They Must Be Taking Their Vitamins Over at the Citizen

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Take two of these and you’ll be talking sense in no time.

Sometimes, I’m not all that impressed with the Citizen’s (KeysNews) reporting.  But they seem to be stepping up their game lately.  They were the only ones to report on Richard Toppino’s recent voting conflict.  If not for the Citizen, that would have totally flown under the radar.  Their editorial section has been hitting it out of the park on the single-member district issue.  (See here and here.)  And now there’s this editorial calling for more people to run for election.  I don’t know what the heck is going on – BUT I LOVE IT!

The title of the editorial is “Run, Forrest, Run”.  Perfect.  There are way too many incumbents running unopposed.  That is definitely a problem.

Case in point: the coming elections for Monroe County and Key West City Commission. Of the three county seats up this year, only one commissioner, Sylvia Murphy, has so far drawn an opponent. In Key West, with three commissioners and the mayor up for election, only the mayor’s seat is so far contested.

Vote Robby Majeska for District 5.  Please.  Let’s get at least one of these incompetent officials out of office.  Throughout his tenure on the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District (District) board, Majeska has proven to be a capable, competent and honest.  Murphy…eh…not so much.

Let us be clear in that our call for citizens to run for election is, with only a few exceptions, in no way a comment on the performance of the incumbent elected officials. Rather, we remind readers that the election process is a fundamental component of our representative republic. One cannot have an election if there is only one candidate. We would also argue that in almost any circumstance, competition improves the dialogue and forces incumbents to explain the positions taken and their votes.

Yes, performance issues aside, it’s never a good idea to allow elected officials to get too comfortable.  Murphy, Carruthers and Kolhage ran unopposed in 2012.  The results have been disastrous.  I think the lack of challengers gives them a sense of invincibility that spells trouble for the taxpayers.  I think Carruthers’s Emergency Services Surtax (ESS) proposal is an excellent example of what a politician will try to pull when they think they can get away with anything.

Stated another way, if those critical of government really want to make a difference, they need to get involved and run for office. Qualifying for local races ends at noon on June 24.

Oh, if only I could.  Unfortunately, I’m no Bob Dean or Melva Wagner.

Alas, one can only hope that there are people willing to put their lives on public view and their views on public record who might be willing to come forward to run.

It’s easy to sit back and criticize. It’s tough to put yourself out there. Those who already have are brave. Those who call them “bums” are not.

Yes, I was a public official myself.  It can be uncomfortable, no doubt about it.  Things that other folks would consider their own personal business are out in the open for public officials.  As uncomfortable as that may be, transparency is absolutely essential.  The public needs to know who they’re electing.

The county commissioners have drawn a lot of necessary and well-deserved criticism for their handling of capital projects.  Spending is out of control.  Treatment of Cudjoe Regional customers is just awful.  Treatment of Key Largo taxpayers is just awful.  I’m definitely on the “throw-the-bums-out” bandwagon.  But like the editorial says, people need to be willing to run against them.

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