Most People don’t realize just how important a municipal election really is . Even though federal elections are considered serious matters, it is really the city elections where we can be most affected by who gets elected. That is not to say that the election of a President of our country is not more important, but it is the city officials that can have a big say as to how we live day to day. Consider for a moment just how many aspects of our lives the city government really has control over. They run the police force and fire department and therefore the city commissioners decide how much money is to be spent on our protection and life safety. Should any city elected officials decide to spend less money on a police department, crime might increase. If the fire department is not adequately funded or properly run, lives may be in danger. How about the rules and regulations that the city officials put into place and enforce? What color we can paint our homes, how we keep our pets, how long a restaurant can remain open, what kind of signs we can place on our lawns, how we maintain our houses, and even how loud we can play our music are only but a few. Who has the real power here, the Federal Government or the City?
Consider for a moment that the amount of taxes we pay and how the city is involved in it. The City gets money every time we fill up our cars, use our telephones, use the electricity, cable TV, and they even make money on the garbage. They charge us for water, and even charge us for handling our sewage. They decide on what the rules at the parks are, and who shall be allowed to use the public facilities. They give away money to consultants, plan out projects of rehabilitation and run a good deal of the towns social activities. They can even restrict our rights to what we can or can’t do in our own homes. So who has the real power here?
That is why it is so important to get out an vote in the city elections on March 12. However, the history has shown us that most of us Coral Springers (Jerry Springers?) stay home. The last city election less than 7000 voters turned out. That is why we have prepared this guide to the up coming elections. It is important that everyone comes out and votes. It is important that you understand exactly what is at stake and what kind of characters are currently in office and seeking a rubber stamp from you so they can stay in office for another 2 to 4 years.
Coralsprings.com: Impartial Opinions
Our website is apolitical. No one here is running for office. We attend every commission meeting, criticize at will with no worry of repercussions from city officials (they already tried that one) and certainly we do not make money from our viewpoints. As a result, we are in a good position to judge our current slate of city commissioners and the mayor and give to you our honest open opinion of what we think of them. (Did you get that one?). We have comprised this short list of achievements by the currently elected officials. Decide for yourself if they should remain in office.
Commissioners Stradling and Calhoun, Mayor Sommerer: Term Limits? What me Worry?
We wrote an article (click here) describing how these three, Stradling, Sommerer and Calhoun changed a referendum voted on by the people so that they can stay in office far beyond what the city law allows. This change gave them the right to run again in this election. They said that they are doing a fine job and why should anyone want to see them leave? Lets see, Castro did the same thing, Mussolini, also, Idi Amin, only to name a few. What kind of people change laws to suit themselves? Certainly no great leaders of the community. They are hanging around like a bad smell that never goes away. With all the years that these people have spent in office, why don’t they step aside and let some other people have all the fun.
The Commissioner’s Shell Game: Taxes into Franchise Fees
They increased the total amount of money each of us pays to the city government. You notice I didn’t use the word ‘Taxes’. That is because the commissioners have found a way in which to lower the taxes but increase the amount we pay to the city. This ‘Shell” game has the title Franchise Fees on it. This is how they made it work: They lowered the property taxes but created a service fee for the use of the Fire Department, increased the amount of fees we pay for garbage, telephone use, electricity and cable TV. The Franchise fees that the city charges are on top of the taxes that they collect. (More information see our article click here) They lowered the taxes, but increased the franchise fees. That way they can say ‘We lowered Taxes”. They are also going to turn over the ‘Cable TV Internet revenue use to the Economic Development Foundation so that they can reduce the amount of subsidy to that body and claim once again that they spent less money. The Shell Game. It fools everyone.
White Elephant Project
The City Center cost us $1,000,000 per year. The commissioners put into place a contract that rewards the management company running the center even though they operate it at a loss. The way they did this was allowing the management company to consider as revenue the $600,000 that the city kicks in as a revenue subsidy and allow them to ignore the cost of water, electricity, building maintenance, and other normal expense items in the budget the center. The artificial budget that the city presents to us wouldn’t pass any common sense accounting practices. These commissioners were the same people that voted for the center, and the same ones that allowed a bad contract to be put in place.
Slum Area Declared: Sample and University
The City commissioners are taking money from the state government when they asked and received tax payers money for the slums of Coral Springs on the corner of University and Sample road. What slums? Precisely! While operating under the guidelines of the State of Florida, these commissioners gave a silver platter to develop with all of the incentives, and subsidies of the government , to the only bidder on the project and possibly the largest contributor to their election campaign. Instead of rethinking the project, they are now going ahead with it and have spent more than $1,000,000 on consultants. This project will place us in serious financial debt and increase the traffic congestion along University. Been there lately?
The city commissioners played both sides of the fence when it came to volunteers vs. professionals and which way our fire department was to go. The city commissioners kept telling the volunteers not to worry, and made great statements at the city commission meetings saying things like ‘We don’t need a professional Fire Department when we got a volunteer department like ours’. While they were making these statements, they instructed the City Manager to organize a special committee to make recommendations to the commission. After they committee presented their report, the Commissioners promptly ignored it and came up with a knee jerk solution themselves. Even though they decided on a fire department with a strong volunteer presence, they quickly sold out the volunteers and went straight for the professional department. All this while, they were stroking the volunteers and telling them not to worry. Then, the city manager ignores the city commissioners and puts into place almost an entirely professional fire department with very few volunteers. How wishy washy can you be?
The commissioners are now contemplating building a 10’ wall around the police station to protect them from a terrorist attack. I like the police department and think they are doing a great job, but this idiotic idea that Coral Springs is going to be a prime target by a few terrorist running around in bed sheets is just too much. Spending any money on any fences is a waste of our money! Why only the police department? why not the entire city? A moat will be good, filled with Alligators. We got plenty of those. This is indicative of how they handle our affairs.
Barbara Gordon Story.
Most people that turn on the City Commission meetings sees a women get up and speak during the Citizen Requests portion. Her name is Barbara Gordon and 2 of her friends died in Coral Springs in 1987, what was called a double overdose of drugs. Barbara contests that they were murdered. She accuses the city police department of covering up the truth, and the city commissioners of not calling for an inquiry. She is not well liked. The city commissioners constantly battle with her, and even resort to calling her names. Rather than dealing with the poor women, they continue a strong dialog while constantly reminding us how wrong she is and how other organizations have reviewed the case etc.etc.etc. If there really isn’t anything to her story, then why are they always making such a fuss over her ? Either call for another inquiry with Ms. Gordon present or forget about it and stop commenting on it. It makes the city look bad, and the department suspicious. The commissioners react the way they do because they are incompetent at handling these type of situations.
Charter School Fiasco
How about this. Our City Commissioners have made sure that we have the best “C” grade school in the county. That is what they have created by taking on running of a school and placing it in the hands of a management company to operate. Not only did they do this on their own, but they made certain to leave out the parents of children going to that school in making any future decisions. They didn’t even tell them they were going to discuss it at a city commission meeting. Why? They are afraid that someone might say ‘How come we have a C grade school?”.
Of course there are many more decisions and situations that have come about over the several years Commissioners Stradlng and Calhoun, and Mayor Sommerer have been in office. The above is only but a few.
So who should we idiots vote for? Read Part 2 next week, titled the Idiots Guide to who to vote for at the City of Coral Springs City Elections.