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January 25, 2017
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

To the editor:

The city council abandoned the March election on the community core project. A vote against the project could have permanently discouraged further consideration; by not submitting the proposal to a vote, they left the door open to another attempt at a future date.

This sorry episode made clear the councils support for the tourist industry over Sanibel's environment. Remember when the council was worried about algae and red tide? The mayor even scurried off to Washington to discuss water issues. One council member ran for Congress on the sole issue of water quality. By every criterion, wetlands are essential to diminish water pollution, but the council would have converted protected wetlands to parking lots, walkways and buildings.

Residents did not fall for the propaganda that the project was "for the community" and not to attract more tourists. Look at the December/January Coaste magazine, a publication for the tourist trade. The article on page 27 is about the marketing of Sanibel. The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau has a brand name for our island, "The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel." The bureau brags about "reaching out to the world to invite folks to visit." BIG ARTS, a primary backer of the project has advertisements in the magazine for seven events. The plans included a 500 plus car parking lot. That translates into at least a thousand people. Did BIG ARTS think they could fill a thousand seats, night after night with Sanibel residents? No, they want to attract thousands of tourists.

Citizens, don't forget this chicanery. Vote the rascals out at the next election for City Council.

John Raffensperger




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