“Uncivilized” Citizens – You’ve Been Warned

In Monday’s SRQ Daily,  County Commission candidate Al Maio is quoted.

 

“It is inappropriate under any circumstances to bellow and yell and call sitting County Commissioners liars, cheats, thieves and crooks. It’s quite frankly uncivilized behavior, and there is no need for that.” – Alan Maio, Sarasota County Commission candidate

 

 

 

What is Maio referring to?

 
Our current County Commission routinely engages in fallacious argument.   Some of them do it so often it’s stunning.

 

 

 

Last fall, during a joint meeting of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and Sarasota City Commission, City residents and the City Commission expressed concern that the County wasn’t implementing the Coordinated County/Municipal Planning Alliance required by Sarasota 2050.   Participate in the process!  the City Commission was told by the County Commission.  Attend our meetings! the County said.  There was one public workshop during a City Commission meeting , no other 2050 public workshops had been held (just two open houses – basically worthless).   And that wasn’t the point – the point was (and still is) that the County has not implemented an important County policy that benefits the cities.  Instead of squarely dealing with the issue, the County Commission created a false impression that the cities were AWOL in the 2050 process.  The cities were excluded from the 2050 process by the County.  It’s just one example of disingenuous, misleading and irresponsible rhetoric from the County Commission that impairs effective public discourse and honest transaction of public business.  (click on image to enlarge, see video of the meeting at bottom)

 

Strawman Cartoon

 

“It is inappropriate under any circumstances to bellow and yell and call sitting County Commissioners liars, cheats, thieves and crooks. It’s quite frankly uncivilized behavior, and there is no need for that.” – Alan Maio, Sarasota County Commission candidate

 
I’d like Mr. Maio to explain exactly when this occurred, how often, and who did this? How many people?  For the past five years I’ve been observing the County Commission.  The County Commission has been criticized.  People have expressed disagreement and at times disapproval.  That’s to be expected.  But Maio makes it sound like the County Commission is being abused.  What is he talking about?

 

 

 

With Maio’s quote and focus on this, he is taking the BCC “uncivil” cries to another level. Of all the issues facing our County, Mr. Maio is discussing a “problem” that doesn’t exist as far as I can tell. Who is bellowing and yelling? Who is calling the County Commissioners liars, cheats and crooks? How often is this happening? Does Mr. Maio expect Commissioners will never hear from a ticked off constituent? Is his characterization of the BCC’s experience reasonable? If this were a real problem, how come we aren’t seeing newspaper articles covering it?   Most concerning – is Mr. Maio attempting to deflect legitimate criticism by characterizing the messengers as uncivilized abusers?  The Commission and Maio’s propensity to exaggerate is important.  It can impact policy.  “Uncivil” communication is one reason given by the BCC for failing to provide full public access to all of their e-mail communications on their website.  Faux or exaggerated cries of “uncivil” by current and would-be Commissioners may have policy implications that affect the rest of us.

 

 
Unless there are serial public smackdowns of the BCC happening in some private venue we all are unaware of, Mr. Maio’s quote is way, way over the top, mischaracterizing public input and dissent. This is NOT a good omen.  Maio’s comment reveals he is a student of  the current BCC’s disingenuous handling of public criticism: shooting the messenger, strawman arguments, shaming over non-existent “uncivil” behavior.

 

 

 

 

Maio should fully explain his quote.  Unsubstantiated, unreferenced blanket criticism of constituents providing public input critical of the BCC  is an important window into what we can expect from any would-be Commissioner.

 

 

 

1 Comment on “Uncivilized” Citizens – You’ve Been Warned

  1. Ok, if you are in Office, don’t you then work for the people? I find the statement “you have been warned” very threatening. People will always have an opinion, so you better have thick skin remember you were elected in by the people. “Uncivilized Citizens” you say well citizens have an opinion especially when we can be directly effected by decisions made by you.

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