Friday, March 3, 2017

Commissioner Maier Redux: Disparaging a private citizen and “throwing more red meat” to try and divide the City.

UPDATE: Scroll down for the video (highlighted link in yellow) to hear candidate Omari Hardy respond to Commissioner Maier for yourself. The blog post following is getting a lot of attention in this City—the video of Mr. Hardy will as well—especially so that Maier is supporting Comm. McVoy’s bid to be re-elected. Again. 

Back in March of 2015 then-citizen and soon-to-be-Commissioner Ryan Maier had bigger plans after getting elected with a lot of help from the press, editor(s), and riding the coattails of Commissioner McVoy (click on image to enlarge):

Maier and McVoy at their victory party with former commissioners Jo-Ann Golden and Cara Jennings. Later on things took a turn for the worse for Maier, e.g., his stance on public urination Downtown and in public parks.

Why “Redux”? Because this isn’t anything new. Commissioner Ryan Maier and his supporters assailed Adopt-A-Family and recently went on the attack against a Downtown Neighborhood Assoc. as well.

Maier’s latest “throwing of red meat”? Last week he went on the attack against a private citizen for speaking freely (videos below). This one particular woman thought Maier’s boycott of Mayor Pam Triolo’s State of the City Address was divisive and uncalled for.

Remember Adopt-A-Family’s program for needy homeowners and Maier’s suggestion it was a conspiracy to steal homes from residents? On Feb. 7th he went after a Downtown neighborhood assoc. because he didn’t like where they held meetings.

Why do this at all? Maier is not seeking re-election. He’s a lame duck. Why attack a citizen at his very last regular Commission meeting on Feb. 21st as an elected official? Whatever happened to public officials leaving the spotlight with a positive legacy and grace? Why go through all this?

Because there is a new breeze blowing through town and with it the politics of yesterday are being swept away. No better example of that was Mayor Pam Triolo’s State of the City Address on January 31st. However, two commissioners decided to turn a deaf ear to the mayor. Maier chose to boycott the event and Commissioner McVoy, PhD, was conspicuously absent as well.

On Feb. 7th at the Commission meeting a City resident at public comment was especially unhappy that Maier did not attend the State of the City Address: Watch this 1½ minute video to hear what she says.

Here we have a relatively new resident of the City thanking the City Commission, at least most of them, for listening to her about the prospect of a Wawa gas station near her home at North ‘A’ Street and 10th Ave. North. The developer decided not to pursue the project due to the zoning intricacies involved but also due to vocal opposition from neighbors such as this resident.

She reminded the City Commission there are a lot of challenges facing residents of this City and it is OK to discuss and express other ideas in order to find solutions. But to “boycott” a meeting such as the State of the City Address displayed a “lack of grace” towards the deliberative process of representative government

Commissioner Maier responded to this resident in a quite irresponsible way at the next Commission meeting on Feb. 21st. Maier chose to use his time to call out this resident and to try and explain why he didn’t attend the State of the City Address. He said they are all “equals” on the dais and he has “no earthly idea why we have something called the ‘Mayor’s State of the City Address.’ ”

Not mentioned in Maier’s comments is Mayor Triolo’s role as the ceremonial “leader” of the city. Maier referred to Lake Worth’s “weak Mayor” form of government; a city manager runs the day-to-day functions as an administrator. To watch the video of Maier use this link.

Maier’s feelings were hurt by the well-meaning comments of the resident cited above and referred to those comments as “abusive.” He pointed out up until the previous meeting when the resident made these comments (Feb. 7th) he had never met her before and she hadn’t reached out to him or contacted him. However, he had seen her emails regarding the Wawa “issue” she expressed much concern about. This residents’ emails were unanswered by Maier.

Maier acted like the onus was completely on this resident to present herself before him. He chose not to contact her and used his office as a barrier to communication. The bottom-line is this: Maier could have contacted this resident in any number of ways, on any issue, but he chose to use the Feb. 21st Commission meeting as a stage instead to try and discredit and disparage a resident of our City: Surprise! No one saw it coming!

Congratulations, Commissioner Maier. Both yourself and the few supporters you have left must be so proud.

Maier then went on to say how it would create the wrong impression attending Mayor Triolo’s State of the City Address because he did not agree with everything the mayor would say and about any plans and/or ideas proposed for the future. By then though, many weeks prior, Maier had already quit his race for re-election. Ironically, if he chose to run once again instead, Maier could have tried to shape the future he envisioned. Maybe some bitterness in hindsight?

Following Maier’s remarks candidate Omari Hardy, who is challenging Comm. McVoy, took to the public podium (to hear Mr. Hardy’s response use this link) and gave Commissioner Maier a civics lesson—dissent is deeply rooted in our representative democracy—but there were other ways Commissioner Maier could have expressed his dissent to a City resident at the Commission meeting on Feb. 21st, his final one.

Mr. Hardy asked Maier to retract his statement. Maier did not.

In conclusion: Commissioner Ryan Maier decided not to run for re-election. He made a very good decision. Our City deserves better.