Friday, September 30, 2011

The Recall Campaign and Other Lies

You've seen the emails from the electioneers about recalling Corina Esquijarosa.

You may even have read them.

What you will note is that they are filled with BLOOD RED CAPITAL LETTERS INFORMING YOU THAT THE MAYOR IS GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY. of something.

Except she's not. The real story is so much duller. A foreclosure, a mishandled tax claim, and the mayor herself bringing the issue to the tax office for resolution.

Not a penny of city money was taken. All this happened before the 2010 election, and the situation well known at the time.

No fraud, no malfeasance, just a stupid tax error and an attack for trying to resolve it.

This weekend will be the final noise-making campaign on the histrionic recall of the Mayor. Led by the North Bay Village's secret cabal the CFD comprising Richard Chervony, Alvin Blake, James Carter, Jane Blake and Gloria Carter, founded by Connie Kreps, and supported vocally by out of town grifters, this campaign is not about the mayor's financial issues.

Don't believe me? Why should you really? Well put aside what you've heard for the moment and look at the mayor's record.

Esquijarosa campaigned on a platform to bring children's services to North Bay Village and to restore transparency to how our city spends money. And guess what? She's done that.

In the first part, improving services for kids which has the net effect of improving our community quality and value, the mayor identified and pushed for a Children's Trust Fund grant. For the first time since the Children's Trust Fund was established, North Bay Village is receiving a direct benefit back from the taxes we've been paying.

We have an after-school program and summer camp open to NBV kids, just like a real town, and best of all, at nearly no cost to the city.

Other people mattered in this grant, most of all Jenice Rosado and also the interim city manager Robert Daniels deserve credit for structuring and managing this through.

The mayor has also been working hard along with the school board to create an international baccalaureate program at Treasure Island Elementary, which would turn our local school into an internationally recognized elite school.

The Vice Mayor and founding mother of the CFD, who has not once introduced or supported a program to improve the children's services, let alone one that would claim the money we have all paid all these years to make this a vibrant, family friendly community, reacted to this by quoting Whitney Houston and saying, "I believe that children are our future" and then ruined it by saying "but not if the North Bay Village taxpayer has to lay out money." I'm not making it up. Review the DVD from the 9/20 meeting. Then Vice Mayor Lim Kreps tried to shut down the discussion by complaining that the mayor had too many questions.

Still, Esquijarosa promised to work on youth programs and in less than a year, has delivered, in spite of the Lim Kreps opposition.

Then let's look at the transparency issue. North Bay Village passed a budget holding the operating millage at 4.8. Now the city has tightened some areas but the mayor took apart the budget, noting raises at a time of fiscal crisis, car allowances for people who do not regularly use their cars for city business, longevity bonuses to people who don't work here, and questioned the size of the legal budget, nearly all of which related to labor management issues.

Questioning this sent the Lim Kreps twins into a fury. They don't want the money questioned. Not in public and not by the mayor and certainly not by us. So a bad budget passed, one that remains far too generous to non productive services and tightens those services we residents actually care about.

Again, you don't believe me? Just look at how the projects money has been spent. Millions to create a landscaped wall on North Bay Island, millions for that stupid useless park and not a penny for sidewalks to get there. Could it be any clearer?

So when they ask you to sign the recall. When people tell you that the mayor "stole money from the city." When the "open government" secretive CFD CAPITALIZE their emails and scream at you about how the mayor must be removed, ask them how they intend to maintain the youth services progress? Ask them why they never question a budget item? How come nobody but the mayor asked any questions on the budget?

Finally, when they write about the number of state agencies supposedly investigating the mayor, if they have any proof? (Hint: they don't.)

Then decide. Who do you trust here? The mayor who has delivered on her promises? Or the people who have contributed nothing to the city while trying to hide the budget?

Kevin Vericker
October 1, 2011

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