Martino: The Charter is Clear! Why Appeal?

I have a question for anyone who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, and above all, our esteemed City Council. The question is, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the City Council could get acquainted with the City Charter, particularly, its words and their meaning?” Well, in my opinion, apparently with all their “experience” the current Council members have yet to master many of the words and much of the meaning of the City Charter.

Case in point is the bungling and embarrassment surrounding the March 15th 2016 City CouncilSeat 4 election. There were 15,970 total votes cast in this election contest as certified by the election canvas board. David Levy, the incumbent, received 6642 votes (41.6%) and Carl Woods the challenger, received 6256 votes (39.2%). Neither received a majority of the votes cast.

In Article IV: The City Council, Section 4-1. – Election the City Charter clearly states, in plain everyday good old-fashioned English, that it is a requirement for a candidate to receive a majority of the votes cast. When this does not occur, the Charter states a runoff election must be held. When the City Council and its Administration decided to play politics with the results of the March 15th Seat 4 election and not hold a runoff election as the Charter mandates, Carl Woods filed a lawsuit to establish his right to a runoff election. A Circuit Court judge ruled the City must obey its Charter and schedule a runoff election between Messieurs Levy and Woods. But lo and behold, the City Council and its Administration refuse to believe the Judge can read and so they have voted to appeal his decision.

That raises questions, questions, and more questions! Is the City Council dwarfing the will of the people’s Charter by trying to produce a dictatorial end that they, each of them, seek? Why involve the City in continuous, contentious, and costly litigation? I wonder if power has something to do with it. Are the Council members protecting one of their own, David Levy, the City Clerk, or perhaps both? Who is paying for David Levy’s personal lawyer, who incidentally, is affiliated with a law firm that regularly appears before the City Council on behalf of developers?

From my perspective, there is something very ominous in this dereliction of trust in the City Charter by the Gardens’ City Council. Is it a deliberate and direct falsification of the Charter’s words and meaning to support personal power and ambition? Is it a direct attempt to discount the will of the voter by sowing the seeds of discord and confusion? Is it none of this but simply plain incompetence? Only the City Council can give the correct answer but they never do.

This City Council never fails to disappoint. I have said this before, but I shall say it again – and again – and again. Collectively, this is an arrogant City Council that does not respect the sacred trust that was given to them upon their individual election. Palm Beach Gardens’ residents deserve better.

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