Getting on council is a very good career move

Positions Can Change..but Character is a Constant..


puppet4 I am anxiously awaiting the completion of the Council Candidate’s “under construction” format on Port-Orange.us so our community may have a full and focused discussion on your excellent blog about our various candidates. And, yes..I, like Floki and Don Juan Matus, also want to know their positions on the many and varied critical issues coming before council.  HOWEVER…I want more than that.  Because positions can change.  And maybe should from time to time based on the receipt of new information.  But character is a constant.  More on that later.
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What is equally important for me to make an informed voting decision on these candidates is to know who is bringing these candidates to the dance in terms of donations, influence, allegiances, and biases. Your proposed format can provide that data.
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Getting on council is a very good career move. Council positions can bring new clients, new customers, burnishment of resumes, educational opportunities, travel, new social connections, influence, personal prestige, and potential patronage for family members or friends in terms of securing follow along jobs and projects both inside and outside the city, etc.  One of my favorite fictional detectives, Nero Wolfe, always asked when a murder had been committed: ‘WHO IS BETTER OFF IN MIND, BODY OR PURSE”?  A question well worth asking in this upcoming race too.
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To answer the detective’s question: I need to know every candidates pre-existing business positions and connections, their previous/current places of employment, educational background, thinking on PCDs, PUDs, and CRAs, favorite projects in the pipeline way down the road, positions on TIF and cost sharing, budgeting choices, Riverwalk land swaps, thoughts on tax increases, plans to correct the mistakes/mismanagement in our city government past and present, if they have family members working for the City, positions on the rights of residential neighborhoods affected by various developments, the importance of the land development code and following it, position on the Property Owner’s Bill of Rights, and how responsive they may be to the concerns of average people, etc. 
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My husband, my neighbors and I were fortunate to live in a District where my councilman was responsive to my concerns when I had an issue that affected my family’s health, safety and welfare.  He did not know me from Adam nor had I donated one thin dime to his campaign when my little neighborhood’s issues arose.  He stepped up to help me when I needed help.  I know by his choice to engage that process he exposed himself to many uncomfortable moments….both socially and politically.  Conflict is unpleasant.  It was a miserable time for us on Ruth Street and Powers Avenue.  But he continued to fight for us, saw the process through to the end, and my neighborhood had an outcome that I could tolerate.  An inherently decent man with a strong moral compass. Yes..character counts.  
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So…Would sure as hell encourage electors to familiarize themselves with the various folks running for council.  Find out who their backers are and ask yourselves some hard questions. Who will these people really represent if they are elected? What are their philosophical positions on fair play for everyone? What if I am not a well connected donor or person of influence? Will I still get a hearing and help? Will my council person insist that the city protect me too?  What is their position on the Land Development Code? A well written and deliberative document designed to protect everyone and frequently end run now by various PUD/PCD/CRA concepts.  Developers by their very nature already have a leg up on the rest of us. They are well financed and are usually lawyered up. A big advantage in this city where we have what’s been called “zoning by negotiation”.   Many cities still have more conservative mind sets and rely on the variance process where changes in zoning get a full review by adjoining owners of properties. Not here in Port Orange. 
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I would like to ask the folks over there off Madeline and Clyde Morris how they feel about their new Wal -Mart? Think most of them read about it in the newspaper.  A nasty surprise I am betting for many.  An operation that will be 24/7 and 365.  Lights.  Constant people. Tons of traffic. The forest will be gone.  A real game changer.  That surprise should not have happened.  I hope to God at a minimum, they are getting a 50 foot buffer between them and the new Wal-Mart. It’s been my experience that no developer is living in the neighborhood he is impacting.  They are elsewhere in protected wealthier enclaves.  They have no idea how this will affect surrounding neighborhoods. And frankly, I think many do not care.  To them, its just business. So our council has to care. They are elected to care.  One hopes.  My councilman cared.
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We need a strong Property Owner’s Bill of Rights. And yes..councilmen who really care about what happens to residential neighborhoods. To old folks, children and families adjoining these property lines.  They have rights too.   My personal choice: that all council members agree to insist that at a minimum, all commercial developments be separated from residential neighborhoods by either a substantial 50 foot buffers or 40 foot buffers with a 6 foot fence. It would have solved all our problems here on Ruth Street and I think honestly been more cost effective for our developer too.  It is a cautionary tale.
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So Pat I am hoping your Council Candidate format will be of help to people who need more information on our candidates and who may be thinking “well… I really cannot make much of a difference, because a potential candidate I do not like is very well financed or financed by people whom I think do not care much about the average homeowner and is a shoo in.” This is an incorrect conclusion. See why below.
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Mr. David Brat who just won in Virginia against the very well connected very well financed Eric Cantor, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, made a profound statement.  Dollars do not vote. People do.  Eric Cantor’s loss was a stunner. Certainly to the power elite he represented.  Mr. Cantor spent 5 million plus.  Mr. Brat $200K.   But people were tired of Eric Cantor’s perceived disregard for his constituency.  And they voted him out.  So get involved, get informed, register if you are not registered and VOTE. I know who I am voting for. And not voting for.
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Thanks for all you do Pat. 
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I am grateful!!
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Best regards,
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Dianne Templeton Gardner
618  Ruth Street
Port Orange, Florida 32127

One thought on “Getting on council is a very good career move

  • June 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm
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    Watched the council meeting and the candidates comments. Based on what I heard we are in deep shit and without any incumbent or future leadership. Kudos to Dianne Templeton Gardener to provide the forum for these spineless misfit politicians to have an opportunity to stand up and be counted and state their positions on important issues. Dianne has also posed a number of important issues for their response. Their have been no responders to date incumbent or challengers. This is a pathetic bunch and I guess they hope they will be elected by political correctness, incumbency, money, or by default. If they are afraid to stand for anything substantive why do they even run unless they have spurious or self profiting motives? You would think Dianne’s post would have received more comments, but it does not surprise me that these spineless self serving jelly fish masquerading as community servants would avoid the chance to stand up and be counted like the plague. I am still waiting for one heroe to emerge among the incumbents or challenging politicians.

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