Palmetto Bay's Mayor Eugene Flinn is unwillingly in the middle of a firestorm these days regarding his name. He, Councilman Ed Feller and his wife, Arlene are on the November 2 agenda to have Palmetto Bay real estate named after them. The Village resolution looks to have the Mayor's name placed on Palmetto bay Park and Ed and Arlene Feller's name placed onto parts of the new Village Library. The “Eye on Palmetto Bay” website seems to be the centerpiece of the controversy, stating their view that no sitting politician should have things named after them. The Sunday edition of the Miami Herald picked up on this story, adding fuel to the fire.
I know the Mayor is concerned about public perception of this issue. On October 30, at the Palmetto Bay Movie Night, I spoke to Mayor Flinn who said, “I didn't bring this resolution...in fact, I turned down [something like this] before.” My gut feeling is that Mayor Flinn would likely accept such an honor, but has not lobbied for it, as others conjecture.
The “Eye on Palmetto Bay” website editor referred to an ABC-TV story on this very subject in which John Stossel used the phrase, “Edifice Complex” to describe this practice. In his “Give Me a Break” report on ABC’s 20/20 program, Stossel noted the increasing trend toward naming public buildings after living people, especially politicians. “I understand why politicians like having their names on buildings,” said Stossel. “It’s an ego boost. And the free advertising doesn’t hurt their perpetual reelection campaigns. But you shouldn’t have to pay for their monuments to themselves.”
I won't weigh in heavily on this subject, other than to say I don't think there is anything foul going on here. Palmetto Bay's only mayor in its 7-year history is nearing the end of his term. I have never seen a time where I feel he has done anything self-serving.
The opinions are many and varied. Perhaps the best resolution is to allow for a vote November 2 but hold off on the name changes until after Mayor Flinn and Councilman Ed Feller complete their service.