Wednesday, September 19, 2012

And Then There Were None...

There is no race, no election, for the commission this year.   No one filed to oppose Connie Leon-Kreps for mayor or Richard Chervony for North Bay Island commissioner.  In the two other races, Stuart Blumberg versus Wendy Duvall for Treasure Island commissioner, and Mario Garcia versus Jorge Gonzalez for Commissioner at Large, Blumberg and Garcia have withdrawn their candidacies, leaving the seats unopposed.   
Let's deal with the Treasure Island and At Large seats first.  For Treasure Island,  Blumberg was appointed to the commission in February by three sitting commissioners - Lim-Kreps and Chervony. 
Blumberg brought his long experience in Miami Beach to the position and was hailed as a "neutral", business like guy.  Unfortunately, he also brought a condescending attitude and a passive aggressive style to the seat and quickly found himself in conflict with the mayor and the vice.  Blumberg's primary concerns seemed to be removing trees and firing the city manager, whom Blumberg criticized as deceptive and unprofessional.   This constant sense of outrage, coupled with the truly annoying passive aggressive habit of asking questions not to solicit information but to "prove" that his target was negligent, accomplished very little.  

Last Tuesday at the commission meeting, former commissioner Rey Trujillo complained about Blulmberg's actions and behavior on the dais.  Right or wrong, Trujillo laid out specific actions that could be observed and addressed.   Trujillo did not impugn his character but spoke strongly on Blumberg's push to fire the city manager and hiring an outside consultant for our finances.  Blumberg in the  Miami Herald states 

"This was a personal attack without substance,” said Blumberg. “I decided, ‘You know what, time to go.’ I’ve always taken the high road."
It was not a personal attack.  It was an objective disagreement.  Yuo cannot be that outspoken and that thin skinned at the same time and be successful.  Trust me.  As a loudmouth, I know.  

Wendy Duvall will take the seat then for Treasure Island.  I've met her.  She's young, poised and very intelligent.  She and her fiance live at the Caribbean Towers on E. Treasure Drive and have been very involved in turning that once desperate building around.  I hope she is a quick study as there is much to learn in a short time.  

Turning to the far more pleasant topic of the Commissioner at Large seat,  The two contenders were Jorge Gonzalez and Mario Garcia.  Both are relative newcomers to North Bay Village (most of us have been here since Biscayne Bay was a puddle.) and each brought different experiences to their campaign.  But in common, both have been keen participants in the civic life of North Bay Village, both have been quick to reach out and discuss tough issues with people with whom they disagree,
In the end, Garcia decided to withdraw after assessing his personal situation with a very demanding job and assessing his opponent, Gonzalez, and arriving at the conclusion that Gonzalez has the skills and personality to handle the job.  

I'm disappointed.  I find an election between two classy candidates democracy at its best but I understand and support both their decisions.   Gonzalez, like Duvall, is bright and engaged, and I hope he too is quick study.   

Overall, we would have been much better off with a full slate of candidates for each seat, vigorously laying out their views on the city, and the voters choosing.  But our poisonous politics did not allow that.  Still, I have hope that the two new members of the commission will bring a new tone to the dais and maybe bring up the level of discourse from the current wretched state. 

Kevin Vericker
September 18, 2012
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