After watching the last few city and county commission meetings and reading the follow up articles and letters to the editor I felt compelled to throw in my views as an average citizen who has studied politics for many years. Now I am no expert and certainly never claimed to be the brightest man around but even me with my humble knowledge can see very plainly what is going on with our politics. You have two very different groups vying for power. On one side you have the "Old Guard" mostly locals like myself who have grown up here and are trying to hold on to the quaint small towns and county that we all loved growing up in. Trying to take care of the needs of their friends and neighbors. These commissioners may not always sound or act professional and trust me I have been embarrassed by their behavior more than once but we must remember these gentlemen and ladies are not all professionals. They are just hard working men and women who have given their time to try to better our town or county. On the other side you have a large group of people most of whom have are business owners or have moved into our area from larger cities in the last few years and have different ideas about how things should be run. They are more focused on the businesses and how to best attract growth and new people to the area.
Now I feel both sides have some very good ideas, and they should all have a voice. The problem is that when you come in and try to force your ideas on people instead of working with them you run into trouble. When you create Washington-style politics by creating a super P.A.C. with the sole purpose of taking out the old commissioners by any means and try to hurt those who oppose you economically you run into trouble. When you call them rednecks or idiots you run into trouble. Last but not least when you accuse them of working for special interests at the same time you have formed a special interest group to further your agenda which will make most of you money, now that just makes you a hypocrite.
Personally I think there is a place at the table for all. We have to move on from the old ways that is inevitable and we need the infusion of new ideas in order to help us with this growth. What we don't need is the constant bickering and infighting that we have on both boards now. Somebody needs to be the adult here. Every time one side has a suggestion it can't be knocked down just to antagonize them and you can't keep referring to them as blow-ins. They are taxpaying residents just like all of the rest of us. On the other side every time a decision is made that you don't agree with you can't go out into the streets and slander the commissioners, threaten their businesses and file lawsuits.
If you would all spend half as much time trying to work together instead of trying to get one up on each other just imagine what you could accomplish. In the days not so long ago commissioners would literally almost come to blows over a problem and come back the next meeting shake hands and move on with what needed to be done. Not because they came to agreement on the issue but out of respect for the job and the fact that because they represented this community and all of the people in it. We may be too far gone now, but I would hope the leaders on both boards would call for unity and civility at the next meeting. We have many tough issues that need to be worked out and we can only do that if we come together. Remember a house divided cannot stand.
Cecil Lyons III
Port St. Joe