PB: COW Meeting – Finally, SDM Writes a Report

by SDM

Okay, SDM has been slacking off lately. SDM admits it, but has a valid excuse.

The COW meeting on January 16th was boring. In fact, SDM would go so far as to say that we as taxpayers are fortunate there will not be a Committee of the Whole in February because nothing seems to be accomplished at these meetings. Nevertheless, SDM knows this blog’s readers are a demanding bunch, so here are some lowlights:

Election Date Indecision

Councilman Fiore added an item to the agenda that represents a significant cost to village taxpayers. Namely, when the village should hold its elections.

SDM’s intelligent readers will recall that last cycle, the village’s primary election was held on the general election day during the first week of November. The runoff was held a few weeks later after Veteran’s day and right after Thanksgiving, virtually ensuring a low turnout – at least low for our community.

Of course, while our local ballot was clogged with nonsense, no one thought to propose a charter amendment that would schedule Palmetto Bay’s primary election to coincide with the county primary election. Why should we save a couple hundred thousand dollars just so our general election can be held at the same time everyone else votes?

SDM Codebreaker: Like most things in politics, there are good reasons to hold a runoff election when most people are thoroughly sick of campaigns. Regular people put away their voting brains after the Presidential or gubernatorial election is over and go on with their lives. Only the obsessed go out and vote at the end of November – the nutty people like SDM. The politicians like to have the nutty people vote because those hard core voters are easy to identify, which makes pandering to them so much easier. Thus, even your sainted Palmetto Bay pols prefer to face a runoff in late November, even if doing so costs the village and the county more money.

SDM Says: Hold the village primary in September and the runoff in November so we can save some money and get on with our lives, for  crying out loud.

Robert’s Rules of Disorder

They say life imitates art. Well, SDM Says: politics imitates life.

You know how everyone reads all those books about creating personal budgets and then they just go about their lives without ever adopting or following a budget?

Well, your government does the same thing with its rules of procedure, also known as Robert’s Rules of Order.

Apparently, observing this conundrum caused Councilman Schaffer to ask an eminently reasonable question, which SDM paraphrases this way: Why does the council say that it follows Robert’s Rules of Order when in fact it does no such thing?

The good councilman went on to wonder whether the council follows any rule other than the Rule of Shelley – meaning whatever the whim of the Mayor might be on any given day or at any given moment.

Oh, the innocence… 

SDM Codebreaker: The Marathon Man has stumbled across one of the great truths about government, which is that government really follows the whims of its leaders. Following Robert’s Rules is a pain in the butt and doing so would get in the way of the freight train politics the Three Amigos worship.

SDM Says: Don’t waste your time trying to fix the rules of order, Mr. Schaffer. You were elected to speak and to lead and if you let the Mayor have her way, you will sit mute for the next four years. Follow SDM’s Rules of Order: Speak loudly first and ask forgiveness later.

Electric Cars are like a One Iron

Yes, our newest amigo says so. Go to the tape if you think SDM is full of crap.

According to Mr.Schaffer, buying an electric Volt car is like having a one iron in your golf bag. Do not ask SDM to explain this analogy, SDM cannot help you out. Watch the meeting and comment below if you can decipher what the heck he is saying.

The important thing to note here is that the village appears to be thinking before it runs off willy nilly to purchase the latest in green gadgets – super expensive electric cars. This despite village staff’s intense belief that purchasing or leasing Chevy Volts will end up saving money. Well, SDM has conceived a compromise.

SDM Says: Let’s put this theory to a real test. Pick a staffer who supports the Volt purchase and make that person responsible for this project. If the Volt saves the village money after some reasonable term (maybe 5 years), give that staffer a cash bonus equal to half the savings. If the Volt ends up costing the village during that time, the staffer’s salary will be cut by half the village’s loss.

SDM Wonders: Will our intrepid staff be willing to put their money where their mouth is?

About these ads