Thursday, November 16, 2017
GOVERNMENT WATCHDOG TOM REYNOLDS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH CITY COMMISSION's VACANT SEAT -- BOB TIS COLUMN IN ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD
Posted November 13, 2017 12:02 am
By BOB TIS Smooth Sailin’
SMOOTH SAILING’: Time to put the activists in the game
The light is just perfect right now. Let’s take advantage of it’s brilliant clarity while we can.
When Melville talked about the damp, drizzly November of his soul, his opaque melancholy clearly wasn’t emanating from northern Florida. Things could change fast, and I am sure they will, but I was still swimming laps in the ocean at Crescent Beach last week. The way the more angular rays of the autumnal light gleams and shimmers on the ocean is spectacular in the fall. The daily spectacle of the sun sinking into the Mantanzas, witnessed through the twisted oaks of Treasure Beach, is nothing short of transcending.
Still, I defend and support the great American right to be a complainer. Let’s face it, the squeaky wheel often gets the grease in this city, county and country. Most times, this is because the rest of us get tired of listening to someone whine. We realize they won’t go away or shut up until they get what they want. So we make it happen, we grease the wheel, fix the car, mow the lawn … whatever it takes. I personally refuse to be the kind of complainer that pushes all the buttons and threatens to stop the show in order to push an agenda. I prefer a more subtle approach. But when you are the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico and your people are out of food and clean water, it is time to make some noise.
As outlandish as some of the whiners of this world are, I will not withdraw my support for the fuss budgets and complainers of this world to speak out in favor of positive change. The people who speak up in our houses and in our community are searching for improvement. As annoying as these back seat drivers can be, these people who stand up and make a racket about something are the seeds of progress. In many ways, they are the tiny and better part of our own minds that tell us, “Hey, we can do a little bit better here.” We certainly all learn along life’s road that you have to pick your battles. Some people are going to complain about climate change and others are going to go off on the neighbor when their dogs bark in the middle of the night. Their struggle is real and I support their right to lobby for a better world.
Tom Reynolds has had a bee in his bonnet about the way the City of St. Augustine Beach has been run for a long time. He shows up at every meeting, does his homework and has become a voice for the people in town. He is a little much sometimes, but often activists have to make an extra fuss if they are going to be heard. I dare the St. Augustine Beach commissioners to appoint him to their ranks.
I was surprised but not flabbergasted when Gary Snodgrass resigned from his spot on the St. Augustine Beach commission last week. It really is a thankless job. Reynolds would be a perfect replacement. He is already up to speed on every issue. If the commission doesn’t do anything for 60 days or more likely just takes too long trying to decide who to appoint, the tiny beach “city” will be forced to hold an expensive election to fill a seat that is set to expire at the end of next year.
Along the same line I would like to see Reverend Ron Rawls given the task of providing the Confederate monuments in the plaza some context. This is an important job that needs to be done. Rawls is close to the issue and obviously passionate about it. He is an educated professional. Let’s give him the job. I’m all for putting the squeaky wheels to work.
Democracy isn’t easy or fast but it works because, by its very nature, it is an inclusive sport. Let’s give the players who are most interested in the game a chance to suit up and get their uniforms dirty.
In the meantime the rest of us can enjoy the sunset.
Bob Tis is a former Record reporter.