Palmetto Bay’s “Majority”: Obsequious and Demanding

by SDM

SDM doesn’t believe in calling out regular citizens by name and this post will not change that prinicple. However, this post will allow SDM readers to read verbatim comments by officers of Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) at the July 18, 2012 COW meeting. CCOCI is the organization that initiated and fueled the years-long battle against Palmer – a lawsuit that has already cost the Village of Palmetto Bay both money and its sense of community.

Yet, these comments reflect something more. On the one hand, the comments represent a common political tactic where individuals tesitify that they speak on behalf of some theoretical, unprovable “majority” of village residents. On the other hand, the comments come from people who are directly connected to a known special interest but who do not disclose their interest. Despite such an obvious ethical transgression, these speakers feel no compunction about attacking the ethical foundation of opposing views.

The first excerpt comes from a speaker who began her remarks at 1:57:45. After an obsequious show of gratitude to the three amigos, she said the following:

The majority of residents…I call them the great silent majority because as you can see most of them are not here. These people who do not attend council meetings, they are grateful too for your efforts and they do not believe you have wasted the taxpayers’ money. I hope that we will have an end to the bitterness. I hope we will not hear you say – Mr. Fiore – one more time, bringing up the fact that we lost the court decision. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose and unfortunately this time we did. But the money was not ill spent. It was spent defending our rights. That’s how I feel about it and I hope we will have no more discussions about that particular thing.

SDM Commentary: The first thing SDM noted in the speaker’s comments was that she never identifies herself as Vice President/Director of special interest group known as CCOCI.

Second, note the reference to the “majority of residents” that the speaker claims to be speaking for. How exactly does she know she speaks for this group? And, are you talking about the majority of village residents or just your neighbors around Palmer? Can you show SDM a poll or any data from village residents showing they “do not believe [the three amigos] have wasted the taxpayers’ money?”

Finally, who the heck are you to tell a sitting council member that there will be no more discussion of the Palmer lawsuit? SDM will continue to demand that Palmetto Bay residents find out everything about why this lawsuit has gone on for so long and at such great expense. Palmetto Bay must learn how to avoid this kind of expensive mistake in the future.

You see, Mme. Vice President/Director of CCOCI, the rest of your Palmetto Bay neighbors are going to pay for “defending” your “rights.” When you demand that other people pay for your battles, then you better darn well expect some oversight.

Don’t fret dear readers, SDM is not done yet! The next speaker (2:04:09) takes making presumpuous demands to a new low:

Unfortunately, according to other council members and a group of vociferous citizens at the village, government is not about the interest of its citizens. Please remember that we chose you to represent us. Not to represent yourselves. That is what a democracy is all about. We don’t operate under a dictatorship, a monarchy or an oligarchy. I ask you Mr. Fiore and Mr. Tendrich, if the majority of the citizens requested on July 9th that all proposed charter amendments be placed on the ballot for us to decide whether to vote yes or no, why did you vote against this? This is definitely not the way politics or business decisions are made. This is how corruption operates in third world countries. It’s either someone’s way or no way…only for the sole purpose of enriching pockets down the road.

SDM Commentary: This little gem of internal inconsistency from another Vice President/Director of the special interest group known as CCOCI goes down hill fast.

First note the irony: “…according to other council members and a group of vociferous citizens at the village, government is not about the interest of its citizens.” SDM agrees. Funny how the same statement appeals to both sides of an argument.

Second, note the implied claim: “…if the majority of the citizens requested…” The majority of which citizens? The ones attending the meetings? The ones who live near you? A majority of the garden club? Why do people think they can speak for “a majority” with absolutely no proof?

Now on to the foolishness: “This is definitely not the way politics or business decisions are made.” Mme. Vice President/Director of CCOCI, the charter amendments were placed on the ballot by a three to two vote of the village council. SDM disagreed with the decision, but that is EXACTLY how decisions are made in both government and business.

“This is how corruption operates in third world countries.” No, in third world countries, small groups of entitled landowners manipulate governments to thwart majority rule. What you are doing here is called an ad hominem attack. Because you can’t win on the strength of your argument, you resort to accusing the dissenters – sometimes called the loyal opposition – of corruption. How undignified and indecorous.

“It’s either someone’s way or no way…only for the sole purpose of enriching pockets down the road.” This statement is a lot like the first of your comments Mme. Vice President/Director of CCOCI. SDM says: you are right – just not in the way you meant it.

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