By Richard Goldman:
As a resident of this City for nearly 15 years, I decided this election cycle to take a backseat from my usual public support of candidates and watch the bloodbath take its toll on residents and business owners who just seemed so very tired of the politics as usual that the Coral Springs Commission has been spouting for the last few years. How right I was to take such a back seat, because friendships were on the line and should I have opened myself up publicly as I have in the past, these friendships would have been fractured forever.
Nonetheless, with these friendships now seemingly gone by the wayside – because I would not offer my public support to a few folks here or there, this editorial can serve a purpose to put these last few years in their rightful place – the well-deserved kick to the curb that voters gave the Commission on November 4th.
Let’s start with Tom Powers, a likable guy, a guy whose politics have always been on his arm sleeve – when this is a non-partisan office he held – he always stood side by side with his friend and partner Vince Boccard, right next to the GOP Governor and the rest of the cronies from Tallahassee. Let’s face it, Powers lied and lied often when he spoke of the great need for a City Hall, er, make that Municipal Complex.
Tom explained that with this $28 million allocation and cost, the residents had no need to vote on this, that it was a done deal, that is was widely supported in the City. Of course, Tom was supported by the rest of his cadre of friends – Vince Boccard, Larry Vignola and Dan Daley. The “Glad Handers” as I labeled them, always complimenting and cooing over each other, always forming a triumphant team, and always acting in the “best interest” of Coral Springs.
Tom could not have lied his way out of a paper bag, and he knows better than this. He is a decent man, the man I know and have honored in the past should have known better. The blatant lies, the blatant stories, the blatant politics – this is not Tom Powers and it cost him in the end by a severe trouncing and repudiation by Skip Campbell, another honest and decent man whom I have come to adore as a fellow Democrat. Those who know me know I never hide this and this is the reason I could never serve on the Commission – I have been on the national stage for too long not to know and immediately recognize that the term “Non-Partisan” is a fallacy to that one singular fact – if you are a party operative for any of the major parties, you cannot snap your fingers and separate your ethics and beliefs of who you are, just because you want to serve on a Commission or any office for that matter, it just does not work, never has and never will.
I would never subject the citizens of Coral Springs to my politics or the fact that I could never, not once ever, hide who I am in a non-partisan way – it is not fair to them as residents, not fair to the City as a whole and not fair to even myself–and this is a reason that anyone such as Tom or Mayor Boccard – have made so many enemies within Coral Springs – they simply tried as hard as they could to separate themselves from their GOP ways, but failed miserably – see all the photo ops they could not resist with the Governor and his henchmen, or even Former President Bush over these years. Tom and Vince interjected their GOP beliefs to the public, hell, Vince openly boasts about it and how much he is adored within the GOP across the State – it was impossible to hide it and for Tom, he just had no way to run from it once it was out there – and this is what also drove his politics and demeanor.
Why Tom lied is a thing that he will have to look into the mirror and answer to. I will challenge ANYONE to tell me he did this to deceive the public – not a chance in hell, it was politics that got in the way, nothing personal, nothing intentional – it happens – politics takes over the man or the woman and they forget sometimes who they are and a new person emerges – one they often live to regret in the end. Anyone who says otherwise about Tom will have to deal with me personally in a great debate – for I know this man and he is not the cruel and mean-spirited person so many have made him out to be during this process.
As I said, the aforementioned honorable Tom Powers should have stayed the course and not lied or injected fairy tale politics into the game. He would have won going away if he would not have lied, I honestly believe this, I truly do. But, he lied – and he paid the price – a sad price to end a beautiful career in Coral Springs where in the end, Tom did far more good than bad. Don’t believe me? Look it up.
It was these last two years – since the anointing of Vignola and Daley – to be in their own image, after their own likeness, that Tom and Vince failed miserably. Now, Vignola and Daley stand alone and it is truly hard for this author to think that they, especially Daley, who has no experience other than this office and running a campaign or two for Judge Porth, can form an opinion on their own. I think Dan is a great young man with a terrific future. The time has come for him to stand up and be his own man, not a follower, but the leader we all hope deep down that he can truly be. Larry is also a great guy, a family guy and someone who loves this City, and I again challenge ANYONE to tell me otherwise. It is the politics and the politics of ego driven madness that has taken its toll on both of these young men. But, this can change. Why? Simple.
It comes in the form of a new Mayor and a new Commissioner – BOTH of whom are against the City Hall…er…Municipal Complex and with Lou…who knows where he stands? But if Lou stands on his own, breaks away from the whispers of those that supported him (Tom, Vince, Larry, Dan), he can also do great things while being an independent thinker.
My message to Larry and Dan is this: The image makers and hand holders are gone leaving you both to stand up and speak, not lie, not story tell, not say it like Vince or Tom taught you – but to speak on your own and represent the wishes of the people of the City and represent them to the LETTER, not the perceived and concocted one – but the REALITY letter. Only then will you stand out as individual actors, only then can you become a political success in your endeavors.
Finally, people have asked why I, the litigator have not taken on the City as yet in a class action suit to prevent the City Hall, er, Municipal Complex from going up. My answer is simple: give it time, give Skip time to set the ship straight. Give him time to bring this to a full wide city vote – it can be done and charter wise it must be done. No need to litigate…YET. $28 million is outrageous and the people of the City spoke on November 4th. Give time a chance to work. We can’t jump into litigation until we know at the absolute worst, that the citizens will be denied a vote on the complex and expansion projects. Remember this…the citizens collectively were wise enough to laugh at the pay raises sought (a fools move to be best by this Commission), and by voting as they did, sent a clear message that they will not tolerate the spectre of taxpayer money being used for a Taj Mahal or whatever it was that people have been calling it.
Time, just give it time…we have no need to fight any longer. The sweeping is complete. We need to have time to heal and allow for the three new Commission members to have their say. Surely we can all heal from this fray, maybe not friendships such as mine with the Mayor and his family, but that is the price of politics. I have been in this game since 1968, yes, 1968 and trust me when I tell you that we can recover as a City from this madness and move forward into a bright future.
All it takes is no more glad-handing and no more lies.
Yes, my fellow Coral Springers, it IS that simple.
Richard Goldman is a long-time Coral Springs Resident. He is a Bio Terrorism and Chemical Weaponry expert and advises governments and locales regarding Terrorism prevention. He has been in the legal field as a Litigation Paralegal for over 30 years and continues to work within the Democratic Party across the United States.
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