for North Port City Commission 2020
Successful - Experience - Leadership
Build a better city for a better tomorrow
12-9-14 Below video: two weeks after being elected, Jacqueline Moore went to the county to ask them not to help protect Orange Hammock
Cheryl Cook identifies out of control spending as an important issue in commission race
By approving the 2016/2017 budget amendment (see meeting and minutes September 22, 2016 *click here) and its wording trickery, then commissioners Jacqueline Moore, Tom Jones and Linda Yates began an era of exhaustive taking of taxpayers' money by the elected politicians in North Port that continues to today. Instead of again asking the taxpayers if they want to fund the building of a multi-multi-million dollar pool, the politicians took it upon themselves to spend $14 million, with over $750,000 in unfunded annual maintenance costs of taxpayer money. The people of North Port have seen devastating increases in their taxes by these politicians who fund their personal pet projects, redesign our city and use the city resources for political payoff for those who helped them get elected ever since that budget amendment was passed by three individuals. In the next budget is promised more of the same. The addiction of the politicians to take our money for their lavish spending sprees has to stop, or, to paraphrase Jill Luke, we'll all have to move out of the city that will be too expensive for us to live in. I'm the only candidate running in my district who has said no to crazy government spending of your money.
DR. HARRISON FOX-
Cheryl cares about you, North Port, and America! She has actively pursued conservation and "kitchen table budgeting" options and solutions. Returning her to North Port Commission will bring back what is needed -- cooperation, informed economic reasoning, and key constitutional values that is freedom and equal treatment for all citizens.
Unfortunately, through time America has often been ruled by elites. North Port is no exception. Top down government is today’s reality. This is backed up by “a vast body of critical work on the failings of democratic systems to represent citizen desires."
Today’s governments' top down culture combined with dramatic changes in citizen
economic, social, psychological, and political condition since World War II, has
led to considerable dissatisfaction with America’s rulers. 
During 20th and early 21st centuries
government America has captured, year-by-year, more and more of society’s tasks without a value driven game plan. This has resulted in family breakdown,
governments stuck in place, unable to respond to 21st century challenges, power elites running circles around governments, and most citizens being ill
served no matter what race, gender, or age. Cheryl will make sure that your desires and needs are met, resisting the power brokers in North Port and beyond.
Cheryl Cook recognizes current misuse of ULDC and rezoning powers by commission is adversely affecting North Port while benefiting special interests
The Unified Land Development Code should not be a tool used by politicians to placate their friends and advance their personal "vision," as it is going on in our town today. North Port is a unique city, with a unique history and unique qualities. Instead of embracing that, the politicians are forcing regulations into the land code to change North Port from a quiet, community-oriented city into an urban nightmare that most people are fleeing from.
I am the only candidate running who has personally witnessed the devastation of the piecemeal elimination of growth management, and has fought to protect, conserve and preserve our beloved Southern Florida.
Cheryl Cook associates current lack of qualified individuals running the city is wreaking havoc on North Port's economic health
Ruling by consensus is no way to represent the people and taxpayers of North Port. Without principles and the will and strength to vote your convictions, runaway spending, a bad reputation in the business community, overtaxation and urbanization of North Port are the result. Since November 2016, this is what we in North Port have witnessed. One after another, newly elected politicians are not asking real questions, and are not representing the people who live in and pay taxes in North Port because these politicians are all from the same old basket of selfish individuals representing the same old self-interests and special-interests. And the people of North Port are paying for it. I am the only one running who is uniquely qualified and has the experience to turn city hall back into the business of the people.
FORMER MAYOR JIM BURCH, CITY OF CAPE CORAL
My name is Jim Burch and I have been proudly providing public service for many years. Too often these days, elected officials are there for only one reason and that is for themselves. I have never felt that I was more important than those that put me into office. I also learned more, each and every year that I was in office, that our municialities were the backbone of the great State of Florida. I have been Mayor, Baseball and basketball coach, City councilman and director of many state and local boards and agencies. I have taken those responsibilities on only to advance the interests of my community. Once in awhile, one encounters people that are providing the same service for the same reasons. I have always said that providing public service as opposed to seeking the public to serve you is the eason to run for office.
Cheryl Cook fits all of those criteria. Commissioner Cook has been instrumental in helping me to form the pre-platted coalition of six cities in the state of Florida. Cheryl was also instrumental in contacting all of the coalition Cities and bringing them together to discuss the importance of pre-platted challenges. The full understanding and recognition of the plight of pre-platted communities such as Cape Coral, my city, and North Port, Cheryl's city, provides her with an understanding of growth, zoning and future planning and the revenue challenges of all. Cheryl and I have spent many hours defending our cities and local home rule to insure that the growth is manageable, both logistically and financially. The experience of knowing what is necessary and who will help facilitate the growth of our cities and, just as importantly, the knowledge of who may help with those efforts, is essential. Cheryl Cook is the person uniquely qualified to lead the City of North Port into the future and insure that pre-platted challenges are addressed and resolved along the way. There is no one better to work with the multitude of agencies including the SW Regional Planning Council, State Legislature, Florida League of Cities and the pre-platted coalition. You may ask what these organizations and many others can do for North Port. The answer is the link they provide to resources and ideas, and Cheryl has the experience and knowledge to tap into them. She can "hit the ground running" and ensure that your tax dollars are put to better use.
Please allow her the time and space to demonstrate her affection and expertise for the City of North Port and its residents. She is a hard worker and dedicated to moving your city forward. Please support her efforts in doing that.
RESPONSES TO SUN QUESTIONNAIRE - JULY 2020
Why am I running -
I spent four years in office working hard to deliver citizen-friendly budgets, raising the quality of life of the citizens of North Port. Since I have been out of office, I have watched as this group on the dais have squandered everything my commission built up: the reserve funds, the positive reputation of the city, the integrity of the office, the opportunities to build the medical corridor along Toledo Blade, for instance. In my personal life, for over two decades, I started and grew a business using professional techniques that I then brought into city office. I spent my entire life learning my trade of fiscal responsibility and I did it on my own dime. This is what I am made of: hard work and a respectable work ethic. I ate a lot of crow during my time in private business and then while I was in office, but sometimes that's what is necessary in order to do the right thing in private and public office.
My qualifying background -
Again, I spent 23 years starting and growing a private business, guiding it to an extremely successful sale to a national consortium. During that time, mom and I did not want any, and received no, government benefits, no special interest assistance. We built the company through hard work and an excellent reputation. We brought in professionals when needed. I navigated personnel issues, administration, multiple lease negotiations, met payroll even through adversity, and dealt with government issues. While in office, I served North Port with distinction, representing the city at SouthWest Regional Planning Council on a monthly basis, including Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw's Quality of Life committee for four years - the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program on a semi-monthly basis for four years - the Sarasota County Tourism Development Board for four years and a grant committee for TDC. I sponsored as well as supported legislative issues that moved North Port in a forward direction for four years, including protecting the peoples' pocket books and reorganizing the police department. I assisted former Cape Coral Mayor Jim Burch in writing, and having passed at first hearing in Tallahassee, legislation to bring state dollars to pre-platted cities to help pay for severely outdated infrastructure.
Bringing overspending back under control. You have to possess an eye toward identifying and challenging word trickery, steadfastness against bullying, as well as the ability to fill in the blanks either inadvertently or purposefully left in the budget presentations. You have to go into office ready from day one to fight for the people, using your abilities to call out inconsistencies. I have remained very involved in identifying these issues in the almost four years since I was in office.
Also, as I mentioned, zoning practices are inappropriate to the point of illegitimacy and bordering on, if not, illegal. Case in point: the ex parte communications by electeds during quasi-judicial items such as the recent 7/11-gas station hearings. Electeds were communicating their decisions to residents against the applicant before the hearings took place and, also, were not forwarding these ex parte contacts to make readily available to the applicant. Not only does that indicate a lack of due process on the part of the politicians, but it exposes the taxpayers to litigation as well as a ruinous reputation for questionable behavior by those at the highest level of city government. Everyone in the city is affected by these activities because it goes to quality of life, property values and erosion of public confidence.
My third goal is to bring fairness and professionalism back to the dais. From end of November 2016 through most of 2017, we saw the Rules of Procedure suspended at the beginning of each meeting and consensus voting taking place. This was to benefit those on the dais, and not citizens. Again, this appears to be an illegitimate process, ultimately a city being run without recognized rules, only those made-up by politicians. Businesses recognize these as highly questionable practices and are repelled from associating themselves with a city because of this behavior. Businesses look to partner with cities - North Port's competitors - that are run by professionals and follow an easily identified and legitimate protocol. We haven't seen reputable behavior by upper levels of city government in North Port since November 2016.
North Port priorities-
Get overspending under control to stop the taxpayer bleed. You're going to lose present homeowners in the near future if we don't get our act together. When mortgage companies begin to collect again, many will be in the hole. We have to tighten our belts to prepare for future downturns.
We have to reevaluate staff. Remove incompetence, expose violators of Sunshine laws. We need to make our government transparent - and this includes direction to the clerk to make electeds' emails as available as they have made citizens' production of requests. We have to lessen the lawsuits against the city by bringing integrity back. We have to re-evaluate why suddenly the city needs three attorneys while still outsourcing legal work; why the city suddenly needs three city manager-level staff. We need to make every employee accountable for their positions. One position that I have received complaints about is the grant writing position. We need a professional grant writer.
We need to identify backroom deals that are going on and research special interest projects and shut them down. A 30% increase in taxes last year? That is outrageous. It is equally breathtakingly audacious for the politicians to sit up there and tell the people of North Port to help design the budget. They were elected and took oaths to work in the best interests of the people. This is a Constitutional duty. That's the job they were elected for. That's the job I was elected for and I performed exceptionally well.
In one hundred years I want to be known as the commissioner who brought fiscal responsibility, positive growth, accountability and embracing of our natural wonders back to North Port.
My web site is electcherylcook.com and for the reasons stated above and more, I believe I am the only individual who can take on this enormous task of righting the city government.