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Mythbusters Forum and allegations
October 12, 2017

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To the editor:

I am running for your city council, District 5. I was looking forward to this Mythbusters event originally scheduled for Oct. 11. I had a lot I was hoping to convey because these 1-3 minute snippets previously provided so all candidates had a chance should be different now that we are past the primary election. Then we had Irma's visit. Thirteen days before the Oct. 11 event, it was postponed by the sponsors, and now is to be scheduled for next Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Yacht Club. I encourage you to attend and learn about the general election candidates.

Unfortunately I cannot attend this event now. My mother, who passed away in the early weeks of my campaign, has yet to have a memorial service/funeral, because my extremely large family (I am one of nine children, uncle 28 times, great uncle 32 times, plus others) agreed to hold off delivering my mother's ashes to her chosen location, in order for me to have attended the event on the 11th. It happens to be out of the country, and extremely important to me to attend. I cannot even suggest to the 22 family members also flying out that we need to re-arrange all our plans.

I am certain that the select group of people who have been telling stories of my life to undermine my candidacy will be happy by this. I just hope that local voters are better grounded to learn about each candidate, their past public service work, and their overall qualifications. I am not permitted to provide my web site here, so I recommend you go to my Facebook page, which can direct you to that web site, and lists all of the features which make me qualified for this position.

I have met so many people throughout Lee County over the years, and they always refer to the politics of Cape Coral as a "blank blank blood bath." What a shame. But there will always be that small faction who will never serve, but will try to tear apart those who are willing to walk through the blood bath to serve.

If you are unaware of the Facebook attacks and the recent history to stain my reputation and or scare me from continuing my campaign to serve our city, today you will learn that I am a man of truth and am authentic. I do not hide from these attacks and am addressing them here, so as to curb the attacks perhaps so we can focus on abilities and qualifications versus who is friends whom on these Facebook attack sites.

I have has been accused of prostitution among other statements posted on local Facebook group pages, trying to cast a shadow on my lengthy list of qualifications and successful business history. My campaign also learned that individuals opposed to my candidacy had plans to provide the public with examples of the public records from out of state.

My opponent suggested he plans to use social media for the final days of his candidacy, when interviewed in the Cape Coral Breeze Newspaper on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 caused alarm among local citizens who reached out to my campaign committee.

I decided to remain the authentic professional that he has always been, and wish to share with the voters the truth, versus the erroneous comments that people have chose to make. I, like many others we know, has a police record from his younger years which I wish to disclose fully.

During college days at the University of Pennsylvania, others and I arrested for stealing a sign during a fraternity hazing period. The crime of stealing was dropped when the sign owner did not attend court, but I chose to plead guilty for lying to a police officer. I received probation before judgment and was required to community service.

The outcome began my desire to consistently serve my various communities as a volunteer, to this day, thirty four years later. Currently, I serve our city of Cape Coral as a planning and zoning commissioner and I serve on the board of a no-kill animal shelter outside of our state.

A few years later, 1985 or 1986, I was celebrating a very successful sales transaction with friends at an Oriole's baseball game, where I drank too much, and drove home. I was arrested for DUI, pled guilty, as I knew that I was, and I was given probation before judgment, and community service. When my service was completed, I chose to continue to work for that charity for several more years on a weekly basis. During the arrest, there was no damage to any person or property. I certainly learned a good lesson.

In the early 1990s, there were no establishments in Annapolis, Maryland, for the LGBT community to socialize publicly, until a respected restaurant offered an event described as "Out in Annapolis," in which members of the community could feel comfortable to meet others in a public, social setting. During attendance with the local professional gay men's club, I was getting the eye and attention of a young man, who was attractive and obviously showing interest. I thought the attraction was mis-founded and ignored the younger man, who eventually left. When I later left, this same young man was leaning against the vehicle parked next to mine, and the young man initiated a conversation with me; stating he was married, new to "the scene," didn't know what to do, or where to go, and we began talking as the young man appeared sincerely interested. When asked what two guys might do together, and I began to explain, I was immediately arrested by a dozen vice - police officers for solicitation. No money was discussed, just the private acts. My photo was on the front page as a local business owner, along with a dozen other men of similar business stature. A school principal was fired, and others' lives were damaged. I was a single, eligible man and I stood up to the situation and when I went to court, it was advised that I plead guilty. I did. I was to serve probation and attend counseling. The latter part of recommended counseling for all of us in the vice trap created a bit of a city-wide news stir, opening the eyes of many. People of all aspects of the local community spoke out. It changed the perception of the LGBT community to the city. Twenty six years later, I know that what occurred was for the betterment of the unaware.

While running a real estate firm, I - who often worked late hours, was heading home through the legislative district of Annapolis. It is a bustling area during the day. At night, it is isolated. Just after 11 p.m., I was eating fish and chips from lunch on my lap while driving. Approaching an intersection located between state government buildings housing the House of Representatives and Senate with a large project-housing community behind it; I recalled that this was the same intersection where a local business man was carjacked and later murdered for his Jeep.

The light was blinking red. I was driving a late model Jaguar and I intentionally rolled through an empty eight-lane intersection versus coming to a complete stop. I was pulled over and the officer accused him of having "whiskey breath." When I show him the left over malt-vinegar soaked French fries I was eating, the trooper didn't believe him or know what malt vinegar was. I passed all road side sobriety tests and even still, was taken away to the barracks. At the barracks, I was released within minutes, as I passed the several sobriety tests by machine conducted by his superior trooper. (Sadly, during the time the Trooper and I were at the local barracks; Maryland's President of the Legislator's elderly wife was carjacked at that same intersection and was luckily able to escape.) In court, I pled guilty to failure to stop at the light, as I was guilty of the traffic violation. The DUI case failed. I was ordered to serve probation before judgment.

It was difficult maintaining a luxury real estate firm during the national recession, and when I closed the firm, I owned a substantial amount of money in taxes, lost deposits, etc. I paid all deposits and such, plus made arrangements with the state to pay the taxes due, which I did within the following year.

None of these issues of dozens of years back are worth the intended cloud of suspicion for candidacy. I won't stand down to the likes of the KKK death threat, the uninformed social media attackers or others. While some people reading this would be aghast, others will look at the life as a whole and then think, "There for the grace of God", but I am not afraid to share my history, which is filled with charity work, and with humanitarian work. No, I was not a fireman by career as my opponent, but I do carry a long body of hard work for my past and present communities while running a professional business practice earning wide spread respect for remaining authentic.

I am actually thankful to those opposed to my candidacy for the opportunity to be the candidate who shared his past versus cowers to intimidation. I will address and answer any appropriate question asked of me. I have nothing to hide.

James Schneider (Jaime)

Candidate for Cape Coral City Council, District 5

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