Letter to the editor: Mr. Perry responds …

To the Editor:

I’ve been part of the community on this island for 30 years. My wife for 50 years. I’m insulted that you apparently think I’m not part of it.


When I ran for a position on the GIBA board my platform was simple, don’t use the bridge as a gate. We tried that when we were about to raise the toll fee, discount the residents and raise the rates for everybody else. We were told by the State of Florida that this was illegal. We had to offer a reduced rate to everyone. I assume we will be told the same when we lie about weight limits.

Fact: The 40,000 pound weight limit is the limit on the old bridge. The new limit is 80,000 pounds. We were told if we paid for and new bridge it would have a higher limit. When I served on the community panel, we learned that one reason trucks come here at inopportune times, i.e. the middle of the day or late in the afternoon, is because of the bridge weight restrictions. We are usually last on the vendors route because the trucks are lighter by the time they get here. Bill Caldwell’s excellent presentation on traffic flow and productivity for the upcoming GIWA sewage treatment plant should have convinced a lot of people in that audience that we need to increase the limit. Instead another Boca Grande urban legend was born. The specter of tour buses.

What was your point in mentioning “the many residents who contribute their time, energy and money to the benefit of all residents and visitors to the island clinic, the Island school, the library and the many other organizations serve the needs of everyone who walks through the door, not just the so-called rich.” These organizations by their own charters are created to serve everyone. The school is a charter school; the clinic is a “old-fashioned doctor’s office;” Where else can you actually find a GP? The private library has now merged with the Lee County Library system, so of course it’s a public library. The bridge, by its charter, has to serve the public, too. It can’t be directed by a few of the public because they’re afraid of the rest of the public. I have said on these pages before, you’re not the only people who pay taxes on this island. And what makes you think your crowd are the only people who give their time and energy for the Island’s benefit?

I will agree with you that a lot of us have lived here comfortably with the way things are. But my eyes are open to a lot of people in this community who struggle to live here comfortably. Who struggle to run a business or even work here comfortably. They cater to our needs. Should we turn a blind eye to their’s?

To the rest of the urban legend gang, stop comparing Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island to Sanibel, Longboat Key and Bar Harbor. Sanibel and its 27 Hotels and 66 restaurants. Longboat Key, with The Long Boat Key Club and other high-rises. Bar Harbor with its countless hotels, cottages, campgrounds and cruise ship docks. Here’s an idea: Why don’t you curl up tonight with a copy of the Gasparilla Island Conservation District Act and see why Boca Grande will never become one of these destinations? You might also want to take a peek at the US & FL Constitutions.

Skip Perry,

member of the community and planet earth