An unsurprising result from the Key West canvassing board. They ruled unanimously to count Bob Dean’s vote. As evidence that he actually lives in Key West, Mr. Dean produced his driver’s license and his voter registration card. He apparently changed the address on his driver’s license two weeks ago. Cara Higgins was there and ran through the pile of evidence that contradicts Mr. Dean’s claim. Dean’s attorney, Michael Halpern, was silent.
Jimmy Weekley reluctantly took the lead by saying that the board should base their decision on previous investigations which concluded that Dean is, in fact, a resident of Key West. Strangely, the result of the most recent and most thorough investigation was ignored. Weekley moved to allow Dean’s vote to stand. Lopez seconded. Smith went along.
I strongly recommend that you watch the video. It’s an interesting study in body language. Cara Higgins once again presented a strong case based on the evidence. Michael Halpern, dressed very casually in a black t-shirt lounged comfortably in the background. He didn’t have to say a word and he knew it. Jimmy Weekley was clearly uncomfortable. He said as much. Clayton Lopez appeared to silently deliberate for a moment. Perhaps he was weighing whether to do the right thing against doing the easy thing. Or maybe he was just trying to decide what to order for lunch. Cheri Smith appeared to be watching Lopez for cues. Maybe she was hoping he would do the right thing so that she would have the cover to do the right thing, too. I wonder if she was disappointed when he didn’t.
Fortunately, the canvassing board does not decide whether Dean may continue to serve on the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) board. The FKAA passed the issue of Dean’s residency to the governor’s office. So will the governor’s office follow the evidence? I’d love to unequivocally say “yes”. But I can’t. The handling of Keys wastewater funding to date undermines my confidence.
While the governor is to be commended for providing promised and much-needed state funding for sewer projects, the way he’s chosen to deploy it has encouraged waste and has perpetuated existing inequities that favor FKAA. Also attempts by Keys citizens to install an elected, rather than an appointed board, have twice been thwarted in Tallahassee. As far as I know, the governor was not involved in either of these situations. In fact, the governor has fostered increased accountability for special districts in general. So the governor definitely has a mixed track record. And who knows what’s being whispered in his ear in Tallahassee? That makes the tea leaves very hard to read.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.