Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nope, Not Jean.

There is no doubt now in my mind that I will NOT vote for Jean Robb.

I have been doing a lot of research, talking to friends, acquaintances, elected officials, city employees and strangers, as many as possible who have lived in Deerfield Beach for a long time. 

I talked to
·         people who are upset over being fired from their city jobs,
·         people who think the city looks great and is keeping costs down,
·         people who are unhappy with new fees,
·         people who believe the city is more responsive to residents needs and wishes than ever before,
·         people who think they are ignored by city hall,  
·         people who are overjoyed that their commissioners are easy to contact and are being responsive to their needs,
·         people who think the move to BSO by our firefighters was a mistake because it gives the Sheriff control over 50% of the city budget, and
·         people who are delighted with the money and pension costs that the BSO move is saving.

 All of which goes under the category of you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and proved to me that there are no unifying issues. 

Jean emailed me saying because she was endorsed by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors it would help me make a choice.  In part that was correct.  She also said that this group has no bias, I laugh!  Indeed this did help me.  That a realtor group favored her over Noland, who has a long tradition of being friendly to over-development, was indeed a deciding factor.  It also showed that she doesn't understand what I value. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Election Dilemma

Why am I having a hard time deciding between Peggy Noland and Jean Robb for Mayor?  

Over the last four years with a resident-responsive commission and almost no development projects Peggy Noland has done a good job as Mayor.  She is a hard worker, showing up at city events and ribbon cuttings and representing the city in state and county venues.  She is personable and friendly, and generally a nice person. So, what’s the problem?

Some background, bear with me:

I joined the Original Save Our Beach OSOB group shortly after I moved to Deerfield Beach in 1999 while they were working on saving the main beach parking lot from commercial development and I joined the effort.  The Commission, of which Peggy Noland was a part, was going to give the go-ahead to a development ON THE BEACH PARKING LOT! 

I was disturbed that a city commission would agree to such a thing, and luckily so were an overwhelmingly large majority of the city’s voters. 

As a result of this, I thought that the commission should have residents checking up on what they were doing so I started attending commission meetings.  During the years of attending these meetings I became exceedingly disenchanted with local government.  The impression I got was that all decisions had been pre-determined.  There was almost no discussion or dissention among the commissioners, just a quick vote on each item. This was not healthy.

In defense against the developer friendly commission, residents voted for protective referenda which reinstated our building codes, and saved our parking lot.

We have a new city manager, one who does not shape policy but rightly/legally leaves it to the commissioners.  We have new faces on the dais some of whom feel that first and foremost they represent their city and district residents.  All this is good.  BUT, all of this happened during a recession, a time when over-development was mostly a non-issue. 

What will happen when the economy rebounds?  When developers again come knocking and want to build higher and wider than code.  What will happen when they want land use changes to build on golf courses, or change the density of a property, and nearby residents complain.  If history is a guide, Peggy Noland will vote for the changes.  A mitigating factor is that it takes a majority or, for land-use a super majority, to pass changes.

Jean Robb was a member of the Save Our Beach group before I moved to Deerfield Beach.  Perhaps Jean believes, as I do, that a city should be run for the residents, that zoning codes and land use laws should not be changed unless it benefits the residents, and not just to line the pockets of the campaign-donating developers, but viewpoint is not enough, an elected official has to play nice with others.

I believe discussion, even dispute among our commissioners is a good thing, points of view need airing, differences need to be voiced and compromises reached if possible.  But this can be done, and is now mostly being done, with respect.  I believe that residents should be heard out with respect, and if the view expressed is redundant, longwinded, or simply inane, the person still deserves and should receive respect from his or her commissioners.

I am told that when Jean was mayor a resolution was passed prohibiting the mayor and commissioners from interrupting other members on the dais; this was clearly directed at Mayor Robb, who had gained a reputation for her talkative, disruptive conduct at commission meetings. Robb publicly apologized for her behavior.  Do we really need this kind of behavior again?

Choosing not to vote has some credibility, aside from people who are just apathetic (people should become informed and make a choice; if the choice is not to vote it should be an informed choice).  The number of votes received gives the person elected some bragging rights, choosing not to vote when neither candidate, in the eyes of the voter, has the qualifications for the office can be valid, can send a message.  Also voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.  However this is extreme and I don’t think applies in our March election.

So, that’s how I arrived at my current dilemma. With the pros and cons totaled up, and neither side with a preponderance of pros, and both with some seriously concerning cons, who to choose? 
Before March 12 I will decide. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Richard Rosenzweig for District 3

You can fall in love…can you fall in like? or fall in respect? or fall in admire?  If so, then I am falling in all of them with Richard Rosenzweig who is running for Deerfield Beach District 3 Commissioner. 

Unlike deciding on voting for mayor, which I am finding it impossible to do; the closer it comes to March 12, the more I find I cannot decide between two really questionable choices, Peggy or Jean.  The frying pan or the fire, a rock and a hard place, the lesser of two evils a choice that may well have me writing in Mickey Mouse. 

But, back to an easy choice, Richard Rosenzweig will bring a refreshing style to the dais.  He is soft spoken and I like that he thinks before he speaks.  I respect his strong core beliefs about what a government should be and about the responsibilities of elected officials.   I admire how he is able to facilitate cooperation.

Richard has a background in business and a long family history of public service.  I admire how he is able to make his opinions and even his disagreements known without being aggressive or rude and I like that he can be a mule when he is convinced he is in the right. 

I respect how he is talking not only about serving the voters in Century Village, but also about including the outer edges of District 3 who have just about given up voting in local elections as they don’t see any evidence of representation. I hope they wake up this time and get out and vote for someone that they will quickly learn to like, respect and admire.

I hope the all the voters of District 3 grab this chance to elect a representative who will do just that, represent them and will keep their wishes and issues foremost on his agenda.  Richard has no iffy history in Deerfield Beach to live down, just a desire to raise District 3 up. 

Look at his website and read about his background and what he wants to do for Deerfield Beach.  and then tell your friends.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Election Musing