Letter: Political Party By Any Other Name Spells ‘Power’

Asking what I think about political parties would be like asking what a fire hydrant thinks about dogs. This year, three county seats are up for grabs. One of the seats is held by term-limited Jess Santamaria. He changed his political party affiliation because District 6 is heavily populated by Democratic voters. He also said that he did not like politics and would only run for one term. Obviously the lure of a political party to a politician is like the call of the Sirens to a sailor. Or as one author put it, “Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.”

District 6, which includes Wellington, Royal Palm Beach and the Glades, will almost certainly go to the current star of the Democratic party, Melissa McKinlay. Her Democratic opponent Fred Pinto, a current office holder in Royal Palm Beach, is also an employee and protégé of Santamaria; and Pinto stands about as much of a chance of winning the primary as a man with a wooden leg in a forest fire. The other hopeful is Kathy Foster, who was elected to Wellington’s first council in 1996. All in all, it will be business as usual. The party hack will be elected and Democrats will go to sleep happy because the county will be in the good hands of their entrenched political party.

As for the nominal Republican candidate, Andrew Schaller, he used to be an independent. If you recall, he wanted his road paved and all he got was a defamation lawsuit when he besmirched the good name of his opponent, Jess Santamaria. I served as a judge for 10 years, and if Schaller were to seriously expect me to believe that he did not intend to defame Santamaria, he would also have to expect me to believe that he did not reasonably know that a multi-millionaire does not have to steal a radio out of someone’s car to listen to The Randi Rhodes Show. But like so much of what is wrong with our system, Schaller got off on a technicality. Sometimes it seems that common sense is dead, both in law and in politics.

As a judge, I was pleased to do my job because my decisions were not dictated by the richest party, but a professional politician has to be willing to place the interest of his party before the best interests of the community. Partisan politics is like what football great Bo Jackson said of taking sides. “If my mother put on a uniform that wasn’t the same as mine, I’d run her over if she was in my way.”

Frank J. Morelli, Wellington


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