Monday, April 8, 2013

Reprinted with kind permission Lake Worth Herald April 4, 2013 Editorial "Clean Up the Politics"

     The recent referendum on building heights does nothing to protect neighborhoods outside the downtown corridor. The charter still remains 100 feet west of Dixie and 65 feet east.
     This doesn't mean there will be 100 foot buildings in Lake Worth. There is a Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations that will protect the neighborhoods. There were these same regulations before the referendum, and they were and still are in the process of being revised to better protect the neighborhoods. 
     The only thing the referendum did was insure Lake Worth would not have a hotel district.
     It was said the other night that people were told the referendum would protect their neighborhoods. People on both sides of the issue have accused the other side of providing misinformation and lying to the public. This is typical of Lake Worth politics.
     What is more disturbing are reports of Hispanic and Haitian residents being told if they voted for anything the mayor wasn't in support of the mayor would have their family members deported by the end of the year.
     If, in fact this happened, and the mayor claims to have evidence and people willing to step up and testify, Lake Worth politics have hit a new low. Other commissioners claimed to have heard the same stories and one commissioner claimed to see no indication of that happening. 
     Unfortunately, in elections, the side with the most boots on the ground manages to be heard the loudest.
     The minority of the population, the voting public (about 10 - 15 percent of eligible voters) make 99 percent of the decisions for the rest of Lake Worth. This lack of enthusiasm at the local polls can be attributed to the fact most people only care about what affects their own property. The majority of Lake Worth's citizens don't give a darn about City Hall. They don't care what effect decisions will have on the future of Lake Worth.
     The only way they know something is happening at the polls is from political advertising and the knock on the door by campaign workers. An impassioned plea from a face to face meeting will always carry a stronger message than a newspaper ad, TV ad, radio ad or a direct mail piece. There is no way to control what campaign workers tell people when they interrupt their dinner. Unfortunately, campaign workers don't always tell the truth, or give a fair depiction of the issue. Who would expect them to? It is their passion for the issue that has them out walking neighborhoods. Or is it?
     It seems every year during election season, a new issue that divides the public pops up. This does its job by deflecting the true issue away from the forefront. These deflective, disruptive issues are always raised by the same people, and these are the people who have plenty of time to knock on doors. 
     Until the working candidates can find time to knock on doors, they will have a quieter voice and Lord knows, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.