Petition-Gate

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This Letter to the Editor deserves to be memorialized online.

Thanks to the author for permission to re-print it here.

The time for change in the City of Madeira Beach arrived on Tuesday, March 14. The citizens trounced the incumbent Mayor and disappointed two district seat contenders.

Despite the Mayor’s constant declaration of his accomplishments, it rings hollow with a constituency that lost trust. It’s history now, but in Spring 2016, a poorly worded referendum attempted to dupe voters into giving up rights to city property. It was defeated once the voters recognized the catch. The voters never forgot the architects of such a deceitful scheme. Then the revelation that the city, for several years, courted developers and without fanfare, rezoned to allow large hotel developments. The outraged citizens petitioned for the right to vote on rezoning. The city ignored the signers, defying the City Charter which reads essentially… with a petition on the table, no valid voting can move forward. That means no voting, no development agreement, no moving forward. But the petition that residents signed, utilizing their first amendment right, was ignored… “Petition-gate” is what led to Palledeno’s staggering defeat.

The voters drummed him out because of his utter disrespect for their voices. They had no ability to be heard. In meeting after meeting, he touted his great achievements, handing out gigantic key after gigantic key to whomever would accept it. Patted every civic leader on the shoulder and himself. Led the Board of Commissioners as they appointed friends and associates to every open seat in unanimous voting. All decisions seemed to fail the transparency test. Meanwhile he created greater distance between himself and the citizens he’d left behind. The residents felt overwhelmed by the knee-jerk approach to development. They were flummoxed by the explanations to their traffic concerns, to infrastructure problems and to mounting debt issues.

So Madeira Beach voters have spoken and their voices are heard. They look with renewed hope to the freshly elected mayor and new commissioners. Maggi Black, Nancy Oakley and John Douthirt bring strong characters, integrity and ethics to city government. They want inclusiveness, they want to be open-minded and pledge to listen to reason.

The lesson for the defeated is simple. Turn your back on the voters and you’ll find you’re facing the door.

G. Clyatt

Madeira Beach Resident

(Originally published in both the Beach Beacon and the Seminole Beacon on March 30, 2017)

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