Monday, August 5, 2013

Tuesday Meeting Agenda & The Bernstein Mistake, Part II

The agenda for Tuesday August 6, 5:30 p.m. Belle Isle City Council meeting has been posted to the City website. You can find it under the Government heading/agendas and minutes or access it directly here. Even though the City Budget for 2013-14 was presented at last week’s workshop, it is not on the agenda for tomorrow night’s regular meeting. The City is required to have public hearings on the budget and to post it in a general circulation newspaper (The Orlando Sentinel) so that citizens can be informed and have input about how their tax dollars will be spent.

If you are interested in knowing what your city plans to spend money on, how much debt they have, and if there will be any reserve funds on hand for possible emergencies, you will want to read through this document. It can be found in the July 31 workshop agenda on the City website. The city website is anything but user-friendly, so sit down with this project when you are relaxed and have plenty of time.

What is on Tuesday’s agenda is an equally significant item, Proposed Ordinance 13-07, also known as the Bernstein Ordinance. The new wording, corrected before and once again at the workshop on July 31, still does not read as intended by the author and those citizens who have spoken out for greater transparency in our local government. It now calls for notices of city elections and the qualifying periods for candidates for mayor and commissioners to be sent out during the qualifying period. Since the purpose of this ordinance is to notify residents who might be interested in running for Commissioner or Mayor of date by which they must qualify to run, it obviously will not be able to accomplish its purpose in its present form.

There are many other errors present in the proposed ordinance as well.  The date of the mailing is calculated from the election date, not from the qualification date. Our qualification date was pushed back to November a few election cycles ago, allegedly to prevent a competing candidate from being able to run against Mayor Brooks. This highlights the need to have the mailing date calculated from the qualification date, since the qualification date can be changed. Furthermore, there are no requirements in the proposed ordinance for the mailer to include requisite information such as the dates by which residents must qualify to run and where residents can get information about the qualification process.

The City Attorney was provided with multiple drafts of the proposed ordinance and directly notified of these errors by residents as well as by Commissioner Readey. So these reoccurring “errors” make it extremely clear that City Hall does not want Belle Isle residents to have a chance to run for office. These errors in the Bernstein Ordinance must be addressed at Tuesday’s meeting, and it is probably going to take some citizen support to do it. So I hope to see City Hall packed with residents at tomorrow night’s meeting!

Join our effort to reclaim Belle Isle for all of its residents! Spread the news of this movement and tell all your friends and acquaintances in Belle Isle to read and subscribe to The Belle Isle Sun!

1 comment:

  1. In my opinion Mayor Brooks and his cronies have done whatever they can to water down the Bernstein Ordinance. I cannot stop them without strong public action tomorrow. In my humble opinion Mayor Brooks will play every card he has to wreck this ordinance. Are we going to him get away with this?
    Harvey Readey - Commissioner

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