From David Cohen, Deerfield Beach:
In a practical sense regarding interpersonal relations, our mother advised kindhearted diplomacy expressed with a Yiddish aphorism, "a vort iz vi a fail , beyde hobn groise ail."
"A word is like an arrow, both can be delivered with speedy aim." “And,” she would caution in her own words, "once launched, neither can be withdrawn."
We do not take this to mean that we should not defend ourselves but rather to carefully choose the methods of defense when peaceful measures are fruitless.
So it must be with elected officials who assume powers —overstep their roles and make ill-founded judgments that affect us all and also with citizens who are imprudent in their conduct at civic gatherings.
City Commission meetings are formal assemblies to transact city business by the commission which interacts with citizens for that purpose. To behave discourteously during the proceedings — including interruptions of speakers on or from the dais or highly audible ongoing side-conversations in the audience — is truly DISRESPECTFUL toward all in attendance. It is apparently necessary that we urge commissioners to assist the mayor in maintaining decorum during meetings.
Recently, a grandfatherly figure graphically described a foul violent act without regard to the sensitivities of others present let alone for the children in the commission chamber. By citing the crime which occurred in Massachusetts in 1984, he seemed to be making a point that bystanders who took no action were culpable. But he, himself, shows extreme lack of respect for the venue both while at the podium and when seated in the audience at commission meetings.
Grandpa's point seemed to be about what he perceived as a lack of respect for the woman who had paid his way to attend a civic affair.
RESPECT MUST BE EARNED. It is NOT achieved by demands or self-aggrandizing bombast. It is certainly not gained by distortion of facts or outright departure from truth or by demeaning staff members who are far better educated and more qualified for their jobs than she.
When one commissioner, Richard Rosenzweig, tried to curtail Grandpa’s vulgar diatribe, our mayor over-reached her authority by dismissing his objection. Mayor Jean Robb encouraged the rant to continue. Well, no surprise — while seated on the dais, the madam herself has been heard to make insulting responses to citizens’ sincere expressions of points of view.
Oh yes Madam, you may deny your words as you often do. But we all heard what you said when one lady closed her remarks with, “Money talks.” Recall your vulgar riposte about what it is that walks? These, like decades of your abrasive and contentious insults to fellows on the dais along with citizens and staff, are recorded. Public record, they are painfully embarrassing to our city.
“Words are like arrows . . .” Sometimes, an apology can begin to alleviate the sting — if it is a sincere apology supported by courtesy and veracity. How about it Madam Mayor and Grandpa?
Mayor Robb’s answer to David Cohen’s letter, below is David’s answer to Robb:
From Robb: Your obvious bias toward me makes whatever you have to say not be taken seriously. You are too prejudiced to speak. Sorry your candidate lost the election. Mayor Robb
From David Cohen:
"Kicking the mirror will not improve the image." Common sense identifies Benefield's role in this issue. It is a symptom; it is NOT the main concern. In the mayor’s brief confrontation (above), she has addressed neither — only evasive pettiness on her level.
In this case, there are many mirrors. To kick any one of them is a tactic that does not exculpate Madam Mayor’s reprehensible acts and attitudes which must be indefensible in the eyes of any principled individual. Not even if the kicker deems the messenger to be unacceptable, should the message be ignored for it exposes palplable FACTS — clearly.
There has been no pre-judgment or bias in these reflections. These are no more than unvarnished actualities.
All the same, is name-calling in any way equal to the corrosive negative impact of Bonnaino-Robb’s grossly ill-informed pronouncements, her encouraging her running dogs to snap and snarl at civic meetings, and her attempts at assumption of powers that are clearly beyond the mandate of her office?
A crony or two of the mayor have also taken pains to shoot the messenger while evading consideration of the message.
Who will be the next mirror to be attacked for illuminating plain facts?