It is at times like these that I really miss Dad. Although he passed away a long time ago, I would really like the chance to sit and talk with him on some things. I know you remember how involved he was with local groups and organizations. I remember him being involved in local politics and having to deal with people he didn’t like or respect as well as those he did. Somehow I think his advice and experience would be helpful down here in Satellite Beach.
Mom, I gotta tell ya, I sometimes think people here have lost their minds.
As you know, I have become more involved in the local political scene. A couple of nights ago, we had a regularly scheduled meeting of the Insane Asylum, also known as the “Satellite Beach City Council Meeting.”
The meeting was rearranged a bit because once again, we were talking about vacating the right of way on Beach Street. Citizens who spoke clearly wanted the issue to be revisited. They were for the most part ignored. But a couple of interesting things happened with Councilwoman Denan. During the discussion, for reasons we could not fathom, Denan asked Code Enforcement head John Stone if he had a personnel relationship with two other speakers who are owners of condos just south of the property being vacated. We can’t figure out why Denan went after Stone. None of his answers favored the condo owners. He seemed to give direct answers to direct questions yet Denan wanted to somehow discredit him.
I guess this would be okay if it were not for when the original applicant Bridgette Goersch stood to address the Council, Denan stopped what she was writing, smiled and winked at Goersch. It could be that we are seeing something that is not there, but it seems to us that Denan had a personnel relationship with Goersh and did not disclose it. Vice Mayor Rhodes has not disclosed the fact that the vacating of the right of way may mean more word for him as he has worked on the property.
I think I told you Mom, that Denan has had run ins with Stone before, accusing him or impropriety and other things. It just seems to us to be a little bit dirty politics to question someone on a relationship without disclosing your own.
But then Denan said something even more strange. She said that the city shouldn’t tell people what to build or put on their property. Huh? This is from the same woman who wants to eliminate political signs and free speech signs. Aren’t they on private property?
I really wonder how Dad would deal with someone who is that inconsistent. He had to meet someone like this in all his years. I just can’t get past the hypocrisy at times.
After the Beach Street debacle was somewhat resolved, our buddy Steve (you remember him – heavy set with a weird sense of humor) got up and asked where the City was in the budget process and stated that as he saw it, the Council had no right to go back and demand Interim City Manager Ayn Samuelson to redo her proposed budget. (You’d like Ayn, Mom. Nice lady.) The Mayor basically said they were still in the process and everything was fine. It isn’t. I don’t think the Mayor or the City Council understood what was being said. Steve said he was going to send an email to the City and explain it better. It seems pretty clear cut to me. Basically, if the Council followed what the City Charter said, we wouldn’t have people running around sending emails, making calls and going to the home of the City Manager. The entire process would be out in the open. For a group of people that campaigned on “transparency,” they seem to be doing a lot to keep a lot of things behind the scenes.
Mom, remember when I told you about Councilman Billman beating on the Finance Director Brenda Raver last council meeting? During this meeting he actually said he wanted to “press harder but held back” because he began to “feel sorry” for some of the people involved. Amazing. Oh, and the City Council decided to hire a forensic auditing firm for four hours at $150 and hour to look at this issue that no longer impacts the City. Must be nice to have taxpayers pay for your political battles.
The Council also discussed fees at the Schechter Center. Remember I told you the Council was looking to raise fees on non-residents? Well, the County sent a letter basically saying “we have an agreement and we expect you to honor it.” That agreement says the Schechter Center can’t charge more for non-residents then it does for residents. You would think that would be the end of it, but it wasn’t. Denan keeps pushing for the increase in fees on non-residents. Two citizens who are spouses of Council members spoke saying “there is nothing to lose by going back and asking the county to change.” One citizen said “there is a lot to lose. No one likes to having an agreement revisited after it is signed. It is bad faith. What group would ever want to negotiate with the city knowing that we are going to come back at some later date and want changes in the agreement?”
What person is going to call a plumber back who agrees to price, and then in the middle of the job wants more money? Why is it people keep talking about running the city like a business and then acting like contracts and agreements mean nothing?
Denan kept pushing for this and got into it with Ayn Samuelson a little bit. Samuelson said she had been told a County Commissioner had pulled an agenda item favorable to Satellite Beach off the County Commission meeting because of the city pushing to renegotiate the Schechter deal. Denan demanded to know the name of the commissioner because she was going to call them. I think many people were surprised at the venom in Denan’s tone toward Samuelson.
I sometimes wonder if there is any integrity or tact left in this world.
One laugh for the night was during the fee discussion, Councilman French offered that the city might want to see about maybe forming a “club” where Satellite Beach residents could get coupons or even “Schechter Bucks” they could apply to the fees at the Rec Center. Former Mayor Schechter was in the audience and took it well, but people had a good laugh with “Schechter Bucks.” While I guess the city could do something like that, it would certainly violate the spirit of the agreement the city has with the county. I don’t think it is a good idea, but that is just me.
I am still laughing at the “Councilman Bimbo” faux pas by the City Clerk. But I told you about that on the phone last night, so I won’t say more here.
I really miss Dad at times like these. I know you miss him more, but I keep thinking that he would have some advice or wisdom that would help get through this. I know he would be against quitting, and I won’t do that, but there are times when I just get tired of it all.
I have to go now and send this your way.
The wife and kids send their love, as do I.