Don’t be fooled.
The leadership of Alva Inc. (the organization supporting a high school being built in Alva instead of Gateway) are not some good ol’ down-to-earth folks just trying to have a reasonable discussion about the location of the next Lee County high school.
Far from it.
And I found that out on March 1 when Don Ruane, the main Alva Inc. spokesperson, sent me an email befitting a high school bully poking me in the chest saying ‘Listen here, little mister…’ as he rattled off a list of commands for me – each sentence containing the words “you will…” and then demanding that I do something that would directly benefit him.
Ruane’s email was followed up the next day by two additional emails from Ruby Daniels, the head of Alva Inc.
Both of Daniels’ emails had … and this is true … a subject line of: Crazy Gateway Parents
And now in a move being described as “shady” and “sleazy” on social media, Alva Inc. may be targeting households in Magnolia Lakes and Hampton Park in an apparent effort to replicate the Bonita school backlash in Gateway.
For those unfamiliar with what happened in Bonita Springs, the Lee County School District had announced a preferred site for its South Zone high school (officially designated as school “LLL”). But when an angry mob confronted the school board the district changed its mind and built school LLL at a different site further north in Bonita Springs.
Someone may be trying to generate a similar outcome by mailing pro-Alva letters to some Gateway residents.
The letters are so tacky that I felt compelled to reach out to Ruane to provide him with an opportunity to deny that his group sent the letters. Ruane replied “No comment”.
With that response from Ruane, and since the letters specifically state that they’re from Alva Inc., there is no reason not to believe that they are indeed from Alva Inc.
Ruane also has no problem intruding in to Gateway’s social media sites to spread the Alva message in an unwelcome manner, so it isn’t difficult to imagine that he would intrude in to Gateway’s mailboxes as well.
Although what is difficult to imagine … is any scenario where Ruane thought these letters would be a good idea.
The strategic reason for mailing them to people in Magnolia Lakes and Hampton Park would be that they are the two closest communities to the Gateway site and thus the most likely to have residents who would oppose the new school.
Everybody knows that there is nowhere else for the LCSD to build in Gateway. So, theoretically, if Gateway was eliminated from consideration by the district due to public backlash then Alva would be become the front-runner for school “MMM”.
It’s really the only hope that supporters of the Alva site have at this point.
The Gateway site will score so far ahead of the Alva site in terms of population data and site readiness that some believe there was never any real chance that Alva would be chosen over Gateway. In fact engineering firm Johnson Controls have been out at the Gateway site multiple times in recent days with survey equipment and to inspect the existing water and sewage infrastructure, which we have been told is in great shape and fits the LCSD’s needs perfectly.
And if you compare the community support witnessed by the Construction Advisory Committee as they inspected each site, Gateway came out well ahead as well in that area too. Gateway supporters outnumbered Alva by about 103 to 4. In Alva, 12 protesters showed up to the CAC inspection compared with zero in Gateway.
But who’s counting?
Out of options and ideas, someone has apparently decided to attempt to manufacture anger in Gateway with a letter campaign. Letters purportedly from Alva Inc.
But so far the only anger generated by these “underhanded” letters has been toward Alva Inc. themselves.