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Town Council candidate question of the week

February 6, 2020
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Fort Myers Beach voters will fill three Town Council seats on Tuesday, March 17. Seven candidates are seeking the available seats on the five-member elected board. The top three vote getters will fill seats to be vacated by Mayor Anita Cereceda and Councilmember Joanne Shamp, who are not running, as well as the seat currently held by incumbent Councilmember Bruce Butcher, who is seeking re-election.

Each week The Observer, will provide an issue-related "question of the week" to all candidates to help inform Beach voters.

What is your top priority for the town and how would you aid the town council in achieving this goal?

Article Photos

Dan Allers

Public safety, the intersection of street lighting, pedestrian crosswalks and safe haven trolley shelters is my number one issue. These are not independent issues. No one denies that street lighting on the island is insufficient and puts pedestrians and drivers at risk. If street lighting and crosswalk lighting is not in synch, light blindness again puts pedestrians at risk. Properly placed and equipped trolley shelters will encourage use of public transportation and lessens conflicts between pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The research has been done by consultants, advisory committees and the public. I will bring these groups together in an open transparent forum to validate the facts and arrive at a safe, affordable and actionable resolution.

Jim Atterholt

If we don't have clean water on and around our island, the talk of traffic, parking and lighting problems will mean very little. The red tide and blue green algae crisis in 2018 could easily happen again. Our state and federal governments have finally made real progress toward long-term solutions. However, the attention span of our government is short so we must keep the pressure on. I would like to put my extensive experience to use organizing the thousands of tourists and part-time residents who visit and love our island. This "Snowbird Advocacy Army" could ask their members of Congress back home to actively support the critical policies and funding that are just beginning to have a positive impact in our state.

Robert "Bob" Burandt

Traffic and parking, government light, beach re-nourishment, water quality, keeping the community safe and crime free. All of these are equally important to me and if elected I would use my prior years as a law enforcement officer and 35 years as an attorney to address these issues.

Bruce Butcher (Incumbent)

"The best small-town beach community: beautiful, enjoyable, unique."

This is the town council's vision statement.

The mission statement for council is: "We will protect and enhance our island community and its vibrant quality of life." My priority is focused on the realization of our vision statement.

As we make strategic decisions we need to refer back to our mission and vision. The council needs to reflect on our mission as we plan for the future. Our needs and wants can be extensive. So we prioritize to work towards our vision.

I played a significant part in developing our strategy in 2017. I am the only candidate that was part of that process. Branding is an extension of that process that enables a community to focus and pull together towards our vision.

Forrest Critser

I am for government lite. About five years ago I started to notice town hall. I saw confusion and disarray in council and the civil servants working there. I think what this town needs, no what we must have, is a council that works well with each other and the people. We must put forth a united front of governing for the betterment of our community.

David Drumm

There are many priority items such as street lighting, homelessness, traffic, and they are all priority items. I can help improve our response time to many of these issues. I believe we have hesitated frequently in decision making causing a bad situation to get worse. It will take all council members, working together and with greater involvement to address our many priority items.

Billy Veach

My main priority would be to preserve and protect our beaches and waters. They are critical to our health, our quality of life, and our businesses. I would do this through supporting solid science, and effectively communicating the importance of clean, healthy water and beaches to everyone who visits and lives on our island. I would continue our push for our island to lead by example, and actively support state and federal efforts to curb nutrient pollution. The memory of our recent red tide disaster will fade unless we work to keep it in the public eye. I will work on the new Town infrastructure projects and guiding redevelopment projects, but their benefits are lost without clean water.



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