At first glance it appears that Bob Welsh may have a split personality. One of his personas is as the city’s long-time rabble-rouser, peddling and pedaling his homemade screeds to select locations in South Miami. Some, but not all citizens of our city have experienced retrieving those modern-day mini- broadsheets from under the front door mat. And some of us have recognized that the opinions expressed within were often factually-challenged and outright annoying. But it was his right as a citizen to regale us with his observations and it was our right to toss his words into the recycle bin.
The other, newer persona is that of politician. Why so many of my fellow citizens voted for Bob Welsh is unfathomable to me. Was it simply a case of name recognition in a slate that included a man who served time for his misdeeds in office and a relative unknown? Did people truly believe that a man who had been fighting city hall for decades would now suddenly want to be a part of it? After all, here is a man who has demonstrated time and again his total lack of respect for the body politic.
Bob Welsh plays two roles, one as the Iconoclast and one as the Commissioner. It appears that Bob the Iconoclast is at war with Bob the Commissioner. And the Iconoclast is winning every skirmish and every battle, from his decision to continue circulating his opinions from house to house, to his utter lack of regard for the city manager’s administration, to his inability to understand that he is serving the electorate of this city, not his ego. What Mr. Welsh does may not be illegal or even legally unethical, but it strikes me as wholly inappropriate given that he has been entrusted with public office.
So I can surmise only that Bob the Elected Official will be a short-lived part. For how can a person who disdains the governmental labyrinth–following procedures and rules, respecting protocol and the rights of the electorate, working to accomplish a compromise and not always getting one’s way–find true happiness in service to that government? For the self-avowed, Bob the Town Crier, the answer is obvious.
Donna Shelley is a freelance writer living and working in South Miami. She and her husband Ronald Shelley run the DMS Studio, Inc., writing services and art studio. The opinions expressed are her own.