The Porretto Beach decision, correct or not, is not the topic of this editorial. For now, the decision to release the rights of way stands on its own merit, and will either result in a purchase from the developer or will go to auction. The five acres are cleansed.
Rather, I’ll speak to the treatment of residents at the hands (or mouths) of their elected officials and taxpayer-funded staff at a time when so much of the community heart and soul was genuinely invested in a decision.
Let’s take the statement of our mayor to start: “I don’t want to see the property developed either,” Mayor Jim Yarbrough said. “You think you’d vote your personal convictions all the time. I don’t. I wish I could.”
Perhaps no mayor, in the short time I’ve been alive (70 years), has such a track record of getting exactly what he wants than does our current mayor. How that occurs is usually through the bowing and scraping of hand-picked city staff. One could say that listening to city staff is a much better guide for what the mayor thinks and wants than listening to a talented and experienced politician. When the city manager or the city’s legal counsel speaks, it’s as if Mayor Jim shouted his name in the Pala Doro Canyon. All that can be heard is the echo of the mayor’s own voice. Listen to what city staff advised on this matter.
Then there is Frank Maceo. Having heard the entire room tell him about the advantages and benefits of holding the five acres for a city purchase, he said, “I do not see a public benefit of hanging on to these rights of way.” It’s a good thing Maceo has changed his work to land and not offshore. Since he can’t see the crowd of people who just told him the benefit, he’s clearly not seaworthy.
Council member Terrilyn Tarlton-Shannon, the only regal personality in that entire room who can afford to live in Beachtown, used her chair for another dose of self-aggrandizement telling residents who could not speak or rebut how wrong they were. In fact, the residents were correct, she was in error. Her majesty’s tenure has been one embarrassing “Let them eat cake” statement after another.
Council member Carolyn Sunseri kept her comments brief. In fact, her only reason in voting for the abandonment was somehow connected to the fact she “does not work for Stewart Title!”
I remain unsure about what that has to do with abandonment. I am sure that in the moment of her non-sequitur, Stewart Title reclaimed its great reputation; South Land’s sunk.
An old saying is: “You cannot lie to a crowd.” Council needs to do some hard work to embed genuine respect for our residents or it needs to say that respect for residents is just not possible and they will continue to treat taxpaying adults as unschooled children.
Who they are speaks louder than anything they say.