Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Campaign update #14


Since the Aug. 9 West Palm Beach City Commission meeting, the mayor and her supporters have been making a stir with the charge that the citizens who turned up to comment were 'idiotic' and rude.

This is a humorous case of the pot calling the kettle black, of course, but more importantly it is also not true. Some of the citizens showed up and let loose, no doubt. But most, of course, were respectful. All of the speakers connected to the Keep West Palm Beach Term Limits Committee -- which included Rick Shepherd, Philip Blumel, John Igoe, Jon Fogt and Melissa Nash-Andrews -- were quite polite and professional.

Hence the mayor's attempt to discredit the genuine citizen -- or, in her words, 'idiotic' -- movement to preserve our local term limit should be seen as mere spin.

Also, the mayor purposely shot down a suggestion by Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell to bring the term limits issue forward in the agenda. The mayor purposely made the citizens wait for hours to have their say, which heightened the level of frustration.

The frustration is justified. As Keep WPB Term Limits Chair Rick Shepherd commented later, "If a corporate chairman tried to pull this kind of power play with the board of directors, you can bet there would be plenty of rightfully outraged shareholders who'd voice their displeasure. This is no different ... Having the right to voice your objections is a fundamental tenet of democracy."

However, hidden in the mayor's spin is a valid point: That the mayor calls her constituents 'idiots' is not a license for anyone else to do so. We are right and should always be confident and professional in making our case.

The issue, after all, is not about the mayor. It is about good government, equal treatment under the law and term limits. We discredit ourselves if we get sucked into a name-calling match with the name-caller-in-chief.


Several letters appeared in the Palm Beach Post over the past few days, including letters by C. Ruhlman, Richard Tilford, and Alex Shillers standing up for fair play and West Palm Beach's eight-year mayoral term limit.

Supporters report many other letters were sent, but these were apparently chosen as representative. Thanks everyone, whether your letters were printed or not.