She was warned. "Nevertheless, she persisted" and
now we have to wonder who called the ‘Code Red’ on Council Woman Marsha Matson? Dr. Matson believes that we, the people, can handle the truth and wants affected residents to be included in the process, rather than merely voicing ok or objections after the proposed Interlocal agreement is a 'done deal'.
Dr. Matson should have seen it coming. After all, she
revealed that the Manager advised her that her fellow council members were
angry with her (CLICK HERE
to read her e-mail or CLICK HERE
to read the transcript
of her appearance with Michael Miller of the Community Newspapers ). Was it speculation or fear? Regardless that
anger played out in the late hours of the October village council meeting when
she was at the receiving end of what appeared to many to be a “Code Red
” – a
beat down for daring to break an unwritten chain of
command in requesting a legitimate and interactive town hall meeting. (There is no such chain of command, by the way. Members of the Village Council always had access to the public through scheduled Town Hall meetings - that it until now, or so it seems)
What’s a Code Red? When many people hear the term "code
red," they immediately think of the popular movie A Few Good Men.
As portrayed in that movie, a "Code Red" refers to
a form of extrajudicial punishment — a type of punishment that’s carried out
without a court’s oversight or any form of legal approval. The code red was a
major plot point of the 1992 film A Few Good Men, where a character dies after
receiving a code red. In the movie, the motive for the “Code Red” was
retaliation for the young Marine violating an order of silence of the
commanding officer. Hmmm, that sounds familiar as some suspect that motive for the October council meeting beat down was anger by 3 of the 4 other council members over Dr. Matson violating an
unwritten rule of silence as to the bridge negotiation. How you might ask? By
daring to ask for a public noticed, publicly held meeting where the veil of
silence would be lifted on the 87 avenue bridge fiasco and, (horrors!) the affected residents would
actually have input on what happens to street within Palmetto Bay before it is voted on. Dr. Matson's plans were not for mere comments, but an actual live forum with give and take interaction. You know, how town hall meetings were held
prior to this current mayor and council.
But Noooooooo. The decorum really went out the window that
night as council members took their turns voicing their displeasure at Dr.
Matson. This should not have occurred. Read the decorum rules.
The decorum rules are simple. Really, a dignified council
should be able to adhere to Village Code 2-45 concerning Decorum:
speakers must address their remarks to the mayor, speak in a dignified and
courteous manner, and avoid admonishing
individual members of the public, council and representatives of the village.
(bold emphasis added)
Fellow residents reached out to me who were embarrassed by how
Council Woman Matson was treated. One specifically asked me "What do you
think about Marsha’s treatment at the council meeting Monday night? Council comments especially”
What do I think? In my opinion, it was shameful, unbecoming and textbook examples of blatant violations of the decorum ordinance. As Mayor, I championed both the original decorum
ordinance as well as an update that was attached to each and every agenda.
Currently published with each agenda is the following statement that all members of the village council agree to abide to:
THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY, HEREBY COMMIT OURSELVES TO
MAINTAINING CIVILITY IN OUR PUBLIC AND POLITICAL DISCOURSE AND PLEDGE TO THE
We will respect the right of all citizens in our community to hold different
We will avoid rhetoric intended to
humiliate or question the wisdom of those whose opinions are different from
We will strive to understand differing
• We will choose our words carefully;
We will speak truthfully without accusation
and we will avoid distortion;
We will speak out against violence, prejudice, and incivility in all of their
forms, whenever and wherever they occur.
(bold emphasis added)
These words have become meaningless under the current mayor
and village council who engage in what can only be termed as shameful behavior
directly and through proxies. Examples exceed the apparent code red beat down
of their own, Dr. Matson, at the regular council meeting. Examples include
juvenile attempts to give cute little code or nicknames to those who disagree
with them, even publishing a strangely irrelevant video actually played as part
of an official council meeting. This
really is one of those ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ moments. Members of this
council, under this current mayor, often act as wannabe elementary school yard
bullies. This is all yet another in a long series of events where they say one
thing that sounds great, but act otherwise in defiance – an ultimate act of
Private meetings held, not open to the average resident. Interesting note: Another thing I learned from watching the video is that the current mayor has been talking to a select few (one family was identified), who also were her main campaign supporters. This begs the question, why not include everyone? This is one goal achieved through Dr. Matson's request for a town hall, everyone has an equal chance to be heard rather than those village insiders who have special relationships and special access to the mayor. Can we have a list of those meetings as well as the substance of what was discussed or agreed to? I'm betting that this disclosure wont happen)
Though I have a long history of disagreements with Dr.
Matson; I do also share items of agreement with her. Keep persisting Dr.
Matson. It will take a change in mayor and at least 2 members of this village
council, but the fight to restore transparency will eventually succeed.
My personal message to Dr. Marsha Matson, Council Member, District 3: Transparency and good governance in Palmetto Bay is a worthy
fight. Don’t fear their angry words, proxy email attacks, or their juvenile
attack videos or characters.
I also want to thank Patrick Fiore, Council Member, District One, who was the lone ally for transparency, who stood with Dr. Matson that night. He too believes that this is an issue of great public importance where residents should be a part of, not excluded from the substantive discussions of this process.