PB: It’s Time to Take a Side

by SDM

SDM read with interest a letter from village resident Betty Noe in the Miami Herald Soapbox on Sunday. Mrs. Noe sees the disputes roiling Palmetto Bay as a battle of one side against the other:

I take neither side because I don’t completely agree with either side. I don’t agree with a recall petition drive because we don’t like how our elected officials are governing our village. Governing by recall is dangerous, goes against all of the voters who cast ballots for those officials in the first place and it can come back to bite you in the future. It is a bad precedent to set and will put a pall over any future election.

I don’t like the lack of transparency of Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, Councilwoman Joan Lindsay and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser over the Palmer Trinity issue. We have paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars over their misguided decisions. Those decisions, I believe, have led to the sad and painful fault lines that now run through our village.

Here’s the rub. I know and like all of the people involved on both sides. We are friends from before incorporation when we all just disliked the county, not each other. We need to look at a map and find the high road.

SDM has great regard for Mrs. Noe. She offered herself for public office a few years ago. She was a thoughtful candidate. But SDM cannot agree that the failures of the current council majority are somehow morally equivalent to the recall movement. In fact, SDM would argue the recall is merely a response to what many residents now see – at best – as chronic mismanagement. At worst, Palmer may represent malfeasance and intentional discrimination on the part of the Three Amigos.

That residents stay neutral when presented with these facts – see Mrs. Noe’s statement that she “takes neither side” – is exactly what is wrong in Palmetto Bay. Managing Palmetto Bay is not a big a job: keep the grass cut and the budget balanced and you can pretty much skate along without the public paying much attention. Instead, the council racked up over $600,000 in legal bills while losing a lawsuit to Palmer Trinity School. The ultimate cost of that suit could be in the multiple millions of dollars and there is plenty of evidence already that the council majority ignored their lawyers on multiple occasions.

Palmer should be enough, but in addition the current council majority have gone off the rails by pandering to a tiny minority of residents who think they live in an over-55-only community. They continue to push the divisive “neighborhood protection” ordinance (NPO) despite clear evidence that it’s both unnecessary and dangerous to the interests of the village’s most important cultural, religious and educational facilities.

SDM Says: Chronic mismanagement, malfeasance, and intentional discrimination constitute sufficient cause to recall elected officials and/or to vote against those seeking re-election. Each of the above has occurred repeatedly under the current council majority.

With due respect Mrs. Noe, it’s time to take a side.

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