An Open Letter to Gulfport City Council

Frank Verdino

Council members,

Here is the link to the Fl Government website identifying the authorities who issue advisories concerning the consumption of fish. Since no one on council, in city government or any resident proposing this sign has so much as an associates degree in biology perhaps we should contact someone, like one of these agencies, who has the appropriate expertise to determine if any sign is appropriate and what it should say. Maybe council can than get back to running the city.

http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/health-disease/fish-consumption/

"For the most part, Florida's freshwater fishes are considered safe to eat. Fish consumption advisories are issued by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to assist anglers in making informed choices on selecting fish to eat from Florida waters." (I've also attached last year's report)

Since September of last year when council predicted such a dire economic outlook for our city not one idea has come from this council to mitigate the projected shortfall. I did however notice two of the incumbent council members willing to increase our utility tax 35% to raise $400,000 for a stormwater project despite last year vehemently opposing an additional 2.5% increase in water rates to pay for police dispatch services.

So let's drop the BS. Let the state handle the Bayou, it's not our jurisdiction. A durable power of attorney grants more rights than a domestic partner registry ever will, the smoking ban is unenforceable and will lose in court or the city attorney wouldn't be fighting so hard to keep it out of court. Yet, these are the things council has spent the last few months on. You only meet 3 times a month, most of you, and the city has limited staff. We have to prioritize our time and resources better. How will you explain to the residents what good all this will do if in two years the charter has to be dissolved for lack of revenue? Or will council be making another 11th hour decision on the budget like last year, cut another service the residents want, like last year and bring us one step closer to being part of the county or St. Petersburg, like last year. You've had seven months most of you, show us something.

I'm not going to stand up in council and read this, I don't like to hear the sound of my own voice that much and I'm not in to political theatrics. So I don't want to hear "things are run by those who show up", we pay you 5 to show up for us, that's your job. That's what it means to represent. If your going to run this city based on what a handful of people in the audience at a council meeting have to say, instead of talking to your neighbors (which is why we have a council member one from each ward) than let the audience run the city by direct democracy and y'all can go home and have dinner with your families which seems to be the priority with some of you anyway.

I'm sure the three issues I just mentioned will get you all votes with certain segments of the population, but they are meaningless in the big picture of a city facing a $1.6 million deficit. Everyone likes to talk about "tough decisions"., how about putting the economic future of Gulfport ahead of your own political ambitions? How's that for a tough one?