Posted April 25, 2018
Recently two TV stations contacted me to request my comments on a position on marijuana policy published by a mayoral opponent in the PNJ this weekend. While this is not a primary topic for me as to why I am running, I was asked to respond to a fairly complex position. I spoke for 10 minutes but I know television will only have 10 seconds, so I would like to clarify my position here.
First, I was shocked, not by the topic but the method of simply creating executive orders. The purpose of the charter and the checks and balances provided is that each branch has its responsibility and purpose. Anyone who has seen my campaign knows I am running for Mayor to govern with the city council under the rules of the charter, not to reign and rule by some imperial edict. If there is some legislation needed for the betterment of the city, then I should be able to get four council members to support that idea, as legislation is the council’s responsibility.
One person arbitrarily deciding rules simply illustrates that the person making the rules has no intent to work with those who disagree. Emperors rule by edict because they are not elected, and if you disagree with them, you may find yourself unprotected by the law. Democratic republics are slightly messier but everyone, especially those in the minority of an issue, is protected by the rule of law.
Disagreement and debate are central to the democratic process. They help polish ideas and if you intend to serve the public you better be ready to work with those who disagree with you. So yes, I was first and foremost against the method by which my opponent indicated he would force a position. You may agree with him once but what about the next time you don’t. He is already telling you he does not care about your position if it does not agree with his.
Second, the position itself is inconsistent with state law and thereby the surrounding county. As highlighted in the article, there would be a host of conflicts related to jurisdiction, and the benefit would be slight for the conflict created. Nearly every state that has voted for medical marijuana has within 4-8 years taken a vote on something much wider in application. However, that decision belongs to the voters of the State of Florida to decide, not one elected official.
Finally, anyone who has seen or heard from my campaign knows I plan to use my relationships to collaborate with the county. I would absolutely look for ways to support the county to reduce jail population. Remember each citizen of the city pays the same county mileage as the county residents, therefore, much in city resident taxes go to support the jail and its operations. However, rather than leaping to a unilateral position by decree, I would work with county leaders to support positions that reduce the jail population. For example, we should end the practice of jailing the poor simply because they can’t pay their fines.
I feel this illustrates a significant importance of electing people with experience. Those with experience understand there is value in respectful disagreement. Also, they often have established relationships that help them find solutions even in disagreement. While I do not find this an essential topic for the mayor, I do find it incredibly telling on the style of leadership that will be provided. My goal is not to continue the “my way or the highway” as proposed by my opponent, but rather to build consensus through teamwork that truly improves our community.
— Grover Robinson