Saturday, September 5, 2009

Where Will Candidates Come From?

Jeff Sayles in his piece about the ethics code and the Moye affair NEW: Did Voters Really Want This? (09/05/09) says, “The longer range effect is that the truth of this matter, along with the truth of other matters, could make voters think twice about re-electing Noland as mayor, if they have better options.

“If they have better options.”

This is key, this city needs more of its residents involved in keeping track of what is going on at city hall, more people to overcome their apathy and pay attention to the kind of people who are running our city.

I think in many ways the citizens of this city are complacent, counting on a few activists to do everything for them. This city has been lucky in that activists prevented developers building on golf courses and filling in Crystal Lake (which I understand is about to happen again).

Activists prevented a cell tower from being installed in a little neighborhood park. And activists made sure the zoning codes that were eliminated by a former commission were reinstated, and the main beach parking lot was saved from commercial buildings.

Oh yes, recently, activists prevented the city ethics code from being rescinded by a 3-2 vote of the commission.

But the economy and two indicted commissioners cry loudly for citizen oversight of our city hall. Especially when we have a mayor who thinks ethics interfere with getting city business done.

We had some residents step up to run for office in the last election, but we don’t need office holders who are not interested enough in the city before elections to attend commission meetings (watching them on TV is not the same) or serve on city boards and committees.

District 1 elected Joe Miller who knew nothing about the running of the city, never attended commission meetings and was on no boards. He is doing on the job training and needs a lot of catch up work. He has not had one district meeting since taking office, even after being urged by his constituents over and over. They want to know about the budget process and how it affects them, but they have to go to District 4 meetings to find out. I assume Joe doesn’t feel confident enough or knowledgeable enough to answer their questions.

This kind of office holder is not doing our city any good. Residents must get involved and involved residents should run for office. Attending commission meetings can be very entertaining, also frustrating and maddening, but, always worthwhile as you will know what is going on, and become a more informed voter.

Oh, yes, Deerfield Beach does need an Ethics Code, Florida leads the country in the number of officials convicted in federal public conviction cases. Top five by this count were: Florida, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and California. And most likely some of our current or former commissioners will add to the number in the next census.

Sadly, many good people will not consider running for office because Deerfield Beach office holders have such bad reputations, and campaigns are so dirty.

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