Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Future of Cooper City

Getting elected was an opportunity which I had hoped would enable me to share your goals and visions for this city, along with addressing and dealing with the many serious issues that affect all of us. Until now, those visions along with your concerns and mine, have been thwarted by those in power and their allies. When I ran for office, I envisioned a better place to live, to work and to enjoy daily life. I envisioned the opportunity to be really effective in government, to make positive change and to make things happen for the good of our great community. Little did I know that our small town politicians, along with some residents and supporters, could be so discourteous, disrespectful, ruthless, unethical, biased and ineffective toward not only their own administration, but toward their fellow neighbors and citizens and the goals that we all share. We, as an administration, must hold ourselves accountable, along with our residents at city business meetings. It is almost to the point of where we may require a professional parliamentarian to run our commission meetings in order for the administration to be to be fair, honest and consistent toward our residents and business owners.

The current administration does not seem to be concerned about the majority of the resident’s wishes and concerns. They seem to only care about their personal agenda in order to maintain their false sense of power in office. I say that they are ‘in it’ for the wrong reason if that is the case. The proof lies in the lack of valid and caring response at our city business meetings to our residents concerns and suggestions. Currently, there is absolutely no unity in this current administration, nor is there any real or effective communication, which is required in order to resolve the serious issues that face all of us in the near future. Also, there is no consistent, effective, unbiased and positive leadership. This community is divided because the current administration is divided. Why are we divided? Because those who do not want to envision positive change and only want to continue to be self-serving, continually resorting to ad hominem attacks, want to use their perceived status or position in order to detract from the real issues, the hard facts and the ultimate truth. There must be some other agenda or something to hide as this is the only thing I can resolve in my mind.

I hope that The People will soon choose to effectively change the lack of effective and positive leadership at city hall within the next 45 days. Drastic change is going to be necessary to bring our community together and to wholly eliminate the very serious problems that have given us such a black eye with the past administration. It is time that we as residents, and the future administration, effectively implement positive change and outstanding leadership qualities in order to be more serving to the people and their essential needs, not those of the administration.

From what I have seen in the eight months that I have been in office, the biggest issue is lack of leadership, next to lack of communication. We, as a management team, actually the Board of Directors of this city, cannot bring this city to be number one and better than it is unless we all, including political supporters, put aside our personal agendas, personality conflicts and really strive to work together for the good of the people, our shareholders. This cannot possibly happen at this time due to the current state of affairs that we all have witnessed on a monthly basis emanating from city hall. We have all witnessed orchestrated and choreographed episodes of blatant slander, libel and defamation at our city business meetings, while absolutely nothing is done to enforce the rules and the laws against such vicious hate crimes.

The past and current administration has also been very complacent. Where we should have a real business plan, none exists, either short term or long term, in order to address the serious issues that face all of Cooper City. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, simple as that. Such things as essential services have suffered greatly at the hands of the past administration while an increase in non-essential services has flourished, at all of our expense. We have yet to be provided with our year-end financial statements and the critical information they will provide in order for us to understand whether or not the city ran a surplus or a deficit, how big of a problem the city really has regarding our utilities infrastructure, and how retirement incentives can affect our employees and their future. These issues should have been fully addressed long before our October budget hearings, and effectively dealt with. Now we have serious issues and infrastructure problems surfacing just after the completion of our budget process, which would have been very helpful to know about three or four months ago, before its approval. Looking back, I am glad I did not approve the budget. Something just didn’t smell right.

There is currently no effective plan in place to manage growth. Just look at Monterra, which has been termed by one candidate, the ‘800 pound Gorilla’. It certainly is! The administration has no information on this debacle, nor have they had any, and the Commission lacks the vital information that they require to develop a plan of action in the near future as to how the pending bankruptcy and failure of TOUSA (i.e., Monterra) will affect our city, our future, our cost of services, our infrastructure costs, our residents, our revenues and profit margin. It has become very clear that this administration cannot depend on city staff to put forth much effort in order to keep us informed on Monterra, but also the other big issues that face our city and its future.

We need to look at the ‘bad’ ordinances, policies and procedures which have been implemented in the past and address them. Ordinances such as those that are not implemented by the will of the People, and those that ignore the basic rights and constitutional protections of those electors. The past few years of commission meeting minutes also show a lack of follow-up along with a lack of implementation of most of the issues brought forth, discussed and voted upon, including major issues that have affected us all. Again, more promises that have not been kept by those in power. We need to re-address the real purpose of government, that of providing essential services, not mostly ‘fun stuff’ at the expense of all of us taxpayers. We simply need more accountability, not only between the administrative staff, but between the administration and our shareholders.

It is obvious that business as usual is not going to get our community the new schools that we so desperately require in Cooper City, nor is business as usual going to serve the future needs of our vastly diverse community. We need a better relationship with our school board in order to ensure our kid’s futures and to ensure steps to hold our school board responsible to us, not make excuses alluding to the myth that we as a city have no control over them. We need to force the school board to be effective in planning for our kid’s futures while setting policy in order to make that happen. We need to better influence the school board's bureaucracy in order to become successful in our children's difficult future. Cooper City needs to be in control of its destiny regarding our kids education, possibilities for success and be able to ensure the highest possible educational experiences for our children in order to reduce the current thirty percent failure rate.

How can all of this happen? We must absolutely review and look at every detail and aspect of how we do business as a city, and how we prevail and lead as elected officials. My message has not faltered one bit, and I intend to make good on my recent election promises to the people of more effective representation, not just with rhetoric and sound bites. The vision of positive change cannot possibly happen until the people again speak and take the necessary steps to create more positive change and to secure our city’s future, for adults and children alike, by their vote on January 29th.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cooper City Partisanship

Cooper City has become a disgraceful battleground of partisanship and has disregarded the needs of everyday Americans and our residents. Administrative and incumbent approval ratings are hovering around 20%. Our town has become the laughing stock of south Florida and the political issues are the biggest soap opera in existence. Our town upcoming election is going to be like a car crash; supporters want to see who survive it. I promise you that as your commissioner, I will continue work in a true bipartisan manner to put forth an agenda that is created by and beneficial to all residents and not sell out to special interests or residents who think they are better than others for political or monetary gain. It is not what’s best for Democrats or what’s best for Republicans that matters; it’s what’s best for Cooper City residents regardless of party, race or religion. We, as the leadership body for this city, must be unified in the continual quest for excellence. It's time to force our staff to get their priorities straight in regards to our shareholders and their needs. It's time to get back to basics in our service to the people. It’s time to stop the partisan, personality based bickering that has stalemated our local government from doing the job that the commission was elected by the people to do.