During the June meeting of the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council, embattled Councilman Ryan Liang directed the residents of the Groves “to grow up and stop being childish.”
Since the March 10 election, all that I have asked for is that the people’s will be followed. Throughout this matter, it appears that the council is determined to make that as difficult as possible.
At the election, it was clear that Ms. [Philomena] Liang procured numerous absentee ballots improperly. It was also clear that Councilman Jim Rockett was aware of the issue, as evidenced by the report of Bill Ford. Despite this knowledge, Councilman Rockett failed to report the matter. Councilman Rockett, as a member of the canvassing board, also actively campaigned for Mr. Liang. All of this, in my view, was wrong.
As a member of the canvassing board, Councilman Rockett owed a duty to the citizens to look out for their interests and make sure the election was a true representation of the people’s will. In my view, he failed in his duty. Former Councilman Dennis Lipp filed his complaint with the ethics commission, and the state deemed it investigation worthy. Making matters worse, is the fact that when faced with the forfeiture issues of Mr. Liang, Councilman Rockett was provided the reason and case law as to why he should recuse himself. Yet again, he chose the path that put himself and his position in controversy. I am certain that another ethics complaint could be filed on this alone.
As to Mr. Liang, he was the candidate. It was his campaign. Therefore, he is the “captain of the ship” and with that charge, accountable for all actions of his campaign. Mr. Liang, too, should be most concerned about the people, the election and the choices made. He admitted on the news that his mother and member of his campaign essentially committed the felony of wrongful procurement of an absentee ballot. Yet, once again, he took no responsibility. Instead, he issued flatly false statements that this issue did not decide the election. The facts simply show this statement to be wrong.
I won at the live voting. The difference was the absentee ballots. There is no other interpretation that can be made. Yet, Mr. Liang made the statement, did not publicly call for an investigation or take any responsibility for the actions of his campaign. I guess the buck does not stop with him.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Liang and Councilman Rockett refuse to act responsibly, appropriately or with the interest of the people they were elected to represent first and foremost in their decisions.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation and the Palm Beach County Circuit Court lawsuit against the Town of Loxahatchee Groves are ongoing. The fight, therefore, must go on.
Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves