Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quo Vadimus?

How have the charges and allegations against our elected officials changed Deerfield Beach? For the better or not?

We traded indicted Mayor Capellini for one who might well have been indicted if Stevens had been around when Noland was voting on fire pensions and perks (they were voted in unanimously so no harm except to taxpayers’ pocketbooks, but wrong is wrong, and she should have recused herself).

Commissioner Gonot resigned and didn’t run for Mayor and the fuss over the indictments caused a throw-all-the-bastards-out knee jerk reaction which resulted in our present commission makeup; one in which, as was said by, Bill Ganz has 90% of the brains. Harsh, but not too far off, if you take as evidence how the rest are behaving and voting.

Now, Marty Popelsky and Sylvia Poitier/Ferguson and her family are being dragged through the mud over and over. They are not alone, other commissioners are being made fun of, harassed, and called names. To what end? How is this type of hurtful mudslinging helping us?

No surprise that, given the past record of Deerfield Beach’s administration, a records request found that there were some left over institutionalized “favorites lists” from a couple of commissions ago which allowed some privileged few an exemption from penalties resulting from such things as late water bill payments.

Good that they were discovered. Apparently Sylvia et al were still getting that advantage, perhaps knowingly, perhaps not; it seems the former paid city administration set things up to do favors to their bosses, and the bosses (the commissioners) got used to it.

OK, correct this, fix it, make sure it doesn’t happen again, get the back bills paid, and get the interest or penalty payments if that is the rule.

(I have an idea, let Robert Weech, (the assistant fire chief who investigated the allegations against the firefighters who were found guilty of ethics violations during the last election) do the investigation. That’ll fix ‘em. They will shake in terror, afraid they might have to partake in counseling. OK, I’m not serious. But I couldn’t resist.)

What’s my point? The harm that is being done to the city far outweighs the good. No, I don’t want anyone who is violating the rules to get away with it, sure, lets seek out the violations, and when they are proved, the perps will have to take the consequences.

But, I do want good people to step up and run for office, and what is happening now, and was very evident in the last election, is that good people WILL NOT expose themselves to what goes on in a Deerfield Election.

Many good caring, intelligent people have told me that they would not consider running for office here, not because they have anything to hide, but because of to what a sitting commissioner is subjected. So we will largely wind up with buffoons and those who think that being a commissioner will enrich them or give them a personal benefit of some kind.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Deerfield Beach USA

Don't miss Deerfield Beach USA's last 3 posts, and the really handy right hand column of news and events.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Firefighters: Barely a slap on the wrist

A surprisingly mild account from Tom Francis of the result of the Deerfield Beach Fire-Rescue investigation: (My reaction below Tom's)

An internal investigation of Deerfield Beach Fire-Rescue's involvement in the city's March municipal investigation found that six employees committed ethical violations. But those violations -- storing political material in the fire station and wearing their work pants on the campaign trail -- weren't serious enough to cost the employees their jobs. Instead, they'll be given counseling.That's the determination of Robert Weech, the assistant fire chief who investigated the allegations and whose one page memo to Chief Anthony Stravino is -- according to the city manager's office -- the only public record the department generated from its investigation, which consisted of interviews with 22 firefighters.

Read his entire article here:

The investigation raises a few questions in my mind.

1. The inquiry was conducted by an assistant fire chief. An in house investigation, not exactly an unbiased investigation. Are we surprised at the outcome?

2. This outcome determined that the actions weren’t serious enough for the miscreants to lose their jobs. I guess I agree with that, BUT, I sure would want them to remember this lesson for the rest of their lives. And would want their punishment to send a strong message to other employees that elections have rules for a reason; unfair elections are no good for anyone. And maybe to THINK a little before whooping and hollering for a candidate while partially in uniform.

3. What is with a one page report? 20 people were interviewed and no one took notes? How is this possible?

4. What kind of counseling? I can just imagine. We have Captain Regis Smeltz allowing election materials to be stored at the fire house while he was station commander and all we get is a “Record of counseling”??? How about a letter of reprimand in his file, how about a week of suspension without pay, how about an apology to the citizens of Deerfield Beach for an attempt to unethically influence an election.

5. Who did the counseling? What was said? Is this not public record? If it was would we learn that Bobby told Reggie that it was no big deal but he shouldn’t get caught again, and oh, yeah, Reg, keep the signs in your car, not your locker. And, good going getting the mayor who has relatives on the department elected, our pensions should be safe now, heh, heh.

Way to go guys, in building the public’s confidence in our public employees, next time no one will bother to report these kinds of things. Happy now, yup, I guess so, maybe that was the plan.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Here, There and Everywhere

While reading Brttany Wallman’s post on the proposed Fort Lauderdale development “Bahia Mar Park” I remembered a few proposals in Deerfield Beach that had some similar components.

(However unlike Ft. Lauderdale, these projects were embraced wholeheartedly by Deerfield Beach’s commissioners until it got too close to election time. Only the outrage of the public got them reduced or cancelled, not our elected “representatives”.)

Kudos to the Ft. Lauderdale Planning and Zoning Board who turned the proposal down, maybe in response to the residents who say that “there has been no response to the many questions regarding traffic, parking, and mass as well as area concerns about the environmental and economic issues”, or maybe because they realize the city is not going to get a good financial deal out of the proposal, or maybe it is what they said, no use passing it now with so much negotiating yet to do.

Kudos also to some of the Commissioners who, according to the developer showed a “lack of enthusiastic support” and their mayor Seiler who says the project is “a little imposing”. Commissioner, Charlotte Rodstrom, is so opposed to the project she sent a letter to residents warning them about it.

But, however it turns out, good bad or indifferent for the location, I see a familiar pattern:

A developer wanting to use publically owned property to his best and the public’s least advantage. (Remind you of the Boinis pier deal?)

A developer coming before the city with the plan already ready to “chop a few levels off of the height of the towers”. Pretty sure here, they presented a bunch more than they wanted so they could look like the good guys “chopping” some off, leaving a slightly less massive overly dense plan. (Hmmmm, does the Deerfield Beach TOD plan come to mind?)

A developer (and usually the city) paying no attention to the quality of life of the neighborhood, or any attention to potential harm for the barrier island. (Remember the gem of a proposal by our commission to make the entire Deerfield Beach beach a commercial district RAC?)

This is a post by a resident after Wallman’s article - “We cannot build structures of this type on the east side of the sound. Expensive buildings like this just raise our insurance rates when the big one hits. You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger, and you don’t put these buildings on the coast or on a flood plain”.

Wallman wraps up with: “But the city must decide: Is the $500 million proposal called Bahia Mar Park too much development? And would taxpayers benefit enough to justify it?”

Ah, yes, TOO MUCH DEVELOPMENT, very bloody likely, TAXPAYERS BENEFIT, not bloody likely.

Residential development costs taxpayers money, more cops, firefighters, water, streets (now that Crist says we not the developer, have to pay for them), schools, etc. etc. Study after study shows we pay, and pay, and pay for residential over-development.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Found While Googling for a Short Time – I am posting this in case anyone wonders why the public has lost faith in elected officials. If you have more posts like this, please add them to the comments section.

South Florida politics home to plenty of corruption
A shaving kit stuffed with cash, a political payoff delivered in gaming chips at a Nassau casino, free flights to the Bahamas and discounted stays at luxury resorts.
…Coffey and others said they expect to see more corruption charges against elected officials throughout South Florida.
"The way democracy works today, regrettably, is that the people who peddle money and influence are able to manipulate government figures," Tierney said. "It's a sad state of affairs."

Keith Wasserstrom Guilty in corruption case
Guilty verdict in corruption case
Suspended Hollywood commissioner Keith Wasserstrom was convicted Wednesday of two violations of the state's conflict-of-interest laws.

Broward Mayor Ritter under investigation by elections commission
The Florida Elections Commission has concluded that the allegations about Broward Mayor Stacy Ritter's campaign finance reports are worth investigating.

St. Johns County Florida Commissioner Thomas G. Manuel Indicted For Bribery JACKSONVILLE, FLA
The chairman of the St. Johns County Commission has been indicted for two counts of bribery.

Two Levy commissioners, two others indicted
Four government officials, two from Cross City and two from Levy County, have been indicted … indictments were unsealed naming Cross City officials Marcellus Dawson and Johnny Miller Green and Levy County commissioners William Samuel Yearty and Robert Anthony Parker, according to two federal indictments.

2 Indicted Over Florida Bond Sales; SEC Alleges Bribes Paid to W in Business
An employee of a Little Rock, Ark., investment banking firm, Stephens Inc., and a former Florida public official were charged yesterday with bribery and securities fraud in a case involving the sale of nearly $37 million in municipal bonds for Escambia County, Fla.

W.D. Childers released from prison
Former Fla. Senate president will have to register as convicted felon
Former Senate President W.D. Childers, who served in the Senate from 1970 to 2000 and was Senate president for the 1980-82 term, walked out of a prison work-release center Wednesday, ending nearly three years of confinement on a bribery conviction. Childers was sentenced to 42 months for bribery and accepting unlawful compensation for official acts as a county commissioner in 2006. He was accused of paying fellow County Commissioner Willie Junior to vote for purchase of the old Pensacola Soccer Complex for $3.9 million.

Commissioner Tom Manuel indicted for bribery
Historic City News has learned that United States Attorney A. Brian Albritton today announced the return of an indictment of Thomas G. Manuel, a 63 year old resident of St. Johns County, Florida, charging him with two counts of bribery.

Former Florida Speaker of the House indicted
On the same day that Sansom was elected speaker of the house in November 2008, he was also hired for a no-bid job at Northwest Florida State College. ...

Gainesville, Florida - Thomas F. Kirwin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced today the indictment of three former Dixie County officials, Willie Dewey Keen, Jr. (59 ), John Lee Driggers (60 ), and Alton James Land (67). The men are charged with solicitation of bribes in connection with business pending before the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners…

Former Miami commissioner indicted on charges of money laundering.
For the second time in less than a year, former Miami City Commissioner Arthur Teele found himself in handcuffs and accused of pocketing money meant to help the disadvantaged.

Spence-Jones Faces Indictment
State attorney investigates ethically challenged Miami commissioner.

City Commissioner in Miami Is Indicted on Fraud Charges
A City Commissioner here has been indicted on Federal charges of mortgage fraud and money laundering barely nine months after he was elected to replace a commissioner who resigned in disgrace and is now in prison for a bribery conviction.
Commissioner Humberto E. Hernandez, a 35-year-old lawyer, was among 13 defendants accused in two indictments of overlapping schemes to get mortgages and Medicare payments under false pretenses and launder the proceeds.

Deerfield Beach Mayor Al Capellini and Commissioner Steve Gonot were arrested last week.
Gonot is accused of theft from his campaign account after he allegedly wrote a check to a friend for campaign office equipment that was not delivered until months later, after an investigation had begun. Capellini is charged with voting on a development project that involved his company, which also had a contract on the project to do engineering work.

Absentee Voting Practices Result In Felony Charges Against Orlando, Florida Mayor, Judge, Campaign Manager, And Others
The lawyer for Orlando, Florida's "ballot king" said Friday that his client was paid by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and a who's who of Central Florida politicians to gather absentee votes, an allegation that if true means they may have broken the law.

Jacob mayor under investigation
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating Jacob City Mayor David Pittman, according to Jackson County Sheriff John McDaniel and an FDLE officer... “It is an active investigation, referencing allegations of fraud and misconduct on the part of the mayor,”

Former Tamarac Mayor Says Developer Offered Him $200,000 Cash Payoff
Former Tamarac Mayor Joe Schreiber told the Pulp today that Prestige Homes -- which is embroiled in a scandal involving Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion -- offered him $200,000 cash if he would agree to remove his wife, Mae Schreiber, from the mayor's race and throw his support over to Beth Flansbaum-Talabisco, who is the current mayor.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Amendment 4 for Florida Must be a Good Idea!

You want to know why Amendment 4 is not only a good idea, but essential for the future of Florida?

Because EVEN if NO changes are made to the county or city comprehensive plans Florida’s local land-use plans, if added together, call for the addition of homes to house 100 million people (our present population is about 20 million). These homes will be built in areas designated “residential” on our land-use plans -- not in wetlands, on beaches, or other inappropriate places. I repeat - this is as things are NOW, with no land use changes.

WITHOUT Amendment 4 we will have “Business as usual”:
Developers come into town with lots of cash for the politicians (just recently the Mayor of Tamarac said a developer offered him $200,000 cash in a shoe box, does anyone think this is an isolated incident?) then the developers petition for a land use change from say, agriculture to residential, overbuild and disappear to “redevelop” somewhere else; leaving in their wake paved over green space, overpopulation, pollution, water shortages, and a bunch of politicians buying new cars and 52” flat screen hi-def TVs and greedily looking forward to the next new project.

The collapse of the Florida housing industry and recession (caused by guess who?) has halted this for now, but the issue of how to manage growth when it eventually returns has not gone away. That buzzing sound you hear in the background is land developers busily planning the next round.

The Florida Hometown Democracy’s Amendment will require a vote by the residents before a change to their land use comprehensive plan is made.

Amendment 4 must be a good idea because all the usual crooks are against it.

In Orlando, a candidate for Orange County mayor has observed, “In local politics, it is not left versus right, it is taxpayer versus government. Most people in Florida believe our government has become self-serving and no longer represents the best interest of the taxpayer. They are correct. Government’s primary focus is on sustaining their jobs and providing for an insatiable appetite for revenue,” says Matthew Falconer.

Vote Yes on Amendment "4 for Florida." Give yourself a vote on growth

We Are Not Alone!

In Orange County as well as Broward County and Deerfield Beach People are Fuming:

From the

Lessons on growth for wannabe county mayors

Jane HealyFeet to the Fire

July 19, 2009

While Orange County commissioners line up to be the next county mayor, it's becoming even clearer that voters are angry about how their elected officials have mismanaged growth.

Here are the best ways for those candidates to deal with that concern.

Success strategy No. 1:

Reject get-rich-quick developers.

The most interesting number in a new opinion poll is that a whopping 71 percent of Orange County voters appear to support a constitutional amendment that gives citizens veto power over major, unplanned projects.

Even given the 5 percent margin of error in the poll — commissioned by the Orlando Regional Realtor Association — that number is huge. Remember the amendment — dubbed Hometown Democracy — needs the approval of only 60 percent of voters.

And there's no reason to believe that voters throughout Florida are any less upset with politicians on this issue than in Orange.Hmm.

Sounds like an opportunity here for Orange commissioners Bill Segal, Linda Stewart and Mildred Fernandez, who are eyeing the mayor's post when it comes open in 2010. That's because three developers are rushing to get approval for their unplanned mega-projects before voters have a chance to weigh in on Amendment 4 in 2010.

That might tell you something right there — they know they can't really sell their developments to voters because, well, they don't make any sense.

Is there anyone out there who can say with a straight face that Orange County isn't overbuilt? Not only does it have a sky-high foreclosure rate, home values have dropped sharply across the board. The last thing the county needs is thousands and thousands of new homes flooding the market.Yet barreling through the system are proposals for Camino Reale, Innovation Way East and the Rybolt property.

All are located in the sensitive east Orange County rural area, meaning they need commission approval for all their proposed homes. And no wonder they are hankering for this. When a developer turns rural land into urban land, the cash register goes crazy.

All of a sudden they are allowed to put four times as many homes on their land.The projects are expected to come before the commission this fall for an initial vote. If the commission doesn't give them that OK, then they can't move forward.

Current Mayor Rich Crotty has said he isn't interested in giving these developments any sort of go-ahead. So what about Segal, Stewart and Fernandez? If they line up with Crotty — creating a majority — Orange County residents won't have to worry about more major subdivisions despoiling the rural area. It will be a critical test for these candidates.

Success strategy No. 2:

Take the lead on coming up with local development fees.

A new state law on managing growth has been met with mass confusion. Some local governments, for instance, believe it means they can no longer make developers inside the urban areas pay for needed roads when they build their projects, as the state has required for 20 years. Some on the state level disagree, and the law is in court. (Deerfield Beach is one of the cities bring the suit against that law)

What isn't in dispute is whether counties like Orange can use their home-rule power to come up with local transportation fees to make up for potential losses.Establishing such a fee would be complex and time-consuming. In fact, in approving the law, the Legislature ordered the creation of a group that would come up with plans for a statewide "mobility fee" to replace the current system.

But there's no guarantee the Legislature is actually going to approve such a fee. It likely won't be next year because that's an election year, and the development industry is rich with campaign contributions.

That's why such a fee is needed locally.What better challenge for a mayoral candidate than to show that he or she has the smarts to take the lead on such a fee — and the backbone to stand up to powerful campaign contributors who won't like it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Out to get Mahaney, why?

Mike Mahaney seems like a good guy, personable and easy to talk to. He has taken me seriously every time I talked to him about an issue. I don’t work with or for him so I have no inside knowledge. But I do attend commission and other meetings and have observed him interacting with the public and the commission.

From what I read he has done a great job saving money for the city. I am sure he is not as good as some say, or as bad as some say.

I hear Noland and Popelsky are out to get him. I have heard some reasons why, but none that stand up to a performance review. All are personal piques.

The Role of Local Government:

Paraphrased from Google: Under the council-manager form of government, such as the one in Deerfield Beach, the city commission is responsible for establishing policy, passing local ordinances, voting appropriations, appointing members to boards and commissions, approving the City budget based on income generated by property taxes and other income sources and developing an overall vision. Under such a government, the mayor performs primarily ceremonial duties.

The city manager oversees the daily operations of the government and implements the policies established by the governing body.

Ideally, the manager is apolitical.

When Mike Mahaney was hired to be city manager the city was recovering from years of being run by a political to the nth degree city manager, Larry Deetjen, who dismissed the commission as irrelevant.

He loudly put them in their place if they questioned him and made life miserable for anyone who bucked him. He set his own policies and expected the commissioners to rubber stamp them; he also made back room deals with commissioners and developers.

Deetjen was a strong aggressive opinionated egoist who treated the inhabitants of the city as lesser beings and was rude and nasty to residents who questioned him.

This was the training Mayor Noland had with a city manager, one who kept her in her place and dictated what would be done. He discouraged public meetings, (after all the public is stupid and should have no say in the government of the city) and as a result Noland only had one in 12 years. She rarely stood up to him, and weathered his scorn when she did. I remember only once, when facing reelection she voted against the Deetjen/Boinis pier deal.

Enter Mike Mahaney, a soft spoken intelligent manager who expected the commission to stick to their side of the road. He came in with no agenda except to put in action what the commission decided was policy.

He started right out saving the city money by cutting his office staff and not requiring an assistant manager. He spent so much time unraveling the mess he inherited that he was criticized for not being out in the field enough

What needs to be asked is, is he doing what a city manager should do, carrying out the business of the city. To find out, a real performance review should be done, one that has criteria correlated with his job description, do the check list, make some objective comments, check with employees and add up the numbers and see what you get; something like this:

INSTRUCTIONS: Place a check mark on the line underneath the number that you feel is appropriate for each item. 5 is high, or excellent. Please feel free to add your comments and suggestions in narrative form along with the numerical rating.

1. Public Relations 1 2 3 4 5
A. Projects a positive public image
B. Is courteous to public at all times
C. Keeps commitments to the public
D. Seeks to use criticism of self or City in positive ways
E. Maintains effective relations with media representatives

2. Employee Relations 1 2 3 4 5
A. Works well with other employees
B. Helps other employees when possible
C. Keeps commitments to other employees
D. Seeks to develop skills and abilities of employees

3. City Council Relationships 1 2 3 4 5
A. Effectively implements policies and programs approved by City Council
B. Reporting to City Council is timely, clear, concise and thorough
C. Accepts direction or instructions in a positive manner
D. Effectively aids the City council in establishing long-range goals
E. Keeps Council informed of current plans and activities of administration and new developments in technology, legislation, governmental practices, etc.

4. Leadership 1 2 3 4 5
A. Motivates others toward accomplishment of work
B. Delegates appropriate responsibilities
C. Makes thoughtful contributions to City Council and subordinates
D. Effectively evaluates performance of subordinates in his/her area
E. Seeks to develop teamwork by City Organization
F. Uses effective supervisory skills

5. Communications 1 2 3 4 5
A. Written communications are clear, concise and accurate
B. Oral communications are clear, concise; expresses self effectively

6. Personal Traits 1 2 3 4 5
A. Controls emotions effectively in difficult situations
B. Is creative in developing practical solutions to problems faced in the course of work
C. Uses common sense
D. Is flexible in accepting and adjusting to change
E. Has positive attitude
F. Demonstrates personal honesty and frankness in day-to-day relationships
G. Seeks to improve own skills and knowledge
H. Completes work in acceptable time periods
I. Performs work accurately

7. Goal Achieving 1 2 3 4 5
A. Takes initiative to get job done correctly and thoroughly
B. Perceives new responsibilities and proceeds independently to undertake or expand these responsibilities
C. Accepts responsibility for own work
D. Achieves goals set by or in conjunction with City Council

8. Fiscal Management 1 2 3 4 5
A. Prepares realistic annual budget
B. Seeks efficiency, economy and effectiveness in all programs
C. Controls expenditures in accordance with approved budget
D. Keeps City Council informed about revenues and expenditures, actual and projected

9. Decision Making 1 2 3 4 5
A. Attempts to obtain all available facts prior to making a decision
B. Is objective in decision making
C. Considers possible alternatives and their consequences before making decision
D. Makes decisions on a timely basis

10. Other 1 2 3 4 5
A. Seeks to promote intergovernmental cooperation
B. Effectively responds to local politics, customs and interests
C. Seeks to understand and respond to community needs

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mayor Bribed

Former Tamarac Mayor Says Developer Offered Him $200,000 Cash Payoff Wednesday, Jul. 8 2009 @ 6:13PM By Bob Norman

This should put to rest any doubts you ever had that developers and their lackeys would go to any lengths to get their way.

No wonder developers are in a panic and residents are in favor of the Home Town Democracy’s Amendment 4 which provides that land use changes go before the voters.

How many Tamarac voters do you think would have voted yes to change a golf course recreational land use designation to residential for another massive development? Would the developers have had to bribe all of them? I’m thinking that would cost a lot more than 200 grand.

Check out Deerfield Commissioners’ campaign donations, how much from developers? Lots you say? Yup, name after name on the donation list are developers, even, this time, cement companies. They use a lot of cement in road projects. And they have the nerve to say they represent US!!! Read on and see how well representatives represent voters. Sound familiar, remind you of Deerfield Beach?

Norman reports: “Former Tamarac Mayor Joe Schreiber told the Pulp today that Prestige Homes…offered him $200,000 cash if he would agree to remove his wife, Mae Schreiber, from the mayor's race and throw his support over to Beth Flansbaum-Talabisco, who is the current mayor.”

… "Prestige contacted me and made an offer of $200,000 to get my wife out of the race and start supporting the current mayor, Talabisco," Schreiber said. "They said they would bring it in a cardboard box, cash”.

… It's the second recent bombshell allegation regarding Prestige. The Chaits threw big money into Tamarac political campaigns at that time as they sought approval to convert two Tamarac golf courses -- Monterrey and Sabal Palm -- into housing developments. The projects were highly controversial and faced major opposition from residents, but the Chaits won the support of the Tamarac commission, including Flansbaum-Talabisco. Prestige also managed to get the support of the county commission, which also voted to approve the plan.

…Prestige is currently being investigated by the State Attorney's Office for allegedly providing more than $10,000 in cash to pay the membership dues at the Parkland Golf and Country Club for County Commissioner Eggelletion, who supported the Prestige project and voted for it enthusiastically.” Read the entire article here:

“Won the support” Is that another way of saying dumped beaucoup bucks into campaign chests and perhaps brought cash in used unmarked 20 dollar bills in a cardboard box?

“Major opposition from residents” The very people whom these officials promised to represent. I guess the residents only showed up at commission meetings with rational reasons why these developments are a bad idea and no cash. Oops, wrong method.

As British historian Sir John Dalberg-Acton (born 1834) said:
“And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Monday, July 6, 2009

When Asked, "Why Bother?"

Anyone who devotes themselves to issues which effect the public, is going to have doubts from time to time about what they do.

If we were acting for economic motive, such as developers or others who seek to make a buck off of the public, or if we were in it for the ego need of power, or for money or status, we would not have doubts, because we would know what motivates us.

When our motives are altruistic, by which we do what we do because we believe it empowers individuals who feel so helpless in or community and because we know how some matters are so destructive of the public good, there are times when it can be frustrating.

It can be frustrating to see a Commission that doesn't want to listen to us and calls us negative things, and this can be particularly frustrating when the public believes the lies and distortions about us.

One can wonder if it is worth the effort, if it is really worth going through, when we gain nothing of tangible benefit, especially when our time could be spent earning more money or having more leisure time to pursue things which we enjoy.

Those are down moments, thoughts which seem to naturally creep in from time to time especially the more one is devoted to the effort. But then, the reality sets in that we have to be who we are.

We are, for whatever reasons, compelled to do what is right, to defend and protect those who are helpless and need our assistance even though we do not know who many of them are on a personal basis.

And, we could not live with ourselves if we lead lives of selfishness. We cannot turn ourselves into being what we are not. We cannot turn inward towards ourselves and ignore those around us. We are our brother's keeper because we are internally motivated to be.

Never doubt that there are those of us who know respect and value contributions to benefiting the people of Deefield Beach. There will always be things which come up to which there is a call to do what is right. We can never be defeated by others, only by ourselves. - Tom Connick