A blog dealing with Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Losing 4-1

Today's Sarasota Herald Tribune  (March 25, 2008)  took some editorial space  (see accompanying scan on the left) to comment on Commissioner Mercier's forceful opposition to the USB consensus alternative his fellow commissioners embraced. 

To be fair, Mercier is not alone in questioning the process that brought the community to this point -- at least one citizen and one Pelican Press editorial writer agree with him, apparently mostly on procedural grounds.

Opinion seems to be divided regarding his motive: was this a shrewd play to align himself with voters who may already feel disenfranchised, or a principled stand based on deep convictions? 

I try to avoid cynicism and conspiracy theories and I'm prone to taking people at their word until they convince me that's unwise. Hence, I'm inclined to believe Paul's position is heartfelt, sincere, and based on deep convictions. He could no doubt see how the vote was going down and had the opportunity to go along to get along, but he made a conspicuous choice that further distanced himself from both the rest of the commission and a broad spectrum of the community. 

There's no shame in a principled stand. While I agree with the editorial's conclusion that his comments were unreasonably dismissive, it's important to note that being on the losing end of a 4-1 vote doesn't mean the minority position is wrong, it just means the losing party was unable to mount a convincing argument. 

This matter is not fully settled and reflection may yet lend credence to some of Paul's concerns. All we know today is that one commissioner, for whatever the reason, went out of his way to thwart a unanimous endorsement of a unique settlement distinguished not as some would argue by who was excluded, but rather by the breadth of those that were included. 

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