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Election postscript

PETER O’CONNOR
Contributing Columnist
oconnor@lbknews.com

WOW, it’s over.  I wasn’t really ready for the events of March 12th.  I’ll have to make a few revisions.

Let’s just say that this was a spirited election; 40.06% of registered LBK voters turned out.  One race was decided by 27 votes.  That’s about 1% of the votes.

At least $70,000 was contributed to the six candidates.  The two aspirants to a one year seat raised almost $41,000.  Now that’s ambition.

You know the numbers.  The big winner was Younger – Congratulations, Phill.

Almost three years ago I wrote a column for these pages on the End of Local Government.  Quoting myself, “One might mark the end of local government as we have known it on our particular island as 1400 on 3 May 2010.  This action will be ratified at a quickly special meeting for second reading on 20 May at 1701.  Quick work to undo 55+ years of effort by dedicated citizens working for all.  It was something to see.  The problem here, from my perspective, was not the actual code clarifications (changes) per se but the realization that these modifications were requested by and written by the applicant for a major project (ODP Amendment) while that application was before the Town.  I have opined before that I find this process abhorrent to our system.  My view remains.”  Of course the Courts struck these actions down. My colleague here said that there would not be another election on LBK.How prophetic he was.  I now join him in his view. You were correct, Jean. We just might have witnessed the last local election in modern time.All the levers of power are held by  the same gang, the same cliques,  like thinkers…

Our electorate is disinterested – that 40 % voter turnout.  I think it might be time to return to November elections –  Rejoin America.

I said a few weeks ago that we should grade this Commission on its success in Planning, since it does little else.   Well – We Did.   They passed! We can now expect more of the same.  Stand  buy.

Some years ago in a bygone Republican national administration public policy was often undone by a benign neglect of enforcement.  In the current democratic administration the opposite appears to be happening, enforcement of polices not yet approved by the Congress   –   the result is the same,  Here the Commission is indeed the Governing Body of the Town (LBK Charter)  It is not a separate legislature as some think.  As such it is often ignoring itself and its Charter and prior enactments of law.  It even thinks it can ignore the Courts.  Ask yourself ,  “How are they doing on this one?”

I think the Town Government has degenerated to the state of many other organizations here, viz. “Let someone else do it.”  We all see this in Condominia, Homeowners Associations, Church Groups.  Part timers just think and act like part timers.  (Bay Isles Association had four Director positions come open this year – only the four incumbents applied to continue  Thus no election, no new blood)  Term limits alone keep any semblance of fresh thinking in Town Government.  I’d be on watch for an attempt at eliminating these Charter Limits.  The appointed boards have no limits.  Poor thing too as our Planning & Zoning Board has not acquitted itself well of late.

Locked up:  Commission, appointed boards, pension boards (only employee members save these), PIC ( oh, how the mighty have fallen), remaining employee staff (after the most recent purges), Newspapers (yes that’s plural) Country Club (obviously), Garden Club, Yacht Clubs (maybe), Local Bar, (the Jurists remain true).

So, what to do?  Enjoy it as long as you can.  If you are fortunate enough to live “behind the gates” count your blessings.  As the Town loosens all bounds outside those gates live well in the separation  which protects you.  Of course the added traffic will soon make your homes inaccessible.   Watch particularly the Gulfside properties in our Manatee County portion.

Now, I’m an engineer by profession.  I’ve spent my life building and maintaining things.  So I guess you’d think that I’d be on the side of the current regime here.

Over simplified, I’d say that while I might agree with the product, I must disagree with the method.  I think that we can do much better here on our island home.

If you enjoy my musings here in these pages, expect more in our goal of education, entertainment, and a bit less of local editorial attempts to affect public policy.  For the time being the developers and their minions have won.  One might say that we, the residents cum voters have lost through or own inaction.

That’s the way y’all want it.  For myself I can say it was a great ride.  I’ve had a fine time doing what I thought needed to be done.  Thanks for all your support.

POC – 3/13/13

 

 

 
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