Meet the Glenn Beck of Hallandale Beach, Florida– Keith London

Even in a small city with little to offer elected officials in the way of pay and political power, brutal political tactics can be employed to win the seat of Mayor.

Will the voters be swayed by negative political attacks? Will more reasonable minds prevail?

One small city needs to look beyond the politician engaging in old-style political gamesmanship and focus on the city’s residents who just eat it all up:

The former Vice-Mayor of the city of Hallandale Beach, Florida, where I live, wrote an email to several city residents the other day, and he let us know how he feels. The battle for the mayoral seat in town is expected to get nasty, but politics on a local city commission in Hallandale Beach had already gotten nasty enough for some us, and Bill Julian decided to say something about it.

During the tenure of commissioner and now mayoral candidate, Keith London, our city has experienced the kind of negative political tactics frequently seen in politics across this country- especially from the right. Many city residents have been perplexed by such a vociferous use of political attacks in regards to a local city commission. One might assume that a city commission of five elected residents would only occasionally flare up into a political hotbed, but our city has seen that occur continually since Keith London got on board.

London now wants to be the Mayor of Hallandale Beach and not just a commissioner. His followers believe that he’s trying to make things better in the ways the city spends money and tracks its spending. The rest of us who see the city as a community as much as a revenue and spending machine wonder what our community could get out of making Keith London mayor. We know that he wants to be mayor because Keith London really is…well… the Glenn Beck of Hallandale Beach.

The City of Hallandale Beach sits within the gigantic metropolis that has become South Florida since the late twentieth century. What had years and years ago been sand and waterways and everglades throughout South Florida is now almost entirely paved over into a sizzling, glistening bed of concrete as far as any eyes can see. Traffic, cell phone towers, condominium and office edifices and shopping centers take up most of the space between a few hints of greenery amongst municipal parks and our turquoise blue ocean water that you can enjoy along the South Florida coast after you are finally able to park your car.

Despite the state legislature being dominated by Republican rule to such an extent that Democratic legislators might as well only have benches out in the hallways of the state capitol, there are more Democrats than Republicans registered in the state. The perpetual domination of one political party is the result of the worst political district gerrymandering in the entire country. Most of our registered Democrats reside in Broward County, hiding in crowds from the rest of a mostly right-wing state, at least in as far as consistent voter turnout and answering the land-line phones for the pollsters. Hallandale Beach is a city within Broward County that is pretty much filled to the brim with Democrats. They are piled high into condominium towers along the beach and besides golf courses as well as ensconced in multimillion dollar homes and also a lot of very modest dwellings that are either lived in or foreclosed upon depending upon the graces of the county court system. A very few of the city’s residents are active voters, but far fewer around here are known to ever vote Republican.

Despite that situation, however, the city’s Democratic Club had been recently disbanded by the Chair of the Broward Democratic Party due to some very foggy reasons. That’s only one indication of perpetual political dysfunction and infighting in the state and in South Florida. Don’t ever say just “Hallandale,” by the way. That “Beach” part had been officially tacked onto a lot of city names up and down the coast in recent decades. Hallandale Beach is a few square miles of prime municipal real estate under sometimes spectacularly blue Florida skies and sometimes broiling and humid air covered by grey, moisture-heavy clouds. It’s an environment that brings out the bugs in the air as well as in the personalities of an awful lot of people fighting for space on the roads and in the political dynamics of the city and of the county.

The city commission only pays around twenty-something thousand dollars per year, plus a health plan. Commissioners attend two meetings per month except in July along with a myriad of other workshops and events and the like. Those meetings can go on for hours and hours, and slogging through all of the municipal muck can be very complicated and very, very dull. Despite a low-paying job that just about nobody wants, the political gamesmanship has gotten surprisingly fierce ever since Keith London had been appointed a few years ago as an interim commissioner after illness led to the retirement of an elderly member of the commission. Our current mayor had supported London’s interim appointment, and he and his girlfriend had even been invited to stay at the Mayor’s vacation home. After London ran to be elected to his seat, however, he began conducting community meetings at which he regularly insinuates wrongdoings going on at city hall to his attendees. Both he and his girlfriend stopped speaking to the Mayor and the other commissioners entirely- not even a polite “hello.” Commissioner London also does something very smart that the four other commissioners never did: he sends out emails. Oh gawd- the emails!

Commissioner London writes a “wrap up” of the goings on after each commission meeting, and anyone reading those emails would understandably be under the impression that if you had ever decided to pack your things and haul your furniture, artwork, you kids, your dog, your cat and your other significant others into Hallandale Beach, brother or sister did you make a mistake!! Didn’t you know how just gawd-awful this city is and all of its sleazy, back-stabbing, back-room dealing, nefarious goings on with your tax dollars down at city hall?? You didn’t? Well, Commissioner London will tell you all about it!

Let’s be clear, I voted for the man. I liked him. I had believed him, as had the Mayor. Why wouldn’t I? Why, oh why would anyone go to such exorbitant measures to dredge up every kind of insinuation and allegation and what-have-you-else about a city of four square miles with a few strip malls, a bit of beach, three public schools and about thirty-seven thousand residents huddled inside next to their air conditioners or behind the wheels of their cars honking madly at anyone who dares to walk or ride a bike in the vicinity of any vehicle? Why would anyone go to such efforts to engage in constant political attacks against their cohorts during those otherwise boring commission meetings as well as insinuate and allege anything he can think up in his emails and in his “community” meetings- all over a twenty-something thousand dollar a year job amongst the muck of public service? What’s in it for him? Well, that is a question that is yet unanswered… by anybody.

I questioned one of his emails publicly during a commission meeting a few years ago. I had said that Commissioner London posed a question during the commission meeting that was left hanging in his emailed “wrap-up” of the meeting, but I had watched that same meeting. I had seen that the city manager and the mayor and city staff had taken a lot of time to answer his question, but his email created the impression that no one had answered him. Well, that was it. Like the “Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld, it soon became apparent that Commissioner London had decided, “No emails for you!!” I stopped receiving his commission meeting “wrap-ups,” and I quickly learned that others who had ever questioned his information had been cut out of the messages sent from his official city email address, too.

Unfortunately, Commissioner London has his followers. He regularly and consistently engages in political tactics that have been used and overused over many a generation. I call him “The Glenn Beck of Hallandale Beach” because the tactics used by Glenn Beck and his ilk have been tried and true over generations of American pundits, politicians and just plain fear mongers. London had even told me himself that he had only registered as a Democrat in order to run for the commission, even though it’s a non-partisan seat. He had told me that he otherwise considered himself a “libertarian,” and later on that same day he had whispered into my ear some truly insulting names he had made up for his fellow commissioners during a city budget meeting. But that was years ago. It wasn’t too long after that I realized that insulting and belittling your political cohorts was no way to get anything at all done in town, and that grandstanding against anything and everything, including an entire Code of Ethics recently implemented for and by the commissioners was no way to even attempt to persuade your cohorts to agree with your position and vote along with you. Instead, Commissioner London’s continual, lone “no” votes on just about anything and everything have grown extremely tiresome. If anyone were to call out “wolf!!” during a commission meeting, I doubt that the Mayor would even think to reach for her gavel.

And “her” is the operative word when it comes to our Mayor. Boy, oh boy Commissioner London just cannot staaaaand her. It should be quite obvious to anyone who regularly witnesses the city commission meetings that it’s the “her” about her that he truly cannot stand. Much like Ralph Kramden complaining about his wife’s latest tiresome words of wisdom, Keith London cannot tolerate the Mayor’s role as Chair. She speaks too much, he declares! She’s always gets to talk, he complains! He rocks in his seat like he’s just biding his time on the porch of the Bates Motel, and he often gets up and leaves the dais while his fellow commissioners or city staff are speaking into the microphones. They’re ignored by Commissioner London as he leans over to whisper into the ear of one of his acolytes sitting in the audience of the commission chambers. He’s creepy. He’s menacing. He’s tall and good-looking and he knows it. His thick, shiny long hair and his square jaw and slim, fit build have quite obviously not served him well psychologically. His arrogance is stunning. It is really something to behold. He wears his long ponytail tied back and dripping behind his starched collars and his sharp suits and ties. He smirks. He’s usually smirking. He may be always smirking. He questions and questions and questions and questions until even the cop on duty for the commission meetings likely wants to yell out, “Whadya getting at anyway??? What’s yer point???”

So, for a while there, years back, I had assumed as anybody would that he had a point there- somewhere. I had assumed that there were questionable dealings going on at city hall, and that matters needed a good looking at and the processes needed to be vetted. But that is where I have differed from those unfortunate residents who read Commissioner London’s emails and attend his “community” meetings (which he even advertises on bus stops- ponytail and all) and remain perpetually grateful for his rants on the city commission dais. I differed in that I simply replied to his allegations and insinuations and downright insults whispered behind the backs of city staff and elected officials. I replied, basically, “Well, if there’s a question about something, why don’t we just ask?” So… I did.

I attended commission meetings. I watched them on TV as they’re aired on a local station provided through the generosity of Comcast (uh… that was a joke). I stood up for three minutes of an always humiliating “public participation” to voice my comments and honestly display my confusion before the commission. I conversed with my other elected representatives on the commission and got just a bit chummy with a few members of the city’s staff. I learned about government. I asked for and got appointments to resident advisory committees and studied the city charter. I learned that even the most learned members of any community can eventually reveal themselves to be little more than political hacks. I learned that even if I engaged in the most sincere attempts to volunteer in the community- even if I brought along my own halo and threw it up into the air and ran beneath it and smiled and tried to serve a role in neighborhood affairs- such efforts can result in a quick realization that I had stepped into the horrors of little more than a political snake pit. People are weird. Politicians are strange. Some of your neighbors and your fellow residents in the community can exhibit hostilities and personal agendas that one cannot anticipate. And politicians… well, they are not like you and me. Well, I don’t know who the hell is reading this. Perhaps those politicians are like you.

But what I basically realized is that we in Hallandale Beach just like most of the surrounding communities in Broward County and up and down much of the state are operating under citizen government. A few of us either selfless sorts or far more conniving sorts step up to serve by slogging through all of that municipal muck and trying to oversee the professional managers hired to act effectively as CEO’s of our towns and cities, and elected residents are supposed to just take the professional advice provided to them by staff and vet policy recommendations and do the best they can. And mistakes are made. Let me tell you, some mistakes in the continual narrative of Broward County politics are the stuff of novels except- get this- they’re real. Even the best story tellers can’t make some of this shit up- and we’re not talking about a few big scandals that pop up every few years. We are literally talking about every week. Every single week. Day after day. It never ends. Recent research was reported in the media demonstrating that Florida and South Florida lead the way in corruption across this great nation.

What I also learned, however, is that despite some mistakes being made, reforms and learning curves are also part of the political and municipal management narrative, and our elected citizens do often learn from past mistakes. Well, I’m actually not too sure about a few other cities in Broward and in Miami-Dade County. We’ve got an awful lot of local governmental bodies that exist in South Florida and throughout the state- much more so that in a lot of other states. We’ve got “home rule” laws and individual councils and commissions (same things calling themselves different names) and different sets of politicians and lobbyists and other political players every very few miles around here. It’s unlike major metropolises with one government for tens of millions of people in a lot of suburbs with separate names, like in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York and in a lot of other big cities. Here in Florida, you’ve got elected representatives crawling all over your front lawn, should you put anything interesting to them out there during the wee hours. They’re all over the place in separate cities and their individual governments every few blocks, it seems.

But anyway, with my modicum of involvement in city affairs, I’ve learned that what our Hallandale Beach commissioner Keith London is stirring up, spewing forth and dishing out is an absolutely determined fixation on what could otherwise be perceived as the customary mistakes and oversights of any citizen government, even when it’s the so-called professionals that may have led the elected body astray for a while. But whatever mistakes have been made here in recent years are nothing…. NOTHING compared to what has occurred in nearby communities. Did you hear the one about the brand new city manager that left the gay strip club where they don’t even strip ’cause they wear nothing at all before he got pulled over for a DUI with an awful lot of I at the end of that DU? Well, I don’t mean to point out any kind of gay scandal, but that one was just the other week.

How about the county commissioner who’s in prison? Which one? Well, I’ve lost track. Another mayor nearby made a motion during a commission meeting to immediately fire their city attorney- after the mayor’s son was caught on video tape taking bribes while bragging that Daddy the Mayor knew all about such misdeeds and always had. Hallandale Beach took that as an immediate endorsement of the attorney’s legal expertise and integrity, so we’re proud to have recently installed that individual as our city attorney instead. And she’s doing great. We’re thrilled to have her. It goes on and on, but it’s never at all as bad in Hallandale Beach as in other local communities. Really… never.

As far as scandal, misdeeds, gross mismanagement and for outright illegal behavior in Hallandale Beach- I’m not buying it. I’ve watched this city pretty closely, and unlike other nearby cities I could walk my dog to if it weren’t so damn hot outside ’cause we’ve got so many separate cities, Hallandale has been doing very, very well for quite a while now. We’ve got and have had fiscal reserves on-hand. We’ve got relatively low taxes for South Florida. We’ve got master plans for our parks and our cityscape that should greatly improve quality of life for everyone. We’re splendidly located amongst this huge metropolis in South Florida, with beaches and shopping and restaurants and entertainment and relatively good schools and gradually improving transportation options. Our governmental focus on all of the neighborhoods in Hallandale Beach is greatly improved, and we’ve got community groups and civic associations and charity functions that can keep the like-minded and the positive sorts busy most every day. But, don’t even bother telling that to city commissioner Keith London.

Commissioner London has consistently demonstrated himself to be an individual who truly is a libertarian- in the worst sense of the word. He doesn’t care about community. He doesn’t care about kids. He doesn’t care about families and schools and community groups and public activities and the betterment of neighborhoods. It seems that all he ever cares about is Keith London. Perhaps he cares about girlfriend, too- I don’t know. There had been rumors of a domestic disturbance that had involved police, but there were never any kids involved because he doesn’t have any. He doesn’t get involved in community other than railing against this or that or someone from the commission dais while others, including that cop in the room, look glumly at the ticking clock on the commission chambers wall. The negativity, the menacing character, the dripping disdain and the ego to override any politician from New York to Chicago to Beverly Hills and that ponytail reaching always down, down, down could never allow that man to even abide a polite “hello” to anyone he has not considered one of his unfortunate acolytes, including his cohorts on the city commission, whom he ignores and openly disdains.

So, my conclusion is that despite some fairly recent mistakes and despite a few things here and there that I would love to change entirely if I were in charge, our current city commission has been doing a good job. Even if the results of their cooperative efforts as well as their successes at replacing city management and a few other city staff positions of import with some truly competitive and accomplished individuals won’t be fully realized for some years to come, even Keith London can’t help himself sometimes. There have been quite a few more “yes” votes coming from his seat on the commission dais than had been customary for him, and his attempts to engender confusion and mistrust have been ever so politely slapped down by our very competent new city attorney- you know, the one that other Mayor with the bribe-taking son wanted to fire a few cities further along I95.

What has truly been lacking in Hallandale Beach, however, has been any voice of reason that has reached out to city residents beyond Commissioner London’s email list. Instead, it has been Keith London filling the information and opinion void, despite our mayor’s attempt to communicate the city’s doings via a column in a local paper that just cannot reasonably have the word “news” placed before that word, “paper.” It’s an advertising rag, really, with big, blaring headlines about how the newest nail salon offers facials at discounted prices on the Wednesdays before you die of old age. There are, perhaps, a substantial number of elderly readers of the mayor’s column amongst all the ads posing as articles, but I’m rarely one of those readers. Most of the time, our residents and the rest of our commissioners stare at the clock and sometimes at each other in bewilderment as city commissioner Keith London menacingly proclaims his intent to do nothing about this, that or the other thing while his girlfriend with the real job waits for him at home and the night grows longer inside the city commission chambers.

I have observed our current mayor, too, however, and I have concluded that when it comes to community, this mayor truly does care. This city is lucky to have her. She doesn’t have to be doing what she’s been doing for years now- slogging through those commissioner meetings and striving to ignore the perpetual negativity and demonstrate progress. There are a number of things I disagree with her about, but that doesn’t translate into the kind of disrespect engendered by Commissioner London and his acolytes. Like each of the other four commissioners, she only has one vote on the dais. She advocates for her position, and the others have every right to choose to disagree. But she leads and she advocates and she works really, really hard. She’s been very progressive. I hope she’ll be re-elected in November.

Soon Keith London will have his big day on the ballot in November, too as he runs for Mayor, and gawd help Hallandale Beach if he really has any chance of winning. But his angry, sniveling, always-ready-with-an-insult acolytes in town sit in the commissioner chambers with folded arms and scowls on their faces, nodding in agreement with Keith London’s proclamations from the dais or in his “community” meetings that he trusts none of ‘em and always knows that they’re always up to no good. They’re ready and eager to vote for the man, and unfortunately, those not in the know of what regularly goes on in town may just follow their lead. They’ve had the loudest voices for much of the time in recent city politics. It may be a metropolis, but we’ve got torches and pitchforks coming out during every change in zoning and real estate and anything else that Keith London can work a controversy out of.

We’ll see, but in the meantime, our former Vice Mayor, Bill Julian, decided to send out an email to whomever he had in his TO box the other day, and he told those few of us how he feels. He did so because the Miami Herald has taken to reprinting the screeds of a blogger who focuses on Broward County politics. The blog is called Broward Bulldog, and most of what is written is obviously at the behest of Keith London. You see, what’s been happening around here is that a few newspaper columnists and on-line bloggers in Broward County are all of the male variety who display a continual disdain and resentment towards female elected officials, even if they don’t actually realize that’s what they’re doing. And those few misogynistic local columnists and bloggers have all been buddies of Keith London during his political tenure in town. The blogger in question wrote about Hallandale Beach being investigated by the recently implemented Broward “Investigator General.” Most of us know- although we can’t yet prove- that Keith London made a complaint to the IG office, and that he did so solely as a political tactic in his bid for the mayoral seat. Keith London’s transparent tactic is to make Hallandale Beach government look as bad as possible and then pretend to ride in on a white horse to the rescue. Unfortunately, his tactics are far less transparent to those who are prone to carrying torches and pitchforks to city hall.

What Broward Bulldog wrote and then the Miami Herald re-printed, however, was just stunning because of its subtle racism and its entirely unsubstantiated insinuations. So, Bill Julian expressed himself in a way that laid out what a number of us are feeling in town, and then I responded to his email. I was immediately asked by a few recipients of that email to share my thoughts more widely. So, after much preamble, here’s what had been written between a few of us in town over the last twenty-four hours or so:

From: Bill Julian

When will the residents us this city wake up and tell commissioner London, “WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU!”

The morale of Hallandale Beach was fine until your five year stint as the worst commissioner in our history.

Never before have we seen such narcissism, and negativity toward the people of Hallandale.

It’s time the majority of good and decent residents speak up. We can and do deserve someone good to fill his seat and stop this nonsense.

Because of his actions, we are the talk of Broward County, and it’s an embarrassment.

Bill Julian

… And here was my response:

When confronting a style of negative political attacks and continual insinuations of corruption and conspiracies, we always have to look beyond the politician engaging in such tactics and also be willing to examine why such tactics work with certain individuals in the community. Such tactics seem to be a lot more frequently taken up by politicians across this country.

Those same negative tactics dwelling on the past rather than on the future are also enabled by local bloggers. It is especially shameful that the Miami Herald reprints the writings of a BrowardBulldog.com writer as if he is reporting facts rather than only manipulating readers. The writer from Broward Bulldog also ensures that African-American members of our community are pointed out as receiving city funds, whether in the form of grants or as part of payroll while the writer entirely ignores monies handed out to the Hallandale symphony pops and to other causes on the East side of town.

Unfortunately, such political attacks are effective with certain kinds of people. There is a woman who doesn’t even live in Hallandale Beach and yet participates in on-line attacking directed at individuals in Hallandale. She vociferously supports Keith London for Mayor. Why are there such individuals who are always so angry and always so willing to be manipulated into being continually negative? That same woman also supports a tea party Republican candidate for judge instead of the county commissioner running for that seat who’s known to be a loyal Democrat, even though that perpetually angry individual purports to be a Democrat herself. Even when it comes to non-partisan elected seats, the most negative profile seems to be the most appealing to such an individual.

What those of us who actually care about community need to bear in mind is that there is always the danger that such negativity and suspicions gain momentum in the way of publicity, and many voters who don’t closely follow the facts and who don’t follow the narrative of what’s going on in our city government can be easily swayed at election time by whomever has the momentum.

If Keith London loses his run for Mayor, then I suppose that he will run for his seat once again in a special election to be announced by the Clerk after the November election. Given his political tactics and the fools who believe him, he could win his seat back, I suppose. Those who understand how profoundly Keith London misunderstands government and its processes need to do more than blame him for his tactics. Those of us dismayed by how Commissioner London grandstands on the dais and in his private meetings in a continual attempt to create the impression that he stands alone with integrity as well as possessing the power to make anything happen or not happen in this city need to look beyond Commissioner London in regards to the efficacy of his tactics. There are plenty of people in South Florida who are under the impression that Commissioner London’s motives are for the best and that his insinuations and allegations are based in a perception of actual wrongdoing.

Professor Noam Chomsky of M.I.T. said that the right gives answers. They may be terrible answers, but they give them. I believe that Keith London is essentially a right-winger, as are some of his acolytes, including our continually nasty local blogger right here in Hallandale Beach. You know the one: the guy who sits in his recently deceased father’s trailer just steps from city hall concocting long-winded and insulting narratives about everything wrong with our city. He could always better address his concerns by acting as a citizen rather than as a blogger troll in a local trailer park. We all know how that individual can present a rather gentle, subdued persona in public when he’s not crouched before his computer, and I certainly wish that he’d productively participate more often as a resident rather than as a serial insulter on the internet. Who has yet to figure out why that man needs to carry in a camera on a tripod into commission meetings that are already being videotaped in their entirety by Comcast? Well, I hear they’ve got one of his type in just about every town- setting up the tripod in the council meetings.

Commissioner London had told me himself that he is a libertarian who only registered as a Democrat when he ran for the commission because he believed that he could not win otherwise- even for a non-partisan seat. He claimed that he had never registered as a Democrat previously and that it had disgusted him to do so. His blogging buddy in his Hallandale Beach blogging trailer, however, openly endorsed Newt Gingrich for President on his blog, which thankfully nobody reads. Who could? It’s just unreadable! Newt Gingrich??!!

Those on the right in America simply don’t believe in using government to help communities and to even out the benefits of our tax money. They instead believe in conserving the privileges of a few based on social status and political affiliation as well as based on what region of the nation or the city they live in. When right-wing politicians can’t and won’t provide actual benefits to their acolytes, they instead keep them distracted by engaging in conspiracy theories. What’s especially distressing to me, however, is how such tactics work for too many people. If those of us who know better stay silent and simply avoid those who hold differing perspectives, then those with nefarious motives will provide the answers that the rest of us aren’t, even if their answers are lies and distractions.

I know that there are people watching and attending commission meetings as well as sitting on the dais who sigh and roll their eyes when I participate as a resident for the three minutes allowed us at the public podium, and some of them also don’t understand why I answer some of the comments posted on the blogs and in the comment sections in regards to Hallandale Beach. The Charter Review committee chair is a supporter of Keith London, and every attempt was made to preclude our elected city representatives as well as some city staff from enacting our government by instead fixing decisions into our Charter. I wrote a minority report to our commission as the Vice-Chair of that Charter Review committee that not only attempted to prevent about fifteen items appearing on the next ballot in regards to our Charter, but I also addressed existing city policy that if carried out would enhance productive participation of members of our community.

I recommended electoral reforms in my report, such as a Voters’ Pamphlet modeled on what the state of Oregon produces so that residents might better understand what will appear on the next ballot. That’s also much like the special pamphlet our city has produced in regards to the only six Charter items that will now appear on the ballot after the city commission agreed with my minority positions (thank God). I addressed our Council-Manager form of government, which I believe Keith London has never respected and probably hopes to eventually abolish in favor of his fantasy “strong mayor” form of government, which someone should tell him will never happen. I also addressed each commissioner individually in my Conclusion, including Keith London. I had written the following:

The manner of attending to poor performance in city government may be more diplomatic and gradual than some might otherwise want to see. A truly professional organization overseeing and running our city ensures that changes are made and past mistakes do not occur again. Doing so professionally rather than reactively, however, may involve a continual attempt to ensure that a positive image of terrific potential is projected to the wider community rather than a disturbing projection of failure and incompetence. We can do better, and we will… we are.

Those of us who see through Commissioner London’s continual grandstanding and who are horrified by the very idea of him chairing commission meetings, leading city policy and reflecting our city’s public profile as Mayor need to focus not just on his negative tactics and his menacing persona but also on the individuals in our community and nearby who just seem to eat it up. Perhaps their concerns and suspicions should be addressed more directly, because otherwise the nefarious sorts such as Keith London are happy to instead fill the void.

Andrew Markoff

So… that’s what I wrote, and some people have suggested that more people should see it, and now perhaps some more have. As far as filling that void, this may be a start. Let’s not let those utilizing old-style political tactics of fear, suspicion and disdain dominate the discourse in our communities and across our nation. Let’s start speaking the truth from a perspective of considered observation, of researched opinions and of caring for the betterment of where we live.

Let’s speak out to everyone we can- not just those who will agree with us or are always too willing to react rather than to respectfully engage in dialogue. Let’s start trying to reach outwards a little more, because otherwise those who know how to use the tactics of negativity and pitting one group against another will not hesitate to exploit ignorance and fear. The rest of us could likely do better than that.