PSL Councilman caught with his lips moving.
prior to his August 30th primary election Ron Bowen talks about paying down Port St Lucie’s debt
Everyone knows the old joke, “How can you tell when a politician is lying to you?” Answer: “His lips are moving.” Well, the WPSL/League of Woman Voters candidate forum always seems to have a never-ending supply of moving lips. You just need to listen and know where to look, or you have to sign up for Because This Matters and wait for another impactful installment.
Before I get too deep into today’s piece I want to make a shout out to WPSL-AM radio, and Carrol and Greg Wyatt. Year after year, they do a great job at the 2-day forum. They keep everything moving and under control. WPSL-AM radio has been a fixture in the city for many years, and if you have a business that needs advertising, WPSL-AM is a great place to start. Personally, if it were me in Carrol’s position, I would demand a gong, an air horn connected to a BS meter, and buttons connected to trap doors beneath the candidate’s seats.
Today’s lips belong to Ron Bowen, who is running for re-election to the Port St Lucie City Council, District 4. It is no surprise that anyone running for the PSL City Council is going to talk about the almost $1Billion debt the city has accumulated. A good portion of it through the failed and failing forays into real estate development that the city took some years ago. You know the names, but I just love to go over them again to refresh everyone’s memory. Digital Domain; VGTI; Torrey Pines and City Center. Two projects failed, one failing and one in limbo.
Mr. Bowen would prefer candidates emphasize what is good about Port St Lucie, and there are some great things I love about the city I call home. Mr. Bowen knows as an incumbent you emphasize the positive, disregard the negative, and if it is not broken don’t fix it. Keeping the status quo means keeping Bowen in office.
Bowen would prefer that we not be concerned with what he calls “toxic debt” because the City of Port St Lucie is paying down that debt with any savings or surplus that the city comes across. He said so during the candidate forum, and I have got the clip right here for you.
As Warner Wolf would say, “Let’s go to the videotape.”
Well, I do not know about you, but I feel much better. I guess that settles it.
Or does it.
MOVE ALONG. NOTHING TO SEE HERE.
I am sure that Bowen would love for you and me to take him at his word, but Bowen is a politician, and if you check the video again, you will see that his lips were moving.
The WPSL/League of Woman Voters forum took place on June 21st, 2016. On April 11th, 2016 at a Port St Lucie council meeting a motion was made by the same Ron Bowen to approve Ordinance 16-17. This ordinance was a budget amendment. Part of this budget amendment (increase) moved approximately $500,000 of surplus SAD taxes from two SAD funds to a fund that was going to be used for… more real estate development. The city council apparently has not learned its lesson about its lack of ability to successfully develop real estate.
I cannot recall when, but I do recall the city council pledging no new real estate development. Well, that lasted for about a nanosecond. To be honest, it felt good to live in a fiscally responsible city for such an extended length of time.
Here’s a copy of city council agenda from June 23rd referencing Ordinance 16-17. You will see that the words SURPLUS FUNDS are easily readable in the middle of the third line in the paragraph that I highlighted for you.
(I will not discuss at this time how I feel about funds from one SAD transferred to other projects. It is what piqued my interest in Ordinance 16-17 in the first place.)
Here is a link to the city council meeting on April 11th, 2016. It should open to the right spot in the 3-hour meeting where Bowen offers a “motion to approve” Ordinance 16-17. Ordinance 16-17 will take surplus funds, which Bowen claims the city uses to pay down the toxic debt of failed real estate investments, and instead, supports a transfer of those funds to help pay for what could likely be another failed real estate investment/project.
Watch fast before this video finds itself next to 30,000 missing emails.
Leaves us shaking our head too
One last word from the incumbent,
You will notice the involuntary headshake at the end. Some might say that subconsciously he disagrees with himself. I am not a body language expert, so I won’t draw any conclusions.
The motion that Bowen put forth passed 4-1. The lone dissenting vote being Mayor Greg Oravec. I am not sure why the Mayor voted NO. I would like to think that Mayor Oravec remembers the no new real estate development pledge, but more likely it was because the finance department representative could not properly answer his question about what the budget amendment would do to the reserves. City staff was not ready for questions. It almost came as a shock that a question was asked. An indication that for way too long the city council has been nothing but a rubber stamp for staff requests.
It is time for a change, and I think Mr. Bowen would be a good place to start. The August 30th primary election is when it needs to get done.