I would like to say thank you to the many people who were so helpful and supportive in my recent campaign for City Commission here in Cedar Key, prominently my campaign workers and those who voted for me, but also a thank you to all of the folks who just voted. And yes, I lost by 117 votes, but let that not be interpreted as some landslide victory for the loyal opposition. Had only 59 of those 117 voters cast their ballot for me instead of the incumbant, the final tally would have been VanLandingham 141, Dennison 140. Also, it is important to understand that we have 588 registered voters in the City, and that 59 swing votes represents only 10% of the electorate. We should not allow 59 votes or 10% of the voters to unilaterally decide on the future of our city. Finally on numbers, Mister Dennison did garner 71% of those votes cast, but since only about 50% of the voters showed up, he won only about 35% of the possible votes. Again, be clear on how much weight we should place on the detailed numbers here, when half of the voters stayed home.
But on to the future because that is where we need to focus our attention now. Mr. Dennison and I absolutely agree on one important point: people need to become more involved in the governance of their city if the true will of the people is to be observed.
The 5 City Commissioners are not mind readers, they need voter input and suggestions, but the question is how to do that. I can tell you from running many hundreds of meetings during my career, the answer is not to simply have the Commission chastize the audience for not showing up.
Many of the current City Commission meetings are announced on short notice, with agenda titles so general as to not give a hint about what the true intent of the item is, with virtually no explanatory details provided to the audience, and mind-numbing insider talk that goes on for hours. An average citizen will show up for one or two of these things, and go away forever because it is obvious that their input is not really welcome. The Commission needs to take this issue in hand by providing the initiative to improve the participation level and the understanding level of the citizenry, not the other way around.
It is called leadership. That`s why we elect you. And if the initiative is pursued vigorously enough and is successful, you will not have a MAJOR road project approved like that at the January 17, 2012, meeting, with only 3 or 4 people in the general audience. Thanks for listening, and oh by the way, I was discussing different points of view on issues, not dividing sectors. That`s was this campaign was all about, and that`s the View from VanLandingham.