We’ve all heard the stories. The politicians running for office, promising so much that many of us have come to the conclusion that the next published dictionary will include “lie” as one of the synonyms for the word “promise”. The candidates telling voters during debates that “they want to make our streets safer, our schools better, our economy stronger, and our children healthier.” They are all the same kind of “special”.
But what makes one finally lose faith in the system is probably when political honesty turns out to be worse than the ugly lies themselves. Unfortunately, North Miami Beach voters will be facing such a truth during next week’s municipal elections.
Hillel Hellinger, running for the Group 2 Council seat at the local governmental body, will be facing four other candidates on May 7. Where he stands out, however, is with his motivation to run.
“To me, this job [would be] like any job,” Hellinger said in a email interview with the tapeunit.com. “I am working for the benefits of it. Free health and dental plus a small salary.”
This statement comes from a man who ran back in 2009 for another council seat in the city under a promise of leading the office based on “honesty and integrity”. Even more interesting Hellinger is the same candidate who has been refusing campaign donations throughout the race.
Of course, we all understand that when a career politician appears on the scene, he or she is there for the power and the benefits (nice pension, powerful influence, the corruption that comes with the office, etc.). But running for office because of those benefits is almost never admitted by anyone.
Hillel Hellinger, of course, has a platform that comes with the benefits. But his ideas for the city are as bad as his motivation. He would strengthen the city’s zoning grip by preventing the building of a high-rise construction near the old Greynolds Park, prohibit adult clubs within North Miami Beach, oppose the privatization of any public service, and use unconstitutional forfeiture money to pay for surveillance cameras throughout the city.
It is hard to know why anyone would chose to support Hellinger as a candidate. But in 2011, he garnered as much as 42% of the votes during his race for the Group 3 Council seat. Jewish, most of his advertisements have been on religious websites and newspapers, and the man even obtained the official endorsement of David Lehrfield, a popular local rabbi.
It is sad that so many people support a man not for the content of his principles, but for the religion he brings. It becomes even shadier when Hellinger blames the current administration for using the council as a way to “benefit their personal finances.”
This year’s elections in North Miami Beach will be suspenseful. Stephanie Kienzle, a local blogger, has been leading a personal crusade against two other candidates with obscure backgrounds, Yvenoline Dargenson and Jean D. Berrouet. The latter is running against Hellinger.
But one thing is certain, North Miami Beach voters will not have anything good coming out on May 7.