I write to express my concern about the ongoing debate in Ocean Ridge regarding the local election scheduled for March 19. Some residents argue that forgoing the election would save the town money, but I believe it’s crucial to consider the broader implications.

Recent events, such as the rapid replacement of two commissioners in a brief meeting, raise questions about resident representation. The method of selection, with unanimous decisions within 10 minutes, leaves room for skepticism. Out of seven residents interested in candidacy, the appointment of two without a comprehensive election diminishes community involvement.

The heart of the matter lies in our right as residents to choose our local leaders. If we bypass the March election, we risk allowing a small group to dictate our town’s representation without broader input. Democracy thrives on active participation, engaging with candidates, discussing town issues and making informed choices.

I firmly believe that the price of holding a local election is a small one compared to the invaluable right of residents to actively shape our community’s future. Let us preserve the essence of democracy in Ocean Ridge by ensuring that our voices are heard in the upcoming election.

Dr. Victor Martel
Ocean Ridge

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  • Can't believe I am saying this but for once Victor Martel is right. It is just funny coming from him, the very person who for 2022 up to April 2023 was the person who disrupted every Town Commission meeting, hackled residents who came to speak in front of the commission from the back of the room, and who came close to being ejected from every one of these meetings to the point where it was HIM that caused several recesses for him to cool down and having the chief of police advise him if he continues he will be removed. 

    I guess when he means defending free speech he is only talking about his speech and his opinion. Now, that he is no longer needed as a bull horn from the very people he put in place there, now he sees the value of diversity and discussion.

    Of course the town is now run by a small group that dictates the outcome of every vote. Mayor Pugh just dissolved the building department and handed a $300,000+ contract to his friend from Hy-Byrd, whom he has business in front of with his own pool construction company. No conflict there. Or Steve Coz and his wife's business as a real estate agent promoting access to town hall. Or the very person Victor Martel was promoting into office, our very own "Ocean Ridge Insider" (according to her own flyer), Caroline Cassidy. The three that voted to have the town manager hired who either lied to the then 5-commission members or was happy to receive instructions from Coz and Pugh according to her that made "The Commission". Now they had full control of the Commission and had a town manager who got rewarded with a contract for her loyalty despite being utterly unqualified. Who in their right mind hires a person who is going through personal bankruptcy as their Finance Director for the entire town? Unless you want full control over that person of course. 

    Well congratulations Victor, you were the one cheering and howling when the only two people resigned off the commission who had zero personal interest or business in front of the town. Remember that? Do you also remember that what you are complaining about now is the exact thing that I was warning about leading up to the election?

    Serving on a town commission is about benefiting the community not lining your own pockets. It is making decisions about the future of our town, those that are hard to make but have to be made nevertheless.
    You, Victor Martel, you are responsible for the very mess you are standing in. As they say, when you lie with dogs you are bound to get flees. Don’t complain now that you are itching!

    Martin Wiescholek
    former Ocean Ridge Commissioner

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