Monday, April 7, 2014

This article and editorial are courtesy of the Pelican Newspaper

PAC aims to recall Ganz; Commission, supporters rally round him

By Judy Wilson

Deerfield Beach – The news that a recall movement is being aimed at Dist. 4 City Commission Bill Ganz drew remarks critical of Mayor Jean Robb from commissioners Joe Miller and Richard Rosenzweig, a plea for decorum from Vice Mayor Ben Preston and words of support for Ganz from his constituents.

Paperwork for a political action committee [PAC] chaired by former city employee Jack Disher and community activist Sandra Jackson was filed March 26 at city hall. The committee has been named Recall 2014 and its stated purpose is the recall of Ganz.

Tuesday night, about seven people attended the city commission meeting wearing t-shirts that read “Recall and Remove Bill Ganz.” Several said they did not live in Ganz’s district. Speaking for the committee was Steve Krevoy, Mayor Jean Robb’s campaign manager, who is also not in the district.

Krevoy said the PAC was legally formed and an attorney is drafting the charges. “There is a justification for recall,” he said.  “I guarantee you this recall will be successful.”

Joe Miller [Dist. 1] led off the commission remarks bringing up an article in the Century Village East Reporter where Robb wrote city commissioners are not approving her suggestions, a situation that will not change until the March 2015 election in districts 1 and 2.

“It appears that when we disagree, we disrespect . . . You come often with incorrect information,” Miller told the mayor. He referred to the final night of budget discussions when Robb presented her version of the document. “We have a system,” Miller reminded her.  “I have one more year to be around you. I’ll work with you as best I can.”

Vice Mayor Preston said his colleagues should set the example and should “demand change, show decorum. The public deserves more. . . There is so much intelligence here. All these gifts are doing nobody any good.”

Richard Rosenzweig, the newest member of the commission said, “I have tried to be supportive of you but people have left [the city] because of their inability to be respected by you.  All we are looking for is civil debate.”

 “I don’t think the mayor respects the entire process,” Ganz said. He called the recall “pure politics” and charged the mayor with not being “as white glove as you say.”

Earlier in the evening, Robb said she had no involvement in the recall movement.

Ganz has been critical of the mayor’s changes in her positions, pointing up articles and comments made in the past that seem contradictory now.

“My biggest issue is I get vilified because I bring up old articles . . I don’t think it is a  coincidence that this arises when I start pushing back. . . just because you don’t get your way, you can’t  manipulate the system,” Ganz told Robb.

Of the recallers, Ganz said, “They had better have the facts. They will see exactly who they are messing with.”

Ganz was elected in 2009 to a four year term and ran unopposed in 2013. For a time he was the city’s representative on the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Earlier in the evening, aware the recall was afoot, Syl Melone, spokesperson for Independence Bay said, “Bill Ganz comes to our aid. He has accomplished much. He serves honorably and with integrity. I hold him in high esteem.”

Barbara Conway called Ganz a “well informed, conscientious individual. We are fortunate to have a man of his caliber,” she said.  To the commissioner she said, “Please do not let fools on this April Fool’s Day dissuade you from your good work.”

Another speaker, Joan Maurice said, ”Dist. 4 will not allow this to happen. You will not recall our district commissioner. You will not accomplish this.”

Kathy Richards, a resident of Century Village East and not in the district said, “Because he doesn’t give everyone what they want, you want to remove him?”

And former commissioner Pam Militello addressed Robb directly saying, “A lot of disrespect comes from your seat, mayor.”

Setting the recall election in motion requires the signatures of 10 percent of the voters registered in District 4 at the time of the last election, 2013.  It also requires proof of one or more conditions: malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, inability  to perform duties, conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude. If the complaint and the initial signatures are deemed valid by the County Supervisor of Elections, then a petition calling for the recall election must be signed by 15 percent of District 4 voters.

If that is accomplished, and the person being recalled does not resign, an election must be held within 60 days stating the question for the voters: remove; not remove from office.

The Broward County Registrar’s website shows there are 11,025 registered voters in District 4.

Pelican Newspaper Commentary:
Robb’s brash example inspires uncivil
dissent - and now a recall
This mayor, Deerfield’s Jean Robb, has no filters. It is a quality that might sound refreshing in a politician, but it is not.  Government should not be wielded like a sledge hammer.
In this country, from the grassroots upward, governing is not done by one, but by many. Ideally, it is the result of reasoned decisions made by following certain procedures. These procedures can be annoyingly slow, even to the point of being obstructive, but they are in place to insure that decisions made are proper and legal.
The preemptory decision- making favored by the mayor only leads to confusion and error. It also encourages chaos.
When leadership does not set an example of propriety for others to follow, those who would rather create controversy take the floor. They do it repeatedly following the example of dictators around the world who come to power by saying untruths so often and so loudly that they become beliefs.
It’s true she does not have the commission support to pass any of her initiatives, those things she promised when she was running: repeal of the Utility Tax, rehires of the workers laid off two years ago, City Charter amendments, budget cuts.
Her frustration is understandable. How she deals with it is not – angry expressions, sharp remarks, personal attacks, resentment when she is opposed and verbal jousts directed at her fellow commissioners.
And her comment Tuesday that when she was mayor before [20 years ago] she had more power, was also not appropriate. Asked to explain, she said, “Those guys were more amenable ….”
Meaning what? Everyone on the dais should follow her lead?
 She is now openly advocating the removal of two commissioners in 2015, the next municipal election. She explained to readers of the Century Village East Reporter that she could not get her initiatives passed until after that election, when she supposes candidates favoring her views will be elected.
Her suggestion in the Reporter was subtle compared to remarks she has made  in public about removing  Dist. 1 Commissioner Joe Miller.
Now her supporters announce they will attempt a recall of Commissioner Bill Ganz. Robb said Tuesday, “my hands are clean on this.” Perhaps. But it has the mark of her campaign manager and supporters of hers from across the city. It’s a small band to be sure, but a loud one.
Ganz came to politics via the grass roots, taking a leadership role in District 4 communities.  Since being elected six years ago,he has done his homework, voted his conscience. Lately, he has been critical of the mayor’s attitude – and, he says, her changes in attitude. It appears this, and the fact he is in office until 2016, makes him the best target for recall.
It would be serendipitous for the residents of Deerfield Beach if this recall fizzles. If indeed the Political Action Committee can present grounds to hold a legal recall [and that is far from certain] the process is divisive, time consuming, hideous PR and because it is somewhat complicated, rarely succeeds.
And there can be lots of collateral damage. Already good people are leaving the city’s employ.
Better for all if the mayor could learn the art of conciliation, patience and respect.
If she truly loves this city as she claims, she’ll put her ego on hold and let Democracy proceed without her derogatory comments when things don’t go her way.
And if, in 2015, the incumbents are challenged by candidates who can win at the ballot box, then so be it.


1 comment:

  1. If we're talking about a lack of decorum, lets not fool ourselves: there was bad behavior prior to Mayor Robb's reelection. There has been questionable actions by our elected officials in the past as well (some even going to jail), and other screaming "scum!" That being said, the political "game" is getting in the way of getting the job done for our city. They just need to focus on the job at hand and stop the grand standing antics.