On Wednesday, June 19, the Lee County Commissioners voted in favor of mining deregulation and amending the comprehensive plan to allow mining anywhere in Lee County. Women For a Better Lee released the following email discussing the events of the zoning hearing and how our County Commissioners continue to ignore public input and serve special interests.
Originally Released by Women For a Better Lee
Wednesday’s zoning hearing on expanding mining in the county not surprisingly resulted in the Board of County Commissioners voting to change the land use plan to allow mining anywhere in Lee. The 3-1 vote (with Commissioner Frank Mann the only dissenter) was predictable. But what the three tone-deaf Commissioners — Hamman, Pendergrass, and Manning — do not understand is that this is not about mining or wetlands protection or water quality, to name other issues now in the news.
This is about listening, understanding, negotiating. And it is also about trust, transparency and accountability on the part of our elected leaders.
Cecil Pendergrass continues to denigrate opponents (otherwise known as voters and taxpayers) and shows his obvious disdain for them: “You’ve got some people here because they got fired from the county, so they’re here with a vengeance against the county. You got people being political, you’ve got candidates here trying to get into office and trying to get support and trying to find a base, and I get that.” No, Cecil, you don’t get it. Questioning the motives of citizens who care about the environment, seek good governance and take the time to go downtown to express their concerns may make him feel better but it seriously erodes respect for both the office and the Commissioner himself. Shame on him.
Commissioner Hamman told with pride a story about how he has ‘stood up’ to the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL), which reaches 24,000 Lee County residents. Dismissing ECCL is a slap in the face to every individual who lives and votes in Estero and those community leaders who serve on the ECCL. And he is proud of not listening to constituents? Shame on him.
These hearings tell us what these Commissioners feel about public input — not much.
With the exception of Frank Mann, these men have forgotten whom they serve and whom they need to listen to. How much longer are we going to put up with this?
Over the summer, look for Commissioners Hamman and Pendergrass to show up at neighborhood gatherings and family barbecues. They’ll smile, shake hands, and be in lots of selfies, showing what great guys they are and hoping we will forget. But do not be fooled. For all the grinning and glad-handing, their votes consistently demonstrate that they favor the wants and needs of special interests, not the people of Lee County.
Three seats on the 5-member BoCC are up for election in 2020; the remaining two in 2022. The next 40 months will be critical.
Now is the time to be organizing, learning the issues, formulating our solutions. Join with us — spread the word about the shameful attitudes of our elected commissioners and their disdain for those they were elected to serve. Get others to join our mailing list so that we can speak up with a united voice and mobilize people when their votes are needed.
These Commissioners think we are going away. They should think again. They may have the special interest money, but we have the people. We must — and will — prevail.
We are fighting for nothing less than our future and that of our children.
Women For a Better Lee is a movement led by women and comprised of Lee County voters who seek good governance, smartly-planned growth and a more livable community.
Spread the word by sharing with your friends, family, and neighbors.