Sanibel Votes

Tuesday, March 3, 2009, was Voting Day on Sanibel Island. There were many issues involved and we hope to shed some light on them, along with the results, here at Ocean’s Reach Blog.

The first is a set of three questions that the Sanibel-Captiva chamber of Commerce posed to each of the candidates. You can view these questions by clicking HERE.

An advocate for preserving our preserved lands awaits voters on Sanibel. Read about the important wildlife preservation referendum that Sanibel voters weigh in on Tuesday. For the complete details read on.

This sign is located on the north side of Island Inn Road a half mile from Tarpon Bay Road. It marks the boundary of the Sanibel Gardens Preserve. The last sentence reads, “This preserve is dedicated to the citizens of Sanibel and their foresight in protecting and restoring the rare barrier island freshwater wetlands along the Sanibel River.” (The legend in the lower right corner of the map is covering a portion of the Bailey Tract).

The white circle (added to this photo) indicates the approximate location of the proposed dog park. The entire Sanibel Gardens Preserve was purchased using your tax dollars and restored with the funding assistance of SCCF, The City of Sanibel, The Dept. of Environmental Protection, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Partners for Fish and Wildlife.

On Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 you were being asked by a special interest group to vote “yes” to the permanent removal of acreage from within this preserve. In addition to this historic precedent, the traffic, noise, odor and chemicals of this dog park would negatively impact the Sanibel Gardens Preserve, the Malcolm Beattie Preserve, the Marie Fisher-Craig Tract and The Bailey Tract of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Preserve as well as the peaceful ambiance of Island Inn Road.

If these referenda pass, the voters of Sanibel will be handing over the use of 1.45 acres, free of charge, to a well-monied, well-organized Political Action Committee determined to take this acreage away from the creatures we purchased it for -the gopher tortoises, red-shouldered hawks, marsh rabbits, spartina grass, butterflies and countless others – and make it a county wide destination for pets.

Please understand that this area is neither a burn site nor a subdivision. IT IS A PRESERVE! Take a bike ride down Island Inn Road and read this sign for yourself. For the future of Sanibel and the dangerous precedent this will establish as well as for the wildlife we so love, please vote “NO” to both referenda on Tuesday. Then write or e-mail the City Council, SCCF and the City Manager’s Office and ask them to restore the former emergency burn site to its pre-hurricane condition and NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN!

Concerned Sanibel Residents.

Now the Results!

The headlines and following article as in all Island newspapers today reads

In Tuesday’s City Council election, a stunning 54 percent of island voters turned out and re-elected Mick Denham, Kevin Ruane and Marty Harrity following a heated campaign between the three incumbents and two challengers, Dr. David Berger and David Bath.

Denham, the city’s current mayor, received more than 27 percent (2,259 votes) of the total vote, followed by Ruane (nearly 23.5 percent, or 1,912 votes) and Harrity (20.6 percent, or 1,678 votes).

A former Planning Commissioner, Dr. Berger garnered almost 15.5 percent (1,254 votes) of the votes, followed by Bath’s 12.8 percent (1,042 votes).

In the two referendums proposed on the ballot, Sanibelians rejected an exchange of environmental lands swap for use as a dog park, with 52 percent – or 1,517 votes – against the idea.

Also, another referendum proposing an exchange of land owners in Sanibel Gardens was overwhelmingly approved at 69 percent (or 1,983 votes).