Bucking the Trend – Thank You Mr. West

Recently I wrote about a meeting Lake Park Mayor James Dubois had back in August with Congressman Allen West. I found out about that meeting, not through a commission meeting discussion where the Mayor shared the exchange, because that didn’t happen, but rather through one of Allen West’s weekly updates. He mentioned there that he had met with our Mayor who wanted to discuss “city initiatives”.

This led to email exchanges between myself and the Mayor as I sought a summary from him to present to our readers. I thought it would be informative to hear about this meeting with our Congressman and to understand what the Mayor was attempting “on our behalf”, especially since we had not heard any of this through public Commission dialogue, etc. You can read the Mayor’s summary in the post titled Mayor Dubois Meets Congressman West.

This week, I came upon the copy of a follow-up exchange between Mayor Dubois and Congressman West. What was interesting to note was the fact that both the Town Manager and the Grant Writer, Ms. Martin, along with a Legislative Advisor, Manny Reyes, were present at the August meeting as these town representatives sought yet more hand outs for our town.

Now, if you don’t know the lingo, “city initiatives” is a sparkly way of saying “grant money” which is a sweet little way of saying YOUR money, and it seems our town leaders have been busy behind the scenes working to procure some more of that “free goodness”. The question is, at what cost to residents, especially in light of the conditions of such grants and the current controversy surrounding the Marina Village project and funding of the parking lot purchase for the Marina.

From past posts, HERE and HERE and HERE, you will find that I, and many of my fellow C.R.A.P. members are adamantly against the use of grants to fund the work of our town, for a number of reasons, which those posts explain. (Also, if you would like an explanation of C.R.A.P. ~ Citizens Requiring Accountability from Politicians ~  please see the side bar.)

According to the recent exchange between Mayor Dubois and Congressman West, the Mayor followed up to thank Mr. West for his visit and to remind him of the grants the Mayor was seeking and to discuss the available options for a town hall meeting venue for the Congressman.

In his reply, Congressman West stood firm to his principles by declining to support the Lake Park Village Marina Project grant request. (Thank you, Mr. West!) This request, by the way, was for yet another $2.5 million on top of the millions of dollars already procured through a $2.4 million county grant. All of this (from the look of things) through the silent, behind the scenes work of the Mayor and the Town Manager who were pursuing this money by October 1st.

From Allen West’s response to Mayor Dubois, dated September 26, 2011:

I want to thank and commend Congressman West for his fiscal sanity and his willingness to buck the current trend of leaders who seek to fund their bureaucratic dreams at our expense. These grants lead to repercussions beyond the financial. The procuring of many, many grants by our town (with many more on the up and coming list – as evidenced in this week’s town agenda) has already led to controversy and trouble for the town of Lake Park, which we have and will continue to write about here on The Street Where You Live.

Congressman West has proven to be a man of integrity and continues to stand for the principles upon which he campaigned. He is truly a great leader and we are fortunate to have him representing this district ,which falls, in part, within Lake Park boundaries.

Meanwhile, the possibility of a Town Hall Meeting with the Congressman at either the Marina Lawn or at Kelsey Park is something we need to encourage. Part of the discussion between the Congressman and the Mayor was in regard to a location for that meeting. Please feel free to write and let the Congressman and the Mayor know of your support for this Town Hall meeting. The contact form for Congressman West can be found HERE.

Please also write and let them both know your thoughts on the decisions being made in light of these grant requests. As for our town leaders, they continue to seek grants regularly of which the citizens are vastly unaware. Please stand and let your town leaders know where you stand on this. Hold them accountable. Ask them this week where they are in the process to procure this $2.5 million for the Lake Park Marina Village project now that the Congressman has denied them his support for this request. Ask them why we have not heard discussion of these Marina Village plans which seem to be in the works behind the scenes but of which we have seen no plans or paperwork. Residents and taxpayers have a right to know what is going on.

More to come on this topic in future posts. Yes, there’s more. Stay tuned.