Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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Saturday, March 11, 2017


Ken Wayne's Insurgent Campaign - 03/08/17

Ken Wayne is the insurgent candidate in this election. He's allied himself with Mayor Robb and apparently with that small group of people who gripe about just about everything the city does. He is supported by the anonymous attack group, Deerfield Solutions, which even had to retract one of its inflammatory, in fact, defamatory articles about Bill Ganz.

The Sun-Sentinel summed up Mr.Wayne this way: "He's not what Deerfield needs at the top."
Mr. Wayne's written platform contains all the routine good government promises. Of course, everybody supports ethical, fiscally responsible city government, lower taxes, etc. The question, therefore, is not so much what the candidate is for, but how he can achieve these things as a member of a collaborative legislative body. Nothing in Wayne's résumé suggests he is any better qualified than any of the other three candidates for mayor. In fact, his lack of experience and obvious lack of knowledge about Deerfield Beach city government would seem to make him the least qualified.

To achieve anything, any mayor or commissioner must work well with and build consensus with the city manager and the other commissioners. This was one of the failings of Mayor Robb, who managed to alienate most of her fellow commissioners, not even to mention city staff. Bear in mind that the mayor is one vote of five, is not in charge of the city, and can't do very much alone without commission support and a good working relationship with the administration.

Not in his published platform, but elsewhere, he's called for the ouster of the city manager, Burgess Hanson (Next Door post, Jan. 10). Going to war with the city manager, with whom he has never worked, would not be a constructive start, it seems to me, to building any sort of collaborative effort among the commission or with the public. Calling for Mr. Hanson's termination would only create havoc and discord ... and for no good reason that Mr. Wayne has articulated.

Elimination, or at least containment, of sober homes is apparently Mr. Wayne's key objective as it is the only area where he's made any concrete proposal. It seems, however, he has moved away from his "dubious" moratorium scheme to a different proposal. "Although we must be compassionate in caring for those struggling with addiction," he writes, "We must enact zoning laws to prohibit a construction or establishment of a new 'sober' house or drug treatment facility within three miles of a school, playground, daycare or residential community with at least one hundred units of housing." [Emphasis added.]

If the moratorium idea was legally questionable, this is down-right crazy, and hardly compassionate. Such a zoning law would be, essentially, an out-and-out ban, clearly violative of the matrix of federal laws and regulations requiring "accommodation." I cautiously assume that Mr. Wayne knows the difference between a sober home and drug treatment facility, which are governed by separate rules. Presumably, putting recovering alcoholics into the same category as, say, convicted sex offenders, would be prima facie evidence of a discriminatory intent against a protected class when the law suits roll in.

To win this, the city would have to prove it has a very high compelling interest to keep sober homes and treatment facilities far away from schools. I don't see it. School children face far more danger from drunk drivers than from recovering alcoholics.
I have to wonder whether Ken Wayne came up this new idea all on his own or it was planted by one of his more imaginative supporters. No question that sober homes present problems to the city, but tackling these problems requires sound and — forgive the pun — sober thinking. This plan sounds to me like it was the product of tee many martoonis and not-so-subtle bigotry against a particular group of persons.

What the city needs now (and always for that matter) is sound thinking by people who actually know what they are talking about — sober homes and myriad other city issues. What we least need are screwy plans that will never pass anyway from someone who drops out of the woodwork and has absolutely no experience with and little knowledge of the city, but thinks he is the future of Deerfield Beach by appealing to the zany complaints of a handful of chronic complainers. I can only hope that the 12 or 15 percent of voters who actually show up to vote see it that way.