An Open Letter to Gary Resnick

As Mayor of Wilton Manors, in 2010, you are engaged in a difficult battle for your seat.  You have a core group of very strong and fervent supporters.  That core group would be typical to any political campaign but it seems as if some of them have decided to step over the line into illegal activities.

For the last three consecutive nights, I have awoken to my Yard Signs having been disturbed. 

This is Friday Morning.

Wednesday Morning, the signs for Celeste Ellich for Commissioner and Joe Angelo for Mayor – your competition were pulled from the ground.  I spotted this when I got up to walk the dog and thought that someone just had a little too much fun at karaoke at Boom.  It is Wilton Manors, I am very close to the Shoppes and the Bars.  I thought that perhaps it was just someone annoyed at not having “Gotten Lucky” and took it out on Joe and Celeste’s Signs.

Thursday Morning, it happened again.  Celeste Ellich For Commissioner and Joe Angelo for Mayor’s yard signs were pulled up.  This time I found their two signs tossed in the garden under the window in front of the house.   This I think you agree would be suspicious.  Gary, your supporters are perhaps a bit strident and trespassing is a serious crime. 

Thursday Evening, someone had replaced three signs in a row for Joe Angelo for Mayor, Celeste Ellich for Commissioner and Steve Zollo for Commissioner on a lot on NE 21 CT.  The lot had just been mowed and there was a pile of all the yard signs that had been collected.  That was obviously part of mowing the property.  On Friday Morning, all three signs were still there but had been stomped flat.

Friday Morning, today I woke up and stepped outside of the house to find Joe Angelo for Mayor and Celeste Ellich for Commissioner signs next to my porch.  Specifically someone had pulled those two signs, walked up onto the front yard, past the cars, onto my porch and wedged the signs between my hedge and the iron railing on the edge of the Cement that makes the porch. 

They were directly in front of my front door.

Why I think this is a supporter of yours, Mr Resnick is that the sign for Scott Newton for Commissioner has been undisturbed every time.  I only have to readjust it for the wind in the mornings.

I find it difficult to believe that you personally would engage in this kind of activity.  I do not believe that you are that kind of person.  It simply does not seem to be your personality to perform this sort of harassment. I prefer to believe that you have an out of control person with a wild hair supporting you going to my house, specifically, and trespassing while doing this sort of mischief.

Hopefully tomorrow morning when I go to walk my dog, I won’t have to go crawling through gardens in the predawn light.  This is truly getting annoying.

Thank you Gary for your time.

I shall return to my usual pictures and writings about my dog soon, I promise.   November 3rd is coming.

Commission Meeting and Wicked Weekend 2010

I attended the last Commission Meeting of the current Commission before the elections are finalized and we have some changes in the seats.  This was my view from the front row.   As such, this is my opinion.  This is not paid for by any political campaign.   This is not to be construed as a political announcement. 

Last night’s commission meeting was an interesting piece of political theater. It underlined why Gary Resnick is Unsuitable for Public Office.

It started as soon as last night’s commission meeting had begun. A parade of people who having insufficient knowledge of the backgrounds of the Wicked Weekend event have decided to take the Tea Party route and merely condemn without offering an appropriate solution. This proceeded through the Mayor’s comments where Wilton Manors Main Street was thrown under the bus so to speak by his decidedly warped view of history. I was particularly amused by the one commenter that said that since we have people in “The Recovery Community” that we should consider having liquor companies supporting the event wrong. I suspect that this person’s high moral ground extends to Professional Sports and as such he refuses to watch anything with liquor or beer advertising.

I didn’t think so either.

The Mayor seems to feel that the City of Wilton Manors is going to be able to merely put together a Request for Proposal (RFP) and we will have people wearing a groove in Wilton Drive to present their plans to make Wilton Drive home to another festival.

The reality of this shows just how Clueless Gary Resnick is.

Firstly, the event appears to have its own critical mass. People will show whether or not the Mayor wants them. It is drawing people from out of town. People have commented online in chatrooms that they are coming to Wilton Manors for this event as well as Stonewall and other events. Wicked Weekend and Stonewall both are taking on the characteristics of a “Flash Mob”. The City Manager recognized it in the statement he used as well as those of Commissioner Scott Newton and Ted Galatis when they all said to the effect of People Are Coming.

Secondly, there is the Bar Factor. The bars are one of the largest industry in this city. South Florida loves a party, and the bars on Wilton Drive have figured out how to capitalize on this. The City could unilaterally decide that they will do their own thing pending an RFP but the bars will still be there. Should the bars be cut out of the planning of the event, the bars will merely open their doors and fuel the party making their own profit. Should the City decide to go into business itself and try to staff the Drive with stand alone liquor sales booths, I would expect that the bar owners would not lend any help to this event. Whether or not you like having bars on the Drive, they are there for now, and we don’t see them moving off for any time to come. The City putting itself in direct competition with an established business or businesses leaves the City open to all sorts of liabilities and may find itself slapped with a lawsuit for any number of things.

Conflict of Interest, anyone?

Thirdly, consider that there have been festivals in the past that have not been able to make this work. Wilton Drive is a thoroughfare in the middle of an urban area. There are intersecting streets, back alleys, back doors, and other entry points. I personally would be entertained simply by watching the City try to close off the Drive with all those leaky entry points especially with them having to maintain traffic through the core of a party that is currently expected to have 30,000 people! Since there is no practical way to close off the Drive with gates in order to charge festival goers for entry, how would the City expect any other entity to do so. After all, it is a public, state road and if someone wants to cross the road in a chicken costume, how can you justifiably charge them for the privilege?

I would welcome this effort. I am sure that the chaos that would ensue would put another nail in the incompetent Mayor’s political coffin. The list of people that came out to speak against Wilton Manors Main Street with little idea of what actually went on to produce the festivals that are held here was not very long, and for the most part political contributors to the Mayor’s own personal campaign. Hopefully the money that they contributed will be a waste. Gary Resnick is bad for the City of Wilton Manors and the political theater and the mind games that have been displayed in the run up to the election have been many. I for one am looking forward to Mr Resnick having a retirement party on November 3, 2010 as he is voted out of office once and for all. At that point maybe we will have a city government that is committed to work together on the future of Wilton Manors instead of blatantly pulling it apart for their own purposes.

Wilton Manors Electoral Debates

Last night at Wilton Manors’ Hagen Park was the debate of the election season.  I do not know of any more opportunities for people to have heard their future elected officials speak before they get a chance to vote.

Looking around the space, I noticed that this year there were fewer people in attendance than there were in the last election of 2008.   Partly because Barack Obama and the chance to reclaim our nation from the Fascism that was the Bush years energized us with Hope.   Partly because early voting meant many have made their decisions and are sitting this night out.

This was for those of you who haven’t voted yet.   The early voting is at the Commission Chambers at City Hall, 2020 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors.   I believe that it is available for people through the entire county.  The chambers look strange without the rows of chairs waiting for a commission meeting and rows of little blue plastic stalls and they will remain that way until November 3rd.  My suggestion is to go vote and beat the rush.

Last night we were able to hear everyone speak off the cuff.   They were given questions and timed on their responses.   Commissioner Scott Newton and I seem to be cut from the same cloth – we’re both wordy.  It was amusing to hear him get cut off by the person holding the stop watch, Nick Boyko.  There were a couple times where Scott found his muse and really got into the subject and then “TIME!”… I wouldn’t have minded hearing him speak just a little longer on those.

This is what I saw from the front row, it is my opinion and nothing more.  I was not paid for this, although I did have some people who are local readers who are not running for office insist that I write my thoughts down.  I will reiterate, THIS IS OPINION, AND UNPAID.  THIS IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS A POLITICAL ANNOUCNEMENT.

There were two on the panel that were less comfortable than the famed Nixon vs JFK Debates or the “I am not a crook” Speech by Nixon. 

Mayor Gary Resnick looked out of place.   For someone who has had the position for two years, he has been widely seen as a dysfunctional and ineffective mayor.  Admittedly I find his recent actions at the Spirit Vigil reprehensible when he turned the vigil into a political rally.  I am ashamed for his lack of propriety in that situation.  Last night he proved that he was not up to the task.  His nerves were showing strongly as he sat there fidgeting through the two hours of the debate sweating as if it were overheating – it was not, I was freezing , and darting his eyes around as if he got caught with his hands in the cookie jar.   He was as he always was and the City has noticed his antics. Hopefully this will move him onto his next career.   Answers that were given were highly reactive instead of pro-active, indirect and evasive he acted like that smacked dog that flinches when you pet him.

The other person who did not belong up there was Julie Carson.  If Resnick’s electioneering at the Spirit Vigil were reprehensible, Carson’s actions were obscene.  That having been said, she had to do something to tone down her hard edges, she truly looks like someone who is out to get someone.  Of course that is all bravado.  Carson is an empty suit.  She would get started talking and you would quickly realize that she doesn’t know what on earth she is talking about.   This person would be a disaster if she got elected.  The circular logic and incompetent reasoning had me wondering how many gallons of cheap coffee she swilled before getting up on that dais.  There was a rhythm to her speech.  She’d get started to speak and rapidly run out of steam doubling back and second guessing herself.  This is a behavior I witnessed when she was mistakenly on the City Commission before and she would hack into somebody and trail off into complete confusion.  This person has nothing to add to the discussion of City Government and needs to go back to her day job – clearly, Julie Carson is Unsuitable for Public Office.

The Four Year seat is currently up for grabs.  There are two positions and three people that are running for the office.  In contrast to the incompetence of Gary Resnick and the completely unsuitable Julie Carson, I found the three running for the Four Year Seat to be a pleasant discussion among people who were content to be with each other and hash out problems in a co-operative manner.   It came out that the newest to the bunch, Steve Zollo was actually coached to run for the office by current office holder Ted Galatis (no website).  It is hard to argue when your competition thinks that you belong in the post.  Steve and Ted both are joined by Scott Newton, an affable business person who is always entertaining while he explains away some arcane piece of public policy in a way that is engaging and will be easy to understand by someone who is not as involved as I or some of the other volunteer corps are.   Ted Galatis brings to the discussion the precision of his Lawyer’s background and rounds out the triplet.

The other person running for the Two Year seat is Celeste EllichCeleste is a warm and caring individual who I have had the privilege to know for the last four years.  She has run before and tells people in her own “home spun” style that she has some problems with public speaking.  I’m going to ask Celeste to stop saying that because after watching Celeste in action, I aspire to be as good a public speaker as she was.   Celeste was the equal to the best up there and brings to the table a depth of knowledge that only someone who has more than 2 Decades of Public Service in a volunteer capacity could.   Celeste’s knowledge of the Real Estate market will be a strongly needed asset to the City Commission especially in view of the G Resort controversy and the future zoning changes that will be needed in moving the City forward as a Jewel in South Florida instead of our lurching forward under the current administration like a ship without a rudder.   Celeste will bring stability and deep consideration of issues with her.   I highly recommend anyone to get to know this person, I am truly happy I do.

I have saved the best for last.  Joe Angelo.  Joe was easily the strongest speaker last night.   Listening to Mr Angelo was like listening to a concert violin virtuoso playing a Stradivarius.  Well thought out, and often humorous anecdotes would pepper a discussion that illustrates a deep understanding of current, past and future challenges to the City.  I found it particularly instructive to watch the others on the panel when Joe spoke.  I noticed them listening intently at what Joe had to say for something that they missed, and I caught each one at one time or another nodding in agreement.   Joe has an openness that is quite refreshing and a willingness to listen to people.  While he may not agree with what you are saying, he certainly will give you the opportunity to state your case and when you are through you will understand exactly why he feels the way he did and the thoughts that were necessary to come to his conclusions.  Like his election ribbons say “Go Joe!”.  Joe Angelo will be a wonderful and energetic Mayor, and that is exactly what we will need to clean up the mess of his predecessor. 

Wilton Manors Spirit Vigil for Teen Suicides or Political Rally?

This is NOT a political advertisement.
This has NOT been paid for by any candidate.
This IS a personal opinion, and expresses my feelings that people who were bullied and harassed to death should NOT be used for purposes as offensive as this.

Last night I went to the Teen Suicide vigil in front of the Alibi.  It was promising to be a time for people to vent their frustration that so many Teens and Adults feel that the only way to escape the torture of being bullied and harassed for being different was to take the final solution and step into the long night.

Like anything in Wilton Manors, things are somewhat different here.  There was your usual contingent of people with Purple hair, although since this was Wear Purple Day to support those who need to know they’re not alone, there were more out there and there was a good reason to do it.

The Vigil began at 7pm with the Gay American Heroes Foundation beginning to give a talk on the many people around this country who paid the ultimate price for being different.  It was not just gay teens that were remembered, it was straight kids who were merely different, and perceived as being an object to pick on.

There was problem of the curious choice of opening speaker – the current Mayor, Gary Resnick.  Mr. Resnick has just done his own bit of bullying by visiting the home of 70-something Diane Cline.  It seems that Mr Resnick’s own political campaign is going so badly that he has to visit a frail old woman and bully her by accusing her of stealing his yard signs.  If you want to chose someone to represent what a bully actually is, our current Mayor is an excellent choice.   He learned at the hands of his tormentors.   Mr Resnick gave an approximately 10 minute talk about how difficult it was to be a gay teen and how he hid in the closet and did not come out until he was 27.  Then he followed by recounting the story of his male partner’s failed marriage to a woman done so that he could cover.

Perhaps he should have listened more carefully to his own story because after that he completely forgot all he said and turned it political.  He said that he thought he should continue to be mayor in Wilton Manors because of this experience.  What he in fact did at this point was to dance on the graves of each of these teens by offensively twisting the vigil to his own needs.

Mr Gary Resnick – Unsuitable for Public Office.

This was followed by some brief talks by others and the introduction of “Former (Temporary Interim) Commissioner Julie Carson”.  Julie Carson took the stage and launched into a diatribe of what she thought were her strengths, what she thought she should be able to do in office that she is running for again, and why she thought you should vote for her.   It seems that she wants to be elected the Commissioner for the Lesbian community in Wilton Manors.   Unless I miss my guess, Julie, there is no such office.   Wilton Manors is more than 50% Heterosexual.  Assuming that Kinsey is right, that would mean that another 40% are Gay or Bisexual Men.  You really don’t want the rest of our support and you do not deserve it.  This is a DIVERSE city.  We ALL work together to make it better, not just ONE GROUP!

After Julie Carson gave that tirade and whipped her fans into a frenzy and offended the rest of us she gave short shrift to the purpose of the Vigil.   In no more than two sentences she returned to the subject of Teen Suicide and moved on.   It was an obvious afterthought.

Mrs Julie Carson – Unsuitable for Public Office.

This was NOT a political Rally.  Both Julie Carson and Gary Resnick hijacking the vigil for their own sad political stunts was an offense to every person in need.   It was an offense to the thinking person that these two shallow people would be elected to office.  Gary Resnick has presided over a City Commission as mayor for two years of inaction, sluggish response, and bad decision making.   The energy of the decision making process on the City Commission has moved from being that of the Mayor leading the Commission to the Commission clearly leading the Mayor.   The position of Mayor is a leadership position and Gary Resnick Does Not Know How To Lead.

There also is the story of how Julie Carson had her term on the Commission back a while ago and was a complete mess.   She felt that it was appropriate to micromanage every individual that came before her and at one point proceeded to shred the City Attorney in questioning.   The end result was almost every time that she was speaking we were treated to a rant of circular logic that would confuse even an Einstein.  When through she was patted on the head figuratively and they merely moved on.   This woman was a distraction that most thinking people involved were happy to see move on her way.

For those reasons and more, I am thoroughly ashamed that Julie Carson is involved in City Politics.  

I strongly recommend that you take Mrs Carson’s advise – learn about her competition, as well as the competition for the Mayor’s race against Mr Resnick.   In both cases you will find people who are highly competent and ready to lead.  They also are not going to use the suicides of others as a political talking point to further their own questionable career.

I am deeply embarrassed for the city and for anyone involved in that offense that happened in the parking lot.   I was so offended by the actions of Mrs Carson and Mr Resnick that I had to leave early. 

Make sure this doesn’t happen again and vote for
Joe Angelo for Mayor and Celeste Ellich for City Commission of Wilton Manors.

This is NOT a political advertisement.
This has NOT been paid for by any candidate.
This IS a personal opinion, and expresses my feelings that people who were bullied and harassed to death should NOT be used for purposes as offensive as this.