Gateway Sun

I mean… I guess it’s a free country and all that, so if you want to run for local political office, go for it.

But in reality there are some circumstances in which you’re just wasting everyone’s time — including your own — by running against a practically undefeatable opponent. (What up, Didio!)

So on that note, from what I hear there’s this person named Bill something who’s filed the necessary candidacy paperwork to take on Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass in the November 2018 elections.

The Gateway Sun is only even mentioning any of this because in addition to Mr. Pendergrass being the Chairman of Lee County’s Board of County Commissioners, Pendergrass is also the incumbent elected official for District 2 within Lee County, which includes the Gateway community.

And this new candidate apparently wants the job. Therefore we’re obligated to mention it. So, hi.

According to what Pendergrass told the News-Press, when Pendergrass and his obscure opponent had an in person meeting to discuss the upcoming election race, Bill repeatedly went out of his way to assure Pendergrass that Pendergrass would win.

While I’m sure Mr. Pendergrass appreciated the heads up about his inevitable victory, I’m not so sure it’s best campaign strategy to concede defeat – face-to-face, no less – mere moments after you’ve filed to run.

Alright, I’ve had my fun. Time to get serious.

Take a look at what’s been going on all around us.

New homes and commercial buildings are being built everywhere, and businesses are growing and moving to the area in droves. Forbes magazine even declared that the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area (both obviously in Lee County) was the fastest growing place in the United States in 2017.

While I’m sure Commissioner Pendergrass would cite water quality and other things among the county’s priorities, in my view Mr. Pendergrass’ main job is to do whatever he can to responsibly facilitate the increase of economic activity in Lee County.

Simply put: Job 1, 2 and 3 for the entire BOCC is managing growth in the local economy, in my opinion.

And Gateway’s Commissioner, Cecil Pendergrass, gets an A+ for that.

So if someone wants to explain to me what the new guy can do for us that our existing Commissioner can’t do, I’m willing to listen.

Maybe Bill will come out and let us know himself.

True, I may look at Bill like he has three heads (or at least one face) as he explains why he’ll be better for us than the person who currently holds the job, but I promise I will listen to him tell me why he deserves the gig.

To be plain, as Gateway’s representative at the county level, Mr. Pendergrass’ record speaks for itself. And speaking for myself … I just don’t think we need a change.

I mean I guess stranger things have happened in local politics. Bill might receive some unexpected union support or something along those lines to turn the District 2 race in to something other than a total blowout. But unless it somehow starts being a competitive race, we’re not really going to report much on the District 2 campaign beyond this piece that we reluctantly felt obligated to produce for Gateway residents.

Now, if a serious competitor comes along in the next week or two and announces a run against Pendgergrass then I reserve the right to change my mind. I want what’s best for Gateway, and if someone relevant comes along that can do a good job then that’s great!

But even if a competent political opponent emerges, I’m not going to suddenly ignore everything I’ve seen with my own eyes every single day for the past few years.

Look… The bottom line is that if Lee County was struggling we’d all be extremely quick to blame our elected leaders, wouldn’t we? I think that’s a fair statement.

But Lee County isn’t struggling – it’s booming.

So, applying the exact same logic of attacking failing policies, we must also give credit to the officials who have overseen the growth and the economic success the that Lee County is currently enjoying.

And Chairman Pendergrass – along with the rest of the Board of County Commissioners — have played a key role in our county’s recent success.

In the event you are interested in contacting the new District 2 candidate to find out more about him, according to Lee Elections he can be reached at his official email address of – and yes, this is true – stpaddyday@live.com.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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