Getting a straight answer out of any politician is always difficult. Getting a straight answer from Boca Raton City Councilman Anthony Majhess is almost impossible.
Majhess, as our own Dale King reported, is being challenged by Frank Chapman, a long-time resident of Boca Raton.
I called Majhess and asked him, “Do you support raising taxes in Boca Raton?”
His answer was such a confusing non-answer that I finally had to break in to say, “It’s a pretty simple yes or no question, Anthony.”
Majhess still wouldn’t answer, so I decided to move on and ask if he was currently running an ad that said he would “lower taxes.” “Yes, I am,” he replied.
I then followed up by asking that if he is running an ad saying he would “lower taxes,” then why wouldn’t he answer my direct question about raising them.
“I think you’re playing a campaign of gotcha, and I’ll call you back,” Majhess said. Then he hung up.
Majhess is running full-page ads in the Boca Raton Tribune saying he would “lower taxes and cut wasteful spending.”
On Sept. 26, 2011, Majhess was the swing vote in a 3-2 Boca Raton City Council vote that did indeed raise taxes. In fact, not only did Majhess vote to raise taxes, he said during that meeting, “It was almost irresponsible that we’re not raising taxes,” adding that he “would have even supported a further increase in the millage rate.”
As for cutting wasteful spending, at the same meeting Majhess also said: “We’re not raising taxes to spend frivolously; we’re raising taxes to fund our responsibilities and our budget year to year and just do what we did last year.”
If anyone wants to see the video of the entire City Council meeting for additional context, please click here.
Called for reaction, Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel, who has served with Majhess the last three years but is supporting his opponent, said, “I’m shocked that Majhess is now saying he wants to lower taxes. Majhess has been very vocal about his desire to raise taxes during his time as a council member.”
Boca Raton Councilwoman Constance Scott, who voted against the tax increase, said, “I was very disappointed when Anthony voted to raise taxes.”
The bottom line is that a City Council member running for re-election — who voted to raise taxes a little over four months ago, wanted to raise them even higher, and at the time, seemed content to just do what he did the year before — is now saying something totally different.
If asking an elected official, in the city in which I live, why his campaign promises and advertisements are totally at odds with his recent votes and public statements is a “campaign of gotcha,” then I guess I’m guilty as charged.
Either something dramatic happened during the last four months to change Majhess’ mind about taxes, and the ability of Boca Raton to cut spending, or his campaign advertisements are totally false and misleading.
It has to be one or the other, and every single voter in Boca Raton has a right to ask Majhess about his sudden flip-flop on taxes, and he has a responsibility to answer.
I will sit patiently by the phone to wait for Majhess, the self-described “people’s candidate,” to call me back, but I won’t hold my breath. My guess is he won’t call, and that the only dramatic event that took place in the last four months is easily identified, and it has a name.
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