Hard Candy: Sandbox Government
What the hell is wrong with people?
I mean, I ask myself that question on a fairly regular basis (hourly, in some cases) but the last few weeks I feel as though the ridiculosity has approached stunning proportions. One of my readers, one who doesn’t know me that well and therefore still likes me well enough to give me an honest opinion, pointed out that I seemed burned out in my last few columns.
He’s right; I’m tired. I’m tired of watching people who are supposed to be grownups act like their cities are some sort of sandbox and, when things don’t go their way, kick sand in everyone else’s face.
Let’s take, for example, St. Pete Beach. Granted, their attorneys seem to have difficulty ascertaining the difference between “what will get us more work” and “solid legal advice.” Granted, the commissioners aren’t exactly the vox populi. Granted, Tuesday night meetings can sound like an arrogant social club.
However, I’m not seeing much of anything that deserves better. Maybe it’s me, but I’m seeing a bunch of people acting like children and, when you act like a four-year-old, it’s hard to get anyone to take you seriously, much less a commission stoked on power.
Now, many of you deserve better. Much better. The problem? There’s a few clowns at the party who are ruining it for the rest of us. I’m speaking, chiefly, of the lawsuits against the city. Not all of them, because some people appear to be using the legal system as it’s intended: to protect their constitutional rights, but he slew of lawsuits surrounding the city’s comprehensive plan are a load of crap. They’re benefitting two groups: Ken Weiss, attorney for the plaintiffs, and the city’s crack legal team. No one else. Not the commission. Not the actual plaintiffs (I’ll be honest, guys, you just look like Weiss’ dancing puppets). Certainly not the rest of us.
Before you call me pro-hotel or pro-SOLV (the front group for the hotels), rest assured, I am not. I’d love to see a category five sweep across Long Key and raze every last one of the hotels, and I’d do just about anything to make sure none of them ever rebuilt. I believe beach renourishment is an environmentally unsound way to pander to the hotels. I think the idea that any portion of our city – be it a small district or the whole shoreline – allows waterfront development over two stories is a sign that we don’t deserve to live in paradise, because we clearly can’t handle the responsibility. So I am most assuredly not pro-SOLV, pro-development, or pro-hotel.
But you know what? I don’t sue over any of it. Because, like it or not, politics is not about what you want as an individual. The commission – misguided as they may be from time to time – is attempting to act in the best interests of the majority. I hope. Unfortunately for me, the majority of people who live and pay taxes on the beach don’t seem to mind any of this. I think that’s rather pathetic, but I accept it. If I don’t like it, I can try to garner support for my viewpoint. I can request meetings with my commissioners. I can, if all else fails and I remain in the minority, accept it or move away. I reject, however, the notion that acceptable responses include inventing allegations, threatening repeatedly to sue, or acting like a three-year-old having a tantrum. I reject the idea that you should intimidate government into doing what you want.
Is it fair to you if things don’t go your way? No, hell no, absolutely no. I’d like to note, however, that government isn’t about what’s right and fair for you; it’s about what’s right and fair for the majority. If you don’t like that?
Well, then, I suggest you pack up your toys and find another sandbox.
Contact Cathy Salustri at CathySalustri@theGabber.com.