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CAPE CORAL, FL - They sit together on the dais - they've been called a united front. If change is going to happen in cape coral - like it or not -it's got to get past these guys.
Councilman Brandt says,
"we are five or six independent people. We don't caucus. We don't violate the sunshine laws. We have similar principals that we believe belong in government."
All retirees - except for Chris Chulakes -Leetz - the Fab 5 say they originally had no intention of getting into politics.
"I ran because i want to live here the rest of my life and i didn't like the direction the city was going", says Brandt.
Mayor John Sullivan adds,
" the people who are running the city were not listening. They would not listen to the residents they would not listen to anyone."
The men claim - everything from out of control spending by former administrations to the inability to get a construction permit led to their desire to run for office. "The prior councils that were out there in my opinion did a lot of damage", says Sullivan.
Brandt and Deile were first to run and win. They joined council in 2007.
“But even then being in the minority on council it was very difficult to accomplish things. The best we could do was voice concerns to the people but you got out-voted because it was business as usual al the time”, councilman Deile adds.
So soon after came a carefully crafted plan to fill enough seats on city council to be able to make change -their way.
"when the next election came around we and another group of people purposely tried to find people who would run who would have a similar philosophy. "
It worked. The next members - Mayor John Sullivan and council member Chris Chulakes - Leetz.
Along with them came, the “contract” an agreement to maintain fiscal responsibility.
Opinions vary on whether the Fab 5 have accomplished their goals. Good or bad, they all say they are working to make difference.