By Ralph Piening for Island Eye News
It is with excitement that I announce I am running for a seat on the IOP city council. My wife and I have lived at 246 Forest Trail for 18 years and we want to make sure the island maintains its residential character and city council always puts the interests of residents above those of investors and developers who see the IOP as the last beach area East of the Cooper left to invade.
My platform of Put Residents First! has 5 specific goals:
- Daytripper parking only on the beach side of Ocean and Palm Blvds. The current parking plan is unsafe for visitors and problematic for the city’s public safety personnel on busy summer days.
- No more money for the marina until there is a plan in place to ensure residents always get priority. We, the residents, own the marina. We should always get priority in slips and trailer parking.
- More transparency in city government by posting the minutes of meetings within 3 business days. Currently, minutes are not posted until after they are approved by council. This can take 1-2 months and this is not transparency.
- No further development in Wild Dunes by the resort owner. Wild Dunes does not need more traffic or higher density.
- Closer oversight by the city of all the new massive houses being built. We need to make sure all new construction meets our city ordinances.
The details and the ideas behind each of these goals can by found at my website www.iopobserver.com
Like every candidate running I am for fiscal responsibility, protecting the environment, making government transparent and listening to the residents. These are all important, but without specifics they don’t tell you much. I will put the cheese on the cracker!
I was honored and humbled to serve on city council from 2008 -12 and during that time the budget increased by only 5.5%. Since leaving council the budget has increased 32.4%. Details can again be found on my website, but note the budget wildly outpaces inflation that is running at less than 2% a year. We capped new rental licenses at 12 people in order to maintain the residential integrity of the neighborhoods. And, yes, the investor class was not happy, but this was a big step forward.
The IOP has the absolute best employees anywhere. These folks really care about us and are always available to help anyone. We need to make sure they are appropriately compensated.
By way of background I am a board certified internal medicine physician who specializes in geriatrics. This is a profession where I spend most of my day listening. I would be happy to listen to you, too. Call me at 885-0907 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would appreciate your vote in November.