Good evening and welcome to our live chat.
Hey Vonna, I think we're going to get started here shortly
First up will be Republican Burt Saunders vs. Democrat Annisa Karim, expect some talk on the environment, Golden Gate redevelopment and what to do with old golf courses
If I had my way, this debate would be mostly about how to prevent our generation from becoming the generation that allows the Cubs to win the World Series, but I'm not permitted, apparently, to ask the questions tonight
Vonna has promised that will be the last picture of me tonight, so don't feel like you have shut off your computer on my account
And we're rolling, 2 minutes for opening statements
Saunders: "When you pick a mechanic, when you pick a doctor, you look for someone with experience"
Karim: "We have to make sure that we have a county commission that is not only diverse in perspective, but diverse in background"
This is pretty consistent with how the candidates have been running their campaigns. Saunders is pointing to background as a commissioners and state rep. and state sen. Karim saying that the county has enough lawyers, and can't rely on a homogeneous group to make these decisions.. a biologist like her could help
Question about how to encourage more affordable housing. Both Saunders and Karim are very similar on this issue, want to reduce impact fees and offer density bonuses. The two to watch on this question will be the District 5 candidates later tonight, bigger differences there
Here's a good question: Where do you put the affordable housing?
Lot of complaints in East Naples that county is sticking all the affordable houses there, while leaving richer areas alone
Karim: Primarily it will be in the east, that's where new growth is happening. But reducing impact fees will help spur it in urban Naples, all over the county
Karim: I don't believe it has been treated unfairly
Saunders, too, says East Naples hasn't been treated unfairly
Saunders: Not a lot of daylight between my opponent and I on this issue. Need to make sure it's truly affordable for our workforce
Nice point there from Karim: same day county gave a handful of waivers for Arthrex (the big guys) it took away parking exemption from a small business (the Beach Box Cafe) that could shut it down
Big differences here in how the two would handle business incentives. Karim doesn't want any incentives going to "hand-picked" business. Saunders said if they are properly vetted and will help the county, the county needs offer incentives to compete
Saunders: I would have rolled back tax rate
County has kept a flat tax rate since the start of the recession