As Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation says, “unlike development practices of 100 years ago, development today can happen in an environmentally sensitive way. Development and the environment can coexist.”
I agree with this concept and support smart growth policies that protect private property rights while also being sensitive to the environment.
The most beneficial and best use of land should be a top consideration when making land development policies. These policies should consider things such as ample green space, minimal impacts on the environment, consolidation of resources, and minimizing traffic.
As a native Floridian and avid outdoors person, water quality has always been a top-of-mind issue to me. I grew up on the water… swimming, boating, and skiing. I want all to enjoy the wonders and beauty of our waterways. That is why I support the acceleration of water quality initiatives that keep pollutants from entering our waterways. Initiatives such as:
- Funding of septic to sewer projects
- Diverting fresh water from the Golden Gate canal away from Naples Bay to prevent adverse effects to proper salinity levels.
- Planting draught resistant plants and trees to save water and reduce runoff
- Storm water improvement projects and updating land codes to reduce runoff
One such initiative I personally brought to the City of Naples was the introduction of the BioGrow product in 2018. This was the first ever organic, completely natural fertilizer used in the City of Naples.
With decades of business experience in Collier County, I have always struggled to find talented, innovative, and problem-solving employees. That is why I strongly support the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and its legislative priorities for workforce education programs, training, internships, and apprenticeships. These initiatives can draw highly competent, competitive, and job-seeking individuals to our businesses and nonprofit organizations.
To address mental health and substance use disorders, I was a part of the Collier County Ad Hoc committee that created the first-ever 5-year strategic plan to address these issues in our county. The strategic plan includes the following six priorities:
- Building a centralized receiving facility
- Housing and supportive services
- Increasing the effectiveness of the court system
- Collaborative data reporting
- Improving non-emergency Baker Act and Marchman Act transportation
- Prevention, education and advocacy.
I am now actively involved with the Collier Coalition for Healthy Minds nonprofit group committed to implementing this strategic plan. I will continue to do whatever I can to help individuals and families who are struggling with these heartbreaking and life-threatening illnesses.
I maintain the core belief that everything important starts at home. Having a safe, healthy and structurally secure home helps build strong and healthy individuals and families. And these homes must be affordable to help ease stressful, financial struggles.
Government has the tools to help encourage housing that is sound and affordable. I support policies that create housing solutions such as land development incentives, funding for land trust programs, community assistance programs, and strict use of the state’s Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
First and foremost, Collier County needs an economic plan that includes long-range planning for smart growth sustainability. This plan should:
- Entice companies to bring high wage jobs to our area
- Appeal to young professionals
- Diversify the economy
- Create self-sustaining communities
- Support small businesses
- Make available useful resources, be it human or product.
- Utilize asset-based community resources focusing on social capital.
Once established, the county should use this plan as a working document in policy making to ensure that the county’s economic sustainability is a top priority.
I was fortunate to serve on the Naples City Council from 2016 to 2020. In those years, I helped lead the efforts of three significant landmark projects.
- Design and construction of Baker Park
- Reconstruction of the Naples City Dock
- Construction of the City’s Emergency Operation Center
All three of these projects were started and completed within my term, all under budget.
In the county, I have been concerned with the excessive spending that is occurring on landmark projects like what we are seeing the Paradise Sports Complex which is currently $67 million over budget. Budgeting for a project and sticking to that budget is a fiduciary responsibility of an elected official to its tax payers. I have a proven track record of managing projects on time and in budget which I will bring to the county level.
I encourage those who can get vaccinations to get them. And I encourage all to wear masks if they are inclined to do so.
However, I do not support vaccine nor mask mandates.
After the Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting, the state created an initiative towards a school safety mandate allocating $3 million toward placing a sworn deputy in every public and charter school. This initiative is in the 4th and final year of its funding.
The safety of our children and teachers should always be a priority. I will work hard to lobby our legislators to re-fund this school safety initiative. The refunding of this initiative will also have the benefit of saving a significant amount of dollars to Collier County tax payers.
In 1969, the Florida Legislature, at the request of the City of Naples, created the Naples Airport Authority (NAA) who operates the airport today. The NAA is under a 99-year lease with just under 50 years remaining in the lease.
Aircraft noise emissions are categorized in stages by the FAA with Stage 1 being the loudest and Stage 5 being the newest and quietest.
More than twenty years ago, the Naples Airport Authority banned Stage 1 and Stage 2 aircraft from the Naples Airport leading to multiple lawsuits seeking to overturn the ban.
The courts ruled in favor of the NAA and Naples became the only airport to successfully ban a category of aircraft.
Today, 86% of the aircraft operating at the Naples Airport meet Stage 4 or 5 standards.
Currently, the Naples Airport Authority is conducting $1.7 million Parts 150 Noise Study to evaluate opportunities to address community concerns regarding noise exposure. This study is expected to be completed towards the end of 2022. From there, recommendations to address these concerns will be made to the FAA for their consideration. The study is critical considering all matters of airspace including flights paths, altitudes, the timing and frequency of flights and curfews are solely under the jurisdiction of the FAA.
Recent surveys of passengers show that over 80% of passengers who travel in and out of the Naples Airport own homes in Collier County.
As an elected official, one of the most important responsibilities you have is to protect the health and safety of the residents you serve. This is first and foremost. Heart disease is the #1 killer in America. Tearing down the Telford building and building a five-story state-of-the-art Heart, Vascular, and Stroke Institute on NCH’s downtown campus is absolutely the right thing to do. This is the time to make an allowance for height… to save lives. When seconds count, these facilities will be a tremendous benefit for all residents in District 4.