I believe that this is an accurate description of what Mayor Rodriquez did at last night’s (2/17) Commission/CRA workshop meeting and how it worked out. Don’t know whether this meeting was taped. It should have been. My District 3 Commissioner Steven Holtzman was present during the City staff and CRA presentations as they appeared on the agenda:
1. Welcome and Introductions
2. Overview of the Vision and Downtown Master Plan/City/CRA Vision
3. Economic Development Perspective on Boynton Beach
4. Review of Current Projects
5. Short and Long Term Project Ideas
Before the PowerPoint presentations of these three:
Michael Weiner, “Authentic Themes, Concepts and Ideas”
Owen Duke, Patrinely Group
Donn Colee – Benzaiten
Commissioner Holtzman, an attorney, reiterated that he felt the three were “lobbyists” and should have registered as such. There was legal talk back and forth as Mayor Rodriqez and some Commissioners sought clarification from City Attorney Jim Cherof.
It was decided that Michael Weiner, an attorney and City property owner, would speak. Commissioner Holtzman left the meeting. Michael Weiner and Owen Duke spoke at great length with accompanying PowerPoint presentations. When it was Donn Colee’s turn, Commissioner Orlove explained that because he had requested the “Benzaiten concept” presentation be put on the agenda and because he did not want to put them in jeopardy of lobbying laws as discussed earlier; he, Commissioner Orlove, would give the PowerPoint presentation and he did.
Now it was the turn of these citizens/taxpayers/long-time residents:
Victoria Castello – Three Circles Concept
Dr. Martha Meeks-Light – The Heart of Boynton
I am Victoria Castello. I don’t think I spoke more than a minute when Mayor Rodriquez started to criticize what I was saying. I didn’t pronounce Michael Weiner’s name correctly. I thought it was a joke…how many times I am called Costello instead of Castello. Really was taken aback when everything I said annoyed our Mayor. Would love to hear the tape…because Commissioner Orlove willingly and smilingly answered my question. Rodriguez roared “Stick to the Three Circles”. I tried to explain…but then I asked, “Are you directing me as to what I can say. He said, “YES!”. “Then I won’t speak.” I replied, and left the podium to sit down.
Then it got so wonderfully surreal because Dr. Martha Meeks-Light spoke with such fervor and eloquence of what her community…the black community… once had and wanted again. Hers was THE THREE CIRCLES …HEART, SOUL and SPIRIT. Her son, Victor Norfus, distributed what follows to the remaining elected officials.
Such ended an evening where the full moon shone over the waters of our Intracoastal. I left feeling that I had witnessed a real/true/authentic essence, something so very special, in Dr. Meek-Light’s presentation. “Will those whom we have elected to lead us understand what just happened?” was going through my mind as I walked away from a lovely pavillion.
May they be granted the wisdom to open their minds and do what is fair and honorable.
Thought about it and realized that citizens should be treated with respect. This morning 2/21 I emailed our City Manager: