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Who’s Running for Collier County Commissioner in District 5?

Are you wondering who’s running for Collier County Commissioner in District 5?

As I explained in my last post, Collier County voters live in one of five County Commission districts. Each district’s residents elect a Commissioner who lives in that district. Find your district here.

This year, the seats representing Districts 1, 3 and 5 are up for election; the seats representing Districts 2 and 4 are on the ballot in the midterm years.

Collier County District Map
Collier County District Map

Only registered members of a party may vote in that party’s primary elections because Florida is a closed primary state. See my post Party Affiliation and Florida as a Closed Primary State.

District 3 incumbent Commissioner Burt Saunders, a Republican, was unchallenged and will be automatically reelected for another term.

I wrote about the District 1 candidates in my last post.

Today, I look at the candidates running in District 5.

Collier County Commissioner Candidates

Incumbent District 5 Commissioner Bill McDaniel, a Republican, is running for a second four-year term. He has three challengers: Republican Mike Petscher, Democrat David Turrubiartez, and Raymond Christopher, No Party Affiliation (NPA).

Registered Republicans who live in the District may vote in the closed primary. The winner will face Mr. Turrubiartez and Mr. Christopher in November.

Please see How I Research Candidates and 6 Things to Consider When Evaluating Candidates for how I approach writing these posts. I also asked the candidates to complete a questionnaire and included edited excerpts from their responses as well as links to the complete documents below.

After reviewing what I learned about each candidate, I close with a look at the money that is financing the campaigns, links to online candidate forums, and suggested next steps.


Bill McDaniel

McDaniel

According to his website, Bill McDaniel is “Fighting for a Stronger Collier County. Less Government. More Jobs.”

McDaniel was born and raised in Franklin, PA. He attended Clarion State University, majoring in accounting and computer programming with a minor in economics. To pay for college, he worked as a carpenter. A job building a stable brought him to Naples in 1982.

He became a licensed Realtor and in 1987, launched his first business, the Realty Company, which he manages today. The business focuses on the sale, management, and development of real estate in Southwest Florida. In 1998, he founded Big Island Excavating, Inc., a mining company with an office located in eastern Collier County. The company, which he also manages today, has operated mines in Collier, Lee, Hendry and Charlotte counties and employs more than 35 people. He also owns Lazy Springs Recreation Park in Fort Myers.

In 1999, McDaniel was a founding director of Marine National Bank. When the company was bought by Old Florida Bank in 2003, he was selected to represent the shareholders and served on the new board of Old Florida Bank until its sale to the Bank of Florida in 2007.

McDaniel has two adult children.

Among his civic activities, he chairs the Strategic Planning Committee of Goodwill of Southwest Florida, having served on the organization’s Board of Directors since 1998. He is also the founder and current president of the Corkscrew Island Neighborhood Association. From 2007 until early 2009, he chaired the Board of County Commissioners-appointed East of 951 Horizon Study Committee. He also served for two years on the Board of County Commissioners-appointed Rural Lands Stewardship Overlay Review Committee.

In 2013, he was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Collier County Housing Authority, on which he served until his election as County Commissioner in 2016.

McDaniel’s website shares his views on five Issues that are important to him: Economic Prosperity; Stewardship of Tax Dollars; Support our First Responders; Environmental Responsibility; and Infrastructure.

As a commissioner, he proposed limits of three consecutive four-year terms for county commissioners, which became effective in 2017 on a 4-1 vote (Commissioner Penny Taylor in opposition). In addition, during his first term, he says he “worked hard to get government out of the way of businesses so they could create more jobs in our community, and that he “stood firm on fighting back against increasing taxes.”

Candidate Questionnaire Responses

What diversity of perspective, attributes, knowledge or skills would you bring to the office that differentiates you or that the other candidates don’t have?

I have lived in Collier County for 39 years, I have operated many successful business and have applied these business principles to serving as your County Commissioner for the last 3.5 years, and hope to continue after my re-election.

What three things do you want to accomplish if elected?

  1. “Continue to lower taxes for Collier County residents;”
  2. “Continue efforts to reduce bureaucratic obstacles to allow job creation by the private sector;” and
  3. “Continue to manage growth, in an intelligent manner, with balance.”

A current public policy position he said he disagrees with is “Impact fees. Impact fees are a onetime tax and imposition of the first person in, Collier has the highest impact fee structure in the entire state, and this I believe is the largest government contribution to expensive living circumstances in Collier.”

The most important thing voters should know about him is that:

“You may not have agreed with every decision I have made, but I want you to know I did my best to listen to all sides and make decisions that were fair and just for all, not just a few.”

Endorsements

According to his Facebook page, McDaniel has been endorsed by Greater Naples Government, Collier County Firefighters IADD Local 2396 and Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR).

Press Coverage

In recent months as a commissioner, McDaniel:

To learn more about McDaniel’s votes as a commissioner, search for “McDaniel Collier commission” and other similar phrases at www.naplesnews.com.

In His Own Words


Michael Petscher

Mike Petscher
Petscher

Mike Petscher’s website says he is “a Collier County native, growing up in Golden Gate Estates.” He is currently an active community association manager. He is married and has two children.

I reviewed Petscher’s website, social media and did a Google search, and found no examples of Petscher’s community involvement.

His website states three “Core Values”: Responsibility; Community; and Strategic Planning.

What diversity of perspective, attributes, knowledge or skills would you bring to the office that differentiates you or that the other candidates don’t have?

Candidate Questionnaire Responses

“I am from Florida, grew up right here in district 5 of Collier County- on a 30-acre farm. This is what makes me different, I am a regular guy who has worked for a living in Collier County. My perspectives are the closest to the actual residents that it can be.

What three things do you want to accomplish if elected?

  1. “Developers should be able to fund their projects, these developments shouldn’t become a burden to the taxpayer, like Rivergrass”;
  2. “After so many residents showing up to talk about the current traffic situation, and lack of infrastructure in the estates area- the current commissioners including the commissioner for district 5, Bill McDaniel- voted to pass more development. The residents of this community need to be heard”; and
  3. “Community is what should empower changes like new growth and development. There are many parts of district 5 that have been forgotten or over looked and the focus has been on real estate and big developers. The current covid 19 crisis in Immokalee is a great example of this. Immokalee does not have a hospital, we are continue to build more homes in district 5, especially on Immokalee Road, and these new residences are just going to create more of a burden on the current infrastructure that the current residents of Immokalee and the estates area already face on a fairly basis.”

A current public policy position he said he disagrees with is “Need to ensure that property taxes do not continue to increase. We saw a major increase in Collier County last year. Considering more and more people have moved in to the district 5 area; those currently living out here should be given a tax break for sharing the already limited road ways and gas stations, etc. These roads are dangerous, at least use the tax increase to pay for expansion of roads like Randall Blvd or Traffic Lights near the new shopping plaza at 951 and Immokalee Road- instead of using those dollars to attract MORE developers by the beautification of the medians on Immokalee Road.”

Note: The County Commission voted to keep the tax rate unchanged for fiscal 2019-20, which — due to a 5.42% increase in property values county-wide — resulted in additional property tax revenue to the general fund. The General Fund tax rate has remained unchanged since FY 2010. Collier County taxable value to increase for eighth straight year. Naples Daily News, 6/13/20; Collier County Budget in Brief – FY 2019-20

The most important thing voters should know about him is that:

“I am a regular guy, who is just like most of the people who live in district 5. I enjoy the outdoors and love raising my family out in the Estates area, where I grew up. I value and appreciate places like Corkscrew Swamp and Shady Hallow, it is my concern for these places and the future of our community that has caused me to run for commissioner. I spoke out with others from the community against the massive development of Rivergrass- we were not heard. I decided it was time for someone to look out for the community and residents in the district, unlike others, I have no real estate investment or developer investments to gain from more buildings. I just want to do what the residents think is best for district 5.”

Endorsements

I reviewed Petscher’s website, social media and did a Google search, and found no endorsements.

Press Coverage

I reviewed Petscher’s website, social media and did a Google search, and found no press coverage other than announcement of his candidacy.

In His Own Words


The Money

Here is what the candidates reported in the most recent campaign finance filings (downloaded 8/6/20):

BCC District 5 Candidate Money

Online Candidate Forums

I highly recommend that you watch at least one of the recorded candidate forums. I learned a lot from observing how the candidates responded to questions: thoughtfully or in sound bites; rambling or concise; good grammar or bad. A forum is a good way to see multiple candidates at once. Be mindful of the political- or issue-orientation of the event hosts, and consider how that might influence both the questions and the responses.

Next Steps

If you are a registered Republican in Commission District 5, it’s time to decide who to vote for in your party’s closed primary.

Review the candidates’ websites and narrow down the possibilities based on what’s most important to you. Then do more research, using the links and references included in this post.

If you have questions, reach out to the candidates directly via the “contact” page/form on their website. If they don’t respond to your satisfaction when they’re running for office, how responsive will they be if elected?

When you’ve done enough research to feel confident about your decisions, you are ready to vote!

For election dates and details about how, when and where to vote, visit www.colliervotes.com.

And if you missed it, please read my post, Request a Vote-By-Mail Ballot Today. The last day to request a Vote-By-Mail ballot to be mailed to you is August 8.

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