy that provides continuous training opportunities for all employees. The objective is to provide continuous education that ensures that their skills are current and provides opportunities for their skill sets to improve. In addition, there will be a component that encourages and rewards innovations by those employees that save money for our citizens. I would like to see a policy modification that provides opportunities for citizens to have more access to all aspects of the bidding process as it relates to contracts.