Apopka Florida residents learned another lesson this week from our intrepid mayor. If you hold your breath, stomp your feet and hold a grudge long enough, some dreams do come true. In a war of words a few months ago between Apopka’s Mayor and the President of Lake Apopka Natural Gas District, letters going back and forth between the two became an issue just before our City’s elections cycle in February, with the Mayor rather rudely starting one letter with “what is the continuing purpose” of LANGD? It seems that several Apopka nursery growers and businesses were expressing dissatisfaction with the rates they were seeing from LANGD, even though rates had been addressed two years earlier and a 5 year agreement had been reached. At that time, I wondered aloud what exactly was the real issue was here. Was it Mayor K’s desire to sell Apopka’s share (2/5) of LANGD to possibly private interests. He actually stated in another letter written to LANGD how Apopka could benefit (about $10 million of quick money), to bring community pools, splash parks, gathering spaces and skate parks to our Great City (coincidentally, all items mentioned in Apopka’s Wish list Visioning Process). The money’s gotta come from somewhere.
Mayor K has also made no secret of his hurt feelings about not being appointed to the Board by Mayor Land, after he was elected Commissioner in 2012. And he has not stopped trying to get on the LANGD Board ever since, finally seizing the opportunity after the City’s April election. Commissioner Arrowsmith, who previously sat on the LANGD Board, recently lost re-election so the Mayor finally saw the opportunity he was looking for, to appoint himself. But why replace the experience of Commissioner Dean with the close ally of the mayor, Commissioner Velazquez? O wait, I just answered my own question. Commissioner Dean, rightly upset by this very abrupt turn of events and during a rather rancorous Commission meeting this past Wednesday, stated his objections. But hell hath no fury like a mayor insulted.
Mayor K smugly and arrogantly stated his opinion and even got into with a citizen who spoke up about the secrecy surrounding the appointments, even telling this resident, “put your name on the ballot, get elected and then you can be on the Natural Gas Board”. I did not see if this was followed up by the Mayor with a “nany nany boo boo”. It that really the way an elected official should be talking to a citizen he represents?
For a candidate who touted complete transparency as the cornerstone of his campaign when he ran for Mayor two years go, this administration has, for the most part, been shrouded in secrecy, last minute pronouncements, and a lot of rug pulling out from a number of peoples’ feet. And it has been done in a “because I’m the mayor and you’re not” fashion. I don’t know about you, Apopka residents, but I am tired of our City being “led” by an egotistical walking, talking temper tantrum. I am tired of the condescending attitude the Mayor gives any citizen who dares to speak up in disagreement at Commission meetings. I am tired of the secrecy of this transparent administration. I would respectfully ask the Mayor to stop tripping over his ego and start leading this City.