What does “consensus” mean in the world of local politics?

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

As November 3rd approaches, we need to define the term “consensus.” In the presidential election it is a concept that is, by design, unachievable. We have a two-party system, not a strongman dictatorship. But achieving a consensus agreeing on a winner, well, that may be up in the air, at least on election night. Remember, in two recent presidential elections, the electorate and electoral college could not come to a consensus on the winner.

Fortunately, we do not have that problem on our local level. The four municipal elections – Vero Beach, Sebastian, Fellsmere and Orchid – will be determined by the number of votes cast for each candidate (unless there is a tie). No electoral college here. Even in the case of a tie, voters will have the final say.

To declare a “consensus” victory before an election would definitely be premature in our society and system of government. The term “consensus” is defined by Merriam-Webster as  “general agreement; unanimity; solidarity in sentiment and belief.”

The term “consensus” when applied to the three-person editorial board at TCPalm simply means that these three journalists agreed to endorse a candidate. Three votes does not a victory make, nor should it be claimed as a victory be any candidate so named.

I have nothing against the process of editorial boards endorsing specific candidates. Inside Vero has done it in the past both successfully and unsuccessfully; so has the Press Journal and TCPalm. I have nothing against any candidate they endorse either.

What I have a problem with is the implication in the minds of some that this “consensus” has extraordinary meaning, like some kind of Papal blessing, to a candidate. There are five candidates in the Vero Beach City Council race running for three seats. My initial reaction is that I agree Robbie Brackett probably deserves a second term because he has completed his first term successfully, which I define here as, “a decent, intelligent person with a stake in the community who did not make decisions that are appalling to citizens and voters like some of his predecessors.”

Of the remaining candidates, voters will look at their accomplishments in our community, their records on issues of importance to voters in our community, and their commitments to the best future for our community. Vero Beach has been blessed with visionaries on City Council who have fought to preserve the idea of Vero Beach – our way of life, small town nature, concern for the environment and each other. We have also endured City Council members who see this community as nothing more than an opportunity for commercial exploitation. Inside Vero will evaluate candidates based on those criteria over the next few weeks.

But in the final analysis, voters will make their choices and on November 3rd, by 9:00 p.m., we will know the only “consensus” that matters – the will of the voters.

6 comments

  1. Hi Milt.

    Just to prove lawyers can alway make a bad situation worse, Robbie Bracket is unqualified to run for office because, as of November 3, he will have failed to serve out his required two-year term.

    In the run up to the FPL vote in December 2018, things got crazy. Many short cuts were taken, and, as you will recall, the election was push back until well after the fateful FPL closing date.

    That’s why we lost our City manager, our City attorney, and our assistant City attorney. No one wanted to wait around to deal with repercussion of the FPL giveaway.

    Thanks. Nick.

  2. “We have also endured City Council members who see this community as nothing more than an opportunity for commercial exploitation”

    Milt, My memory is terrible – please remind me which Councilpersons were guilty of that.

  3. Gentleman.

    Allow me: Turner, Carroll, Sykes, Howell, Zudan.

    I call them the Tea Party folks.

    Nice folks, all of them. But they were working a bankrupt philosophy.

    And it worked out well for them.

    We’re bankrupt.

    Thanks. Nick.

  4. Milt, I’m dead serious! I have NO idea who you mean! And Nick, I don’t believe the City is “bankrupt”. Please explain how we fit the legal (or any other} description of bankruptcy. It’s easy to throw these words out, but harder to explain them.

  5. Hi Mark.

    You are correct. We are not formally bankrupt because we have the ability to raise to property tax, which we need to get on.

    I’m already calling it the Val Tax. Join me if you wish.

    Thanks. Nick.

Comment - Please use your first and last name. Comments of up to 350 words are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s