I’ve been an active voter in North Miami Beach since Ronald Reagan was President. I’ve voted in every municipal election since then, but I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the past several years. The trouble seems to have begun with the 2007 election, and it’s only gotten worse since then.
Gone are the days that I am able to drive to my precinct, get out of my car and walk to the polling place without being accosted.
I remember the time when a campaign volunteer would politely approach me with election material and gently asked me to vote for a particular candidate. I remember being able to stop and chat with the volunteer to find out more about a candidate so I could make an informed decision. I also remember being able to leave the precinct after casting my ballot and hearing volunteers say cheerfully, “Thank you for voting.”
Now, voting is an absolute nightmare!
I cannot pull into the parking lot without some paid “volunteer” approaching my car, telling me where to park, and walking with me to the voting booth.
If I’m lucky enough to walk from my car to the building unescorted, mobs of people are attempting to block my way while yelling and screaming at me to vote for so-and-so.
By the time I get to the voting booth, I’m so distraught by the confrontation I can barely think straight.
Miss Manners, is this what voting in North Miami Beach has come to? Whatever happened to decency and civility? It’s gotten so bad that I’ve even considered not voting at all! Somehow I persevere because it is my right as an American to voice my choice on election day.
Please tell me if there is anything I can do to restore dignity and decorum to my once civilized North Miami Beach?
Appalled in NMB
Having lived in North Miami Beach herself until recently, Miss Manners is, unfortunately, very familiar with your experience.
As early as 2005, we used to volunteer our time for candidates whom we believed would be fine representatives at City Hall. In the beginning, it was a most pleasant experience.
We volunteers would come out to the polls on election days to talk to prospective voters. We had the opportunity to meet our neighbors, make new acquaintances, and have intelligent discussions about where each candidate stood on the various issues. For the most part, it was a day of merriment and pleasantry.
Since 2007, as you noted, exchanges between voters and campaign workers have slowly declined into what can only be described as an unruly mob scene.
Although Miss Manners no longer votes in your city, yesterday she traveled to City Hall to visit with old friends and acquaintances during early voting. Sadly, the scene Miss Manners encountered was just as dreadful as the uncivilized election of 2013. In fact, it was much worse!
Interestingly, you noted that the situation has deteriorated since 2007, which coincidentally was the year that both Frantz Pierre and Phyllis Smith were first elected. Regrettably, Miss Manners couldn’t help but notice that 2007 was the year in which a steady decline of gallantry and refinement took hold in North Miami Beach.
Gone are the days of neighbors voluntarily helping the candidates of their choice.
Gone are the days of lively but courteous banter among campaign volunteers and voters.
Gone is any semblance of civilized society.
Gentle Reader, I’m afraid that unless and until voters decide they have had enough of mob rule in North Miami Beach by voting out the likes of Frantz Pierre and Phyllis Smith, and preventing any of their recruits from getting elected, there will never be decorum or civility at City Hall.
My only suggestion is for you to move to Davie.