Who made Hillsborough County a better place in 2009? (part two) the public officials

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It's true that the current County Commission has been an ongoing circus act this year mainly comprised of elephants gone awry and one wandering jackass donkey that seems pretty tight with those same ill mannered pachyderms. It wasn't all bad though, two of the elephants and one long-eared newcomer did perform very well in center ring for the people of Hillsborough County and they deserve a lot of credit especially in light of the freaky side-shows their colleagues were producing. While I often make fun of the majority of the Commission for their wide stance on sprawl, their  attacks on the environment, their pimpin ways and their liberal spending habits, there are a few that deserve credit for their contributions in making Hillsborough County a better place in 2009.

[image-1]First, a big thank you is in order to Commissioner Rose Ferlita who is a Republican that doesn't support the local developer's agenda for sprawl or even the archaic discrimination practices that the local Republican party still seem to be promoting. She continually earns my respect on her environmental, fiscal, and growth management views. She is an intelligent leader, she does her homework, and she is fearless. She is the Commissioner trying to make Kevin White pay up for his indiscretions instead of making you foot the bill and she is a champion of renewable energy. While hard-hitting on most issues her compassion shines through when it comes to issues like the homeless. She also works very hard for animal rescue which gets major bonus points from me. Ferlita is a fiscal conservative who is also environmentally responsible and isn't in the dark ages when it comes to social issues. Thank you district one! She is widely expected to run for Mayor.

Next up is Commissioner Mark Sharpe who is always there to greet me with a smile (and an ear) even if I [image-2]have just thrown him under the bus for doing something I didn't agree with and I think that is a hallmark of a good elected official. Sharpe is smart, thoughtful, and he goes out of his way to hear both sides of an issue. And like Ferlita, he displays a true passion for the job. He is the Commissioner trying to replace embattled County Administrator Pat Bean and promote transportation alternatives. Sharpe is up for re-election this year for his countywide seat and I would be happy to see him serve another term.

[image-3]Finally, Commissioner Kevin Beckner who is a Democrat that promotes more fiscal responsibility than most Republicans. His first year in office far exceeded any expectations I had of him and he has proven to have integrity and a spine. He is professional yet down to earth and he exudes class but with a boy next door way about him. I hope being in politics never changes him. Those of you that voted for him simply to remove Brian Blair got way more than you bargained for and this NIMBY is thankful to Hillsborough County voters for that. He is the Commissioner that tried to drag Hillsborough County out of the stone age and brought forth practical solutions regarding criminals. Thank you Commissioners Ferlita, Sharpe, and Beckner!

These three very different local politicians prove to me that the position of Commissioner should not be partisan. The common thread among them is their responsibility toward all residents of this county and their ability to cross party lines to do the right thing regardless of threats from party leaders. All three deserve credit and thanks for their efforts to improve Hillsborough County. It can't be an easy job sitting amongst  the Gang of Four or having embattled County Administrator Pat Bean chart the course for you. So, Good Commissioners, if any of you happen to be Loaf fans and are reading this then maybe you can help deliver some of this NIMBY's 12 Christmas wishes. Oh, and Good Commissioners.... don't get too used to me being this nice either.

[image-4]Speaking of those 12 wishes, I must have been better than I thought this year or it could be that I continue to fool Santa into thinking so because I got one of my wishes early this year. Recall #2 on that wish list was 2 more Good Commissioners. Well, just before Christmas it was announced that Linda Saul-Sena would run against Commissioner Ken Hagan! Thanks Santa! I sure hope Hagan gets a trip to Blairsville courtesy of Hillsborough County voters during the next election.

Photo credit: wolfsavard@flickr.com

I already gave you a rundown of 2009 in local politics with scandals, spending sprees and even a few highlights. I also thanked those volunteers who work hard at making Hillsborough a better place for us all with regard to the environment, sprawl, and transportation issues. There are also a few public officials that deserve credit for making Hillsborough a better place.

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