Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Voting in the Collier Mosquito Control District elections

Early Voting in Collier County
October 25 - November 3
If you live in the Collier Mosquito Control District (map here), you have choices for two of its Board seats on your ballot: Seat 1 and Seat 2. In this post, I’ll review what the CMCD is and does, share what I’ve learned about the candidates, and tell you who I’ll vote for and why. Some of the material in this post has been repeated/updated from a similar post I wrote before the 2016 elections, when — unlike this year — there was controversy related to the use of the insecticide naled in aerial spraying to control against Zika-transmitting mosquitoes. See “Residents speak out against naled at mosquito control meeting,” Naples Daily News, 9/28/16.

The Collier Mosquito Control District (CMCD)

The mission of the Collier Mosquito Control District is “to suppress both disease-carrying and pestiferous mosquito populations by and through the safest and most economical means available, consistent with the highest level of safety and minimal adverse impact on humans, wildlife, the environment, and non-target organisms.”

It is governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners who are elected in nonpartisan elections to four-year terms and paid a salary of $400/month. Meetings are held monthly and are open to the public.

The District spends about $7 million annually, funded primarily by local ad valorem (property) taxes. It employs an Executive Director with a MS in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction (here), 29 full-time employees and one part-time employee (leadership team here), and it owns and operates eight aircraft and 17 vehicles. Its 2017 audited financial statements are here and its 2017 Annual Report is here.

The Board’s role, it seems to me, is to represent the interests of the community and provide appropriate oversight by reviewing the District's mission periodically, ensuring that the Executive Director and staff are fulfilling that mission, setting the millage rate, approving the budget, and overseeing the expenditure of taxpayer money. A science background or expertise is not necessary.

The candidates - Seat 1

Victor Dotres (candidate’s statement)
Dotres, 44, is a Miami native who has lived in Southwest Florida since 2001. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Art Education from the University of Florida. An 18-year Collier County Public School teacher, Dotres is currently a technology teacher at Estates Elementary and coach of Corkscrew Middle's girls soccer team. He is also a Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteer and a 2nd Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

Dotres ran for the District 3 Collier County school board seat earlier this year but dropped out of the race and endorsed Jen Mitchell. He ran for the Florida House in 2016 but dropped out of that race after a 2011 disciplinary incident came to light. He ran for the Lee County School Board in 2010. (Naples Daily News)

Dotres’ campaign website is at vote4voctor.com; his Facebook page is here. He raised $1250 ($1000 his own contribution) and spent $452 for this campaign.

John Johnson (candidate’s statement)
Johnson has been a full time resident of Collier County for over 30 years. He is currently employed by the Collier County Growth Management Division as an Investigator for Code Enforcement. He previously served as an elected CMCD Commissioner from 2000 - 2016. After losing election to a fifth term in 2016 to a challenger (who has since resigned from the Board) over the naled issue, he is seeking to return to the Board.

Johnson takes pride in the CMCD, its people and its accomplishments. “The passionate experience practiced daily by this small group of people who all wear many hats while protecting and serving the residents and visitors of one of the largest Mosquito Control Districts is truly remarkable,” he wrote. “I plan to continue to insure this level of excellence as I represent the people of Collier County by serving on the Board of Commissioners for Collier Mosquito Control.”

Johnson has no campaign website; his 2016 campaign Facebook page, where he explained his position on the use of naled, is here. He has neither raised nor spent any money for this campaign.


Dennis G.E. Sanders (candidate’s statement)
Sanders has been a Naples resident since 2013. He is the founder and president of Proxy, llc, “an independent destination service consultant for domestic and international clients.” His community involvement includes: ambassador for the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, member of The Rotary Club of Naples, Board Member of the Volunteer’s Board of the American Cancer Society in Naples, director with Guardian Ad litem, member of the Marco-Naples Reserve Officer’s Association Number 27, and member of the Board of Trustees of Unity of Naples Church.

Sanders says his goals as a CMCD Board member are to “help insure that residents of the county are protected against Mosquitoes and their relatives; stay within the financial boundary allotted to the board; stay above board and respond to any and all questions brought to the board by residents; make sure all chemicals used by the CMCD are environmentally friendly; and help keep Collier County Healthy.” (sic)

He has no campaign website; his Facebook page is here. He has neither raised nor spent any money for this campaign.

The candidates - Seat 2

Sandra Lee Buxton (candidate’s statement)
Buxton has been a Naples resident for 30 years. She is currently the editor of Life in Naples Magazine, and has had fifteen years of experience as an owner in local print media. She also had a 30 year career in healthcare administration, having earned RN, BSN, MA degrees and a license as a Healthcare Risk Manager. She was named a Woman of Initiative in 2012 by the Community Foundation’s Women’s Foundation of Collier County; her campaign website includes an extensive list of community activities.

Buxton is running to “continue ((her)) service to the Naples and Collier Community.” She says, “With the recognition that mosquito’s bring disease and are a serious health concern, I will use my healthcare background in collaboration with other team members in evaluating risks and benefits to the methodology of control. As a Licensed Healthcare Risk Manager I am aware of the importance of following defined protocols established by State and Federal guidelines.” (sic)

Buxton’s campaign website is here; her Facebook page is here. She has raised $200 and spent none of it on this campaign.

John E Shuey (candidate’s statement)
Shuey, an 11-year Florida resident, is retired from a career in sales and marketing and several years as a small business owner. He has, since February 2018, served on the Libertarian Party of Florida State Executive Committee, representing Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties.

He has no campaign website; his Facebook page is here. He has neither raised nor spent any money for this campaign.

How I will vote

For Seat 1: John Johnson — Collier County is fortunate to have as dedicated a public servant as Johnson. He will bring unparalleled knowledge and experience to the Board.

For Seat 2: Sandra Lee Buxton — Buxton has a demonstrated history of commitment to serving Collier County. Her healthcare and business backgrounds will be important additions to the Board.

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I hope this post helps you understand what the Collier Mosquito Control District is and who the candidates are. I also hope it helps you think more critically about how you will vote than you might have without it.

Stay tuned next for my posts about the the judicial merit retention decisions, County Judges candidates, and the proposed Collier Sales Surtax.