Thursday, April 10, 2014

April Commission Meeting

Tuesday night's commission meeting was nothing if not streamlined.   Mayor Kreps has been searching for a formula that would make the meetings go faster and not involve any real discussions as she prefers that the city manager simply decide.   

In the last few months, the meeting order was changed so that Good & Welfare, the opportunity for Mayor Kreps to receive compliments and ignore citizens, was moved to be the first item on the agenda.  Her hope is that the community will go home then and not bother her.   Also she changed the order of public comment so as soon as an item is read, it is open for public comment, reducing the opportunity of the public to ask questions about the item discussion itself.   

While these admirable attempts have met with some success, if you define success as blocking out other opinions, it was deemed for this meeting to put a different order in place without a resolution, something required by our charter.   

This meeting was special because the mayor and city manager had lined up a group of people to make special presentations, including the police union and others, to compliment the mayor.  Kreps needs her warm and fuzzies and got them, so good for her.   

But... there was one presentation, made by the President of Optimists Club, to ask the city to help finance an annual directory that organization creates and distributes.  It was a well reasoned, intelligent presentation and the request was small.  Take $3,500 from the budgeted line item for communications and sponsor this well regarded directory.    Since $9,000 had been allocated for exactly such purposes, and since the city manager has done precisely nothing with the money, passing this should be simple and obvious.   

It passed unanimously but not before the mayor melted down.  You see, as part of her campaigning for re-election, her internal advisers, the voices the rest of us cannot hear, told her to recuse herself lest she be accused of favoring a club, the Optimists, to whom she has long belonged and she tried to do exactly that.  After the presentation, she gave the gavel to Vice Mayor Lim and started to leave the dais.   But the city attorney called her back and told her to sit down, she was just being dramatic.   

Mayor Kreps obeys orders and dutifully returned but clearly had not counted on having to participate, so instead of usual meltdown by around 10 PM, she lapsed into tongues around 8 PM and wasted everyone's time while pretending to think this through.   

Mayor Kreps opened public comment, and the public supports this.  Certainly I do.   But since she was off balance, she did not actually chair the discussion.  In fact, the whole discussion was held without a resolution being proposed.  That's new.   When they finally got to the point of putting in a resolution, she was unaware that there wasn't one.   In the meantime, Vice Mayor Lim thought it would be a good idea to take the money out of the school budget but Kreps quickly slapped him and he got quiet.   

By 9PM, still being nowhere on the agenda, the mayor was so tuckered she declared a break and I left.   I knew what was to follow:

  • After being told clearly by the community that the residents want CCTV cameras on Treasure Island, and the re-establishment of Crime Watch, the police chief understood this as a demand to buy magic water to baptize our appliances and hold them safe against harm, and to put GPS devices in the police cars as the cops often claim to be in North Bay Village when they are in fact not.    This passed.  
  • There would be nothing on Harbor Island Parking.  
  • There would be nothing on the $40,000 mistake the manager made in negotiating the new lease. 
  • There would be nothing on the phone tapping.   
Couple of other things too.  The meeting went on to 12:45 AM but when Mayor Kreps has lost it by 8 PM, it's not going to be productive.    Sad.  

Kevin Vericker
April 10, 2014

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