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Carioscia kept Cape Coral moving forward

By Staff | Apr 1, 2021

When you’re running for the first time in a field of 19 candidates spread among four races, it’s hard to stand out.

Former Cape Coral council member John Carioscia — then District 2 candidate John Carioscia — had little difficulty doing just that back in 2011.

The election, as Cape elections are wont to be, was a tad contentious among some of the races, among some of the candidates and their supporters.

Positions were prepared.

Platforms were built and shared.

“Research,” of course, was conducted as it so often is in the blood sport we call Cape politics.

In Mr. Carioscia’s case, the intended body punch was delivered at a public candidate’s forum before a packed house.

Could Mr. Carioscia — a 38-year law enforcement professional who rose steadily through the ranks — explain a decades-old police scandal in which he was involved while on the force back in Chicago?

His response to his opponent was classic Carioscia.

Succinct. To the point. And polite. Very polite.

His answer: Right agency, wrong John Carioscia.

Knock-out without breaking a sweat.

Promising a different approach, the right Carioscia went on to win the seat and later re-election, serving for nine years total on Cape Coral City Council where he did much, said less, and was steadfastly professional throughout.

The Breeze endorsed him on these pages twice.

The first time was because we were “swayed by Mr. Carioscia’s positions on the issues, his high-road approach on the campaign trail, and his demonstrated courtesy in a variety of venues and forums.

“Plainly put,” we wrote, “Mr. Carioscia promises to effect change in both direction and in approach, and we welcome both.”

The Breeze endorsed him again in 2015 based on two things: his experience and his accomplishments.

“When he ran four years ago, Mr. Carioscia promised changes in approach and direction and he has achieved both, bringing civility and a willingness to listen to his post,” The Breeze endorsement states.

The accomplishments we listed? Councilmember Carioscia’s push for pension reforms that saved the city millions and his openness to new ideas, projects and proposals that not only helped bring the $10 million, 35,000-square-foot conference center to the Westin Resort at Tarpon Point, but also resulted in a county contribution of $500,000 to get Pelican Boulevard paved so the project could move forward.

Councilmember Carioscia summed up his political philosophy with a simple phrase: “Let’s keep the Cape moving forward!”

He worked toward that goal from the time he was elected until the time he was term-limited out in 2020. He supported the re-start of the city’s utility expansion plan when it was still controversial and he came out of the gate in an anti-development climate committed to the quest for more business and economic development to more equitably balance the tax burden between residential property owners and commercial enterprise.

And on the personal side?

You always knew where Councilmember Carioscia stood on the issues and, when there was disagreement, it was never personal, it was just business.

To sum up his nine-year tenure on City Council in a manner as succinct as his own, we will end with this: John Carioscia was never a politician.

He was, though, a man with at lot of love for his city and with that in his heart, he got things done.

Our condolences to his family and those who love him.

He will be missed.

— Breeze editorial