2002 The Everglades Echo:
David Shealy of Ochopee,
was recently defeated in his attempt to secure money from the Tourist
Development Council for a Skunk Ape Expedition. Jim Coletta, the Chairman
of the Collier County Commission responded
to Shealy in a letter dated May 31.
The letter stated in part: "Please feel free to work through the
appropriate channels to bring your proposal back to the TDC Board if you
so chose, but please remain aware that approval for funding by the Tourist
Development Council in no way constitutes approval by the Board of County
Commissioners. In the past, the Board of County Commissioners has refused
to approve the use of Tourist Development Funds for your "expedition",
citing that your usage of the funds for capital expenditures was inappropriate.
Shealy told the Echo that he was disappointed, but not surprised with
the decision. I think that it's irresponsible ignorance for these government
officials not to be able to see the big picture," said Shealy "They
don't understand what I am trying to do." Shealy said that when he
sees the amounts of money that the TDC is giving away to various things
and he doesn't get it."
They gave hundreds of thousands of dollar to an Internet company,"
Shealy told the Echo. "I think that they just play favorites. They
give to their friends. It's the same people that they eat cheeses with
at the local hotels." Coletta's letter went on to state, in part;
David, I have known you for some time and I know that you are an honest
man who would not lie or mislead anyone with false hope. In that vein,
you and I share the same qualities: that honesty is the most important
part of any relationship. With that said, I must tell you that I believe
that it would be wrong for the Board of County Commissioners to allocate
funds from the TDC to promote the existence of the Skunk Ape.
If such an animal does reside in the Everglades, it serves the tourist
promotion business interest best as an legend and would lose its tourist
value if an expedition was funded and returned with less then credible
proof. Then again, if it was found and harmed in any way, the resulting
backlash from the animal's rights contingent would be total." Shealy
said that he had mixed emotions about Coletta. "I consider him a
friend and I believe that he is trying to do a lot for the people of this
area. I give him credit," said Shealy. "But sometimes I think
that he makes decision to stay in the click, he moves and helps the people
that think like him.
Shelly said that he recently had an interview with a television station
in Miami and in hopeful that he will be able successfully kick-off a local
Article courtesy kimba d'michi
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