Saturday, November 27, 2010

Process and the Commission

The first business meeting of the new commission is being held Tuesday, November 30, at 7:30. The very detailed agenda is attached below. It's 66 pages long and contains all the supporting detail.

Mayor Esquijarosa is a process wonk. No question about it and that's exactly what we need. What the agenda mostly contains are items designed to make sure that the government of North Bay Village is more transparent and accessible. In reading through these, there's nothing radical being proposed but there is a central theme of doing it better, smarter and more transparently.

Two things stood out to me. The emphasis on decorum for the commission and the public, and a proposed timing change to Good & Welfare.

Let's start with Good & Welfare. This is built into the charter and our code of ordinances as an opportunity for any North Bay Village resident or business owner to bring before the commission issues and concerns. Many times these issues are actually addressed in the commission meeting itself during one of the staff or commissioner reports or on specific pieces of legislation before the commission. In other words the answer is in the meeting, yet Good & Welfare often takes up more time before the real issues are addressed.

Frankly, many of the rants and complaints brought up during this time are not particularly sensible and those who attend the meetings to be better informed or more involved in the city politic have to sit through a lot of bad behavior to get to the real issues.

There is a proposal for a simple, effective change to move Good & Welfare to the end of the meeting. This would allow the commission to go through the city business first, residents with particular concerns can speak during public hearings, and those who want to speak at Good & Welfare will be able to. It makes sense.

Decorum though is key. Decorum on the dais matters and equally important is public decorum. Personal attacks unrelated to the issue being discussed are routinely hurled. Two weeks ago, Fane Lozman used his time during sworn testimony at a hearing on a zoning matter to cast aspersions on my personal life. I joked about it but the more I've considered the matter, the North Bay Village Commission has allowed this foolishness to go on too long.

Fane Lozman has consistently been allowed to violate the basic rules of decorum in his speech and behavior. It might seem innocuous that he refuses to give a legal address when speaking, just a cowardly preference not to be accountable for his deliberate actions, but it has a real effect when his spouting slanders publicly in order to disenfranchise others who disagree with him. It makes it sort of an in person anonymous attack.

The Commission of North Bay Village needs to regain control of the meetings for the residents of North Bay Village. Not to do so allows this systematic bullying to continue to alienate the residents with legitimate issues.

Kevin Vericker
November 27, 2010

11-30-2010 City Commission Meeting Agenda

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