PB: Council Meeting Quick Bites

by SDM

New Village Council Members

Tonight’s village council meeting will see two new faces sworn-in: John Dubois as Vice Mayor and Tim E. Schaffer as Councilman.

It’s not clear how the village’s political landscape will change given that Mayor Shelley Stacnzyk is joined at the hip with Councilwoman Joan Lindsay. These two dragged former Vice Mayor Brian Pariser into a series of difficult votes on controversial subjects. SDM believes Mr. Pariser was retired from office precisely because he failed to distinguish himself from Stanczyk and Lindsay.

On the other side sits Patrick Fiore (who is making noises about running against Stanczyk in two years). Dubois benefited from Fiore’s support in the past election, though Fiore couldn’t pull his candidate Jim Araiza across the finish line. Therefore, Palmetto Bay’s second new face is the unknown Schaffer. (SDM calls him Marathon Man because of his fuel purchasing habits.)

So what exactly can residents expect from this new council? SDM suspects Mr. Fiore and Mr. Dubois will work in tandem and that Stanczyk and Lindsay will stay in their camp. This will leave Schaffer to either join the Amigos, to stand independently, or to join the Fiore-Dubois group. Schaffer owes his election to the Stanczyk-Lindsay operation so early money says he will step directly into Brian Pariser’s empty loafers.

SDM Says: If Schaffer becomes the third Amigo, nothing much will change in Palmetto Bay. Property owners will be under the gun of the crazies that support Stanczyk and Lindsay and village government will continue on its intrusive, hyper-regulatory course. If the Marathon Man breaks from the Amigos, residents might see a more reasonable government…and Schaffer will grow a target on his back from the SOPs and CCOCI folks.

Decorum Rising

In addition to swearing-in the new members, the village council will take up the crucial issue of reading the decorum statement before each meeting starts. If adopted, the decorum statement will be read as the second order of business, right before the Mayor starts handing out her proclamations and honors every local sports team that wins anything.

SDM Wonders: The decorum statement is pretty straightforward but it is incomplete because it is not addressed to the council itself. From SDM’s perspective, most of the indecorous behavior at village meetings comes from the dais and from the spouses of those on the dais sitting in the back of the chamber. Let’s hope the council listens to the decorum statement and applies it to themselves.

Misapplying the First Amendment

The minutes of the November 5, 2012 council meeting (Item 12A) contains an interesting misapplication of this provision of the U.S. Constitution:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Village Attorney Eve Boutsis’ was asked a question about the village’s sponsorship ordinance:

Councilman Tendrich noted that on page 4 of 9, line 36, to state that an illegal business would be prohibited from advertising seems obvious. He asked about churches that volunteer in Palmetto Bay.

Attorney Boutsis explained that this is a matter of separation of church and state. (Emphasis added by SDM.)

 SDM Wonders: How would a church’s purchase of a sponsorship of a village event “establish a religion” or “prohibit the exercise” of a religion? Of course, it wouldn’t and Ms. Boutsis should know this. In fact, SDM would argue that by singling out churches, the village is actually preemptively prohibiting speech based on content, which is a constitutional no-no.

SDM Says: Most village churches by now have zero interest in supporting the village’s events, but Palmetto Bay leaders cannot say with a straight face that they support local churches while at the same time they limit their freedom of speech.

 

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