Marina and Mayor’s Race Analysis

Here are the final election results:

Marina referendum

  • For:              598       31%
  • Against:     1316       57%


  • Carroll       1172       59%                                                                                                                Cronin          811     41%

Some random thoughts on the above results:  As predicted, if the marina referendum went down big time, Carroll would win the election.  I sent an email to Dick Cronin warning him of this and suggested he buffer his pro-marina stance by emphasizing he would make sure residents were always given priority at the marina.  He never responded to the email.  Incumbents who do not respond to emails, letters and calls are in big trouble.

Jimmy Carroll used the same playbook to win this race that he used when he was first elected to council.  Find a divisive issue, jump on it, and use it to drive turnout.  The divisive issue when he first ran was the plan for parking pods on Ocean Blvd (you know, the only “sacred” street on the island with no parking) and the plan for greenspace on front beach in the 3300 block of Palm Blvd.  (I still think this would have been a good idea – have you EVER seen anyone enjoying the Carmen Bunch park?  I haven’t. )

Carroll totally outworked Cronin.  Probably by 10 to 1.  And that matters.  A lot.  From what I have seen, the only thing Cronin did was put up some interesting signs.  Rumor on the street is the signs were made by Ted “Boondocker” Kinghorn.  I’m not sure if this is true because he does not look like the kind of guy who gets his hands dirty.

In the end, I just don’t think Cronin had his heart in it.  Carroll genuinely cares for the island and he should be given an open mind and a chance.  He told one of the candidates running that he would only serve one term.  After that he plans to RV around the country.  You read it here first.

Regarding the marina, it is interesting that after several years of study, planning and multiple meetings for resident input, the city did not see what a dog this idea was!  I have heard the city has spent over $300k with the company ATM.  What a waste of money.  Only government looks at $300k as no big deal.  Why?  Because there is an endless supply of cash if they need more.  Unlike a business which must go out and earn it, government, under the threat of force, can demand it from it’s citizens.

Final tidbit:  1,914 votes were cast on the marina question.  1,983 votes were cast on the Mayor’s race.  So 69 people voted for the Mayor but not on the marina issue.  I don’t understand this and something is fishy here.  These 2 races were so closely linked that it is hard to believe 69 people left the marina issue blank.  Any thoughts?

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the election below.

Marina Joint Ventures Lease

Posted below is a copy of the lease Marina Joint Ventures has with the city.  I have read through it, but I am not a lawyer and I could have missed a thing or two.

One thing that jumps out at me is there is NO requirement to rent a slip to an IOP resident (you know, the people who bought and own the property.)  In fact, it does not appear there is any requirement to rent a slip to a private boat owner at all.  Presumably the tenant could rent every slip to a subleased business if he could find enough of them to fill all the slips.

The contract defines gross profit as sales of goods and services minus the cost of the goods.  In the original contract the tenant was to pay the city 15% of any gross profit over $450,000.  The tenant is to provide an annual financial statement provided by his financial officer.  In addition, the tenant is to provide the city with annual audited financial statement.

If you look at the first amendment on page 23, you will see the lease was changed to permit the rental of Low Speed Vehicles (LSV).  This has not been done to date, but certainly could be.  They would have to be parked somewhere.

The lease was amended a 2nd time to change the the profit structure.  Page 25 shows the city is to get 2% of any gross profit over $500,000.  Think about this for a minute.  If the gross profit were to come 1 million dollars, the city would get a whopping $10,000 extra.  It is not clear why this change was made.

Another part of this 2nd amendment says the tenant no longer has to provide an audited financial statement, but must still provide a statement from his own financial officer.  (See page 26.)  I wonder why this change was made.

Finally, the lease was amended a 4th time and now the city is to receive 15% of gross profit over 1 million dollars.   So if the gross profit were $2 million, the city would get an extra $150,000.

I do not know if the city has ever received any of these profit toggles.  Perhaps someone reading this knows and would like to comment.

MJV_Lease_With_4th_Ammendmet-scanned 2.22.2016

What Should the Marina be?

I had productive discussions with Elizabeth Campsen, Randy Bell, Mike Loftus, Catherine Malloy, Brian Duffy and a number of other residents this weekend.  Thanks to everyone for talking to me.

What I came away with from all these discussions was the following:  the residents of the IOP need to decide what they want their marina to be before putting any more money into the site.

Do you want it to be a somewhat quiet area primarily for the use of residents to launch boats and hang out with our families?  It would not be a cash generating machine, but would have to generate some money to cover maintenance and upkeep.

Or do you want it to be primarily a commercial district where the focus is on visitors and generating money?  In this scenario it could generate a ton of cash and under proper leasing terms a lot of money would be paid to the city.  There will be (is) a lot more traffic on Waterway Blvd and residents will not get priority.

These are the 2 options.  Neither one exists currently.  Right now we are closer to the second option except that the tenants don’t generate a lot of money for the city.  Several people have asked for the financial statements of the tenants but have not been able to obtain them.

The tenants could easily clear up this picture by releasing their financials.

I want to make it clear that my preferred option is the first one.  I don’t want more commercial activity at the marina.  I seriously doubt that short term renters would stop coming here if there was not easy access to parasailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, deep sea fishing, boat rentals, etc.  I am not saying all these activities need to go.  City council, by listening to the wishes of the residents, needs to decide how much, if any, commercial activity will occur at the marina.

I really think this is what the referendum is all about.  I would appreciate any and all comments.  Just mash the reply button!

How is a Marina Tenant Like a Wall Street Bank?

Answer:  Both have figured out how to socialize their losses/costs and how to privatize their gains!

This is ridiculous and it needs to stop.  The residents of IOP will pay for all the repairs and beautification which will permit the tenants to make a lot more money.  All of which will probably go in the tenant’s pockets because it appears the “profit toggle” has never been met.  This is a sweetheart deal any business owner can only dream about!

So the city wants the residents to finance a $5.5 large renovation so more access and slips will be available for Mt. Pleasant residents.  Have we lost our mind?

Marina Musings

The following letter was sent to city council by former council member Brian Duffy.  This letter shows how much the city misses his clear, reasoned thinking.

Dear Mayor and Councilmembers,

I really appreciate your efforts looking into improving the marina. No doubt there is always room for improvement, parking and landscaping being most notable.  I am somewhat heartened to see in the Moultrie News that caution was expressed about catering too strongly to a wide market.  I suggest to you that you have only one market to consider, IOP voters who approved the marina acquisition as an amenity for residents via referendum.  That we have a successful restaurant (who I hope is paying their rent on time) and a successful general store is a good thing, however, it is not why the marina was acquired in the first place. I hope you will keep this in mind as you move through the process.
As a resident who lives 500 yards from the marina and is overly exposed to the “wide market” to which the marina already caters, I am impressed that we have a design engineer who can talk about a “very intimate relationship with the water” and then propose a dry stack!  I guess you can say waterboarding is also a “very intimate relationship with the water”.  If the BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP of a forklift moving boats around on beautiful island days is not torture, I don’t know what is!  Because I am already overly exposed to the impacts (noise, traffic, and parking) of the marina businesses, I am sure you can tell that I am adamantly opposed to a dry stack at the marina.  I cannot see how it benefits the residents and how it fits in with this part of the  comprehensive plan vision statement:  Measures that will enhance the existing character of the island as a quality place to live, and protect the environment both on and around the island, must be taken to guide development and preserve the quality of life for generations to come.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to future resident input sessions.
Best regards,
Brian Duffy