Residents have had quite a week coming to grips with the revelations that came out at last week’s commission meeting. As we all process what has been made public and take into consideration the implications of the information presented, connections will be made, eyes will open, questions will arise and interesting facts will finally begin to show on the canvas of our town where those who bother to look can see them.

If you have taken note of any situations related to the Town Manager and those she has hired, decisions she has made, business dealings she brokered behind closed doors, etc. or you have information which you feel the commission needs to consider before making their decision, please list them and send them to all of the commissioners this week. As you take everything into consideration and look at daily, weekly and year-long events from other angles, you may begin to make connections you haven’t before. Despite what the County Commission on Ethics does or does not do, our town commission will be making a decision about the future of our town. They are your representatives and they need your input. They work for you. This situation will test the choices residents made when they elected their commissioners and Mayor.

If Maria Davis is fired or resigns, our town will have a new set of challenges on its hands. They will need to reconsider the process by which our town hires a manager, carefully eye the contracts they sign onto and pay attention to the power they afford another leader. They will need to take their time and consider the future implications of the decisions they make, especially in light of the way in which their hands were tied this go-round due to the wording of past contracts, etc.

Lake Park must also clarify the iffy mission and goals they have subscribed to, or we will continue to find ourselves led into more of the same nonsense that has characterized our town and the direction it has taken in recent years. Do we want our town to continue to live and breathe government? Do we want the government having its hands in everything we do? Do we want our town pandering to the county and it’s agenda in order to secure financial favors that merely lock us under their thumb and lead us to where they want us? Have you ever considered where it is that they have been leading us? Do we want free-market competition to bring about thriving business or do we want to continue to watch as government ideologues pick and choose who they think deserves a shot at the expense of those of us who pay taxes and have to live with those decisions, decisions often made behind the scenes without the knowledge of commissioners and residents?

There is a big picture being created here and we need to take a few steps back and consider what lines, forms and colors have begun to emerge with all those strokes that have been painted across the canvas of our town. The good news is that if we find them unsatisfactory, the canvas CAN be painted over. Some of the dark, ugly colors and the rough textures may be tough to eliminate, but if we don’t like the subject of the painting or the murky colors used or the storyline presented, we can step in and wash over them with a look and feel and that better tells the story of who we are. We can depict an image that better represents us and one that we can happily live with on display in the public eye for all to see.

Throughout the process to come, however, our town will need its residents to stand back and make some critical assessments about what has been worked onto the canvas because of the leadership currently in power. Commissioners Hockman and Longtin are typically the two commissioners who delve into the details of what is brought before the commission for votes, and they are used to asking the hard questions. They regularly look at things from more than one angle and have questioned the town manager’s “STAFF” recommendations repeatedly. The rest of the commission has been content to sit and let her make decisions for them, in many regards, decisions we have begun to see have not necessarily been in our best interest. Those commissioners will need your help to see the flaws in the painting that has emerged. They will need your critical eye. They seem to be among those sitting too close to the canvas and nodding in approval as the one who was hogging the paintbrush did as she pleased. As they routinely followed Maria Davis’ lead and agreed to the proposals she brought forth with seemingly little curiosity about the particulars. It was their lack of concern and often their praise of what she was “designing”  that led to the sweeping brushstrokes that created what we have before us now.

Let them know your thoughts. Share your insights. Present your concerns. Let’s make a change and begin to allow the “artistry” of the citizens of Lake Park to create the ideas and insights that will become the brushstrokes that paint the picture of who we really are and who we can be as a town.