It used to be that once the kids were out of school the news in Brevard almost ground to a halt. Those days are apparently over. We've had no shortage of stories and discussion points for our perusal this season at all.
Just in the last couple of weeks we’ve had these stories in play:
Palm Bay waste water fee increase
Brevard County solid waste fee proposed increase
Palm Shores CRA corruption
John Tobia's anti-Puerto Rican statehood resolution
Speak Out Brevard and their introduction to the reality of political activism- it draws scrutiny
I’m not complaining that we have had plenty to talk about, just noting that the news cycle- for whatever reason- slows down in the summer months and that has certainly not been the case for us this year.
Speak Out Brevard is new to the political game here and when they start by claiming numbers that are unheard of for activists in this community, they apparently have some learning to do. When your Vice President calls my show and can’t quantify with any certainty that actual number of members you have, clearly the outlandish numbers are in question.
I’m also concerned that they believe the narrative can be controlled by misinformation presented as fact. In addition to the numbers, they asserted in a letter to the editor in Florida Today that John Tobia disparaged Puerto Ricans in his resolution to disallow statehood for the island nation. That is simply not true. Tobia praised Puerto Rican patriots who have and do serve in our nation’s military in the wording of his resolution. Saying otherwise is false and certainly does not make it so.
It was also interesting how many of their emails claimed to know what I was thinking and wrong I am when we actually agreed on what should happen to the resolution itself. Again, KNOWING the facts and presenting them accurately would help, but that would have had to listen before hand to know that.
Fortunately I had some positive interaction with the group in that call to the show from their Vice President and follow up emails from their president. And while those exchanges were pleasant enough, there were other communications that espouse shutting down free enterprise and eliminating this backwards Florida lifestyle.
We’ll welcome honest debate and learn from our differences, but it all needs to being with facts as we see them, not twisted versions that present a false narrative of the situation at issue.
As for the others: We repeatedly asked for alternative solutions to the Palm bay stormwater fee hike, and nobody, not even opposed council members who opposed it, could offer a different solution.
Palm Shores Mayor, Carol McCormack, travels the state as the head of the League of Mayors and touts CRA's as greatest thing since sliced bread. She speaks with authority in their advocacy. And then she got caught with her hand in the cookie jar accepting a salary as CRA Director when it was forbidden by law for her to do this. As mayor, and even serving on the CRA board without the Director’s job, it was her responsibility to know what the law allowed. It’s either incompetence or corruption. Having the town repay her salary to the county does not rectify her illegal act. Could we please find some integrity in these officials?
Claims she didn't know make her incompetent. If she did know, she is dishonest. In either case the money should be repaid by her. And in either case she should resign or be removed from office and quite possibly spend some time in jail. If she can not see the lack of honesty and ethics in her actions and in allowing taxpayers to repay her ill gotten gains, she is unworthy of office.
Brevard County’s solid waste management fee hike is to replenish reserve fund monies spent to remove debris after Hurricane Matthew. We have not had a hit like that one in several years. What was the fund doing all that time? It is an issue worthy of serious questioning.
We have even ignored for the moment the other issues in play statewide, nationally and even in Palm Bay where scandal and personal politics of council and staff have rocked the news for months. No, there has been no shortage of topic material for our consideration.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not complaining that this summer has had plenty for us to discuss. I would just prefer that it be honest and ethical from everyone in the discussion as we do so.
The summer will continue and the topics will keep coming. We’ll keep talking and invite everyone into the discussion. After all, it’s what we are here to do. So, bring it on, summer. It’ll be good practice for the 2018 political season that is just around the corner!