Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Election Odds and Ends

or as the British says, "bits and bobs", which I like better for its rhythmic sound but it's too affected for Americans to be using British slang. Anyway, "odd" certainly suits the North Bay Village electoral system. Let's talk first about our approach to districts.

Large American cities such as San Francisco where multiple and distinct neighborhoods comprise the city use district elections where the candidate must live in the district to be represented and the people of that district vote for their district representative. It has its pros and cons, a pro is that it does ensure that neighborhoods with various economic, social and ethnic mixes are not overlooked and a con is that it gives power to marginal areas at the cost of municipal unity. Both arguments have their merit.

North Bay Village has sort of a half baked district system. With three distinct neighborhoods on two islands, we have a system where three of the five commission seats must be occupied by a resident of a specific neighborhood, but is nominated and elected by the city at large. So the district only matters as a residence.

Two of the district restricted seats, Treasure Island and North Bay Island, are not up for election in this go around, but Harbor Island is along with the commissioner at large and of course the mayor for a total of three positions open.

On Monday, after the period required to gather 50 signatures and file with city expires on Friday, we will know for sure who is running for what seat.

Candidates who have expressed their intention publicly beyond pulling packets are:

For Mayor, Rey Trujillo, former vice mayor and author of the North Bay Village Trujillo Tax, Connie Leon-Kreps, former commissioner and frequent disrupter of the current commission meetings and Tim O'Regan of Treasure Island, a longtime resident and who's only brush with the commission was when Two Times Trujillo slandered his professional record from the dais in April, claiming that he had spoken with Tim's references and gotten bad reviews, a completely unsubstantiated statement.

What's intriguing about this is that Leon-Kreps and Trujillo have been allies in the dismantling of North Bay Village government. This should play out interestingly.

For Commissioner at Large, I understand that three packets have been pulled. The only one who has spoken to me about her plans to run though is Rachel Dugger, a member of Planning and Zoning and the wife a former NBV Commissioner. More about that below.

On Harbor Island, Silvio Diaz, a longtime resident, has pulled a packet and started gathering signatures and I understand Eddie Lim, a member of the Planning and Zoning and a longtime resident has done the same.

Now for the odd part. I spoke with Rachel about her decision to run. After all her husband was mired in controversy during his tenure and she has been the victim of the peculiar vigilantes of North Bay Island, so why run? Rachel replied by discussing how strongly she was influenced by Connie Leon-Kreps and her candidacy for mayor. Now to use another British slang expression, I was gobsmacked. (Great word - means astonished.)

Rachel's reasoning is that even though she and Connie differ on many issues, the North Bay Village Boy's Club has had its day and it's time for the women to take their place to clean up the mess and that one key point, that Trujillo should not be allowed to continue running roughshod over the city as we go broke, outweighs any other differences. Dugger and Kreps do have a an interesting perspective and I am looking forward to seeing what a Kreps-Dugger ticket, if it should happen, does in the general.

It's going to be a fun ride.

Kevin Vericker
August 18, 2010

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