Palmetto Bay Council: What happened to civility?

Shelley Stanczyk

Mark the day, Monday, May 21, 2012, the day in Palmetto Bay Council history when Mayor Shelley Stanczyk called the police to remove a concerned resident from a council meeting.

The village’s founding mayor, Eugene Flinn, was able to complete his full eight years without once needing to ask any speaker to leave, let alone directing uniformed police removal. Stanczyk did not make it through a year and a half.

J. B. Harris was the first casualty.

What has happened to civility and respect for opposing viewpoints in Palmetto Bay? Is this current council so convinced that its members’ opinions are the only valid opinions, that mocking opposing viewpoints is the norm? Or is stress leading to an unraveling of those serving on the council?

During a discussion of the proposed moratorium, a speaker was passionately discussing the dreaded “P” word — Palmer. Mr. Harris opposed the moratorium. This led to a nasty exchange between Mr. Harris and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser, who apparently was offended by comments from the citizens that were not in keeping with the party line and started remarks regarding Mr. Harris as he sat down.

Mr. Harris made the mistake of responding from his seat. Many missed this event on streaming video, which, unfortunately, was down for the meeting. Too bad, everyone should view the meeting.

Those few Comcast subscribers who were able to watch the meeting were probably confused. Was this a council meeting, or a rebroadcast of the movie Braveheart? Was that Mel Gibson, or was Vice Mayor Pariser’s face actually blue? Next, it seemed as if Vice Mayor Pariser might state with indignation to Mr. Harris, as Braveheart character King Edward Longshanks said to an unworthy: “Who is this person that speaks to me as though I needed his advice?”

Some say that it was Mr. Pariser who should have been removed by the police for being out of order. A public hearing is the time for the public to speak — and without heckling or immediate rebuttal. Or allow the speaker to respond without threat of ejection by police.

Council members must wait until council deliberation and then comment professionally and respectfully, without getting personal, even to speakers they don’t like. The council members apparently cannot wait their turn to confront speakers who dare question their authority. What speaker would not get upset and want to respond, when being admonished for their comments as they sit down? Following the procedures would have avoided the conflict. Mayor Stanczyk validated Mr. Pariser’s illadvised behavior by bringing in the police.

Mr. Harris’ real mistake was not accepting the authority of the crown. Fortunately for all involved, Councilmember Patrick Fiore was able to calm the situation, stepping down from the chamber dais to intercede in the matter. Through use of common sense and conversation, he disarmed the situation and with that Mr. Harris peacefully departed.

Kudos to Mr. Fiore, who understands that passion of the speakers should be met with compassion, not force. The council chambers belong to the people, and all opinions should be respected, not heckled as unpopular speakers seem to be by the families of the council members or their cronies in the back of the chambers.

You don’t see Nancy Pelosi’s or Michele Bachmann’s husbands interjecting themselves into the fray.

Who is running these meetings, Mayor Stanczyk or a mob mentality? The council members should remember that democracy is filled with unpopular opinions. It is the job of government, large or small, to respect all opinions. The council meetings will continue to be viewed more like a circus than dignified government until order and respect to all speakers returns.

Is this the vision you had for Palmetto Bay when it incorporated? Demand better from your Palmetto Bay government.

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  1. I have been watching this government since inception and I think we have now officially seen Palmetto Bay hit rock bottom. It is time for new leadership as I am so dissapointed in the vice mayor. People expect a lawyer to have a clear understanding of free speech. It is beyond belief that speakers are being robbed of their opportunity to address government withour cat calls from the back of the room and open hostility and debate from the council members. Shame on the mayor and vice mayor.

  2. Vote out Brian Pariser. Recall Shelley Stanczyk! Return respect and honor to Palmetto Bay government.

  3. I doubt that Palmetto Bay has hit rock bottom. I have confidence that this sad group of elected scoundrels will set new standards of garbage in government. I was there at the meeting. It sickens me to see the husbands of the mayor and councilwoman heckle and verbally assault people from the back of the room. Why aren’t they thrown out? The answer is obvious. The next step is for either or both of them to try to beat someone up. The police need to stop their antics. This is not the government I voted for. It should not be physically dangerous to go to a meeting and express a contrary opinion.

  4. Once again, thank you Grant Miller for being the public watchdog and attempting to reform bad behavior. Your newspapers always supported incorporation. Did you ever think that Palmetto Bay would ever sink so low? Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser need to learn that the government belongs to the people, not them. We cannot hope, but must actually work hard to elect a different vice mayor in this next election.

    God bless you and the staff of the Community Newspapers.

  5. This is the same type of circus and poor leadership that predominates South Miami. Perhaps dissolving the city and eliminating a ludicrous layer of government is the answer. ….Either that or a recall.

    • It is great to live in palmetto Bay. So much family entertainment. The circus comes to town every month.

  6. The Village Police need to be smarter in regard to how they follow instructions from Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser. Those two are in a race to the bottom and they don’t care who they drag down with them. Those on the council do not care for you beyond what you can do to serve their ultimate goals.

    We should never forget crimes committed by people in power and those who enabled them under the guise of “I was just following orders.” Let this be fair warning to all: That is not a valid defense. This current city council is hard at work indoctrinating people on their dogma, creating issues and scapegoats to deflect their own faults as well as to allow them to increase their own power.

    Everyone should ask themselves what their role be in this village

    Remember that should the need arise, many of us hope that a sufficient number remain who have the strength to follow our consciences and not “just follow orders” to fight the evil of our time.

  7. Where is the ACLU? Brian Pariser thinks it is great sport to bait speakers and team up with Shelley Stanczyk to set 'em up and move them out of meetings. This is not good government.

  8. We should call the gruesome twosome by their proper names, Shelley Sleezeczyk and Brain-less Pasty. This is not government. It is a bully circus.

  9. SDM reports that our Transparency *cough, cough, gag* Mayor attended an unadvertised homeowners meeting with her handler, Mayor Joan Lindsay and attorney/Vice Mayor Brian Pariser. The posting is subtitled Three Amigos in the Shade

    Florida law requires that anytime two or more members of a municipal governing body meet to discuss an item that is, or could appear, on a future agenda, the meeting must be noticed and open to the public. Government in the Sunshine Act (apparently it is cloudy in Palmetto Bay).

    A FOSDM alleges that Councilwoman Lindsay and her pet Vice Mayor and Mayor met with a homeowner’s association in Cutler Cove and discussed the moratorium ordinance. The presentation was made by Mrs. Lindsay’s husband. Isn’t this great? Palmetto Bay residents have a government where village business is actually being transacted by spouses. Are they the real brains of the operation or what SDM referred to as the carrier pigeon that the Mayor, Vice Mayor and Councilwoman use to avoid the public records act?

    SDM concluded by adding doubts as to the three amigos need an actual meeting to coordinate their votes – SDM suspects Pariser and Stanczyk received their marching orders via carrier pigeon to avoid the public records act – the fact that they would even consider meeting “out of the sunshine” speaks volumes about their disdain for the laws they swore to uphold.

    It is time for the State Attorney to step in and clear the developing storm clouds over Palmetto Bay.

  10. Great report, Grant…what I had been reporting on for two years finally is being seen by others. Get rid of these before they bankrupt the village. Best wishes from Homestead

  11. Throw out your enemies and buy up your friends. Read South Dade Matters. The Vice Mayor wants to give $50K of Palmetto Bay tax dollars to his own social club.


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