Election Day 2012


Contributing Columnist


Next Tuesday is Election Day on Longboat Key — visit the town website at www.longboatkey.org for more info.

It could turn out to be a momentous day or just more of the same.

The decision before the voters is clear. Between the incumbent Vice Mayor David Brenner and his opponent, Ray Rajewski, there is a glaring clear difference: the former for unfettered expansion versus the latter’s belief in carefully coordinated maturation.

Brenner feels that the town is declining and a major switch of focus is necessary. Rajewski says not so fast. He appreciates that a community is always evolving but the town has followed a path that has made it the “paradise” it is today and there is no rationale for a game change at this point. Since Vice Mayor Brenner is the primary driver of the idea that Longboat Key requires a commercial and tourist shot in the arm to keep from falling into a declining wasteland, he stands as the representative and focal point of this approach.

This makes the decision of the voters Tuesday the point of no return. This is the proverbial fork in the road.

Mr. Brenner from his original involvement as the community representative for the Chamber of Commerce to his stand on the P&Z Board to his time as a commissioner has been very upfront on what he sees as the only way for the community to prosper.

He has been successful in bringing a majority to the commission. The dominance of the so-called Brenner Group till the present has been so all-encompassing that it was difficult to find anyone to try present a differing view.

With one exception, the Town Commission is currently made up of appointees who have never faced an election. Despite the weakness of their political bona fides, Brenner was a vote in the firing of Town Manager Bruce St. Denis. We later lost Town Planner Monica Simpson who spoke out against both the Key Club expansion and the Publix project as presented. He then selected a new town manager without a search with the excuse that he was only temporary and now after three months is moving to make him permanent, once again not allowing any alternative. All of this has been accomplished without any input from the voters.

Brenner demonstrated his control and his bias with the planning of Publix in their plan to rebuild their entire complex. When the town’s professional planner, Monica Simpson, wrote her opinion of the plan, writing that the proposed project was not up to the standards for a town the quality of Longboat Key, he ignored her objections.

If, as former chairman of the P&Z and leader to the Town Commission he had said “wait a minute, let’s examine Ms. Simpson’s objections,” we would have seen a much more attractive and better-landscaped group of buildings. Instead Mr. Brenner let it be known that any suggestions from any source should be brushed said. If you recall, he took the time even before he was officially and legally involved in the permit process to ‘alert’ the Publix official in charge that they didn’t have to pay any attention to Brad Saivetz’s suggestions because he was “only a gadfly.”

There still remains much to do. The courts have decided that the P&Z and the Town Commission will have another opportunity to review and revise the $450 million proposed expansion at the golf club. The Charter revisions have not been finalized. It might even have a chance to weigh in on what happens at the Colony.

Ray Rajewski offers an alternative choice. He is giving the voters an opportunity to finally allow their opinion to be heard. By stepping forward, he has already done a great service to the town. Everyone has had a chance to understand the facts and participate in their own future. The election result will, once and for all, clear the air.

If David Brenner is reelected, he will be able to claim that his positions have been given the stamp of approval.

If Ray Rajewski is elected, the other non-elected commissioners will have no choice but to reconsider their approach.

For these reasons, I am advocating the election of Ray Rajewski.

I understand that someone could question my involvement and even discount my opinion. After all, I do not live there. Over these past years, I have tried to clarify issues based upon my own experience. It will be of great interest, at least to me, to see whether my time has passed. This election might very well prove or disprove that.

If this turns out that times have changed, I will rest my case. When I was very young, someone told me “if enough people say you’re drunk, lay down.”

I always thought it was good advice.


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1 Response for “Election Day 2012”

  1. Georgie McFarland says:

    That’s right, you don’t live here. Al Green is nothing more than a Mr. Budinsky.

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