It’s a full moon this week. Normally we can tell that by watching the tides. But this week, we didn’t even need the tides or a clear night sky to know as it’s been a really strange week.
So far this week, we have been accused of being lazy, bought off, a bully and unethical. And I’m writing this on Wednesday. Holy Cow! I’ve been busy, it seems! There’s still a few days left this week, but we have a print deadline so we can’t wait. We’ll have to go with what is, not predictions. Speaking of predictions…
Some people, well one, at least, was pretty fired up about our light-hearted 2020 predictions printed last week. Fired up enough to shoot us an angry letter that he immediately shared with a statewide political blog using the tired, old flag of “Fake News.” His Guest Commentary is in this week’s paper.
“Fake News” – so often the implement of the desperate. No need to prove what is inaccurate, just smear everything that was said.
Fake News – Not
Opinions are not news. Predictions are not news. They are predictions, a guess as to what’s going to happen. We’ll take “Sense of Humor” for $200, Alex.
On the other hand, a potential (as of this writing) candidate for Town Council, Robert Burandt, willingly declared exactly where he stands on the Patton vs. Town of Fort Myers Beach lawsuit. Gotta love that kind of clarity for voters. That lawsuit continues to cost the taxpayers of Fort Myers Beach money. It’s lost twice, three times if you count the voluntary withdrawal of the civil lawsuit. The latest appeal to the Florida District Court is pending. With the obvious goal of delaying the development, there are surely additional appeals in the future. Some people don’t know when to quit, especially when it’s not their money paying the bills.
We have never disputed any citizen’s right to challenge any government action. We’ve considered a few ourselves. The flip side of that is that other citizens have the right to express an opinion on that challenge. Kind of sad that a lawyer would forget that part of it. See the First Amendment.
We’ve reported the progress of lawsuits filed to stop an action approved unanimously by our elected representatives and expressed our opinion. Newspapers have a right to an opinion, just like individual citizens do. First Amendment again. We will continue to publish the facts and our opinion, while we welcome other’s opinions, even those we disagree with.
As for the allegations, carefully worded as questions, that we have been bought off and that there is something nefarious in the financing of the TPI-FMB/Margaritaville Resort – there are absolutely no grounds to raise either question other than desperation to cast aspersions on the newspaper and the developer. Anyone who has proof of either one, bring it to us and we’ll print it.
Speaking of aspersions, how about that Christmas flyer filled with half-truths & outright lies about the new development, sent by an anonymous PAC? That thing had too many falsehoods to even begin correcting them, though our Mayor made an excellent effort last week in her Guest Commentary.
The simplest of research will find that TPI Hospitality and Tom Torgerson are known quantities in the hospitality business, with a public record of success going back 4 decades. If new developers are going to be challenged to open their finances to public scrutiny, I suggest we start with a few existing beach hoteliers doing the same. That would only be fair. But I don’t think fair is what the goal is here, is it?
As for us, no one has ever “bought us off.” Nor have we felt the need to “punish” any business that doesn’t advertise with us. That would be a special kind of stupid, which we are not. We have plenty of loyal advertisers who recognize the value of our print and online reach to both residents and visitors. They know our focus is entirely on Fort Myers Beach and that we print the truth and welcome all opinions, even those that unfairly attack us.
We’re reminded of the form of gaslighting where someone accuses you of doing something that they are doing themselves. Lots of examples of that these days in politics.
Bought off, nefarious financing, lying, bullying – now who might that apply to?
Missy Layfield, Editor
Bob Layfield, Publisher