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Election wrapup

PETER O’CONNOR
Staff Columnist
oconnor@lbknews.com

We may be seeing the “new-normal.”  The silly or election season draws to a close here on our Island home.  The winter crowds are certainly here – escaping unusually cold and snowy weather ‘up-north’, as we say.

What is not here this year is much election activity.  There are few, if any signs sprouting from the grass by the side of the road.  Those of us with electoral experience know that the number of signs exhibited is the prime measure of the success of a campaign.  Advertising in the papers seems down (the two publishers would know.)  One candidate has used the prior success of a professionally produced sheet sent out to the voters via the  internet.  We might be advancing.  The 10th of March approaches.

We at the NEWS have printed our profiles and Q & As.  I’ve talked to the newer candidates and refreshed my coverage of the two old hands in the races.  I didn’t endorse a candidate in either race – yet.

Before we get to that, there is an observation I feel I must share with you, our readers and voters of LBK.  There is of late a difficulty in having Town appointed Boards meet with any regularity.  This, it would appear, is because of difficulty in staffing these Boards with folks who can (let’s face it) who can show up.  I suppose that this should not be so surprising in a community of our demographics.  I recall that those serving on these appointed bodies often flew down to Town on their own dime rather than miss a scheduled meeting.  I get it; that was then, this is now.  The Planning & Zoning Board seems to be able to muster a quorum most times.  The other two, Zoning Board of Adjustment and Code Enforcement Board have the quorum difficulty.  We don’t look too good in these two areas.  We should be able to do better.

I served on both of these important Boards, so I know of what I speak.

When I served on the Town Commission, not so very long ago, our then Town Attorney, my friend David Persson, was concerned about this situation.  I remember his informal proposed solution.  He used to say, if asked, that these two Boards (at least these two) might be replaced by outside attorneys appointed as Special Masters.  These Masters would hear cases and render decisions.

I suppose that their decisions would be subject to judicial review as those of the current Boards are.  At the time I  did not agree with David’s idea, feeling that these functions belonged in the hands of citizens.  It  didn’t matter and never went further.  Now perhaps is the time to rethink the matter.  It would likely require a Charter Review after Commission debate and action.  Election time is the time for citizens to think about such issues.  Why not?

Now to the Candidates, and whom I might recommend.  The absentee ballots are in the voters’ hands.  Indeed many of these have already been voted.  That new Florida Standard, Early Voting will soon be upon us.

After some digestion of my own interview notes, and observing their performances at public events I have wrestled with my own conclusions.  I’ll expose these here, maybe to help you all.

*** At – Large:  This is the tougher of the two current races.  First it is tough to be the incumbent, Younger, in any election, contrary to popular opinion.  (I lost as the incumbent.)  This time here it is particularly difficult to handicap and recommend as the challenger, Jaleski has not mounted a campaign, and has said so.

Gene Jaleski, an energetic activist has plead his case on the single issue of More or Less Tourism.  This issue brings with it the unsaid issue of development, more or less.  He says if you want more tourism vote for the other guy; if not vote for Jaleski.  Pretty simple.  On that one simple question I recommend Gene Jaleski.

Phill Younger, another activist, if a bit less enthusiastic, hard worker has served the Town for two terms on the Commission.  I read him as a holdover of the pro active, development Commission of recent Key Club days.  Phill was also a key, in my view, in the dismantling of LBK’s long successful Beach Management program and through that action the replacement of the previous Town Manager.

*** District 4

This should be the classic open-seat election, especially in a non-partisan race.  Party supposedly means little, or nothing, in this one.

Two nice guys competing for the mantle;  one to continue as before, the other to change course. You should be able to figure  which is which.

Larry Grossman offers change, but he is no bomb-thrower.  He is the professional planner offering to help in the Town’s important planning issues.  As I wrote in my piece on him, if you want to continue the Commission’s interest in Planning it would seem good to have the best trained and experienced professional on the government’s team.  Grossman appears to be that best professional.

I recommend Larry Grossman.

Jack Daly strikes me as a seasoned professional.  His is a record of success in business.  His public sector experience is a bit light, to my reading.  He has experience on the LBK Planning & Zoning Board, and so

could be expected to be an extension of the current Commission which appointed him.  And I did know Daly lives and served at Club Longboat.     Advantage: Grossman.

If you haven’t,  Please Vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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