Friday, October 7, 2011

Mayor Trujillo

The fundamental motivation of the Citizens For Full Disclosure is laid out in this plaintive sentence from their latest email "It is less than a year ago that the voters of North Bay Village elected an unknown resident by a mere 6 votes"

It's true. An unknown resident defeated a sitting commissioner who briefly served as vice mayor (until his allies turned against him), a commissioner with a well funded campaign and high name recognition. The only fair analysis of the 2010 election is that Rey Trujillo lost, not that Corina Esquijarosa won. The people of North Bay Village chose the unknown candidate over the known quantity on offer.

This was a rational decision. The voters had seen the out of control spending, the arbitrary firings, the famous "Trujillo Tax" where the city spent nearly $500,000 in unnecessary expenditures to suit the would be mayor's whims.

To see what those six votes meant, consider the following. If Trujillo had won, NBV would:
  • Have outsourced the garbage services at no discernible cost savings to the taxpayers and eliminated side yard pickup. The Trujillo campaign was heavily financed by the Waste Management companies and the debt would have been paid by us.
  • The operating millage rate would have been 5.1 for this year. It was only the dogged insistence by the mayor that the budget be taken seriously and savings found that stopped that. Don't believe me? In 2010, Rey Trujillo had no problem raising your tax rate by 11% to fund the firings and generous contracts he put in place to secure the FOP support.
  • Trujillo fought for and continues to be in favor of a strip club on the causeway. And the strip club proposer, Scott Greenwald, was both a major donor to his campaign and a major force behind the recall effort.
Now let's look at the positive side of things:

  • For the first time in our history, we are getting back money from the Children's Trust Fund and have after school youth programs. This was a major platform item for Esquijarosa.
  • Instead of responding to the personal insults at the commission meetings, Esquijarosa has brought some level of discourse and transparency to the commission, a situation that infuriates Vice Mayor Lim-Kreps.
  • Her intense reviews of the city's payments stopped one retiring city employee from granting himself a large bonus parting gift and she has forced the signing of checks to be done in public.
There's a lot more to do. Since the first day she stepped in, she has been the object of relentless attacks by the people who believe they are entitled to the city, or more importantly to the city funds, and that's taken its toll. Her family, her livelihood, people who supported her have been the ongoing victims of abuse sanctioned by Connie Lim Kreps and her supporters.

The CFD believe that they, Richard Chervony, Alvin Blake, James Carter, Gloria Carter and Jane Blake, have the sole right to the city and their offense at not winning the election has morphed into a dangerous hatred.

Rather than look at why their preferred candidate lost, Richard Chervony, Alvin Blake, James Carter, Gloria Carter and Jane Blake, supported by out of town investors and beneficiaries of lawsuits against North Bay Village, have taken to the streets to tell the voters of North Bay Village that a routine tax matter, a matter that the mayor herself brought to the county appraiser's office, was criminal in nature.

In their twisted rage at being deprived of what they believed they were entitled to, this group has presented this as though there were a criminal conviction, instead of a tax settlement, and a massive fraud instead of a routine, dull story of a property investment gone bad.

Let's do a little bit more about that last email, shall we?

Here's one quote:
"We want a Mayor who listens to what the citizens need and desire and not concentrate on one specific group that benefits them and their family directly." Is there any example, any proof to substantiate this claim? No, of course not. So to whom do the CFD refer with this unsupported allegation?

Certainly not me. Since I got involved, I have been the victim of USPS mail fraud, the target of anonymous emailers who happen to share the CFD mailing list, my car has been vandalized, my family attacked at work. Don't believe me? Do a public records request at the North Bay Village police.

Another citizen who disagreed with the recall found that she too was the victim of first an anonymous email and then one sent by the CFD, accusing her falsely and with no substance of mortgage fraud.

In a similar vein, a citizen who volunteered to be on one of the boards found the CFD sending around his businesses tax records, perfectly legitimate records, but to let him know that they are "watching."

One petition gatherer on my street, a neighbor who I banned from my house two years before because I don't tolerate her constant racial slurs and filthy language, has taken to screaming obscenities at me when she is panhandling on Lincoln Road, income I imagine she does not report to the IRS.

It's hard to see how the people standing up to the CFD have benefited. Quite the opposite.

Here's the final quote from the CFD email: "
Let's take our City back and silence the naysayers and bloggers that twist, distort and mislead the misfits with their twisted perspectives."

Read it again.
"Let's take our City back and silence the naysayers and bloggers that twist, distort and mislead the misfits with their twisted perspectives."

Did you catch the bit about
silencing people? Did it send a chill down your spine? It should. Healthy democracies don't silence. Healthy democracies are noisy places of disagreement and agreement. Healthy people don't "silence" others for disagreement. Good people certainly don't.

I don't know. Maybe it read better in the original German.

So when you get emails like this, consider what it means. Are these really the people with whom you wish to align yourself? Do you really think they want an open city government? What is their platform?

Kevin Vericker
October 7, 2011

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