P.O. Box 1208,
DeLand, FLA 32721.
Volusia County Council,
123 W. Indiana Ave.,
DeLand, FLA 32720.
Chairman and Members:
Enclosed please find an article from the Orlando Sentinel, 22-Oct-2003, pg J-1 (Volusia section), being the column of Mike Lafferty. Quoted material used herein should be considered as fair use and commentary. Full text available through Lexis-Nexis® or at any Volusia County library branch.
It would appear to the casual observer that your debate on the funding of the Lively Arts Center was honest and genuine. The outcome was not pre-ordained. Government decisions were in fact being made in the Sunshine of public scrutiny.
O! How appearances deceive. As some Council members appeared to forget their orders, to forget that they had agreed to do as they were told, an innocent little note came down: Pat - Georgia said, Pat, keep your promise.
Evidently, someone was aware that the decision had already been made. The smoke-filled room may now contain bean sprouts instead of cigars, but the effect is the same: our County Council had already made the decision before holding the public ratification. Someone blabbed. Someone spilled the beans.
Of course the County Council had no real choice: as the marching orders arrive from the east, a disobedient member is transformed into a dead man walking. That position is generally held to be less favorable than puppet on strings, voting as ordered.
That the County Council wastes money on another white elephant is no surprise. No matter how much money we throw into the Ocean Center, it always wants more. White elephants like company, and the Lively Arts Center appears to be another one of the herd.
At $27M (assuming always no cost over-runs, would this County ever have one of those?), the price tag is only about $67 per person in the county. Thats a lot of elephant fodder. If the County doesnt take the money in taxes, taxpayers will surely waste it on food, gasoline to get to work, &c. Far better to have another dis-used building on which we may be proud to have our County Council members names. And isnt it the true purpose of government to build monuments to itself?
The surprise is in that the County Council should take such a risk of getting caught making decisions out of the Sunshine, then rubber-stamping them in public ceremony. You ought to know better than to do that. See Fla. Stat. § 286.011. There is a newspaper on the east side of the county that makes a positive hobby of pursuing Sunshine violations. I am unable to recall any recent Sunshine (Ch. 286) violations and very few Open Records (Ch. 119) violations where they have not prevailed.
Do you really want to get caught? In the future, then, you should be more careful.
PS: It should be noted also that I shall insist on inspecting that very note which was passed up reminding Pat Northey of her promise to obey. Inspection is governed by Fla. Stat. § 119.07.
Legal Mumbo-Jumbo: This material is a paid political advertisement provided by Tanner Andrews, P.O. Box 1208, DeLand 32721, independent of any candidate or committee. No candidate has approved this material. Disclosures are filed timely with the Supervisor's office.