It's election time!! As we're trying to get a grasp on all the new amendments and candidates out there to be voted on here in Florida on January 29, let's not forget that in Hollywood it's time to vote for a new Mayor!!! With this being said I have to say that I Courtney Ortiz of Candids by Courtney Photography solely endorse candidate Peter Bober. Now our incumbent mayor Mara Giulianti has been mayor of Hollywood since 1986. I turned 10 that year, and I'm 31. I find it ironic that there are such strict term limits for the Commander in Chief of the United States, but Mrs. Mayor can run until she's voted out (fingers crossed) or she drops dead. Although I do think that the Mayor does have the best interest of our dear little city at heart. She has done alot for the revitalization of our quaint downtown area. Although now most storefronts on Harrison are empty. The by-gone skeletons of businesses that just didn't quite make it stare at you from bare windows. Mayor Giulianti has even gone so far as to attempt to use eminent domain as a means to her end. What is "eminent domain" you ask yourself?
The power to take private property for public use by a state, municipality, or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property.
Alright, I'm by no means a lawyer, but I understand that to mean, that the government can take away your private property for public use. Public use meaning they're going to need your space to build a hospital, road, school........etc......
Ok, she was going to TAKE away a building (someone's private property) that housed successful bustling local business, pay them grossly below market value, to build ...............CONDOMINIUMS (with retail space underneath)!! The crazy thing is (and I could be completely wrong here) that the developer had said that he could go forward with the project without this particular building. But our mighty mayor insisted! Luckily for the owner of the building and for all of us who own property, be it a business or residence, justice prevailed and the building is still there intact and the businesses there are still "in business." Now I'm a fair weather newspaper reader and local news watcher, so I'm sure my facts are skewed, but the eminent domain series of events was something that Lenny and I did try to stay on top of when they were occurring. There's a whole bunch of other stuff that she's done that's questionable, but I'm not going to try to pretend that I know details about it.
Though I can talk about what transpired at my front door today. This was the icing on the cake, the nail in the coffin......... This morning I was outside of my house with my son walking up and down the sidewalk. (He's learning to walk and loves to push things). Walking down the street are two young girls, probably early to mid-20's going door to door campaigning for Mara Giulianti. I was very straightforward in my stand that I would not be voting for our incumbent mayor and that I wasn't in need of any additional literature or flyers. They were just happy that I was voting and off they went. This was at about 10:00 am. Fast forward to 2:00 this afternoon. I'm sitting on the couch just getting down to work as Owen is peacefully napping, and three cars pull up in my front yard. A small army of people get out, one of which is (ta da!) Mayor Giulianti. I recognized her immediately. I should being she's been our mayor for 22 years now! (I did mention that right!? 8 Terms!) I quickly put the dogs out back, because had Owen woken up, Mara was going to be the one to get him back to sleep (and she doesn't have "the goods" if you know what I mean). So she comes to the door to ask for my vote. I politely say "no", and she proceeds to ask why. (Now before I proceed, let me paint a picture of the scenario for you. I definitely DON'T look my best, no shoes on, red toenail polish that should've been removed weeks ago, no make-up, frizzy hair, red knit dress on. I'm standing in front of "The Mayor", a distinguished looking older gentleman in a "Vote for Mara" T-shirt, an older hippie looking lady who just might have attended the first Woodstock, and a scraggly looking man who come to find out is from the firefighters union). I digress...Mayor Mara proceeds to ask me why I am not going to vote for her on January 29th. Now granted this is not a conversation that I was ready for. But I have to say for the most part I was able to hold my own and sound pretty psuedo-educated. She wanted to know specifics from me as to what Peter Bober has done as compared to what she has done and so on and so forth. But I was able to say that I did know enough about what she has done that I feel is questionable and that the negatives during her time in office overshadow any sort of positives. I continued to tell her that I was disenchanted with the job that she has done, and felt it was time for a "Change." (Thank god, the word "change" is one we're hearing alot of these days.) She, and her entourage just couldn't stop. It was "Peter this.. " and "Peter hasn't done that", and "Peter voted against the hospital expansion, a new children's wing and cancer center. He voted against it just because some people in the audience didn't want it." And that's when I had to stop her because lucky for me this is something that I do know just alittle about. I used to work at Hollywood Hills Elementary which is in the same neighborhood as the hospital. In fact, this mega huge hospital is smack dab in a residential area. I know for a fact, that many of the residents in the surrounding area are against the hospital expansion. Sure a new children's wing and cancer center would definitely be an asset to our community, but if the residents, "the people", your constituents don't want it, then maybe it's not the best thing. And isn't that what we want our Mayor to do?????? LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE! If the residents in the surrounding area don't want the hospital expansion, then the Mayor should too have voted NO (not "yes" just because she's getting some kick back from a developer!...now I just made that up, but it's not outside what she's known to do!). That's really what's best for our community, a leader who hears and acts upon the needs and desires of it's residents. A new children's wing and cancer center are wonderful, but Johnson St and 35th Avenue just isn't the place for it. And I told her this!!! :)
The conversation at my door ended with Mayor Mara making the comment to Janice Joplin, "If she (me) doesn't want to get involved in our government, then she doesn't have to." I thanked her for her time, and told her that I appreciated the fact that she personally came to visit and she was gone. I went inside my home and started to get angry. Mayor Mara was insulting and patronizing. I should've just left it at that, but to the embarassment of Lenny, I proceeded to chase her down the sidewalk to tell her that I thought she was insulting. That in fact, I'm very involved in our government. (here's my resume......volunteer on the Sara Case for City Commisioner Campaign, volunteer for Hillary Clinton, and an active member of the Hollywood Women's Club), and I thought it was a very presumptuous of her to assume that I don't want to get involved in the government just because I didn't agree with or want to vote for her. But she spun it (good little politician), to say that she meant that if I wanted to vote for someone who doesn't want to be involved in government (Peter Bober), then that was my right. So that was our official final end of my first, only, and hopefully last meeting with Mara Giulianti.
Through it all Mara Giulianti never said to me, "You should vote for me because I've done "x", "y", and "z." It was vote for me because Peter Bober is "x", "y", and "z". I, as well as many of my neighbors, are not won over by her attempts to smear Peter Bober's name. Mara should think about selling herself based on her own merits. Maybe the word pathetic and desperate can be used to describe her last ditch attempts to win over voters.
I want to end on this final note. Does Mara visit everyone's home who she knows are not supporters? When three cars pull up in front of your house (a Porsche, a Mercedes, and some Chrysler I might add), and a bevy of people get out and approach your house, is this supposed to be thought of as welcoming? It borders on intimidation, a bullying type of approach. We've had people on two different occasions come to our door campaigning for Mara Giulianti, and both times my husband and I have politely told them that we were not supporters. So really the Mayor coming to my house today can almost be seen as a desperate attempt to win over voters. I think placing a phone call would've been a much better campaign strategy. Coming to my house with a group of people, during my son's nap time, to discuss local issues isn't the way to do it. Pick your battles Mayor Mara. You can't win everyone all of the time!! And you definitely did not win me!!!! I wonder what the ACLU would say about this!!!!
I'm surprised I haven't seen her at a Hollywood Women's Club meeting. She told me she was a "lifetime member." I wonder when the last time she's been to a meeting that wasn't for campaign purposes.