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MY VIEW ON ETHICS

John Sims believes that a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" must remain faithful to that noble charge. Cooper City needs leadership devoted to the public interest, not the local special interest, and a local government that enacts its duties with integrity, accountability, and common sense. Those who serve in positions of public trust have a duty to serve the People’s interest with integrity and accountability, to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the People that we are privileged to serve. 

Among the most glaring abuses in Cooper City is the willful setting aside of taxpayer dollars for the pet projects instead of issues relating to the health, safety and welfare of the community and special interests, often through last minute additions to the process. 

Too often it appears that our elected leaders use the budget and taxpayer money as a campaign kitty, channeling your taxpayer dollars for pet projects to preserve incumbency rather than to meet local needs. John Sims has been a tireless warrior against wasteful spending, and one of the few city leaders over time who has the guts to challenge abusive Commission earmarks and the typical ‘pork barrel politics’ that grip our city. John Sims understands that, fundamentally, wasteful spending is an issue of ethics. 

The time for us to fix this broken process is long overdue. As your Commissioner, John Sims will continue to shine the disinfecting light of public scrutiny on those who abuse the public purse, use the power of the commission to restore fiscal responsibility, and exercise the obligation to enforce it. 

Cooper City deserves and demands a government that serves the city, not itself. Most people believe that elected leaders are more interested in the perks and privileges of office than in public service, and that too often the local special interest lobbyists with the fattest wallets and best access carry the day when issues of public policy are being decided. 

Wasteful spending and spending outside of a valid municipal purpose is an insult to taxpayers, a waste of public resources, and an abdication of our leaders' responsibility to be good and honorable stewards of the public treasury, for the benefit of all residents, not just a select few.

Commissioner Sims
has fought for an independent ethics office in Cooper City to help restore the public's faith in the integrity of the local executive branch. The local people have been alienated from the process of self-government by the overwhelming appearance of their elected leaders having sold-out to the big-moneyed special interests that help finance their political campaigns. 

Most residents understand that competitive elections in a free country require money. Since campaigns require spending funds to communicate with voters, they know we can never take money completely out of politics, nor should we. The People have a right to support the candidates and the parties they endorse, including financially if they so choose.

But what most Americans worry about profoundly is corporations or individuals with huge checks seeking the undue influence on elected officials that such largesse is intended to purchase. John Sims understands that in America the people are sovereign, and deserve a political process worthy of the sacrifices that have been made by so many to keep us free and proud. As your Commissioner, John Sims will continue to see to it that the institutions of self-government are respected pillars of democracy, not commodities to be bought, bartered, sold or abused to the highest contributor.

Ethics is a top priority for our citizens and it should be for Cooper City officials. In response to all the stories of corruption and unethical behavior in our local government, the comments by some residents in the print media and even some innuendos within our Cooper City government, I will demand that the Administration create a local ethics commission forthwith.  

We have a lot of important issues facing us in the next few years, but what could be more important than our honesty and integrity? Getting this issue on the agenda has been his first major hurdle. Although the Commission may not support this initiative, it is ultimately up to the residents to form the Ethics Committee and disseminate the information gathered.  

Subsequently, a local Cooper City 'Ethics, Fair Campaign Practices and Public Trust Commission' ("Ethics Commission") must be created and work with the county and the state to combat the negative perception of our government and its officials. Its mission should be dedicated to restoring public trust in the administration of Cooper City government, especially in light of recent and extremely tarnished image of our city, and the studies indicating that public trust in our government is at an all time low.  

The Ethics Commission must be put in place to investigate allegations of unethical behavior in our city government, to render legal and ethical advice to government employees and officials and to raise awareness in the public and private sector about the ethics laws relating the people we are dedicated serve, and to forward those concerns to the state ethics commission.  

The purpose of the Committee would also be to promote a climate in which candidates conduct honest and fair campaigns. The Committee would encourage candidates to conduct campaigns openly and fairly, to discuss issues, to refrain from dishonest, slanderous and defamatory attacks, and not to use campaign materials that distort the facts, all of which discredit and bring negativity to our city.  

The Committee would not sit as a censor of political discussion nor as a body to enforce election law or make legal decisions. Its task would be to accept written complaints about alleged unfair campaign practices and to determine whether the action complained about is indeed unfair. Among other things, the Committee will consider to be unfair any campaign practice that is a misstatement of a material fact or that misleads the public.  

The Committee would be comprised of community leaders who represent a wide range of public interests and are recognized as being independent and fair minded. Members representing recognized political parties serve ex-officio without vote; they contribute political perspective and experience to the discussion.  

As a proactive measure, the Ethics Commission must facilitate an ethics training program for all City employees. Government 'blue collar' employees are concerned about maintaining integrity and high ethical standards in the workplace and identifying unethical practices that may occur. By understanding the various State and County rules and regulations governing ethical behavior, city employees, administrators and officials would be at a minimum, placed on notice and be best prepared to act in accordance with them.  

The Ethics Committee must also closely monitor the city's elections and eliminate the unwelcome and disastrous campaign practices that have been practiced by the past candidates and their campaign managers in our city. In that light, I propose the following Code of Campaign Practices...

CODE OF FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES

There are basic principles of decency, honesty, and fair play that every candidate and political committee in this city, county and state has a moral obligation to observe and uphold, in order that, after vigorously contested but fairly conducted campaigns, our citizens may exercise their constitutional rights to a free and untrammeled choice and the will of the people may be fully and clearly expressed on the issues. In that light, the citizens demand that:

THEREFORE:

(1) I will conduct the campaign openly and publicly and limit attacks on my opponent to legitimate challenges to my opponent's record and stated positions on issues.

(2) I will not use or permit the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate or the candidate's personal or

family life.

(3) I will not use or permit any appeal to negative prejudice based on race, sex, religion, or national origin.

(4) I will not use campaign material of any sort that misrepresents, distorts, or otherwise falsifies the facts, nor will I use malicious or unfounded accusations that aim at

creating or exploiting doubts, without justification, as to the personal integrity or patriotism of my opponent.

(5) I will not undertake or condone any dishonest or unethical practice that tends to corrupt or undermine our system of free elections or that hampers or prevents the full and free

expression of the will of the voters, including any activity aimed at intimidating voters or discouraging them from voting.

(6) I will defend and uphold the right of every qualified voter to full and equal participation in the electoral process, and will not engage in any activity aimed at intimidating

voters or discouraging them from voting.

(7) I will immediately and publicly repudiate methods and tactics that may come from others that I have pledged not to use or condone. I shall take firm action against any

subordinate who violates any provision of this code or the laws governing elections.

I, the undersigned, candidate for election to public office in the City of Cooper City, the candidate's campaign treasurer, campaign manager of member of a political committee, hereby voluntarily endorse, subscribe to, and solemnly pledge myself to conduct the campaign in accordance with the above principles and practices, so help me God.

 

Any current administration official (Mayor & Commissioners), candidate, incumbent or otherwise, who refuses to accept this proposal and to support initiation of the Ethics Commission should be removed from office immediately, and at the ballot box. Cooper City and it's residents can no longer tolerate the negative campaign practices that have damaged our city's reputation beyond immediate repair.
             

Read the entire ethics committee proposal HERE

                                                                                   Political advertisement paid for and approved by John Sims, Nonpartisan, for Cooper City Commissioner, District 1