Thursday, August 28, 2008

Homevoters Oust Moderate Commissioners: Property Thieves Coming Back

Florida Keys Homevoters turned two Monroe County Commissioners out of office in this week's primary, and retained one who should have been relieved of duty. Sonny McCoy and Dixie Spehar, two of three Commissioners who had been voting as a block recently to return some sort of common sense to the Keys, were defeated rather decisively. Ms. Spehar was drubbed by tree-hugger Kim Wigington, 67.0% to 30.6% (2.4% abstaining). Sonny McCoy didn't do much better, losing to Carlos Rojas by 59.9% to 37.1% (3.0% abstaining). Commissar Sylvia Murphy -- who has never seen a piece of vacant property that should be used for anything other than conservation -- kept her seat by defeating Sewer Board Chairman Gary Bauman by a mere 55.7% to 40.2% (4.1% abstained). Ouch!

Even though all three Commissars face opposition in the November general election, Monroe County Commissioners have all run as Republicans for years -- but Keys' "Republicans" are all over the political spectrum, from left of Barack Obama to right of Attila the Hun. The three challengers -- Democrats challenging Mr. Rojas and Ms. Wigington and a "no-party-affiliated" candidate (actually a client of ours, Sal Gutierrez) challenging Ms. Murphy -- are not likely to prevail in November.

It is fair to say that, come November, we will see the County shift back to a "steal the land and damn the torpedos (i.e., lawsuits), full speed ahead" mentality. This go-around, the new Commissars will have a plethora of pleadings on their plate. And Monroe County will no longer be able to waste millions of taxpayers' dollars on outside counsel (at rates as high as $750/hour).

For a discussion of Homevoters, see: William Fischel, The Homevoter Hypothesis, Harvard Univ Press 2001 -- Click on title of this post for a link to this book on