Recently, South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard wrote a letter to the Miami Herald/ Soapbox in which he falsely accused citizens of creating costly lawsuits.
As evidenced by Judge Jose M. Rodriguez’ March 10, 2015 decision in the “Police Chief Martinez de Castro” lawsuit, the truth is that South Miami’s elected officials and administrators are the ones who violated federal, state and local laws, the Florida Constitution, Sunshine laws as well as South Miami’s charter. Though the final calculation is not known yet, the case will cost South Miami taxpayers large sums of money — all, it seems, because Mr. Stoddard wants to be the strong mayor. Three more lawsuits caused by commission members are pending.
One week later, Mayor Stoddard was again flaunting the laws while antagonizing and insulting citizens in the process and bullying Commissioner Walter Harris out of his right to select a board member. Stoddard made a spectacle of himself at the March 17 Commission meeting by attempting to bypass laws regarding board appointments while attacking Ms. Antoinette Fischer.
Unsubstantiated remarks against Fischer were made by Commissioner Josh Liebman and Mayor Stoddard. Ms. Fischer was on the Planning Board for two years and has an unblemished, exemplary record with no complaints. Mayor Stoddard cited the “Clergy” of South Miami as the party who does not want her on the board. No documentation of wrongdoing by Fischer was presented. None of the clergy were present at this meeting.
Since when and why does an unknown panel of pastors decide who gets on a board in our community? No one even knows if these clergy live in the City. How can these men and women of the cloth leap from caring for souls to making decisions regarding board members in South Miami? Where is our American Democracy and its Constitution in these actions?
Readers and residents, please care about what goes on in our community and be involved. Commission members get dazzled by power and special interest and forgot why they were elected. Your voice can help remind them of that.
Yvonne Beckman, South Miami
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