Monday, February 24, 2014

The Real Issues

I recently learned that Mayor Brooks and his supporters have been calling upon residents to vote for City Council candidate Eric Spaulding - warning that this election will decide the future of Cornerstone Charter School, the Belle Isle Police Department, and "everything else you love about this city." But despite Mayor Brooks' concerted efforts to cast this election as a decision about which candidates support our new city institutions and the services they provide, this is simply not the case.

There is not a single candidate in this election who favors cutting police services or closing Cornerstone, either of which would have devastating effects on our City. For that matter, Cornerstone has its own governing board and administration - City Council members have absolutely no say over Cornerstone's operations. So what are you really deciding in this election?

The real question is whether you approve of the way our City's present administration conducts business: Awarding high-price contracts to favored vendors, often without soliciting bids. Openly refusing to schedule meetings at times when working residents can attend. Repeatedly attempting to violate our City Charter in pursuit of its own purposes. Hiring desired employees without job announcements or candidate searches. Waiting until the last possible moment before publicly addressing critical City issues in order to avoid resident inquiry and explain the lack of advance notice to residents.

In sum, this election is not about whether you support our City's new institutions like Cornerstone and the Belle Isle Police Department, but about whether you support the present administration's well-established pattern of backdoor dealing and making decisions without resident involvement.

That may have sounded rhetorical, but it's not. Many residents believe that this is how a government should operate. For example, one of Mr. Spaulding's supporters recently stated on Facebook that Mr. Spaulding's frequent absences from City Council meetings are excusable because the real work is done behind the scenes, not in public meetings.

It's up to you to decide whether you support this way of conducting business. But know that regardless of how you vote, the sun will continue to shine, the police will continue to patrol, and the students at Cornerstone will go about their business. The only thing you get to decide in this election is who you think best represents your vision of how our City government should operate.

Please make every effort to share this information with your Belle Isle friends and neighbors. It would be a tragedy to see Belle Isle residents work so hard at holding a full and fair election, complete with a citizen-organized candidate forum, only to have the election decided based on misinformation about the issues. If you'd like to print this article, you should see a green "Print" button below (click on the article title above if you don't see it).

23 comments:

  1. We applaud the Sun for bringing out so many of the "behind the doors" situations. We need more transparency and less "good ole boy" strategy. Friendship is great but keep it where it belongs - not favortism in government!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How I wish I could vote. I co-own a home in Belle Isle but I am not eligible to vote because I am not an American Citizen. I thought this was a little silly but that is the rules. I certainly care about what happens here this is my home but my hands are tied on this election.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This sounds like a typical scare tactic. Please note that Ed Gold and Sue Nielsen in public and private have voiced their support for the Belle Isle Police Department and the Cornerstone Charter School.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.facebook.com/groups/BelleIsleFLCommunityGroup/permalink/466044990171917/

      Delete
  4. I couldn't have said what I believe is true/real about the important issues in Belle Isle any better than the six paragraphs (above) in the article titled "The Real Issues".

    ReplyDelete
  5. You cannot own/co-own a home in US if you are not an american citizen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems a bit off-topic here, but non-citizens can own homes in the US. See here:

      http://www.elitelahomes.com/2011/01/buying-real-estate-in-the-usa-for-non-us-citizens-and-foreign-entities/

      Delete
  6. I love "The Belle Isle Sun" for shining light in a dark area of BI city management.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The real issue is Eric Spalding need to go, except that his candidate is worse. it's too bad you don't want to vote cause neither one is good for our city.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, there is a governing board at Cornerstone, but the last time I checked it was filled with city officials. Boards usually have to have a diverse make up representing the community.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Did any of you know Sue Nielsen candidate for City Council found a $300,000 dollar accounting error in the City Budget? And when she pointed it out to current City Council they showed no public concern.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Here are some topics for the candidates: putting the electric lines underground, as they are doing in Winter Park;l planting milkweed in all the right of ways, for Monarchs; your position on legalizing and taxing marijuana; your position on same sex marriage; and on casino gambling?

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Belle Isle Sun has its own agenda...nothing but a rag tag wanna be informational blog. Sue Nielsen stated she didn't even want to run, but no one else would. Belle Isle Sun wanted a real election...guess they didn't count on Sue explaining she really didn't want the position. Others heard Sue Nielsen say why can't the kids go to Oak Ridge...that sounds very supportive of Cornerstone. She is not the candidate for Belle Isle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really should call Sue before you type such things. You just display how little you know. You also are displaying what happens in the childhood game of telephone. If you don't hear the answer from her, don't repeat it. You risk getting your facts wrong. Sincerely, Annette Nielsen

      Delete
  12. More Belle Isle Son kCap. No one tells Belle Isle residents how to think, looks like they are seeing thru your charade. You want to return Belle Isle to a little nothing town. In doing so you will get rid of the Police department and change the operation of the school. If you are not on a witch hunt why did you do a public records request on the construction of the mayors home?? I really hope your candidates Sue and Ed get in so we can start some public records request of our own.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi again Shadow,

      To answer your question, I did a public records search regarding construction of Mayor Brooks' home after a number of residents, as well as a prominent local contractor, told me that they were starting to see preferential treatment in Belle Isle's permitting process.

      In other words, City Hall's "favored" contractors were able to quickly pass inspections whereas anyone else constantly saw delays and red tape. I looked into the construction of Mayor Brooks' home to see if there was any tie to one of the "favored" contractors.

      I didn't find anything interesting in those particular records, which is why I never posted them or discussed them with anyone - I didn't want to imply that there was anything fishy about the construction of Mr. Brooks' home. In fact, I don't know anyone would even know how I made this particular request unless they worked at City Hall.

      Now that I've answered your question, please allow me to pose one of my own:

      From your username and the tenor of your posts, it seems like you disagree with the idea of the Sunshine Law and citizens being able to request documents from the government. Do you not believe that citizens should have the right to know what is going on in their governments? How else can residents know what's going on?

      Delete
    2. "Do you not believe that citizens should have the right to know what is going on in their governments? How else can residents know what's going on?"

      Absolutely, for the betterment of the community and its residents not for you to feed you self serving ego. So you have didn't think people needed to know what your Public records requests were???? Hummmm sounds similar to what you are blaming Bill and Keith of conspiring to do, HIDE things. What is your true agenda??? You sir look a little hypocritical.........

      P.S. Public Records requests are Public Records......

      Delete
  13. Sue told me the same thing and Ed Gold backed it up, the only reason she ran was she didn't want anyone to run unopposed.. You Sun Folks need to get your stories straight..

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes funny thing is Sue Nielsen repeated this herself at the meeting at Pine Castle Women's Club....so unless Sue has her facts wrong...this is a repeat from her lips. She did want anyone to run opposed and they couldn't find anyone else to run.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Curious. Did Mr. Gold solicit his endorsement from the Orlando Regional Realtors Association or was he approached by them? I'd like to know some specifics about what he would do to "attract buyers of currently unoccupied homes"
    It is very easy to say things like 'improve communication' & ' make the city more safe' but I'd like to hear HOW they would do it..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure how the Realtors endorsement came about, but I recall Mr. Gold proposing some very specific ideas in each of these areas at the recent candidate forum. I'm sure he'd be happy to discuss them with you.

      I previously posted the contact info for all four candidates so that voters could get answers to questions like yours. Here's the link:

      http://www.belleislesun.org/2014/01/city-council-candidate-contact.html

      Delete
  16. Does it really matter if Sue Nielsen or Ed Gold were asked to run or fell into an opportunity to serve our community. If you look at the current makeup of our commissioners - most were appointed not elected because no one had enough concern to run when positions were vacated. Now we have two individuals daring to run in this years election, one daring to run against an appointed commissioner and they are criticized…do we live in Belle Isle or Washington DC - in the past few weeks it's been difficult to tell the difference.
    And to our current commissioners and mayor - stop complaining no one wants to get involved and then tear people apart when they do - let's stick to the facts please.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.