To the editor:
A few weeks ago, both local papers published a letter of mine in which I asked the six candidates running for the three seats on the local library board to answer three questions which would help me decide whom to vote for.
The questions were: How long have you had your library card; how often have you used the library, and what is your motivation for running for the board? My premise was that I believed the board should be made up of folks who wanted to further the mission and continued well-being of the library.
Obviously, the candidates had no obligation to respond just because I asked them to. I don't flatter myself that much. At the same time, it's a pretty good bet that their responses might just sway others to vote for them, so it was to their advantage to answer (unless, of course, it wasn't.)
The two incumbents running for re-election, Sallie Seabury and Lorrie Wolf, and Mary (Miffie) Greer, running for a vacated seat, all responded very directly. All three have had library cards for years and are regular users, visitors and volunteers at the library. They stated their motivation for running clearly, all wanting to be a part of the growth, health and community use of the facility, as well as its fiscal responsibility. Their passion for the mission of the library was very evident.
Candidate Peter Reid responded that he got his card about 15 years ago. He then directed his comment to me, "Your question infers that only holders of library cards have the right to be a library board candidate." Not only did I not infer that, I didn't even imply it. He inferred it erroneously. If he would visit the library's reference section, he could find a dictionary that would explain the difference between the two terms. He made no claim about having used the library. The rest of his response was a rant about another writer's letter in which he continued to imply wrongdoing on the part of the current board in budgeting and financing the library's expansion.
A third-person piece about candidate Bruce Butcher stated that he "is running to ensure the taxpayer is fairly represented and to assist in setting policy that best serves library customers and the taxpayers." There was no comment about how long he's been here, had a library card or used the facility.
To date, there has been no response from Jim Stevens to either publication concerning his candidacy.
It is worth noting that Messrs. Reid, Butcher and Stevens were all a part of a small coterie of residents who went to great length recently to try to thwart the library's expansion project. They sponsored a campaign alleging malfeasance and misappropriation of funds. At least a couple of official inquiries reported there was no such malfeasance.
To these gentlemen I offer a suggestion: Get over it! Your allegations proved groundless. You're not going to stop it. The building is completed, open and functioning. The philosopher George Santayana stated "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim."
One doesn't have to go back very far in the town's history to remember a time in which we had three angry men who ran for office with a common agenda and ended up doing substantial harm. We don't need a repeat of this.
I know how I'm going to vote.
Fort Myers Beach