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We cruisers continue to show tactical naivety regarding city politics.
Last night was the city council meeting. We believed that the anchoring rights issue would come up for a vote. Therefore we (others not me) did several things.
- One captain prepared a proposal on anchoring rights. Basically, he suggested taking the extensive areas which were to become "buffer zone" with anchoring prohibited, and change them to "managed anchoring area" with city marina authorized to set the rules. "buffer zone" and "managed area" both have defined meaning in Florida law.
- Another captain prepared a proposal on fees. He juggled the council's new and raised rates. He proposed a new annual rate for full time residents that had the same monthly cost as they paid before for anchoring. This would encourage them to move on to moorings. Some fees, including the monthly mooring fee that we pay, would increase. He also did a survey of dinghy dock fees from Annapolis, SC, and Florida showing that their new rates were out of the main stream. The new anchoring rate in Marathon is $225/month, the next highest rate anywhere is $60/month.
- Both captains submitted the proposals in advance as they were encouraged to do by the Vice Mayor. That would allow them to be incorporated on the agenda and/or time to modify the wording of ordinances up for vote.
- We called for a big turnout of boaters at this council meeting to show solidarity and to show that we think it is a big deal.
When the boaters spoke during the public comment section, I watched the body language of the council members. They appeared very hostile and uncomfortable being forced to listen to this stuff.
When it was all over, the mayor said that these questions would have to go to the "near waters committee", and "when will they meet?" he asked. The city manager said there will be no meetings of that committee because they don't have enough members appointed to make quorum. So where does that leave us? In limbo. Anchoring rights unresolved, the hiked fees still in effect, the threat of evicting Captain Jack still looming.
By the way, we do have a novel approach to change --- elect Captain Jack Mayor. You see him below trying out the mayor's chair for practice.