Gateway Sun

You’ve read about them in this space for years, but now you’ll have the opportunity to meet them in person and ask them questions.

Four “Meet the Candidates” nights have been established for the (coincidentally) four people running for the Gateway District’s Board of Supervisors in November 2018.

Here’s the list of event dates and locations:

September 5 – Stoneybrook
September 12 – Pelican Preserve
September 24 – Daniel’s Preserve
September 27 – Gateway Greens

It is believed all of these events will be open to all residents, not just the residents of that specific community. However I will contact the HOAs of each of these communities to verify that, and report if any of the events are restricted to their own community’s residents.

The four candidates you’ll be meeting are Vice-Chairman Bill Guy and candidate Jim Brann who are running for Seat 4 on the board, as well as Supervisor Doug Banks and candidate Delores Linscott who are running for Seat 5.

As you might have guessed by their fancy titles, Guy and Banks are the two incumbents.

The first meeting is in Stoneybrook and begins at 7:00pm, which should be interesting since part of Linscott’s official campaign platform submitted to Lee Elections is to reduce the influence that Stoneybrook residents have on Gateway matters. What she didn’t put in writing is that there was a secret meeting of a Gateway Greens cabal who selected Linscott to run in the election on behalf of the secret group with the specific goal of putting Gateway Greens’ concerns above all other communities in Gateway. Like I said, that’s not in writing anywhere, but she did confirm all that to me over the phone.

And perhaps Brann can use the Stoneybrook meeting as an opportunity to give those in attendance the good news: From what we’ve heard, Brann and Stoneybrook HOA leader Joe Mikulka have also held secret discussions. In their case about some ways to lower Stoneybrook’s assessments and shifting those cost burdens on to the rest of Gateway residents. Feel free to ask Brann if that’s true or not. At one point Brann gave me a list of the discussions he’s had, and Mikulka’s name wasn’t on that list. On another note, Brann did a good job as a “middle man” – and I’m not using that term in a bad way – when it came time to get Hampton Park’s ponds transferred over to the Gateway District. A fight took place between the developer and Gateway, and Brann did an effective job to keep the two sides talking and eventually come to a resolution that benefited Gateway, the developer and Hampton Park.

Supervisor Banks is the lone candidate from Stoneybrook running in the 2018 elections. If I could ask him one very tough question that he must answer in public I would ask him what his long-term vision for the Lake Bank Restoration Project is. When push came to shove earlier this year, the other four Supervisors took firm positions (two in favor of all-out spending which would have cost every household in Gateway $4000-$5000, and two against all-out spending) while Banks sought middle ground. So that’s what I would do. I would ask him: What’s your position on a long-term plan for the Lake Bank Restoration Project? Because while Banks “kicking the can down the road” on pond spending was absolutely the right thing to do in THAT MOMENT back in March 2018, the district has time to regroup and re-think their strategy. So, I would like to know what is the strategy in Banks’ mind since he’s the Supervisor who typically seeks middle ground and has been the tie-break vote multiple times in the past.

Vice-Chairman Guy is the longest serving board member, and quite frankly it surprised me when he decided to seek another term. The great thing about Guy is that he’s the strongest board member when it comes to keeping Supervisor Ed Tinkle in his place. Guy lets Tinkle take the lead when the time is right, and also calls Tinkle out and shuts Tinkle down when necessary. The only thing I (personally) don’t like about Guy’s service on the board is that he voted in favor of making Gateway’s soccer field usage rates the highest in Lee County. Brann – Guy’s opponent – has also taken a terrible position on the soccer fields, so this is not a topic you can judge the Seat 4 election race on. But I’m just trying to think of something I didn’t like about Guy’s votes, and that’s what comes to mind. Other than that, Guy has been a friend to the people of Gateway through his service on the board. He voted to halt the all-out spending on the pond repairs, and of particular interest to Stoneybrook he tried his best to have the street parking issue resolved once and for all. Some other board members wanted their own opinion thrust on the people of Stoneybrook, Guy just wanted the issue RESOLVED and he didn’t seem to care which way the votes landed. He just wanted the issue done and over with. My tough question for Guy? There’s no doubt that Guy has worked with the board to accomplish quite a lot in Guy’s second term, but the general impression is that the board didn’t accomplish nearly as much during Guy’s first term. I would ask Guy to describe the difference between his first and second term, and what his vision for his potential third term would be. What does he want to get done between now and 2022?

So that’s what I would like to hear from all four candidates.

But over and above all else … what I would like to see … is Linscott and Brann to come out swinging. And I’ll tell you why.

You’ve obviously noticed our negative coverage of individual board members, but what you haven’t seen very much of lately is criticism of the Board of Supervisors as a whole. That’s because, despite petty antics from one Supervisor, the board has been extremely effective – especially these past few years.

Linscott and Brann need to step up to the plate and tell the people of Gateway why they need to become the decision-makers instead of Guy and Banks. Right now, I’m sorry, but neither Brann nor Linscott have made that case. So I’d like to see them explain why they’re the better option. And the good news for them is that they’re in the campaign and have the opportunity to make that case.

Conversely, if I’m Guy and Banks I just let my track record speak for itself. Okay, out of 15 or 20 major issues the Gateway CDD has taken on over the past few years, I’ve had a bone or two to pick with each of these men, and to be truthful I did so in private on the phone or via email. But out of the five member board featuring Chairman Margaret Fineberg, Guy, Banks, Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty and Tinkle, if I had to pick the two most sensible leaders out of the five it would actually be Guy and Banks.

So if we’re going to replace Guy with Brann, and replace Banks with Linscott and the Gateway Greens cabal, I’d like to know why that’s a good idea for Gateway.

Okay.

The latest Tinkle email.

For the past few months Tinkle has defamed and chastised the other Supervisors by telling people that the rest of the board members are morons, and telling (at least me) that they don’t prepare for meetings and just show up to collect their checks.

Tinkle has also manipulated the facts by creating the impression that the South Florida Water Management District had directed the Gateway CDD to spend untold MILLIONS on pond repairs. But when I did a public records request with the SFWMD, that proved to be false.

So it was the ultimate act of hypocrisy for Tinkle to craft an email in which he criticizes someone else for doing the very acts that Tinkle is guilty of himself. I found it rich in irony that Tinkle called for an end to the very acts he was guilty of, while criticizing SOMEONE ELSE for doing them rather than taking responsibility and apologizing for his own actions.

So, to all of Tinkle’s supporters, I ask you: You didn’t appreciate the way I spread Tinkle’s email. Got it. But what are your thoughts on Tinkle’s actions? Because I’ve heard you loud and clear about the way I’ve responded… but I must have missed the part where you held Tinkle to task for his unacceptable behavior.

Tinkle has created these problems for himself. Not just with me, but with the other Supervisors. Fineberg, Guy and Banks have all jacked Tinkle back at the meetings. But again, TINKLE was the instigator in each and every case.

If Tinkle wants to hold me to a higher standard than he holds himself to, that’s fine. But it’s not my fault this guy is trying to start a flame war with me.

And my platform and skills versus Tinkle’s … it’s not a fair fight, I get that. But how is it my fault that he’s trying to fight fire with an Easy Bake Oven lamp?

I’m not going to sit back and do nothing while he gets to do and say whatever he wants to whoever he wants. Sorry.

Lastly, Tinkle came out and “strongly endorsed” Brann and Linscott. I’ve tried to ask him one simple question: Why?

Tinkle owes it to the community to tell us why he’s throwing his fellow Supervisors under the bus and publicly endorsing their election challengers.

Of course, we already know the reason. It’s to gain control of the board. But that’s probably not what his official position will be, so I’d like him to go on record as to why he’s endorsing Brann and Linscott.

And while he’s at it, he should use his obvious email skills to publicly apologize to Fineberg, Guy, Banks, Flaherty and to Gateway itself.

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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