Never underestimate the creepy factor in DeBary politics. Never.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder, the Kangaroo Kourt that is Mayor Clint Johnson’s pending “forfeiture hearing” will be locked down tighter than a meeting of the National Security Council.
According to a bizarre memo published by Interim City Manager Ron McLemore, the Mayor apparently made an off-hand comment on social media parroting the old protest chanty, “No Justice, No Peace.”
Arguably an appropriate statement given the twisted circumstances Mayor Johnson finds himself in.
So – rather than accept the frustrated rallying cry of a besieged elected official for what it is – McLemore (I’m certain at the strong “suggestion” of a few council members) took a circuitous route and somehow linked the comment to the Mayor’s call for citizen gun ownership and proficiency training in the immediate aftermath of the Pulse nightclub terrorist incident.
Anyone else hear a coo-coo clock sounding when they read Ron’s memo? Because I did.
Is there a connection between Johnson’s goofy comments and a call for violence?
No, there isn’t.
It’s just more bullshit grandstanding and asinine posturing from a city commission with a siege mentality who are bent on railroading Mayor Johnson out of office on ridiculous “charges” concocted with malice aforethought by the disgraced former city manager – and forth stooge – Dan Parrott.
I have no doubt these accusations of charter violations – ostensibly based upon a few mindless tweets and Facebook posts – were promulgated in whole or in part by the feckless City Attorney, Kurt Ardaman – who is, in my view, so congenitally crooked he screws his pants on in the morning.
Remember? Mr. Ardaman is the same DeBary legal leech who blatantly and willfully failed to disclose his personal business relationship with the now exposed quid pro quo bandit and chairman of the all-powerful St. John’s River Water Management District’s governing board, John Miklos.
Yep. News Flash for anyone who has been living on the dark side of the moon these past few months: The DeBary City Attorney, Kurt Ardaman, and John Miklos are business partners in a mysterious corporation known only as “Medjool Investments,” according to state records.
Now, you want something to investigate and prosecute? The uber-peculiar Ardaman/Miklos connection is something the Florida Bar should really sink their teeth into.
I hate to modulate Mr. McLemore’s panic mongering here, but I would disagree that this harebrained quasi-judicial goat rope designed to oust the Mayor is “one of the most important events in the City’s history.”
Not even close.
I would think that state agents raiding City Hall with search warrant in hand is a pretty significant event.
(And you might remember that the only one not named in the warrant was Mayor Johnson. . .)
Further, I would argue that the criminal debacle that is the Gemini Springs Annex deal is – hands-down – the most influential happening in the short and strange history of the City of DeBary.
The depth and breadth of the open corruption and abject greed that has been so eloquently exposed by Daytona Beach News-Journal reporter Dinah Voyles Pulver is so historically and systemically wrong that it will stain the reputation of the City of DeBary for a generation.
And I don’t think Ms. Pulver has even scratched the surface yet.
The only thing this loopy “forfeiture” hearing will accomplish is to pave the road to a massive and crippling lawsuit by Mayor Johnson and his attorney, Doug Daniels. Just watching Mr. Daniels sit at the preliminary hearings with his cheetah-like grin should tell you all you need to know about his ultimate intentions.
Unfortunately, all the long-suffering citizens can do at this point is buckle-up and hold on to what’s left of their wallet as these nutty elected officials drive this ugly hayride over that long, tall legal cliff – full speed ahead, baby.
Hell, the half-bright Councilwoman Lita Handy-Peters all but telegraphed her formal intent to jettison Johnson at her earliest opportunity during some semi-public meltdown in McLemore’s temporary office – which, apparently, was overheard by everyone in the building – including Mayor Johnson.
So much for considering the evidence, deliberating the facts in the context of the violation alleged, and forming an unbiased and informed decision.
You know, that whole ‘innocent until proven guilty’ thing we’re so proud of.
Don’t be ridiculous. They want Johnson gone and if they have to shit on the will of the electorate, so be it.
We don’t need no stinkin’ facts.
Now, no one ever accused Ms. Handy-Peter’s of being the brightest bulb. But, unfortunately, she’s part of what passes for stability and “leadership” in the City of DeBary.
Want to bet who’s subpoenaed as Plaintiff’s Witness #1 when Mr. Daniels unlimbers the free speech provisions of something called the Constitution of the United States and sues the city’s collective eyeballs out?
Trust me. Lawyer Daniels considers Wednesday’s hearing a mere annoyance on his way to excoriating these rubes when he gets them in a legitimate courtroom.
Regular readers of this forum know that I’ve been somewhat tough on the ill-fated Mayor Johnson. I think his contribution to this ungodly mess is regrettable and counter to the important office he was elected to by the citizens of DeBary.
His hands are not entirely clean.
But if we start reversing elections based upon petty personality conflicts and political animus – I’m not sure we would have anyone currently serving in a public office from the U.S. Senate to the Aldermen of Hooterville.
If you want to hold a hearing challenging Clint Johnson’s sanity, you might get some traction.
I’ve always felt that his cheese has slid off his cracker – but he seems to have recognized the error of his ways and has attempted to extend an olive branch on several very public occasions.
Unfortunately, no one in a position to matter seemed interested in accepting the Mayor’s penitence and seemingly sincere promise to play pretty with his colleagues in the public’s interest.
The fact is the helplessly befuddled city council want Clint Johnson gone. And on Wednesday evening, they will ride off with the Mayor’s political scalp in their saddlebag.
I could be wrong, but I’m not.
Once the deed is done, the remaining council members will slap each other’s back, congratulate their own performance, and wallow in unbridled hubris and self-importance. Then, they will talk enthusiastically about “moving forward” and “putting things behind us” and the glorious progress that awaits the denizens of Oz now that the wicked witch is gone.
They will almost believe their own spin, too.
But at night, when they are alone with their thoughts, they will be gripped with the crippling fear of what awaits when Mr. Daniels gets them in front of an actual judge. That day of reckoning when Ardaman will be made to look like Hank the Talking Mule as he yammers away in a desperate attempt to explain his situational ethics and gross malfeasance to the court.
When the judge tally’s things up, Doug Daniels and his client are going to walk away with a whole bunch of taxpayer money in his elegant leather briefcase.
And there is not a damn thing the good citizens of DeBary can do about it. The lot has been cast.
For the record: Mr. McLemore – enjoy your retirement. I suspect this latest fiasco – evidenced by your silly memorandum citing overblown “security concerns” – is going to haunt your fledgling “consulting” career like a Golem.
You screwed up when you jumped in the fray and tried to pick this fetid turd up by the clean end, eh?
It appears to my jaundiced eye that Mr. McLemore let the Mayor’s prickling comments questioning his leadership get under his skin – and he obviously acquiesced to a piss-poor, but sensational, decision by elected officials who are so desperate for leadership that they are pissing themselves like a nervous cur.
In my view, McLemore failed this council when they needed his guidance most, and in his business, that’s inexcusable.
No, this won’t bode well for Mr. McLemore’s resume – or ultimately for the City of DeBary.
Hell, maybe Ron can use it as one of those homespun yarns at his next job interview. . .
Regardless – Thanks for nothing.
Have a great weekend, kids.