Column: ...And They're Off...

Gary Resnick. Photo: Facebook.

With only a few weeks to go before the Republican Convention in Cleveland, followed by the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, thought I would take the opportunity to talk politics on a more local level, right here in good ole Wilton Manors.

This year we have a local election for Mayor and two City Commission seats. For those accustomed to seeing my name on the ballot, I am not running in this election, but remain involved in our city as President of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors, Chair of the city’s Budget Review Advisory Committee, and Secretary of The Friends of The Wilton Manors Library. I will enjoy watching from the sidelines, while our field of very qualified candidates race to the finish line.

The race for Mayor has two candidates running, our incumbent Mayor Gary Resnick, and his opponent Boyd Corbin. In the race for two commission seats, we have the two incumbents, Tom Green and Julie Carson, and two challengers, Paul Rolli and Celeste Ellich.

The mayoral race will probably be an easy win this time for our long-serving mayor, Gary Resnick, lacking former challenger, Doug Blevins, who is currently busy with the Wilton Drive Business Improvement District.

Perhaps an easy win, but with Boyd Corbin as your opponent, there’s sure to be plenty of drama and excitement along the way. I’ve always had an underdog appreciation for Boyd, listening to his speeches at City Commission Meetings on how he was treated unfairly by Police and city officials dating back to an incident one Halloween when his tiki torch set fire to a drag queen’s wig.  Yes, accidents do happen. However, wearing a KKK outfit and carrying a lit torch around drag queens with big hairdos is probably not the best choice one could make. 

In the race for two Commission seats, it was a cliffhanger waiting to see if Commissioner Carson would decide to run for re-election. In the end she decided to throw her hat into the race, along with another last minute surprise, Celeste Ellich. Name sounds familiar? You are correct, it is the same Celeste Ellich who, as President of the Wilton Manors Business Association, thought it would be a great idea to invite and host then Congressman Alan West to Wilton Manors. Talk about not making the best choice. Celeste, did you really think the residents of Wilton Manors would roll out the red carpet for Allen West after his ferocious attacks on the LGBT community? After a five-year retreat from city politics, perhaps Celeste, who also serves as Vice Chair of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, thought it a good year to ride in on Donald Trump’s coattails and go after the angry white vote here in Wilton Manors. Perhaps she is on to something and, come this time next year, we will be calling Donald, Mr. President and Celeste, Madam Commissioner. Oh god, it’s too late for April Fools jokes!

Now to the other candidates in the Commission race, Tom Green and Paul Rolli, my favorites to win. Commissioner Tom Green is running for re-election, and this city will be all the better if he is voted to serve another four-year term. Commissioner Green is passionate about Wilton Manors and about improving the quality of life for all here in our city. Commissioner Green is frequently spotted at various city board and committee meetings, is proud to serve on the Metropolitan Planning Organization and on the Florida League of Cities. He is also the major voice for our environment and green building practices. Tom Green is a true asset to our City Commission and our residents.

Paul Rolli, my second choice for the two commission seats, would also be a real asset to our City Commission. Paul has served two terms as Chair of the very important Budget Review Advisory Board, helping steer this city on a sound financial path. Paul’s background and thorough understanding of our city’s budget makes him a perfect choice to serve as one of our next City Commissioners.  Residents can have the comfort of knowing that Paul Rolli is watching out for them now and into the future when it comes to the city’s tax base, spending, future planning and security.

As for Commissioner Carson, she has definitely served our city well and deserves our heartfelt gratitude, but not for re-election. I would urge Commissioner Carson to look beyond our small city’s borders if she desires to remain in public service. Julie’s passion and commitment deserve a much larger audience. Unfortunately, her vision looks beyond our residents, our tax base, our hometown needs, and limited resources. 

So the race is on. Let’s keep it civil and professional, and let’s all be respectful of our fellow residents’ decisions about who they choose to support. After all, that is what makes us a democracy!

And having that choice makes life just better here….


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