Watching last night’s Village Council meeting struck SDM as surreal. SDM was trying to imagine what was going on in the minds of Mayor Stanczyk’s colleagues and we decided they must be asking “who is this lady sitting next to me?”
Vice Mayor John Dubois must sit there steaming; he certainly looks like it. The woman sitting next to him created a fictitious persona and website to accuse him of a crime! Mayor Stanczyk’s website posted copies of some nasty fliers that claimed Mr. Dubois “illegally” cut down mangroves on his property. When one claims in writing that another person did an illegal act, that can constitute defamation under Florida law.
Here at SDM, we vet every post and comment to make sure we don’t cross the line. And, we will take down material that amounts to defamation – if we agree – when a damaged party makes a request.
Mrs. Stanczyk’s claims against Dubois are particularly troubling because they are so uninformed. The fact is that trimming mangroves is a regulated, legal activity subject to interpretation by the county. If the county determines that mangroves were trimmed in violation of state law, then they can impose fines and ultimately sue to collect outstanding monies due.
For any person who has ever faced an enforcement action, you know that the government isn’t always right. Mr. Dubois finds himself under fire from the county and eventually will come to some resolution with them. Does that make his conduct illegal? Not necessarily and Mrs. Stanczyk knows better. In fact, SDM doubts she’d have made the accusation if she thought it would catch up to her. How’s that for political courage?
SDM Wonders: How does Mr. Dubois sit on that dais next to someone who seems to think that no act in a political campaign is beneath her? SDM wrote last month that village politics is not a war…unless you are the Mayor, apparently.
Speaking of code enforcement violations, how do you think former Council Member Howard Tendrich feels after re-reading the website now knowing that his one-time ally wrote that “he’s the anonymous caller if you ever have the code officer visit you and he tells you a complaint was made.”
Really Mme. Mayor? Your statement is either an outrageous lie or a truth without any substantive evidence in the record. If the latter is the case, then produce the inside information and the staffer who is leaking it because we are told that code enforcement violations are called in anonymously. If the former is the case, you have no shame.
SDM Wonders: How do the Mayor’s allies on the council and in the community view this politician now that they know what she’s been up to? She seems to have no compunction to say anything once an ally disagrees with her. Better watch your back Council Members Lindsay and Schaffer; you may be next on her hit list.
SDM Says: We understand there is another shoe to drop in this scandal – perhaps several more, in fact. Therefore, we have no choice here at SDM but to wait and watch as this wonderful little experiment in self-government is smeared by a forgettable, small-minded political flyweight. The next election can’t come soon enough.
Final note to our readers: For those of you out there saying, but SDM, you anonymously blog and say some pretty tough – sometimes nasty – things about the village people. What gives you the right to judge the Mayor? Here’s the difference between SDM and the Mayor: SDM is written by outsiders. No one is elected to diddly squat. Even if you don’t believe it, SDM gains nothing by writing this blog except the satisfaction that another perspective is being published. Someone has to point out the other side of the village story and that’s what we try to do here. No defamation…just carefully researched facts and opinions derived from our best efforts at understanding what is going on.