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Here’s The Scoop … The First Room …



Dear Readers… The  newly selected candidates were standing together in the first of many rooms they will stand in front of after being vetted and selected to run for the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Commission in March 2010…. It was really something to witness….and this writer was warmly welcomed by the Unite Our Town board and its supporters to join in on this very important decision making meeting for the people in this room and the residents of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea… Whether new to the political scene or a battered and beaten from years of seeing the upper hand go to those doing so much wrong, it did not matter this evening…because standing in front of them was the future…the light at the end of the tunnel whether counted by months, days or local newspaper issues…(6)….it is very definitely within reach!…

The room was full and the faces were both familiar and new…. But the conversation was the same one we have been hearing for quite some time now… in the north, and in the south , inside and outside Jarvis Hall, in condos and in homes,  growing louder and expanding at record speed, that it’s time to get this town back on track…McIntee and Silverstone must go … and March 9, 2010 is the day to make that happen!…

The first order of new business in this room was to hear one more time from the 5 candidates…(Candidate Beverly Kennedy withdrew the week before)… Chair of UOT Bob Fleishman introduced each…starting in the north with Edmund Malkoon….

Edmund Malkoon said he would try and keep it short. “Over the past two and a half months since I became an officially registered candidate, I have had many opportunities to speak and answer questions. I have also had the pleasure of going door to door to discuss issues with many of you personally. I feel you already know who I am and what I stand for.” He thanked a few people who continuously encouraged and advised him as well as those who have financially contributed to his campaign and who have expressed a willingness to do so.He went on to say…”I especially want to address a fine group of men. I am honored to have gotten to know you and to now be able to call you my friends. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of potential candidates. To put yourself on the line for the betterment of our town and community is very commendable. You are intelligent, informed, and eloquent. Truly a class act. I have to say you made me a better candidate by being associated with you. You will continue to have my friendship and my support always, as I know I will have yours.”…He ended by saying …”Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Unite our Town can always count on me.”

Scot Sasser said “First let me thank each of you for your support thus far and ask for your support tonight and in the coming months as we launch the winning game plan to unseat those who have clearly taken us down the wrong path. Very quickly, and for clarity, I want to recap my position so that you will know where I stand on the issues at hand:I want to keep the height limits exactly where they are today. We have voted on this issue 3 times already. I want to create an unbiased Public Safety Oversight Board. I support our VFD but will utilize the Public Safety Oversight Board to ensure they get the proper support and training they need to continue to strive to get better.The Public Safety Oversight Board can also be utilized to ensure we have the very best EMS possible. Accountability of public officials and staff to the people of this town is paramount. No more unilateral decisions or firing of key officials without open communication. More diligence done on the dais before making financial decisions. Let’s make sure our financial decisions are made after proper vetting, not blind trust. Cooperation with local businesses to ensure they have the proper support for a vibrant downtown contributing greatly to our quality of life.

We need to ensure that the information disseminated on public projects is correct so proper decisions can be made. No more misinformation like the El Mar beautification project. Bring back integrity, transparency, dignity and efficiency to the dais through mutual respect and cooperation. Provide a voice for the people rather than making decisions based on personal agendas and vendettas This election is one of the most critical in our town history. We cannot face another 4 years like the last. We are at a crossroads. Many critical decisions will be made in the coming year alone that will determine our very survival. We must make the right decisions together and in unity. The journey begins here and now. I trust your wisdom tonight and in the future”

Ben Freeny said thank you to Louie and Spiro for hosting the fundraiser and thanked to all the volunteers that put it all together. He spoke of what a great opportunity it was to get to spend some time with friends and neighbors.He followed by recounting the following…”I may have told this story before, but it’s worth telling again. A number of years ago, I had a series of conversations with Laura Ward about our town government. She seemed at the time to be the only accessible person with any knowledge.I asked her what she believed to be the most valuable asset to bring to the table as a commissioner.Without batting an eye, she said honesty. I was surprised that honesty would be the most important asset to have. I thought some technical expertise or prior life experience would be of great value” He went on sum up what her words up to meant to him… “honest intent of the heart.”He explained by saying …”You see, when I sit in the commission meetings, I wonder what is the intent behind the discussion and action taking place on the dais and is their intent the same thing as what they are speaking? Much of the time it is clouded in rhetoric, how great the VFD is doing or what an excellent town manager we have.On one side we have a bully proclaiming the beneficence of his causes, On the other side we have a follower that claps and whistles in support. ditto is his catch phrase.What is behind all of this fluff and hot air, whoopla and self aggrandizement.” He said he what he wants to see through to the town business at hand and to understand why a commissioner is voting the way he is voting. In the end, the commissioner will vote one way or the other, the important thing is that I understand why he is voting that way. He went on to speak wanting transparency in the governing of our town, Honesty in intent, no secret agendas, no back room fire truck purchases.”..”And being transparent is what honesty really is from the standpoint of governing the town.Our common goal in this next election is to put two new commissioners in place.Commissioners that we know will be open and transparent with regards to town business.Commissioners that we know will address town business and get things done. Commissioners that we know are fulfilling our desire for transparency in government Commissioners that act with honest intent.” He concluded by saying …”We have a big job ahead of us, there is lots of work to be done. Lets get to work.”

John Oughten started off with a laugh when he said there was no need for him to use the mike…He “thanked the group collectively for their support and vigor” and said most importantly this process afforded him the opportunity to meet new neighbors and friends and he thanked the UOT board. He went on to say most feel the same about what needs to be done to improve the town and reiterated his concerns for more  than the financial and fiscal restraints he see, but the infrastructure not attended to and the fallout from ignoring it to come as a tax hit to us all in the future. He was still at a loss to understand the Town Manager’s decisions on pre-payment loans and having 17 separate bank accounts all in one bank…Mr Oughten has experience in such matters, and thus far has received no reply from the current administration to alleviate any of those concerns…He spoke of the height referendum, and his belief it is ill times and ill conceived to forge ahead while we are facing lawsuits in the north, and passage of  a the lowered 33′ foot maximum townwide height limit as is being pushed by the majority on the dais will open us up for more such suit in the south from hotels and motels finding themselves unable to build to be viable. He spoke also about the VFD responding well, but the need for new leadership …reiterating “McIntee and Silverstone must go!”

Chris Vincent finished up and produced a laugh with recalling how in school having his last name produced the same result, going last…He said he would repeat what his fellow candidates said, agreeing with the sentiments of them all……He went on to say …”The last few months have been very busy.  I have spoken to so many residents within our community and the consensus is we need to see new faces on the dais come March. What I have learned is that the community feels we have lost our way as a town and they do not trust that we are heading in the right direction.  I agree.  We need to change paths and have a fresh start.  This is going to happen. Accountability We need to affirm the importance of working together.We all know what the biggest issues are.  We can not continue to divert attention away from the issues on the dais. Be a part of the solution and not the problem. Get on the same page in this town.”…He said  “there a couple of gentlemen patting themselves as crusaders of the town, those caped crusaders got to go!”…

Bob Fleishman introduced board member Chuck Clark who told the supporters in the room that it was time to get down to the “nitty gritty” and spoke of the “plethora of good candidates”…adding that these candidates all agreed to support the candidates chosen … We were told that this was a difficult decision to make because of the quality and quantity of candidates coming forward. In the end, after much discussion of the candidates, the perceived opponents and THIS election, the two candidates recommended to the UOT supporters were from the south, Chris Vincent and from the north, Scot Sasser…Chuck Clark asked for an acclamation from the supporters present saying “All in favor”….. producing a loud thunderous cry of “AYE” from every corner of the room…A call for any “nays” produced none!… The acclamation was followed by a long standing ovation…

Bob Fleishman asked the new candidates up to speak ….

Candidate Scot Sasser …
He first acknowledged, praised and thanked Edmund Malkoon….He then went on to deliver his speech….

“Thank you for your trust, support and faith in me, and my family. Let me ensure you that we will each give 110% in winning this most critical election for you and our town. We realize the importance of what lies ahead. We do this not for any personal gain but to ensure the prosperity of our future, as a town, and the generations to come. Because you have chosen to live here we will win. Because you have chosen to work here, we will win. Because you have chosen to retire here, we will win. Because you care, we will win.

As I stated earlier this evening, the journey begins tonight. Though the stakes are high and the issues are many our focus will be myopic and our solution simple. It really comes down to integrity, honesty, trust, transparency and accountability in our town government. While the current sentiment is that the people don’t understand the issues and need to be led I will, in contrast, trust the people to make the right decisions and instead, serve. I understand that you have placed your trust in me tonight. I also understand that I have two ears and one mouth for a reason. I will listen twice as much as I speak.

You made the choice, many weeks ago, to take back your voice and destiny by getting involved in Unite Our Town. That was the first step of our endeavor. We now go together, united in purpose and resolve, to our ultimate victory because we know and understand the importance of this journey. That though we may rise and fall, in the end we will meet our fate together. That a house divided against itself cannot stand. And, so we must not fail to be diligent in our efforts to remain united for our sole purpose. Let us not become distracted in the details but remain firm and steadfast to that which has brought us together. That government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish.

With these things in mind our journey moves forward. Taking no time to tarry on what we have accomplished but instead cast our attention on what needs to be done. We will accomplish our goals and finish the race in victory but we will need the help of everyone in this room. Now is not the time to rest but to ramp up our efforts. Each of you must continue to play a part. To not growing weary in doing good, as it is said, but to remain diligent to our task because it is you who make the difference.

Because you are worthy of a voice we will win. Because you are strong enough to stay the course we will win. Because you are here we will win. Because you will be there we will win.

Thank you”

Candidate Chris Vincent…

“As a town we are fortunate to have had residents Ben Freeny and John Oughten step up to the plate along with myself from the South end to offer strong viable strong choices for this upcoming election.  How lucky we are to have had that opportunity.  I sincerely thank both of them for their efforts and look forward to working with them closely throughout this election and beyond.

Thank you to Unite Our Town and the supporters and board members for giving me this opportunity to work with you to bring a positive message to the dais and eliminate the negativity that has taken over our town. I have the ability to work with our community and I have no conflict of interest with the town that two of our current commissioners do.  You deserve oversight and accountability from your elected officials.  You need to know that our town is being run appropriately as a business and not granting favoritism to certain members and organizations.  You need to be able to trust your local government and that has been lost over the last four years.  You do not need bullies on the dais dictating their wants and needs.  You need commissioners that will listen to the will of the people and work with the community not against the community.  I will do that.  This is not about me it is about you and your neighbors. We have a lot of work to do.  This is just the beginning.  We must stay united and push forward for a fresh start and turn the page on the last four years.

I have the passion and the determination to cross that finish line on March 9th as a winner.  When that happens we all win. I cannot do this alone.  We are a team, we are one town and you will play a critical role in our success in March.  Talk to your neighbors and friends, when you are in the grocery store, eating in our restaurants or just walking throughout your neighborhoods or socializing at your condos, talk of a fresh start, let them know we can claim victory in March.

We must stay positive and focused on our goal, which is a fresh start.  We have a beautiful town with intelligent amazing residents.  Get out there and get the ball rolling.  We cannot take anything for granted at this point.

Thank you for your support.

I will not let you down.”

The candidates for this most important race have now been selected and are fully supported by the three candidates they stood alongside thus far…Ben Freeny is now the treasurer for Chris Vincent ….Edmund Malkoon and Scot Sasser  agreed previously to do whatever they could to help whomever the candidate was in the north and Mr. Malkoon reiterated that last night. John Oughten also will be front and center in this election as he repeated in his remarks this evening …. This shows that this group can already achieve what has been missing in the last few years from the present commission……an ability to come to consensus, keep their word and do what is best for this town!… NICE!…

This was indeed the first room… the first of many rooms these two candidates will stand in front of over the next 4 months… For this writer, sitting in this room, on this night, seeing what these two fine candidates Scot Sasser and Chris Vincent have to offer for the future of our town, I envision they will be met with same overwhelming positive response of support in each and every room that follows….ending in THE most important room, on the dais in Jarvis Hall being sworn in next March to make that future a reality!..

more to come………

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