By law, we have to redistrict every ten years, and since Greater Pine Island has not grown as fast as other areas of Lee County, the size of District 1 (our district) must be redrawn to be made smaller. Our district presently includes all of Greater Pine Island, Sanibel, Captiva, North Cape Coral west of Burnt Store Road, and much of Southwest Cape Coral.
In my opinion, district boundaries don't mean much at the present time; however, if ever-recurring proposals for single-member districts becomes law, they would become extremely important. Under single-member districts, commissioners would be elected by only the voters in their district, and districts would start to compete for attention and money and services. (I'm not a supporter of single-member districts.)
Note that only alternatives 1, 4, and 5 are apparently still on the table. 2 and 3 have reportedly been eliminated.
Alternatives 4 and 5 are absolutely horrible for Pine Island in that we would lose Sanibel and become a part of a district entirely dominated by Cape Coral. Were single-member districts to become law, Pine Island would be the red-headed step-child because all but a handful of our district voters would live in Cape Coral.
Alternative 1 is little changed from the present district boundaries, and is by far the best of the proposed alternatives. We would lose North Cape Coral west of Burnt Store Road, which in my opinion is no big deal. However, we would also lose Matlacha Isles to a district dominated by Cape Coral.
Matalcha Isles has always been regarded as a part of Greater Pine Island and has always been covered by the Pine island Plan. Unfortunately, partly because it already has central sewer and other city utilities, it has also long been the number one target for annexation by Cape Coral. Inclusion in a commissioner district dominated by Cape Coral would make annexation easier.
In my opinion, our best course is to urge County Commissioner to adopt Alternative 1, but to also urge them to continue to include Matlacha Isles in our district.
I recommend that these redistricting proposals be reviewed and considered asap by the GPICA and other island civic associations and other groups, and that you make your views known to the county commissioners. I don't know when the commissioners will be voting on the redistricting boundaries, but it will probably be soon.
Please go to http://www.lee-county.com/gov/BoardofCountyCommissioners/Pages/Redistricting.aspx to review proposed redistricting boundaries for Lee County commissioner districts.
St James City, FL 33956