Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Click here for live stream from City Commission Chambers - 4/06 (6 p.m.)

Two items came up under public comment which are of interest and supported by Commissioner Maxwell. One was the solicitation of workers to count for the Census by the City's Complete Count Committee (Annabeth Karson and Company.)  The person commenting asked about the legality of that, since it involved advocating for a cause in addition to collecting Census forms.  This gave Commissioner Jennings an opportunity to say that she is for immigration and this group is working to count areas of the city that have been difficult to count before.  She was not a member of the "Florida New Majority" - but she shares their views and goals.  Commissioner Golden echoed the same thoughts and indicated full support of Ms. Karson.

The other matter related to Commissioner Maxwell's pulling the meeting minutes from 1/12 Special Meeting - the one that concerned the previous matter and the selection of the group to head up the Complete Count Committee.  Near the end of that meeting, Commissioner Jennings said that she meant to mention that Annabeth Karson contributed to her campaign and she would like that inserted into the section where the discussion of the item took place.  Discussion tonight settled on whether it was alright to change the order of events in a meeting.  The minutes reflect the following wording:
This gave Commissioner Jennings a chance to say that she went "over and above the law" to declare campaign contributions related to certain agenda items.  

Unfortunately, whether or not someone contributes $5 or $500 shouldn't influence whether you vote for or against someone who contributes to your campaign.  If  it does, then our problems are deeper than we suspected.  The real conflicts come, and this is state law, where there is a familial or business or contractual relationship where a gain or a loss would be experienced either by the person voting or a person or organization one has an on-going relationship with you as a voting member of an elected or appointed body.  Now, with Planning and Zoning, if there is a specific property involved and a specific owner, and they contributed to your campaign, that should be voluntarily disclosed.  

Think about how many in-direct impacts there are on a wide variety of topics in the city.  Think also about needing to review each campaign report for each decision.  I just don't think the cost is worth the benefit.

Remember how no one seemed to have a problem with Commissioner Golden interviewing her employer for a CRA position.  Now that is a real conflict, but it was waved on as not needing to be declared a conflict.  Oh well.