“Indeed welcoming to actually have someone spend time to fully understand our critical issues and what needs to be improved in our community.
Your knowledge, experience and enthusiasm is just what we need as our next county commissioner.“
The Professional Firefighters of Naples Local 2174 formally endorses candidate Michelle McLeod as candidate for Collier County Commissioner, District Four. “While serving as a councilmember for the City of Naples, Ms. McLeod was a strong advocate for first responders and helped lead the effort in constructing the Naples Emergency Operation Center.
As a native to Southwest Florida, Local 2174 believes she will offer a fresh perspective that will advance and enhance the quality of life for Collier County’s residents.”
This letter serves as authorization for Michelle McLeod to utilize the endorsement of the Professional Firefighters of Naples Local 2174 to aid in her campaign.
We wish her all the best going forward!
President Chris Clissold
Professional Firefighters of Naples
Michelle McLeod won over the Marine Industries Association during their candidate forum by winning the straw poll.
McLeod knew their problems and shared examples of how to solve their issues based on past successes and ways to improve in the future.
The Marine Industries Association of Collier County Candidate Forum was held Wednesday, May 25th.
Many thanks to the residents of Brookside for hosting a Meet & Greet for me this past weekend. It was great sharing ideas and coming up with plans to address neighborhood issues. And a big thanks to Brookside resident, Frank Perrucci for his support.
“As a city council person, Michelle has proven herself to be very involved in improving water quality issues and waterway uses. I look forward to our continued efforts in improving the health and enjoyment of our waterways.”
I have yard signs for those who would like one. Let me know and I’ll drop one off for you.
Email Michelle: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note – Michelle McLeod is a committee member for the Collier Coalition for Healthy Minds. This is an unsolicited note Michelle received from a resident in Bayshore.
Who is invisible to you?
When we see painful things, or people we are unsure of, they can become invisible.
Take our homeless population, it is so easy to close our eyes to a homeless person.
Is that person panhandling really homeless?
If I give someone money, will they just spend it on drugs or alcohol?
Our unsureness is a green light to create an invisible shield around these people.
They are people, we must remember that.
I had a situation that I would like to share with you, so that you may lift the invisible shield, ask questions, look towards qualified resources to help those who in this present moment, for a variety of reasons, can no longer help themselves.
My husband and I walk the main road outside our neighborhood a few times a week. There has been a homeless gentleman who sits on the bus stop bench every day. There is a make shift “bed” behind the bushes next to the bench, this is where he spends his nights.
Every time we walked by and said hello, he would say hello, he never asked for a handout. Week after week, we saw this gentleman. We did not know if he had mental illness, addictions, or he just fell on hard times. We were unsure how to approach him, or if it was even safe to do so. What we did know is that our hearts were breaking for him and we had to try to help.
We have a very good, very connected county commissioner in our district, Michelle McLeod. She is always responsive, she actually calls you to hear your opinion. I reached out to her via email about our homeless gentleman. I made it clear he was not a nuisance, the police did not need to get involved, we just wanted to see what resources our county had available to help him. She immediately reached out to the homeless coalition who called me the same day as I wrote the email. I talked with Frank, told him what I knew about this man, and Frank said he would go into work early the next day so he could drive by and hopefully talk with him.
Michelle called me the following day to ensure me everyone was doing what they could to help. I talked with Frank a few days later who said he had spoken to this man and was keeping an eye on him.
A few weeks later my husband and I gave this man a gift certificate to a restaurant on the same street as the bus stop. We talked to him – he had been hit by a truck about 8 months ago and was in the hospital for 66 days. His name is Mike. He was embarrassed by his looks. He felt he was not good enough to sit outside at this restaurant. We told him he looked fine (and he did), but he could also walk up and order take out if he felt more comfortable.
Our daughter is a social worker who had worked at TMH where she was involved with a number of homeless cases. She advised that we could help him by getting Mike underwear, socks, T-Shirts, etc.
Here is where the Divine Timing comes in:
On Saturday I went to Walmart and purchased those items along with a toothbrush & tooth paste and some snacks. My husband got in his car and drove by his bus stop, but Mike was not there.
On Sunday, (Palm Sunday), we grabbed the Walmart bags and took our morning walk. Mike was not there on our way out. On our way back we saw him sitting on his bench. As we were about 10 feet from him a large, new truck pulled up, rolled down the window and called Mike over to talk.
My mom instincts went up – who was this person, friend or foe? We waited a minute or two, then Mike was grabbing the doorhandle of the truck. My husband stepped up and said, Mike wait, we have something for you. We handed him the bags and looked into the truck where an “earth angel” young man was sitting in the drivers seat. He said: I am taking him to Integrity House, we are a church and we purchase homes to help people like Mike have a second chance. (www.integrityhouses.org) He then said Mike just said to me, “but I don’t have any clothes or food”, and then you two hand him what he needs.
Our hearts soared, tears formed in our eyes. “our Mike”, was going to sleep in a bed, he was going to be able to use a flushing toilet, things we take for granted. Mike was getting a second chance due to a chain of events that brought him out of the invisibleness of homelessness.
It was such divine timing that we were all there at the same time. We were able to give Mike what he felt he needed to be worthy of going to this house. We were able to learn about Integrity House and know where Mike went, rather than look for him day after day wondering what happened to him. What are the odds of that? Divine Timing.
We walked home with our hearts full. We want to share this story so you too can be part of change, however big or small your part is. People are good. Change can happen. Second chances are there for everyone.
Look everyone in the eye, smile at them. They are someone’s child, maybe someone’s mother or father, or brother or sister. They are someone.
The ripple affect is a very powerful thing.
Where will your ripple lead to?
Here’s and unsolicited response from an attendee
You hit it out of the park today at the event at the Isles— articulate, prepared… I could go on.
Jill Johnson, Isles of Collier resident
The audience was greeted by an array of croissant sandwiches, fruit and cheeses as the Candidate Forum for Isles of Collier Preserve began. Most audience participants were unfamiliar with the candidates, so this gave them a great opportunity to meet the candidates for the first time.
Jacob Winge, president of the East Naples Civic and Commerce, moderated the panel with questions specifically design for this audience.
Questions included affordable housing and proper location, preserving green space, enhancing Sugden Park, traffic congestion on 41 and ways to relieve it, methods to encourage developers to build desired outcomes, and more.
It was obvious Michelle McLeod had done her homework and answered with sound facts and methods to solve the problems the community faces, while her panel counter parts were left with short answers that guessed at what could be done. Incumbent Commissioner Penny Taylor primarily restated historical problems and why solutions would be hard to come by.
It was obvious McLeod was reaching the audience as attendees nodded and whispered to each other giving “thumbs up” signs as they listened to solutions provided by McLeod.
Here is just one example of McLeod’s responses to the question: What would you do to remedy traffic issues on US 41 here in East Naples?
Here’s what we know about traffic…
- Traffic has direct correlations to a variety of different factors.
- One factor is the economy. When the economy is doing well, traffic is up.
- Another factor is growth. When growth occurs, traffic increases.
- Another factor is special events. The more special events we have, the more traffic we will have.
These are just a few factors that directly affect our traffic counts.
- Our current seasonal traffic counts have not yet hit our peak in 2005 but they are getting close. Current counts shows that there are 7000 more cars in a 24-hour period crossing the Gordon River Bridge than in the last 5 years. As a point of reference, we are still shy 5000 more cars from our peak.
How can we best mange traffic: There is lots we can do. Strategically we can…
- Encourage green space over commercial or housing projects whenever possible.
- When green space is not an option, encourage mix use development which encourages people to walk to grocery stores, restaurants, parks, etc. instead of driving to these areas.
- We can create more live/work environments to lessen traffic. This is a big one.
- We can support the Complete Streets model to encourage non-motorized transportation with walking and bike paths.
- We can better manage special events to avoid overbookings on a particular day and area.
- Though US 41 is a state road mandated by FDOT, we do have the ability to synchronize traffic lights. There’s new traffic controlling software available that better calculates optimal flows of traffic so it would be in our best interest to invest in these types of programs.
- We need to assure that developments that are being built out east are self-sustaining to help minimize the need for those residents to travel into town.
- Then there is always the option of adding an additional travel lane on the east trail. When 20,000 more cars are traveling on a roadway that triggers the ability to add an additional traffic lane. In most areas on the east trail there is enough right away to add this.
Of course, there were more questions before and after that, but this provides an example of how McLeod answered each question. Great job Michelle!
The goal of Women’s History Month is to recognize the impact that women have locally, nationally and internationally. ULI Southwest Florida showcased some outstanding women leaders this month. Michelle is one of those leaders.
If I could do it all over again, I would have been an urban planner. Having served as an elected official in a capacity of making land development decisions I have come to love all that goes into it… zoning and rezoning, growth management and comprehensive plans, formulating policies, reading and deciphering codes and ordinances, details of PUDs and PDs, and everything else involved in land development.
Because of the amazing experience I had on the Naples City Council, I am now running for Collier County Commissioner, District 4 to take my land development experience to a county level.
What woman inspires you and why?
Women who inspire me are women who take big, bold steps in initiating big ideas like Kristen Coury. After moving to Naples from New York City in 2004, Kristen started Gulfshore Playhouse which is a huge success in our community. Part 2 of her dream is bringing a state-of-the-art Theatre and Education Center to Naples which is well on its way of coming to fruition.
What advice (professional or personal) would you give to your younger self?
The advice I would have given my younger self would have been to:
- Get involved in Toastmaster early on and stay involved in it.
- Don’t be afraid to sit at the head of the table in the dining room, boardroom, or any other room.
- Acknowledge that your learning style is different than others and embrace it.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. Think of yourself as a work in progress.
What lead you to your career in real estate development/land use?
I started volunteering and serving on community and government advisory boards which led me to run for the Naples City Council where I had the honor and privilege of making significant land development decisions for the City of Naples.
March 8th will now be recognized as “International Women’s Day in Collier County” as proclaimed by the Collier Board of County Commissioners to highlight the work the Women’s Foundation of Collier County accomplishes to benefit women and girls in our community! The proclamation, sponsored by County Commissioner Andy Solis, acknowledges how WFCC positively impacts the lives of women and girls in Collier County through grant making, advocacy, and education efforts.
International Women’s Day has been observed since 1911 as a day to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements.
P R O C L A M A T I O N
WHEREAS, International Women’s Day has been observed since 1911 as a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women; and
WHEREAS, the Women’s Foundation of Collier County serves as a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls in Collier; and
WHEREAS, Aims to meet the current needs of senior women in our community assisting homeless senior women in need and address isolation concerns; and
WHEREAS, Empowers young women and girls to meet their full potential through scholarships, mentorships and career development; and
WHEREAS, Recognizes the important role women play in Collier Country through its Women of Initiative awards, which honor local women leaders who are an inspiration to women seeking to make a difference through philanthropy and civic engagement; and
WHEREAS, Women account for more than 50% of Collier County’s population, and there are women serving locally in leadership positions, inspiring the continued work in advancing opportunities for women and girls of all backgrounds
NOW THEREFORE, be it proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners of Collier County, Florida, that March 8 be designated as
International Women’s Day in Collier County
DONE AND ORDERED THIS 8th Day of March
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
COLLIER COUNTY, FLORIDA