Ber Stevenson: Candidate for Town Council

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My name is Ber Stevenson. Yes, “Ber” is spelled correctly. I am named after my Swedish grandfather, who was a well-known Chicago-area champion golfer who ultimately won the Dixie Amateur in Miami in 1928. It is pronounced, “bear”. I am 65 years of age.

I have lived in Fort Myers Beach for the past 15 years. I was born in Chicago and lived in Hinsdale, Illinois, until I was 13 years old, when I moved to Naples. I graduated from Naples High School in 1969 and from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, with a degree in University Studies in 1975 (studied the Human Settlement Theory under the auspices of Buckminster Fuller).

I was appointed by the City of Chicago as a Receiver for three years, responsible for administration of delinquent and derelict properties, which were deemed unsafe by the City, and preparation of those properties for restoration or demolition. I also earned my City of Chicago Contractor Certification.

I am running for the Fort Myers Beach Town Council because I truly care about the complicated issues and challenges that are currently before this community of 6,200-plus souls. I have lived in and loved this tiny little slip of an island for a decade and a half, and have seen the changes that have taken place in that time period.

The Island is now facing water quality issues relating to the Lake Okeechobee releases and subsequent repercussions on tourism caused by these releases; construction on our one main road for the next decade and traffic problems caused by this construction; and storm water management issues that need to be addressed and corrected to stop the dumping of untreated water into our bay, to name a few of the tasks before us as a community.

I want to utilize my administrative and urban development education and experience to chart a course for the next three years that will make sense for residents and local business owners alike. I will strive to maintain the unique character of our Island that draws visitors here all year long, as well as provide an atmosphere that will also draw business opportunities our way. To that end, I will work within the framework of our current Comprehensive Plan, as well as our current building and zoning codes.

(Ber Stevenson is a write-in candidate, whose name will not appear on the ballot. A space to write in his name will be provided on the ballot.)