All Politics are Local
Tea Party Activists have at various times affected change on the national and state level, and more recently have become involved in county and city level issues. Case in point:
Last month, the Palm Beach Gardens City Council passed on first reading a charter amendment to go on the November ballot. The original proposal would have “repealed and replaced” the entire charter, and introduced substantive changes in the way elections were conducted, the relationship between the Council and City Manager, and other changes. The rationale was that some “cleanup” was necessary to bring the charter into compliance with state law.
This did not sit right with a number of Gardens residents, including some members of the Palm Beach County Tea Party. A loose coalition was formed, meetings were held, a line-by-line analysis of the charter and proposed changes was performed, and (at the request of the coalition) an informational session was provided by City Attorney Max Lohman who had developed the new charter language. A website was created (PBGwatch.com), letters were sent to the council, word was spread by social media and other means, and many turned out at last night’s Council meeting to speak against the changes or support those who did.
The net result was a change in plans. The most troubling part of the amendment (Proposition Two), which would have eliminated runoff elections in favor of a “plurality” system that gives an advantage to the incumbent, was rejected by the council. The rest of the proposal (Proposition One) was approved, but not without a lot of discussion by the council, who took our concerns seriously by the end of the debate.
It has been my experience working at the county and local level, that most elected officials care what their citizens think about their actions, and in most cases will not plow ahead with something that is wildly disliked by people concerned enough to come to their meetings (there are exceptions of course – see “Obamacare”). The Gardens Council, to their credit, did listen to their constituents on this matter.
Thank you to all the Tea Party members who spoke at the meeting, including Mel Grossman, Terry Brady, Sally Schmiedl, Francisco Rodriguez, Fred Scheibl and Iris Scheibl.
For more information about these issues, please see: PBGwatch.com
“The best government is the one whose actions are constantly observed.” – anon.