There are numerous metaphors one can use to use in an attempt to portray cautionary advice upon our elected officials here in Wilton Manors. “For they who lay down with dogs, shall rise with fleas,” is one that comes to mind. The message here is that one should be cautious of the company one keeps.
I did not sit down to write this article seeking to judge, or throw stones concerning the recent salacious headlines this past week in SFGN. The “glasshouse” I call home is certainly no temple of moral authority. However, when you choose to serve as an elected official and position yourself as a leader of the community, you better be ready to handle the wrath of public opinion and scrutiny.
The reality is appearances do matter, as I pointed out back in 2018 in a Wilton Manors Gazette piece, when certain individuals appeared to be too close for comfort in the public arena of local politics:
“….MayorResnick made such a big deal about a local business owner making a $5,000 donation to our city’s Leisure Services Department. Yes, that’s a good amount of money, and such a donor should be recognized and thanked by the community. However, the Mayor went out of his way on this one. What makes this whole scene a bit unusual is that this owner operates Johnson’s, the questionable nightclub right on Wilton Drive. He is also a very large donor to Mayor Resnick’s campaign for City Commissioner and has hosted a campaign event at his home. So, if you operate a questionable business in our community, have outstanding code violations, and want to send a message to city staff about how well you are connected to the elected officials, what better way to do it than appear in front of everyone at a City Commission meeting with a large check in hand. None of this might be the case, but appearances do matter, and this one is just a bit too much, even for Gary Resnick. “
The recent allegations by Johnsons' nightclub owner against Commissioner Resnick might appear credible to many in our community. The tale that Matt Colunga weaves could very well have happened; could be exaggerated; could be imaginary; or could be a tad of vengeance from a soured relationship between a business owner and a city official. However, looking at the timeline and recent events, I find much to question.
In a post-MeToo world, we are all more aware and educated when it comes to accounts of sexual misconduct by those in a position of power and privilege. If Commissioner Resnick used his position in our community to take advantage of anyone, such behavior is unjustifiable and inexcusable on any level.
However, Matt Colunga seems more like someone who would have slammed Gary against the wall with just one hand, walked out of the bedroom and moved his business down the road to Fort Lauderdale’s NE 4th Avenue if he truly felt what he is currently stating to the news and in a police report.
Instead, he hosted a fundraiser for Gary’s election, gave Gary a cameo appearance in his movie, and donated money to Gary’s campaign. Mutual benefaction or victimization, fellow Islanders, I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
Now on to Julie Carson’s part in all this. Matt stated that he’s coming forward now with his allegations because of the way Gary has been treating Julie in recent commission meetings. He feels a need to be Julie’s knight in shining armor, riding to her defense against the big bad Gary Resnick. Looking from a different angle one might view such chivalry as cozying up to the possible new Mayor of Wilton Manors. My preference is for our Mayor to stand on their own two feet.
Additionally, while local businesses and non-profits were barred from holding events due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Julie posted pictures with Matt and the boys from Johnsons holding a car wash fundraiser, which was not permitted by the city she represents. That might be something to consider before posting on Facebook.
Looking at other news here in our Island City, recent Black Lives Matter protests took place in our city this past Saturday and Sunday. These peaceful demonstrations highlighted the work that still needs to be done in many communities throughout South Florida as we strive to be better human beings. COVID-19 numbers are still climbing in the region and should still be a major concern for everyone.
Even though Pride month celebrations are not taking place due to therestrictions, we have much to be proud of especially with our recent Supreme Court victory!
Candidates for local municipal elections are now final, with qualifying dates closed this past week. Three candidates for Mayor and six candidates for the two City Commission seats.
As we move ahead, hold on to your hats fellow Islanders, ‘cause the next few months leading up to our municipal elections are shaping up to be one hell of a show. Such is what makes life just better here.
LETTER: I Believe Matt Colunga. Gary Resnick is Innocent Until Proven...Next >