Vandergrift and Barringer Machine is Repudiated in NSB
It was encouraging the other night to see that the voters clearly said no to the Vandergrift and Barringer insider Machine by electing Jim Hathaway and Jake Sachs to the City Commission. Both will hopefully bring a new transparency and common sense to what has been machine run operation with complete disregard for the taxpayer. The voters clearly said that Grasty’s history of never voting for a tax reduction and Steve Sather’s unfortunate legal history as a former drug dealer and Vandergrift insider “best boy”, were not what they were looking for as their City leaders.
Instead they selected a former long term commission member, who did vote to reduce taxes and seemed to thoughtfully consider issues before him during his eighteen years on the commission. He also comes to the table with college education and business experience as a small business man. This, in stark comparison to Jack Grasty with only a two year degree, no business experience and basically a government pensioner from the Utilities Commission. While Jack is certainly a decent person, it was clear that the voters wanted someone more attuned to their needs and one who truly understands budgets and analysis, and would watch the government purse. In the end we think they wanted somebody with more transparency and a rethinking of the previous way of doing business on the commission exhibited during his former elected terms. Hathaway campaigned on prioritizing the needs of the community to spend tax dollars more wisely; we could not agree more and he could start by eliminating the continued under the table monetary support for the MDC and replacing the overpaid City Attorney with a less costly option. He also said that promote common sense approach to decision making and reduce taxes by eliminating non-essential expenditures; our suggestions above hold true here also. Although at times the SHADOW had its differences with Hathaway, times have changed and we think Jim has also, at least by his comments during the election, and hope that he does what we have discussed and we think he will.
In Sachs, a first timer in politics, we think the voters saw an honest and articulate guy who was not part of the local machine run by Vandergrift and his adopted political “son” Barringer. Jake has worked in government from the other side and understands the need to get back to basics as opposed to the previous willy-nilly rampage of money give aways that served no long term purpose. In our conversations with Jake we found him focused and even though a newcomer, right on target on where NSB should be headed.
Voters clearly did not want Sather, another cigar smoking insider with a less than squeaky clean legal history and questionable success as a businessman who was and is apparently unable to manage his own finances with a serious debt on beachside. Sather’s under the table appointment to the P&Z Board did little to tamp down his insider machine credentials, but it was, in our opinion, his cigar swagger picture on the golf course that brought back the question of his behavior years ago and his machine connections today.
Sachs brings a fresh, taxpayer focus to the Commission and we hope he continues to ask those important questions when the machine tries shove through the under the table deals such as the questionable retirement of former chief Pagano, the evidence fiasco in the police department, the questionable sudden return from the FBI National Academy and immediate retirement of Broullette, the special deal of over one million dollars to satisfy the machine’s friends on the North Causeway, and the questionable operations of the CRA. But most important, the continued retention of the grossly overpaid City Attorney. We hope that he insists that the Commission change its citizen interaction behavior to that of a fully transparent and partner mode with open discussion . We hope that he fights to reduce the consent agenda back to what it was created for, rather than a mechanism to push through special interest bills. And we hope he stands firm on focusing the City’s limited resources on essential service like police, fire, and public works, while reducing the giveaways to non-performing hobbies run by the elite few.
Again, congratulations to the winners and a vote of appreciation for the losers for at least taking on the race itself. We deplore the fact that no one would stand up and go head to head with Ms. Reiker, who has done little to support a re-election, much less a re-election without opposition. She is one of the weaker members of the Commission and one who has, in some cases more than her peers, funded the efforts of her special interest friends with your money. Remember Flagler Ave is her backyard and not only does she participate in the bar hopping drinking games, she has done nothing to clean up this sleazy side of NSB nightlife. She is a champion of one of the biggest leaches in the City, the Marine Discovery Center and has refused to do anything about the illegal lease with the Anglers Club, despite her campaign promises during her first campaign. And finally, she travels on the taxpayer dime along with her mentor Guy, the puppet master. She needs some competition and the SHADOW will do what he can to make that happen next time around, while at the same time monitoring her behavior during her second term.
At the County level, our most sincere congratulations to Joyce Cusack for her decisive victory over Pat Northey. We favored Joyce this year and in previous elections because she is a class lady and excellent legislator who always look toward the impact of her actions on the dais would have on the voters and taxpayers. She was attacked in the most despicable way by Ms. Northey in the last week of the campaign with a vile post card mailer that stretched OLD facts from 2010 to fit Northry’s needs. We think the public saw that for what it was and answered at the polls. Pat Northey should have never run this race and should have quietly retired from the public view. Her on-sided view of eco-based initiatives at any cost was cumulated in the property grab she orchestrated against the citizens of Osteen last year. It was, as usual, Pat’s way or the highway and that does not count her campaign money dump from the developers.
But what we should note here is that the developers have been hurt big time here and will so in the future as Joyce opposes them when needed, such as giving them private beaches by taking the cars off the beach to appease them. Again, our congratulations to Ms. Cusack for a job exceptionally well done.