A few days ago I received a group email concerning recent, embarrassing behavior by our public officials on the Saint Augustine City Commission. Numerous people from across the city have continued to contact me to voice their displeasure.
More than unhappy, our concern is how to express our feelings in the future without exacerbating the current situation or provoking retaliation.
I have been a school teacher and administrator for almost thirty years, and frankly, I would not condone this type of behavior from 3rd graders, let alone our elected representatives. To the Commissioners who exhibited this behavior and who give their constituents cause to be concerned about retaliation, “Shame on You!”
Commissioners are chosen by the citizens. Once in office they no longer speak solely for themselves — they must speak for us all. Not too long ago, Commissioners demanded that citizens cease and desist all disruptive behavior, or they may be removed. Now the people have to comply with Resolution 2015-36 or risk arrest. Should they not be held to the same standard when addressing each other, or us?
As the President of the Davis Shores Neighborhood Association, this fractionalized Board affects my ability to champion causes for our residents. I could once contact any one of five Commissioners to bring my concerns to the table. Now, I have to strategize so my neighborhood’s issue get unbiased attention.
Without cooperation and mutual respect, nothing gets accomplished and we all lose. It’s time for this pettiness to stop and for the city and its elected officials to get back to business.
Those who can’t get past expressing their own personal agendas should step down and make way for others who truly have the public’s interest at heart.