Guest Commentary: Stop the Bullying

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In response to the Sand papers article (Crystal Ball & Tea Leaves; Top Ten Predictions for 2020,” Island Sand Paper, Jan 3, 2020) & their Guest Commentary I offer the following response and comments:

I have read the Sand Paper from its inception and have enjoyed reading the news and about current and upcoming events. However, lately the Paper appears to be more of a promotional advertisement for a certain development on Fort Myers Beach, and an avenue to criticize a certain individual who chose to challenge a decision of local government.

Every citizen in a free country has a right to challenge actions of government; I wonder what the Paper would do if the city council banned all news paper distribution on the Island? In addition, the Sand Paper continually publishes references to  the lawsuit as being “frivolous” which both the Circuit court and the Appellant Court have repudiated. In both jurisdictions the Court has determined that the action has merit and ordered the Town to respond, if requested I would be happy to send you copies of the Orders. If it was a “frivolous” lawsuit they would not have ordered the Town to respond, rather they would have simply dismissed the Petition.

Your constant harassment of someone who has the courage to challenge the town and a local business owner is nothing short of “bullying” and should cease and desist. This is exactly what we are trying to teach our children not to do. Your suggestion that certain candidates should be defeated before the election process begins is also not news.

Your motivation and intentions remain unclear, but I did notice that the certain business you refer to doesn’t appear to be advertising in your paper anymore, could that be the motive behind your insults? Has this new developer bought you out? Have you ever stopped to consider where the money is coming from to fund this project, that maybe a better story? I realize you are a historian and not a journalist however rampant disinformation, partisan news sources and social media’s tsunami of fake news is no basis on which to inform the Beach Residents in 2020.

I have represented the Owner of the Business you are referring to in your article and am close friends with the Owner and his family as are many other people both on and off the Island. He has done a lot more for the Beach than anyone else I can think of. I have also represented the Town of Fort Myers Beach and several residents and Beach Business in my almost  35 years of practicing law.

In my opinion, a newspaper should report the news to inform the public in hopes of bringing people together and not tear them apart. I look forward to reading the news in the future and hope that you look forward to writing the news and stop the bullying.

 

Robert “Bob” Burandt, Esq.

 

Editor’s Note: The author is on record in documents available from the Lee County Clerk of Court as participating plaintiff’s counsel in both legal actions taken by Chris Patton against the Town of Fort Myers Beach in regard to the approval of the downtown TPI-FMB, now Margaritaville FMB, proposed resort. At the time of publication, the author had opened a file with the Town Clerk to run for a Fort Myers Beach Town Council seat, but had not publicly announced his candidacy. The qualifying period closes at noon Friday, January 10, 2020.