+ Commission should reconsider its vote
On Dec. 7, Mayor Lee Rothenberg and four of his fellow commissioners voted to allow the mayor to seek a fourth consecutive elected term of office (he was previously elected for a one-year term and two two-year terms) — and, thus, to attempt to serve a total of seven years and five months as a town commissioner.
Based on its belief that the Dec. 7 vote was antithetical to the spirit of controlling town law (which mandates no more than three continuous elected terms or approximately six years of continuing service), the Board of Directors of the Longboat Key Public Interest Committee (PIC) promptly expressed its concern and distress. In so doing, the board questioned the mayor’s participation and position on the vote, while also noting that the term-limit provision seeks to ensure new blood and the injection of new ideas into the governmental process.
Information, which has since come to the board’s attention, has substantially increased its concern and level of distress, so as to require it to speak out again.
The PIC Board recently learned that on Jan. 19, 2006, then Commissioner Rothenberg was part of a unanimous Town Commission vote in favor of Resolution 06-03. That resolution provided, in pertinent part, that “the Town Commission believes that the intent of the town was to have a maximum of approximately six years of continuous service as Town Commissioner.”
The mayor’s starkly different Dec. 7 vote — where the term-limits issue was an intensely personal one — cannot help but raise additional questions about his participation and decision in that vote, the result of which was to have four fellow commissioners support his electoral ambition.
For all these reasons, PIC once again urges the mayor to step aside in conformity with the spirit of the town charter.
Barring that, PIC urges the Town Commission to reconsider its recent term-limits vote.
PIC understands that the Dec. 7 term-limits vote can be revisited if one or more of the commissioners who supported it (that is, Rothenberg, Vice Mayor Bob Siekmann and Commissioners Peter O’Connor, Hal Lenobel and Gene Jaleski) request that this be done. The members of PIC’s Board of Directors — and, apparently, many other citizens — believe this should be done and that the recent term-limits vote should be abrogated.
Judy Achre, Ed Adams, Betty Blair, Gaele Barthold, Ben Feole, Chuck Fuller, Scott Haas, Ron Johnson, Tom Klein, Lenny Landau, Jack McMahon, Dick Pelton, Ann Roth and Bev Shapiro
Longboat Key Public Interest Committee Board of Directors
+ Charter should not change without a vote
Shame, shame, shame! Since when can the Town Charter be changed without the citizens voting on it?
The charter reads three two-year terms, and, because Mr. (Lee) Rothenberg was on the charter committee, he knows the intent of that was no more than six years, not nearly seven years. If a person is appointed to fill out the term of another commissioner, the intent is still just six years.
Once the commissioners start interpreting the charter for their own benefit, then I believe anything in the charter can be changed due to interpretation, and the citizens of Longboat Key will have no say at all.
+ Experience shows roundabouts won’t work
The town does not have to spend $25,000 for survey on the proposed roundabouts.
Personal experience will tell enough they are not going to work in our area. I followed one of Sarasota’s elders through the Hillview streets and roundabout recently. I watched the driver’s car elevate half on the roundabout and half on the curb while she traveled around the roundabout. She never had all four wheels on the street throughout the circle.
Working on St. Armand’s, many clients miss the turn off or crossover, cutting off traffic when they miss their turn, circling more then once to get to their destination.
This is small problem and nothing compared to a busy U.S. 41. I have personally witnessed at least 10 accidents in the yield lane onto the U.S. 41 intersection with oncoming traffic.
+ The town seems to be anti-everything
“If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” With that in mind, I would say that the Longboat Key commissioners are anti-traffic circles. That is good.
However, these same commissioners, as well as town employees, seem to be anti-everything else. Please note three examples.
Item one — Harry’s. What was an eyesore has been changed to an attractive store, just one thing Harry has done for Longboat. (I hope you have attended one of many wine-tasting evenings, which are fun affairs benefiting things such as our Longboat Library.) But now some hardworking town employee has come up with unknown facts about parking places and …
Item two — Moore’s. The Moore family has run a favorite family restaurant for more years than most of our town officials have been around. But, again, are they being encouraged or helped?
Item three — Christ Church of Longboat Key. This beautiful addition to Gulf of Mexico Drive has met resistance as if we were trying to build a casino.
+ Longboat firefighters deserve a raise
It is very important that the firefighters get a raise, like I said at the council meeting. The population on Longboat is older and they (the firefighters) save lives.
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+ Commission should reconsider its vote