I want to try to clarify the reasons for my resignation from the Town Commission, since it appears my decision to leave the commission has become politicized.
There is a reason that the opposing party seats in British Parliament are more than a sword’s length apart. Politics can, and often is, a rough-and-tumble struggle amongst well meaning individuals with divergent views and opinions.
Anyone who has watched my involvement in community affairs over the past 25 years knows I do not shy away from political struggles and heated debate. Was I careless when I sent my e-mail to Commissioner (Bob) Siekmann to his town e-mail address rather than to his home e-mail? Of course. Was the content of the e-mail beyond the pale of political discourse that goes on within this community? Of course not. After all, politics is a rough-and-tumble exercise and is not for the meek. I have heard far worse said about several politically active individuals and organizations and even newspapers from all sides. I am not even sure this is not normal given the spacing of the seating in Parliament.
Why, then, did I resign?
When I ran for commissioner I was hoping to introduce well-researched, intelligent alternatives to various community problems and that a community dialogue would follow. Instead, I ran into the community’s political apparatchiks, who were eager to criticize and dismiss without any understanding of what it was they were talking about.
The working environment I am used to is inhabited by people who are inquisitive and constructive. I wanted to see these influential “leaders” to say, “After thoroughly discussing Jaleski’s initiatives with the commission and having done enough research to be able to competently assess his proposals, I agree/disagree with Jaleski.” Sadly, that was almost never the case. Instead, I saw that new ideas were seldom introduced into the governmental/political conversation.
I believe that one of the reasons that our community is behind the times is the constant political bickering, devoid of any real substance. Facts do not appear to be a central element in our community dialogue.
Instead, we have substituted political power and pressure groups. I do not want to waste my time with such politics when there is so much to be done to improve our community.
Some would have us believe that selling real estate, which they feel is dependent on greatly increased tourism, is the salvation of Longboat. I feel our problems extend far beyond that. While I was on the commission I attempted to discuss some of these challenges. My efforts were directed at opening a community discussion where people contributed their knowledge and their ideas. That did not happen, so I can only surmise that being on the commission was the wrong forum for my efforts.
Being a commissioner, I discovered that there are those people who are quick to criticize, yet themselves have nothing constructive to offer.
I feel it is unfortunate for our community that we lack an effective forum for the intelligent revitalization of Longboat Key. Instead we have substituted the politically correct agenda of a few individuals and organizations.
I remain in love with Longboat Key.
Gene Jaleski lives in the Longbeach Village and was elected to the Longboat Key Town Commission in March 2009.