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Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 5 years ago

My View: Anatomy of getting on the Town Commission

by: Bradford Saivetz

Our town is unique.

We are very much aware of the Sunshine Laws, and so, very carefully, all communications to and from the Town Commission are faithfully compiled by our most efficient town clerk, Trish Granger, and posted on the Internet, addressed to all of those citizens who have requested copies.

What follows is a recapitulation of those posted messages leading up to the surprising appointment — over many of applicants — two weeks ago of Terry Gans to the Town Commission after the resignation of Hal Lenobel.

All of the following messages appeared in Granger’s Internet postings:

• • •

It started in early March. I had written to Mayor Jim Brown, lamenting that construction had started at Publix while we were still inundated with our high-season complement of occupancy. I also suggested that consideration be given to Ray Rajewski in the event that another vacancy on the Town Commission were to occur.

• • •

Mr. Gans wrote to the mayor:

From: GANS TERRY A <[email protected]>
To: “James L. Brown” <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2012 10:47:44 -0400
Subject: publix construction

With regard to Mr. Saivetz’ current email, Publix was very clear that preliminary work would begin in the parking lot mid-March.

As far as his suggestion about regarding a second-place ribbon to election losers in the form of a promised appointment, sorry, that’s not how it works.
Terry Gans

• • •

The mayor wrote to me, explaining his position.

I wrote back to the mayor, explaining that in the case of Phill Younger, he had been appointed commissioner to fill a vacancy, evidently as a reward for having lost to Commissioner Lenobel in the previous election. 
Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Mayor Brown:
I am encouraged that Mr. Gans was interested enough in town affairs to comment on my communication with you. He is definitely in line for the body politic.

Publix requested that it begin tearing up the existing parking in mid-March — you and the rest of the Town Commission approved it!

But, as regards second-place ribbons, I would be grateful if you could spare Commissioner Younger long enough for him to explain to Mr. Gans exactly “how it works.”
Bradford Saivetz

• • •

What followed were e-mailed letters between me and the mayor and Commissioner Younger. Some of them were particularly excoriating.

Our mayor’s parting shot to me was:

From: James L. Brown
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:04 PM
To: Bradford Saivetz
Cc: Town Clerk
Subject: Re: Your unwarranted remarks

Mr Savitz:
This is not a request to join your public tirade, but since you like to toss around my name, as well as others, as if we have no intelligence, let me make this last statement. Please note that I say last!

Although you are probably well read and seem to be able to write, perhaps you should know that, in proper circles, it is considered to be the wrong approach to first call your addressee an idiot and a fool and then ask for his attention while you tell him why you are so much more intelligent than he is. Maybe this is a reason you have trouble getting support for your points.

While you claim to have vast knowledge and experience in the field of construction (as well as every other field), it is not apparent from many of your comments.

While I don’t intend to debate the merits of the town’s approvals regarding Publix, I will say that they are well thought out and proper.

Perhaps, since you are rarely in attendance at meetings where these issues are worked out, you lack some of the facts. Perhaps next December when the new Publix has reopened, the citizens of Longboat Key will forgive the minor inconvenience of this month.

Please don’t respond for I will not read.
Jim Brown

• • •

Mr. Gans then wrote on March 28 to me and Commissioner Younger the following:

Terry Gans [email protected]
8:31 PM (20 hours ago)
to me (Bradford Saivetz), Pyounger (Commissioner Phill Younger)

I have no idea what Phill wrote you, but it must have been something.

Have you ever considered that the reason you never received a second, and that your candidates keep failing to win an election by any margin, is that your arguments and positions are unconvincing?

Perhaps there is no grand conspiracy. Perhaps you are just plain, ah, wrong, and no amount of misstatements, distortions or misinterpretations will change that.

• • •

Vice Mayor David Brenner then entered the thread. He wrote to Gail Lofgren (former president of the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce) the following, including copies of the earlier correspondence:

From: David Brenner <[email protected]>
To: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Cc: Town Clerk <[email protected]>
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 10:20 PM
Subject: FW: Your unwarranted remarks

More to come. Dave

• • •

She responded:

From: Gail Loefgren [[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 11:10 PM
To: David Brenner
Subject: Re: Your unwarranted remarks

What district is Terry in? Has anyone ever asked him if he would be interested in running for Town Commission?

This would be a prime example of why you call for civility all year long. I believe most of the citizens/stakeholders/voters of LBK would believe you!

Do not give up on this theme.

You have made such a difference in the community regarding keeping the current business community alive and well that you need to believe that you can make a difference in civility and the separation of North and South because you are right.

If it were I, I would ask to be a speaker at various organizations to speak to this issue. Again, you are on the right side.

As I have analyzed the election results, remember Randy Clair, whom IPOC defeated and, remember IPOC defeated Ca d’Coeur?

You simply had a good campaign; we took the high road; and that made a difference. So, in the last few years, you are the only person/issue to defeat IPOC, including in the 2010 election.

Hopefully, IPOC will not be a factor next year.

Be proud … Even if it was only 90 votes, you won when other candidates and issues did not.

Without the likes of IPOC and its lies and innuendos, you would have won this election going away. That’s my evaluation which I have thought about at great length.

• • •

Vice Mayor Brenner almost immediately forwarded the above correspondence to Mr. Gans:

On Mar 30, 2012, at 9:29 A.M., David Brenner wrote to Gans:
Terry … FYI. Dave

• • •

Gans responded to the Vice Mayor Brenner four minutes later:

From: TERRY GANS <[email protected]>
To: David Brenner <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2012 09:33:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Your unwarranted remarks

I prefer being a gadfly, like my friend Bradford.

Plus, I tend to wander close to the civility line and perhaps sometimes across it.

• • •

Mr. Gans evidently reconsidered and wrote to the vice mayor a few hours later:

From: TERRY GANS <[email protected]>
To: David Brenner <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2012 12:37:28 -0400
Subject: Re: Your unwarranted remarks
maybe, just maybe, p&z and some point, maybe

• • •

The charade of picking a replacement for Hal Lenobel is over, mercifully, and the players, old and new, have retaken their positions behind the desks that give them authority to dictate the future of our island.

What’s more, the miraculous and seemingly impossible outcome of the selection and appointment of our newest town commissioner is now explained.

All good things come to those who come to the defense of those sitting in command and attack those who seek a return to the old calm that prevailed on our island.

Bradford Saivetz is a former member of the Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board and 35-year resident of Longboat Key.

Asked to comment on Bradford Saivetz’s recounting of emails and his “My View,” Longboat Key Mayor Jim Brown, Vice Mayor David Brenner and Gail Loefrgren declined.

Commissioner Terry Gans wrote: “I never take pleasure in another’s dissatisfaction, and it is unfortunate Mr. Saivetz feels he has cause for unhappiness. I stand by my words and my belief that one has the right to have one’s position evolve as Emerson wrote, ‘Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.’ It is an honor to be selected for public service in our Town.”

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