Friday, August 10, 2007

08/10 - No thanks, Rep. Davis

The Brunswick News
Date August 10, 2007
Section(s) Letters

Rep. Steve Davis' attempt to cloud the $10 million deal cut by the Jekyll Island Authority's board of directors with Trammell Crow by stating that it is Jekyll's residents who have the real sweetheart deal is a bit transparent.

The growth in property values along with the fixed rate of the current lot leases on the island to which Davis refers obviously have little to do with the main issue at hand here, and that is the attempt by the board to upscale Jekyll's oceanfront hotels to the disadvantage of mainstream Georgians.

Davis praises board chairman Ben Porter as a leader who will "return the island to its heyday." Would that be the era when Jekyll was a playground for the affluent?

With nightly room rates of $250, the Trammell Crow hotel complex, having been subsidized by the Porter board, will no doubt yield some fat profits, but is this the kind of redevelopment Jekyll needs?

Does Davis really believe this type of revitalization will benefit the Georgians of modest means, for whose benefit Jekyll Island State Park was set aside and whose interests he appears to champion?

The fact is there are thousands of off-island Georgians who have expressed their discontent with the direction in which the authority's board is steering Jekyll, quite a few of whom reside in Davis' own district.

Perhaps Davis might consider their wishes for Jekyll's future, as well as those of the Georgian public at large, before jumping on the Board's bandwagon.

Mindy Egan
Jekyll Island

Perhaps Davis should pay a visit to Jekyll

This is in response to the letter of Rep. Steven Davis who is either a prevaricator or totally ignorant regarding several areas of life on Jekyll, one of which is the taxing structure - especially when he says that residents "only pay the authority $300 per year for real estate."

Although the correct lease amount varies from approximately $215 to $700 , he neglects to acknowledge that all residents additionally pay real estate taxes to Glynn County based on the current market value of their residences as well as the value of the leasehold.

Of that amount, almost 80 percent goes to the general school fund or school bond.

Since the majority of the residents on Jekyll are retirees with no children in the county schools, Davis may want to initiate legislation allowing that payment to be directed to the Jekyll Island Authority instead of the county.

He may even want to visit Jekyll one day and speak to the Citizens Association.

I know he would be warmly welcomed.

Anthony Cerrato
Jekyll Island

We're already in the 'heydays', Mr. Davis

In response to the Aug. 1, 2007, letter from Rep. Steven Davis, R-McDonough, I would like to remind him that the heydays of Jekyll Island have been the past decades where Georgia families have enjoyed the pleasures of our state park and its natural beauty.

Would he see it returned to the days of the millionaires with the proposed upscale development?

Regarding the lease fees paid by Jekyll residents, that is an issue that could easily be addressed and changed to reflect increase in revenue to the Jekyll Island Authority.

Surely these residents would not oppose paying what other Georgia citizens pay for the privilege of having police and fire protection, and other services that come with home ownership.

An increase comparable to other island living should be considered before we try to fill the coffers from wealthy visitors to upscale development.

Let's build on what we have, not what we can eliminate.

That being we, the people of Georgia, who for decades have enjoyed our state park which we own by virtue of the taxes we pay to keep it going.

Carol Sue Ravenel

We need a responsible representative

The outrageous letter from Rep. Steven Davis regarding sweetheart deals on Jekyll Island clearly demonstrates that the people of the state of Georgia must exercise the power of the ballot and oust him from office.

He needs to be replaced with someone who will be responsive to the needs and wants of the ordinary Georgia citizen and who recognizes that the unique treasure the state of Georgia has in Jekyll Island must be preserved.

Marilyn Fetzer
Burlington, Conn.

Needs for Jekyll can't be resolved overnight

As a former member of the Jekyll Island Authority, I'm concerned about how the current Jekyll Island board is recently being portrayed in the news.

It is no secret that the hotel and convention facilities are in great need of repair and replacement.

Having just completed my term on the authority board, this has been a great concern of mine and I continually encouraged addressing these issues at our monthly meetings.

This need did not develop overnight, and it cannot be resolved overnight.

I have personally served and worked with the majority of the current board, and I know for a fact that they have kept the best interests of Georgia and Jekyll Island in mind during their deliberations.

The board's agreement with Trammell Crow is a positive step and is one, that in due time, will benefit all of Georgia.

It is my hope that all concerned parties will allow this board of professional men and women the opportunity to take the necessary steps to address the needs of the island.

Tom Lewis

Jekyll residents pay taxes like everyone else

With due respect to Rep. Steve Davis, I attended every meeting of the House and Senate committees that reviewed House Bill 214, extending the lease to the Jekyll Island Authority.

I heard every word spoken by the residents of Jekyll Island, who traveled to Atlanta to attend those meetings at their own expense.

The residents were not there to ask for more money to be spent on improvements.

To a person, they supported the Jekyll Island Authority, fought to protect the south end, supported the revitalization of the island, and defended Jekyll as a state park for the average Georgian.

To set the record straight, Jekyll residents pay land leases, county taxes, school taxes, sewer and water, subsidize the fire department, and support the island's tourist and cultural attractions with countless thousands of hours of volunteer labor every year.

Shame on Davis.

Apparently he hasn't been paying attention.

Dory Ingram

08/08 - The Island of the People?

The Brunswick News
Date August 08, 2007
Section(s) Letters

Rep. Steven Davis, R-McDonough, speaking as a member of the State Institutions and Properties Committee, has defended the actions of the now-controversial and divided Jekyll Island Authority.

Furthermore, he has proceeded to attack the residents of Jekyll Island who have the temerity to voice their opinions. What reason does he have at this time in the decision-making process to publicly voice support for a government agency which is responsible to all of the people of Georgia?

Policies are being formed and public input should be welcomed. Rather than attacking groups of citizens who might wish to speak their views, Davis and members of the Jekyll Island Authority should sincerely invite public comment from all of Georgia and make a reasonable attempt to reflect the views of a diverse citizenry in the final plans.

In 1947, Gov. Melvin Thompson designated Jekyll Island as an island for "...the plain people of Georgia."

Davis, in spite of the poor record of the 2007 legislative session, you may be a dedicated public servant. You have, however, failed to realize that a hard-working Georgia family of four will not be able to afford two rooms at $500 per night ($250 each) for a simple four-day, three-night vacation on "the island of the people."

Far from improving tourism on Jekyll Island, that apparently disdained class of Georgia citizens will spend their hard-earned dollars at Pigeon Forge, Tenn., or Branson, Mo.

Jekyll will not, on the other hand, replace the gilded islands of the coast for those of the upper class.

Please consider the historical role for which Jekyll Island was designated in the history of Georgia. Please listen to and hear the voices of "the plain people of Georgia."

Our voices may seem hushed and quiet to you, but I assure you that a tipping point is near.

And that those voices will be heard as a great and thunderous wave from the highlands of the north to the lush green of the piedmont and on to the mystic Golden Isles, where it will wash over Jekyll Island and take with it those bureaucrats and politicians who would subvert the will of "...the plain people of Georgia."

Hoyt LeCroy

That's a job well-done on Jekyll, Ben Porter

My first glimpse of Jekyll Island was in 1948 from the deck of the ferry that made the run from the mainland to the island.

I have watched its transformation from an abandoned turn-of-the-century club for the very wealthy to a shiny new vacation spot and convention center. All Georgians took pride in their new acquisition.

My husband and I bought a home on Jekyll in 1983. We were there to watch the island's decline. We watched not only with the eyes of homeowners but also with the eyes of real estate brokers.

At my husband's death last fall, our combined real estate experience totaled 93 years.

We watched the island languish in shabby gentility for years. Now it has become merely shabby.

The new master plan is long overdue and should be greeted with shouts and hurrahs. It addresses both our environmental issues and the Jekyll Island Authority's pressing need for more revenue.

The state has mandated that Jekyll Island must be self-sustaining. The residential and commercial properties are taxed at the same rate used for the rest of Glynn County.

Ben Porter, present chair of the authority, has been a close friend of mine for 30 years. I have seen the competence he has brought to his varied ventures. He has given many years of volunteer service to our state. He has always brought an unimpeachable integrity to that service.

Ben and I have talked at length about his vision for Jekyll Island. He comes with no agenda except to make it truly Georgia's jewel.

Martha C. Thornton