Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Leadership Temper Tantrum

Yesterday, I published an email from the Mayor which she sent out to a wide mailing list and was also forwarded by Andreana Jackson.  I published it unedited including parts that are not really complimentary to me because good, bad or ugly, viewpoints need to be out there.  You can read the post here if you did not already see it. 

Every bone in my body is screaming "Yeah, well, what about ..." just fill in that blank.  I'm angry at what the mayor said and angrier at what she did not say.  But mostly I am disheartened at the approach to leadership that she is taking.  

Let's start with yeah, it's hard.  Being mayor is mostly a volunteer position in North Bay Village.  The "salary" is about $800 per month and it takes a lot of time.   Like being president of a condo association, it means contentious constituents, complex matters that you have no experience with, owning wrong decisions and demanding correct information and work from people who don't always have your best interest at heart.  There's a reason that a lot of people don't do it.  

Like a condo association, though, those people who actively seek the position and ambitiously pursue the office have to be prepared for disagreement, criticism and downright opposition.  And sometimes that illusion of power attracts the wrong people.  We've all seen it.  

A mayor, called upon to lead when there is an extortion attempt against the commission would quickly have acknowledged that getting to the core of the issues would make the resolution clear and fair.   

Connie Leon-Kreps is not that leader and it shows in every move, every self-justification, that she utters.  She has rewarded a group of residents who engaged in a fanciful lawsuit against Dr. Hornsby,  organized the firing of a Village Attorney who she brought on because he was trying to strike the balance between precipitous action and village stability, orchestrated a press campaign against Dr. Hornsby, and now brought in the latest in a list of an attorney whose advice is at best questionable. 

None of that will make it better for her.  

Look at the email she sent.  In it, she lists her grievances while never addressing the real questions brought forward, then Mrs. Kreps carefully and deliberately casts doubt on whether the extortion attempt was real, she refuses to discuss her reasons for firing the village attorney, and then she goes into a vitriolic attack on me, the readers of this blog, the Blakes and Chervony.  

I'm not above criticism and I do understand her frustration.  It probably felt good to write that email but it surely cannot feel good to have sent it. 

It's like a child who got caught stealing cookies and simply lashes out with "You don't understand.  You hate me.  You're a doodyhead.  What about that other thing?  Huh?"  The role of an adult in this situation is to help the child see how their behavior caused the problem.  And that's what we need.  A village adult.  But we have a village toddler.  

There will be more in this space about the specific implications of the legal advice that Mayor Kreps praises so effusively, and they are grave.   And it's important to know them.  

But before I finish this piece, there is one thing in her email that I want to specifically call out as emotionally disturbed bull.  She writes "I truly find Mr. Veriker, Mr. and Mrs. Blake, and Dr. Chervony’s  continued personal comments about Mr. Powell’s intelligence, competence and personal attacks simply inappropriate, unprofessional and racist."

I will speak only for me here.  I have never questioned Mr. Powell's intelligence or competence.  I have many questions about the quality of the legal advice we are getting and these questions are being ignored or deliberately misinterpreted.  Mrs. Kreps' statement above is the lie of a child trying to get even and she needs a timeout.  

Kevin Vericker
February 17, 2018


  1. Kevin,

    As a resident of NBV, the political muck along with factions concern me. You can blog as you like, but not under the flagship of "Reality". Did anyone appoint you to do fact-checking and reporting? you obviously have interest in the very politics you criticize and if the blogging is not for fun, it certainly seems motivated. How different is your finger pointing from whomever you accuse of playing dirty? I don't know what your experience is with the City, Politics, or management in private sector, but I noticed you quoting Condo Associations. You are absolutely right about disgruntled residents and those who think it is easy to run as a Board member. It is a thankless job, and thanks to the volunteers who accept the challenge and learn the ropes over time. Otherwise, you will only have wiseacres who are far worse with their constant complaining and otherwise don't know shit from shinola. There would not be one leader in the history whose character and work would have been flawless. Reminds of a resident of a condominium who relentlessly worked on proving his preconceived theory that the Board of Directors are up to no good and the accounts are a sham. Wrote and distributed nasty letters about the Association to all other owners, made formal complaints to DBPR and other authorities, disrupted Board Meetings. The Association did everything to help his understanding, offered him every opportunity to clarify, but it was only one-way communication there. He was able to get the attention of a few owners, but they soon realized that this was an individual with a personal passion to criticize everything and everyone with mental balance in question. Years of record keeping, letters, demand for dismissal of the Board, management, documents as proof that will shake the world... fueled his imagination. The complaints to DBPR followed the protocols and eventually dismissed the complaint. Eight years later, he is the only one who got dismissed in the community he lives. His passion denouncing the Association? Alive and Kicking.

    While you claim to be unbiased, your blog speaks differently. You seem to have taken a position here and if so, how is anyone benefiting from what you write? You are running a commentary like a 10-year-old yourself - the "he said" "she said" "I said" "no one told us" "extortion suspense" "rightful appointment.. removal"... why don't you run for office and see how many people are interested in voting for you? let's say there is some truth about your accusations and you don't like what's going on in the current administration one bit. what are your options (other than blogging) to change it? The next Mayor, commissioner, City Attorney and the City Manager will always be subjected to the same treatment, if not the group of you, then some other. I am not sure how many of my fellow residents are interested in subscribing to this soap, but do wish that the energy is driven to tackle real issues that concern us. North Bay Village is a beautiful little City and has a potential that is untapped. We need leaders and support to improve quality of life and commerce that will help our City grow to new heights. Hopefully, someday this crab mentality will change and we will make much-needed progress. We have good people in place, and unless we all contribute constructively and set focus on future goals, none of us have the time for joining groups. Let's just give credit for the good stuff that happens and make future changes to pick-up the slack and do so without the ridicule.


  2. Kip, there's a lot to unpack in your comment so I want to start out with saying thanks. It takes thought and some level of intellectual courage to put your name to it.

    And I hope that answers the personal point, why I write this. Since the beginning, some 8 years ago, I have been trying to get our community to discuss the problems and issues that are facing us. To be fair, I do not claim to be unbiased. I want to put viewpoints out on issues.

    To give you a bit of perspective, I named it "North Bay Village Reality" because when I started, the then City, now Village, was being bombarded with false information that we were required to allow unfettered development of "adult" enterprises along the causeway. That lie permeated every topic of development including with our commission and I wanted to shine the light on that. Too many people who stood to make too much money were convincing our government that we had no choice but to allow that singular development. And once the truth got out, that there is no such thing as an unrestricted right to develop the properties as was proposed we were able to stop the strip clubs being proposed.

    In doing that, I made some powerful enemies who have been trying to shut me up and shut this page down for nearly a decade.

    You're right. I'm sarcastic and often childish in my writing. I have not stood for public office because I have seen what has happened to candidates who have when they are not favored by the real estate interests that run this town and because my family has been on the receiving end of things very similar to what Doug Hornsby has been through.

    I will defend this blog on the facts though. No matter what the spin I give, I am very careful to base it solely on the facts.

    If you read the mayor's email, you will not hear the actual issues I have brought up - the meeting to remove Doug Hornsby was falsely noticed as a discussion, a violation of our Charter and the County Bill of Rights, the procedure used was different than the clearly laid out procedure in our Charter, the removal of Eddie Lim has no basis in law, the procedures in the Commission don't meet the minimum standard as laid out in our Charter and under State Law, and the firing of the attorney was technically legal but shrouded in the cloud of current investigations. Instead she just insults and creates straw man arguments. That's not leadership.

    I make no secret that I believe our mayor to be fundamentally flawed, particularly ethically. That would be fine if she were just a racist neighbor or anonymous internet troll, but her erratic behavior has harmed the Village tremendously.

    There is no reason that the Causeway is not developed except that the lobbyist who ran her campaign makes his money protecting developers who are holding for a flip. There is no reason that our rec programs are not developed except that the money for rec planning went to a pay for a plan to make a plan for a park under the bridge that was done by the mayor's biggest campaign contributor. There is no reason that we are not doing a full scale redevelopment of our sewers including resiliency planning except that our mayor got annoyed when the village manager failed to buy her note cards. No, I'm not making that up. It was in June 2015 and since that time, the mayor shot down virtually every proposal the village manager brought forth.

    This is unsustainable and I am not sure what happens next but it's bad.

    I hope you'll contribute. Look, I am one flawed guy with a blog and a Facebook page and this village needs more voices. Maybe I'm that scary but I don't think so. I'd like to see more people expressing their views. If you want to develop your thoughts more and publish them, I will post and promote it. I hope you will.


    1. Good points, Kevin.
      I can give you the credit of knowing something over an avid Resident listening in and simply because the time and effort you have offered and it can be recognized as a form of service. It would help everyone if you offered excerpts from the Charter to support the alleged violations by the Mayor or other members of the administration. Let me be clear, I am not defending the Mayor or any actions in question. I am also not hung up on minor tricks and tweaks as long there is transparency. If there is indeed a verifiable violation of the Village Charter, then an action must be taken, starting with the City's attorney.
      Kevin, you don't owe anyone an explanation, but since you are deep into this already, you can provide information that explains itself.



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