LETTER TO EDITOR: Kudos to Chamber for Virtual Candidate Forum

The Santiva Chronicle publishes opinions and letters on topics that are important to Sanibel and Captiva. They may be submitted via e-mail at news@santivachronicle.com. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Santiva Chronicle.

Dear Ms. Hayes:

Today, the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce sponsored a virtual “town hall” Candidate Forum for the six candidates seeking election to the Sanibel City Council, in order to introduce themselves and to present their credentials and perspectives to Sanibel voters. Kudos to the Chamber of Commerce; the Forum was an invaluable opportunity for Sanibel residents to form an opinion on the choices available to them in the City Council election for the three open seats to be held on March 2, 2021. This election does not have an incumbent seeking reelection.

Each of the candidates was permitted to make a three minute introductory statement, and then to answer a series of six questions not previously reviewed by or submitted to them. Peter Busch, the NBC2 News anchor, acted as the moderator and had received these questions from Sanibel residents and businesses.

Each candidate was then permitted to make a one minute final summary statement. It is fair to say that there are at least several extremely well-qualified candidates with strong credentials who, if elected, will bring diversity and balance to the City Council, and who will be able to work collegiality and collaboratively with the continuing members of the Council.

However, I was shocked and dismayed to hear Jason Maughan’s final pitch for votes, seeking, in his own words, to be returned to “his seat” on the Council, and to remind voters that he had the “endorsement” of former mayor, Kevin Ruane. Jason’s concluding comments were as tone deaf today as they were last summer when, after losing a 3-1 Council vote to require facial coverings, he felt compelled to issue a Press Release reminding voters of his opposition to the decision, instead of withholding further public criticism of the decision and joining the majority in supporting it.

Perhaps Mr. Maughan was mistakenly thinking about an “endowed chair” named for an emeritus professor at a private college or university, rather than a seat on Sanibel’s City Council. It seems that Mr. Maughan needs to be reminded by Sanibel voters that there is no “Jason Maughan” seat to be filled this Spring (or at any future date), and that an endorsement from a former Mayor is not an appointment. Mr. Maughan has unsuccessfully run for higher office on two prior occasions. Sanibel deserves a City Council candidate who is fully committed to the Council, rather than someone with an as yet unfulfilled aspiration to leverage that position to an elective position that he feels is more important.

There will be two additional candidate forums; one sponsored by the League of Women Voters and one to be sponsored by Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Kind Regards,
Peter M. Gaines
Sanibel Resident

Comments (3)

  1. Interesting comments in today’s Chronicle. First Mr Nachef complimenting us on our efforts to control the virus on our islands by a mask mandate followed by a comment by Mayor Denham that it is a struggle to enforce the mask mandate with people who come from off island places were masks or social distancing are not required. Then Mr. Gaines reminds us that not only was Jason Maugham the only vote against instituting a mask mandate but that he took pride in being in opposition. He is probably part of the 10% of island residents who think wearing a mask is an imposition on their civil liberties. I hope that his position will adversely effect his re- election chances. Actually I’m sure it will.

  2. Deborah J. MacKelcan

    I fully agree with Peter Gaines with his reaction to the response of Jason Maughan . Maughan is not entitled to a seat on the Sanibel City Council. He did not respect the views of Sanibel citizens and repeatedly voted against the mask ordinance and other safe practices throughout is tenure.

  3. Yes – I too learned a lot from the Chamber’s virtual “Town Hall” Candidate Forum. In fact, as a result of this well-planned, well-produced event i now know exactly which 3 City Council candidates I shall vote for! This Chamber event turned out to be,real service to Sanibel voters, as such an event could not be held in a public place, due to the restrictions Covid has put on our lives. I shall look forward to the LWV and SCCF Candidate Forums in the next future, to affirm my choices for Sanibel City Council – in the comfort of my own home.

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