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Response to Dreikorn and Wright

August 18, 2009
Pine Island Eagle

To the Editor:

Wow. Last week’s Pine Island Eagle letters to the editor were a new low in venomous penmanship.

Michael Dreikorn’s words just drip with contempt when he mentions the Pine Island Plan, the GPICA, or any of the thousands of Pine Islanders who over a period of 20 years wrote and implemented the Pine Island Plan. He has no less contempt for the Lee County officials, staff and elected, as well as the Tallahassee officials, that unanimously approved and applauded our work. He probably does not know about the many awards the plan received, but I’m willing to bet he would not like that either.

Dreikorn, currently the president of the Bokeelia Civic Association, claims that neither he nor his developer friends stand to profit if the Pine Island countryside (called “coastal rural” in the plan) is opened to rezoning to unlimited commercial enterprises. Anyone that cares to check the online Lee County property records can readily see that Dreikorn and both of his two vice presidents own investment properties in Pine Island coastal rural areas. None of those properties are currently zoned commercial, but all or most of them could be rezoned commercial under the new proposal. No wonder the BCA leadership and the other developers were so gleeful about this new proposal.

Dreikorn’s venom, however, pales in comparison to the incredible companion diatribe by Bill Wright. Wright actually condemned the United States Foreign Intelligence Establishment as an overseas sinister and evil force that has now (he says) brought its evil influence to Pine Island. Mr. Wright says that Phil Buchanan “and his cohorts” crafted the Pine Island Plan. He said it was “manipulated by misinformation [sic] in the hands of government-trained CIA officials.” That would be laughable if the subject were not so serious. In reality, I don’t think anyone in Washington, D.C., has ever even heard of the Pine Island Plan, and I may I suggest that maybe Mr. Wright has been watching too much cable television.

As to the allegations against me, I retired from the U.S. Intelligence Service after 33 years service and moved to Pine Island in 1993. Shortly thereafter, I was called back to Washington and publicly awarded the National Intelligence Medal by the president. That action made public and widely published the extent of my intelligence career. So, Mr. Wright has not discovered anything new — much less a sinister Washington plot against Pine Island. I have not been employed by the government or anyone else since my retirement in 1993, and I do not own any real estate or business interests anywhere other than my home in St James City.

The U.S. Intelligence Service is also not the sinister evil monster described by Mr. Wright. The service labors in anonymity alongside the U.S. Uniformed Services protecting Americans and our allies from foreign terrorists, tyrants and dictators. It is a noble institution that serves in silence, and among the freedoms it protects is the freedom of people like Dreikorn and Wright to express their extremist self-serving views without fear of retribution, even if their words mock the very institutions that afford them that right.

As to the debate over extending urban commercial enterprises into coastal rural areas, for every developer advocate like Dreikorn or Wright that supports the idea, perhaps a hundred Pine Islanders have told the Lee County government that they oppose the idea. I think the Lee County government will listen to the people and revise this ill-founded proposal. All five commissioners have supported the Pine Island Plan in the past and I think they will this time as well.

Phil Buchanan

St. James City



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