Fort Myers Beach often seems stuck in one of a series of conflicts, based on the latest controversy before the town council. I don’t want to discuss any of these specific issues. Rather, I am most concerned about a problem which overarches all of the others. We, as a town, seem to be divided into two camps: residents and businesses. Our council makeup swings from a majority on one side to the other. This continuous pendulum action results in wasting time over each side’s agenda of pet peeves. If you are also concerned about the wastefulness of this continuous drama, I ask for your support in minimizing it. I can see that both the residents and businesses have legitimate concerns and, especially since they often overlap, we need to address them by balancing the interests of both. In order to promote commonality, I avoid and discourage extreme positions, and I do not believe that compromise is a dirty word.
During my life I have always tried to support the best candidate, regardless of party affiliation. In addition, I spent 19 years on the bench conducting trials. On the bench, one learns very quickly to wait to hear both sides before forming an opinion. Of course, I also learned that having a trial was usually not best for either party. Before trial, if each side would try to give some ground to the other, a settlement would often be reached which was a far better outcome (and much less expensive in time and treasure). Having been immersed in such a system, I emerged with an outlook that moves me to try to achieve a balanced outcome to disagreement. On our town council, I would do my best to facilitate this approach and encourage it with my fellow council members.
We need the council members to prioritize the issues of utmost importance, deal with them and not be distracted by minor issues or pettiness. Inevitably, the council will be faced with issues that divide it. In that moment every member needs to take a deep breath and search for common ground.
By Rexann Hosafros
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