Does Les Miller think the rest of the BOCC is that stupid?
By Chris Ingram
Just when you thought the antics of former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White were in the commission’s past, the commission has begun to digress back to its dysfunctional ways.
Ironically, the commission’s new antics are being lead by the man who disposed of its former biggest clown, Mr. White – who was recently convicted of seven counts related to public corruption. (Editor’s note: Please don’t send compassion packets with things like soap on a rope to inmate Kevin White c/o Federal Bureau of Prisons until after his sentencing in January).
White’s replacement of course is none other than Commissioner Les “double-dippin’” Miller. It seems when Mr. Miller isn’t busy doing whatever it is he is being paid $96,000 a year to do as “student ombudsman and public liaison at USF” he does stuff related to being a county commissioner – for which he is paid $92,000 a year.
That “stuff” has amounted to a very strategic plan of Mr. Miller’s to totally change the way commissioners are elected as well as how the commission annually selects its chairman. Both are what political operatives would call a “power play by the minority to regain the majority.”
Here are Les Miller’s $188,000 plans:
First, he has proposed to change the number of “at-large” county commission districts from 3 to 2. Doing so would mean the 7 member commission would have 5 single-member districts elected by only the voters in their districts, and just two commissioners elected by the entire county.
Miller claims doing this is necessary because there isn’t enough minority representation (particularly Hispanic) on the board.
As the lone black member of the board, Miller’s vote – like those of his fellow commissioners on the BOCC – is 1/7th or fourteen percent of the total. I suppose that you could argue that means black people are underrepresented by 3 percent because Hillsborough County’s black population is 17 percent. Of course this simplistic argument is flawed because: 1) not all blacks live in Miller’s district, therefore he does not in fact represent them; 2) not all blacks necessarily want the type of big government liberal representation people like Les Miller provide; and, 3) your elected official need not have the same skin color as you to adequately and fairly represent you.
Miller disagrees. He believes only blacks can represent blacks and only Hispanics can represent Hispanics. Never mind the fact that “Hispanic” is not even a race – you can be black or white, from Cuba, Brazil, or Spain (or anything in between) and be considered Hispanic. No, that doesn’t matter to Les – he’s just betting you’re a Democrat and that will help him advance his big-government agenda.
Miller makes the argument that his good intentions are motivated by his concern that the Hispanic population is not represented on the commission. He is right, there are in fact no obvious Hispanics on the board, but I did once see Commissioner Sandy Murman eating at Taco Bell and that ought to count for something.
Of course I’m being ridiculous here, Sandy Murman wouldn’t be caught dead at a Taco Bell; but my point is the same. You don’t have to “speak the language” or eat the same food to adequately and fairly represent the people.
And you certainly don’t need some career politician, double-dipping, never had a real job partisan hack like Les Miller crafting special districts to ensure an electoral outcome. Voters in our area, when they have been given a choice have elected plenty of Hispanics. Representative Janet Cruz is one. So is City Council member Mike Suarez (who for full disclosure I made a campaign contribution to last year). And on the county commission, former commissioner Rose Ferlita represented District 1 until last year. That district is now represented by Sandy Murman.
Murman, who is as lily white as the driven snow won her election not because of her race or because she appealed to Hispanics by once eating a taco. No, she won because the Democrats nominated an incompetent old white guy who couldn’t beat his way out of a wet paper sack — compared to him, Sandy looked like a real winner.
If Les Miller and the other Democrat do-gooders who want to carve a special district were really concerned about Hispanic representation, they’d go out and find some Hispanic candidates. As it occurred last year, no Hispanic was elected to the BOCC because no Hispanics ran! Les, if you want a Hispanic on the commission, get one to run for it.
Just quit demagoguing the issue Mr. Miller. This is a partisan attempt by Democrats to try to regain control of the board, plain and simple.
The problem with people like Les Miller is, he and his ilk (the leaders of his party), are lazy. It’s much easier for them to sculpt a special district than it is to go find a Hispanic candidate with good ideas and run a successful campaign.
I certainly hope the Republicans serving on the commission who profess support for less government interference, reduced regulation, and the free market don’t cower to Mr. Miller’s desires out of fear of being labeled racially insensitive. Remember, Hispanic is not a race, and we don’t need government orchestrating electoral outcomes. So please commissioners, practice what you preach and tell Mr. Miller with his government knows-best agenda to leave his liberal fantasies at USF.
But wait! There’s more.
Mr. Miller also has another power-altering proposal in the works.
This one, (which may be a red-herring for the minority district proposal, or perhaps it’s the other way around), would modify the current dysfunctional system of how the commission annually elects its chairman to one that would amount to nothing more than a game of Russian Roulette.
Miller’s plan would change the commission rules so that instead of the seven commissioners electing a chair each year by a majority vote, the chairmanship would rotate every year in numerical order from 1 to 7. So over the course of two terms, every commissioner would be guaranteed to serve as chairman at least one year.
This sounds great on paper, but it’s just another Democrat power-play that deserves about as much respect as the student ombudsman and public liaison at USF deserves. Zero.
And if that isn’t enough of a good argument to tell Les Miller to go stick it where the sun don’t shine, consider this: had Les’ hare-brained idea been in effect over the course of the last few years, there would have been a four-in-seven chance that Kevin White would have been commission chairman while he was sexually harassing county employees and taking bribes.
Personally, I prefer dysfunction to just plain stupid. I guess that’s what makes me a Republican and not a Democrat.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following the terms and conditions of posting found here. You may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.