Candidates Night

Well, I do believe there is going to be a chance for all of us to go and grill, or at least lightly "toast" the hopefuls for town offices tomorrow night at the school.

Here is a chance to ask directly, I hope, each one of them just exactly what it is that they WOULD accomplish if elected. I realize after having sat in one of those seats that it takes three to make anything happen. But some of the things I would like to hear addressed directly are:

What WILL you do about the Neck Road? Go look at it after just twenty four hours of NE wind and tide.

What exactly WILL you do about the Old Harbor Dock without disrupting the lively-hood of all the business people down there?

What WILL you do about the Inner basin down there being filled with sand? The last three or four spots on the east dock, have been lost to rental because of sand infiltration.

What WILL you do to stop the ever increasing deterioration of all the towns buildings? That, mainly because of the towns inability to hire some one to keep ahead of the curve. You can't pay them slave wages to do somewhat semi-skilled work and expect to keep them long term.

What WILL you do to stop the forthcoming disaster down at Bridgegate square? They, the State in collusion with our Town Council has agreed to let them take a perfectly well operating four way stop, and re-engineer it to someones idea of,"we can do it better". It works just absolutely fine right now as long as you are not from, NJ, NY, MA, CT, and can't wait for your turn because you HAVE TO BE somewhere else right now!

What WILL you do the next time it becomes necessary to do some paving on the roads of the Island, and an asphalt plant needs to be set up TEMPORARILY? Will you cave in to the rants of three or four people, or let it go forward in the interests of the huge amount of money to be saved for the rest of us in the form of less tax money collected?

What WILL you do about getting Port Authority enabling legislation pushed thru, so that we can have some sort of autonomy over how many more ferries can come here?

And finally, What WILL you do about the possibility of taking on the power company as a co-operatively owned entity, run by a PROFESSIONAL manager?

These are things that people WANT to hear your views on, and ferverently hope you will abide by if elected.


Sam said...

Hey Everett how about all those studies and hard-working citizen committees that put all this effort into a pretty good product, but the town never acts on it?

good listener said...

As you know, the Council position is a daunting task and it grows more so with the passing years. That people are even willing to run for a thankless job, that there is no winning at, is amazing. It is hopeful that somehow the newly seated council will somehow poll the populace to get a feeling for the pressing issues (which you somewhat outlined)and make their own co-operative list of priorities with goals and timelines. Everyone's private agenda cannot be dealt with and there are so many major problems that it is mind boggling. A Town Manager with some backbone would be a good start along with cleaning up some of the dead wood around the Town Hall, both literally and figuratively. The next few weeks should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

I think your list is great, and there are some infrustructure issues on there that I wouldn't have thought of but that should be addressed.

You might think about addressing your questions as "What HAVE you done about....." in addition to "What WILL you do about...." since several of the candidates have previous experience on boards and committees, and even on the council.

I have to comment on your asphalt comments though. As anyone who read the paper this summer knows, the objection was raised because the council failed to follow it's own procedure for allowing a temporary asphalt plant (this includes notifying the neigbors) on the island. Temporary ashalt plants ARE allowed for municpal projects. Though I suspect you know this.

Anonymous said...

Bike lanes: Bike lanes are probably one of the most important things that the counsel can consider.

Sam said...

AS a periodic visitor since 1972, I heartily agree with the comment about bike lanes.

obnoxious said...

I don't know how many of you attended candidates night but it proved to be very interesting. I can't say that any body did a bad job but some were better than others. It was obvious to me that Dr. Baute doesn't think this is serious business since he was not there. This forum happens every election yeat at pretty much the same time so he should have made plans to attend.
I know that a lot of the problems that were discussed have been on the council table for many many years and nothing was done about them. Listening to Kim Gaffett sounded like she was hearing about them for the first time. She was on the council for many years and did nothing about solving any of these problems and now all of a sudden she wants to fix things. If she wins I see her dragging her feet as usual.
Les Slate is Les Slate and if 2/3 of the voters want something he will vote to get it done.
Dick Martin was very sincere and I think he would listen to both sides of an issue before making an informed decision.
I remember when Fran was on the council and I can't say I was impressed with the job she did.
I really think that Herman should enjoy his retirement. I don't think I would like listening to his quips every time a subject came up.
I hope Bob Smith is a thing of the past. From what I understand he drags his feet on simple issues and causes a subject to be brought up at meeting ater meeting. He was a cause for the delay on the west side housing project start time. He is a lawyer and not a good councilman.
I have to say that McQueeny sounded pretty good and nothing like he has at council meetings. He has a temper and it shows. I don't know if he can hold it at bay as first warden.
McGarry should stay on the school committee and get the school straightened out before moving to the council. I also think it would be a big conflict being in partnership with the landfill operation.
Mary Jane sounded a little defensive. I can see where she is comimg from just the few council meetings that I have attended. She always seemed to be fighting a losing battle on issues since the other councillors would out vote against her on really important issues.
Verna may have been the one to ask the question about recording the meetings. I was at one when she stated that she had asked before why meetings weren't taped because of a problem with the minutes that were very vague and that a tape would be proof of what was said.
As I was leaving the meeting I overheard that the town manager said the meetings shouldn't taped because they could be used against the town in a law suit.If that is the case councillors should keep their mouths shut.
I think the best performance was from Ken Lacoste. He seemed to have a cool head and I think he would make a great councilman.

Anonymous said...

All the town council, toursim council, zoning, planning and historic board meetings should be taped and aired numerous times on BITV.

Many people cannot attend the meeting because they work and the only way to know what happened is through the BI Times filter.

Sam said...

I've been on several committees as Secretary and we always taped them because that was I could actually participate in the meeting ... it is a very good idea. Our Island (not BI) is also installing video cameras and a closed circuit TV system. The idea that doing this could cause legal liabilities for the Town is absurd in the extreme - I mean really, that's simply ludicrous!

Anonymous said...

The meetings should be taped and there must be another reason why they are not already.

The more important point about the meeting minutes that was only touched on breifly during the candidates night, is the fact that the Town Clerk is, and has been for years, so behind on her minutes.

Minutes should be available for the council to approve at the very next meeting. How can anyone remember exactly how things went at a meeting six months prior? (and I'm not kidding, she has been that far behind.)

Sam said...

Um, with all due respect, that's grounds for termination of the Secretary. According to Robert's Rules, the Agenda must contain an action item to approve (with or without changes) the Minutes from the previous meeting - not one six months ago. The only exceptions to this rule are emergency meetings, executive session, disasters, etc.

The Minutes must contain a symopsis of members present and any action taken. It does not have to include prolonged discussions, as only the "action items" are required, such as those involving motions and a vote. It there are several motions and/or amendments, the Minutes must reflect enough detail so the reader can follow exactly what happened.

Public comments, which are sometimes allowed at the beginning of a meeting, are not required to be included in the Minutes unless they are noteworthy or the Chariman asks for it to be included. However, if the committee holds a Public Hearing to collect public comments from the audience (not written comments), the Minutes must reflect each comment in at least a summary format.

Again, one of the principles of having minutes at the top of the Agenda (perhaps after the Pledge of Allegiance) is to create a documented work flow that can be retained as public records.

If there are no previous Minutes to be approved, the committee should probably call for the meeting to be adjourned. This is a central core of Democracy and to do otherwise is equivalent to trampling your right to know.

Sam Wells, Secretary
Bay Area Task Force
South Padre Island

nothing to hide? said...

Why not tape town meetings? It would be an accurate record of what has transpired at these meetings and, in my naive opinion serve to protect everyone who attends/speaks at these meetings-- unless there is something to hide. I worked in a position of some import for over thirty years and always earned very high evaluations--which, I must say I feel were deserved;however, I was observed formally only one time. Strangely I always felt like a fraud(undeserving) as there seemed to be no interest in my methodology and what I felt were innovative solutions for old problems. We should welcome constructive input, and even criticism when warranted. It indicates that someone actually cares about what you have to offer. Why do we feel we have to duck under rocks to hide. Government is supposed to be open.* I've too many side glances between officials when certain subjects are mentioned--body language people!! Say what you mean and mean what blah blah! *ha ha gasp ha

Sam said...

Yes, tape and video is wonderful technology. But we don't hold meetings as ask "does anybody want to approve the TAPE from the last meeting?" No, the Minutes are approved or are amended.

Similar things happen in the computer sphere, where we can have contracts and agreements approved by email, but much to the concern of the environmentalist, the entire contract MUST be printed, signed, and dated in Black Ink.

I mean, try to buy a house with a laptop computer and a tape recorder! That said, yes, most people would rather borrow a tape and listen to it, since it contains all the emotion, inflection, and sidebar comments.


get involved people! said...

If our citizens/officials fear being seen and heard on tape at meetings perhaps "Grouch Marks eyeglasses" (nose and moustash) could be offered at the door for those who prefer to remain anonymous while opining. The only reason to tape is as a backup. Recording minutes is still the way to conduct business. Nothing beats Hard Copy as long as the secretary can keep up with the proceedings to record the minutes accurately. Have noted discrepancies in past minutes but hey we're only human. Main point is VOTE and ATTEND meetings with notebook in hand.

Anonymous said...

Of course the town council does not want the community to see them in action. Only bad can come of it for them. Right now they have a friendly, uncritical paper and most people are unable to go to the meetings. It is much easier for the likes of Bob Smith to push their respective agendas behind the scenes with minimal public imput. The only ones who have the ability to really know what is going on, are the few who have the ability to go to all the meetings.

Anonymous said...

This is especially true since the minutes are unavailable to the public for such long amounts of time following meetings that it would be difficult to know what is going on unless you could attend the meetings.

Sam said...

You mean the Town Clerk doesn't post the previous minutes and the next agenda, like at least 72 hours before a scheduled meeting? Weird! How on Earth can you know what is going on?

who else and why? said...

Are we picking on Bob? GOOD! Perhaps he pushes his PIRACY--whoops, PRIVACY issues a tad far when it comes to keeping the public informed. Individual rights to privacy are splendid and rare in this day but our so called democracy** calls for full exposure to the issues---in an ideal world ,that is. Who else needs to be "picked on" at the ol' council? And why?

** ha ha ha gasp gasp ha ha...................sob gasp

C.A.T.T. said...

It looks like the only council person that has "put their money where their mouth is" and worked for the good of the community is councillor Balser. The Pilot Hill houses and now the West Side project are products of her sole efforts. She seems to have an honest caring for the welfare of the young people in our community. It would be great if more people would jump on her band wagon and help.Councilman Smith tried his best to throw roadblocks in her path but she was able to overcome. As the project manager for Pilot Hill she took NO fee for her services. Instead she put all of those funds back into the houses she was building. I would venture to guess that she is doing the same for the west side houses too. How many do you know that would do the same?

quiet down island voice said...

catt. I dont know why you would call those "roadblocks" in Mary's path of destruction. Why is it a bad thing that Smith cut down the sheer size of these projects? I shudder when i think of a council where Balser gets what she wants. At least the rest of the council kept somewhat of a leash on her and prevented her of creating massive ticky tacky projects. Please someone here tell me what is so much better about Balser than Smith.