Letter: Traffic Light Vote Was Reckless

At last week’s Loxahatchee Groves Town Council meeting, our council voted to recklessly blow another $57,000 of town money on the largely unwanted traffic light at D and Okeechobee. That’s just for the survey, there’s another $290,000 to pay to actually build the thing!

Yep…. $340,000 of townsfolk’s money to put in a traffic light that most don’t want and the FDOT says is not needed. Even the tiny minority that do want it, accept that the county will tear it down and replace it within a few short years when they four-lane Okeechobee Blvd.

And here’s the rub: Okeechobee isn’t even a town road! That’s spending $340k of Loxahatchee Groves taxpayers’ money on something that doesn’t even belong to Loxahatchee Groves!

Makes you proud of our council, doesn’t it? Well, save for Councilman Tom Goltzené and Mayor Dave Browning, who wisely voted against the squandering madness.

The vote was 3-2, which should say something about the three who voted for it.

The petition resident Keith Harris presented, after a single day’s work, proved that 292 people also didn’t want the light. (No petition or backup was presented by the folks who do want it.)

Councilman Ryan Liang, hot for the light and up for re-election in March, made a politically bizarre observation so far out of character it seemed to most that although the mouth was his, the crazy words issuing from it surely must have been those of another. Possibly one not sitting too far away from him?

What did Ryan say? Well, in what can only be described as an electoral suicide bid, he waved Keith Harris’ petition in the air, grimacing as if it were used toilet paper, and scornfully observed that a mere 25 percent of the signatories were Groves residents. In fact, his math was skewed: 97 of the 292 were residents. (That’s 33.2 percent.)

We can, perhaps forgive him for his dodgy math. What we can’t forgive is his scandalously callous following comment that, in his exact words and as reported in this newspaper, “that doesn’t say much to me…”

Suppose Keith had given it a week more and added another 582 no votes? Would that still “not say much” to you, sir?

So, Ryan, 97 residents, aka voters, don’t say much to you when they say no? Wow.

In case you don’t remember, your very close, pro-traffic-light colleague Councilman Jim Rockett (who “coincidentally” has family business interests very close to the D/Okee junction and who “coincidentally” originally proposed the light) barely squeaked home last year by less than 40 votes!

Well, you saved yourself some time during the upcoming election, Ryan. No need to ask those 97 for their support. Their 97 votes “won’t say much to you.” It’s also a straight 97 vote headstart for your opponent. Good job! After March, you’ll have plenty of time to sit at the unwanted traffic light contemplating last week’s ludicrous, election-losing gaff.

Tim Hart-Woods, Loxahatchee Groves