Most of us grew up with definite do’s and don’ts. Don’t wear white after Labor Day, no eating oysters in months that don’t contain an "R" in the spelling, no swimming for 30 minutes after eating, brown shoes should always have a brown belt and, of course, your socks should match your shoes.
One unwritten rule here in local politics is that candidates not on the primary ballot in late August but on the November ballot, should wait until after Labor Day to start posting campaign signs.
In the meantime, focus instead on packing up your white summer garments for next season and ordering your first dozen oysters since last April. Candidates on the November ballot do not need to add to election sign clutter of those on the primary ballot. It’s just too confusing for us lay folk to figure out who is on the ballot for which election. If you are on the November ballot, just wait a few weeks to clutter our roadways, our intersections, and anywhere else you can place a campaign sign until we get past the August primary election and the Labor Day holiday which heralds the end of summer and the beginning of the fall campaign season.
Furthermore, this is not just about unwritten social norms that dictate proper behavior and decorum, it’s more importantly part of our city’s Code of Ordinances. One would think our elected officials should know and understand that code. So, how is it then that campaign signs for Wilton Manors elections are starting to crop up around town this past week, well before the legal date of August 9, before the August primary election, before Labor Day weekend, demonstrating a total lack of proper etiquette, not to mention compliance with our city code?
So, while our elected officials question and vote on matters pertaining to residents and businesses following our Code of Ordinances, they somehow think those same codes and regulations do not apply to them.
Perhaps we should just not make such a fuss and wait to hear some lame excuse like those given by other leaders in our community. When one such leader was caught not following city code, Florida statutes, regulations governing playgrounds and illegal business activity, the response the community received was, “Oh, I wasn’t aware of such a law. Once I was made aware of it, I took the appropriate action.”
Oh, I have been your elected official here in Wilton Manors, but wasn’t aware of our city’s code that regulates campaign signs. Not a very comforting campaign slogan.
There was another saying I heard growing up: “Actions speak louder than words.” We should pay close attention to the actions taken by those running for office here in Wilton Manors. Look back over the years and judge them on their actions, not just their words spoken a few months before Election Day.
Rumors around town suggest that the Russians are meddling in our elections, probably due to Island City residents needing to point a finger somewhere since most have a hard time believing that trusted elected officials might be deceptive, misleading, or capable of disregarding our laws.
I haven’t noticed any suspicious Russian operatives cruising around Hunters this past Friday, or any new business in town such as Vladimir’s Campaign Sign Company, or gangs of authoritarian Slavic bullies strong-arming property owners to post campaign signs on their properties. I usually drive down to the Russian food markets in Hollywood to get a glimpse of such types from the motherland while standing in line to buy caviar and smoked fish. However, perhaps the rumors are true. If you told me any of this before Donald Trump got elected, I would have thoroughly enjoyed commenting on such foolishness as a sign of insanity.
Unfortunately, people can be deceptive. Some look to bend the rules, and some think they are above the laws that govern the rest of society. Residents of Wilton Manors must be vigilant. Be aware of the actions of those running for elected office and hold those who believe they are above the law accountable on Election Day.
Primary elections are on August 28. We have choices to make for judgeships in Broward County, who will run for governor, for some State Representative races, for Congress, and other elected offices come the November election. What we don’t have on the August 28 ballot are choices for who will serve on the City Commission here in Wilton Manors. Our municipal elections are not until November, so please wait until after the Primary and after Labor Day to position your campaign signs around our Island City. While you are doing this, please remember our city code, governing regulations and to lead by example on how best to make life just better here.