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.
8 thoughts on “The Debacle in DeBary: No Justice, No Common Sense.”
Mr Barker I have no idea where you live but Debary has had to put up with Clint Johnson and his divisive arrogance for too long. The meeting is not closed and you can show up for once and say what you want instead of spewing your thoughts on line. Clint is not a victim he is a problem and Doug Daniels is from the same political corral he is; The legal threats are leverage to keep a Mayor in office so he can use the office and attempt to run the city via the internet. Research what happened to Eastwood Marketing Inc .and the money they received. Look at Clint on council tapes attempting to make excuses about the $800 I asked him about that came from the HENIN Group during a special cc meeting he called to benefit the Henin Group. Do me a favor and research money Doug Daniels received from 444 Seabreeze and Gray and Robinson LLC or the Gray family then compare that to the campaign money Clint got from same sources. Do you live in Debary Mr. Barker? Do YOU attend those city council meetings do YOU really now what is going on? I have never even seen you speak at one Debary city council meeting yet you now what is going on? Please explain what happened to the Mayors mailbox and the trip to Cuba ,,,what happens to Eastwood Marketing ? Do you believe in open government then why is Clint hiding behind his attorney? Why is Clint afraid of public information requests ? This situation reminds me of Watergate hearings and Nixon was dirty the whole time ….yet people made excuses fro him the whole time. OH WELL….Actually many Debary residents deserve Clint a kid that is not going to CUBA. Maybe next time they will fully research who they vote for
While I appreciate your thoughts and opinions on the topic – many of which I agree with – I want you to know that I have the god given right as an American to “spew” my thoughts on-line about anything I want, anytime I feel inclined!
If you don’t like it – too damn bad.
For the record, you don’t get to decide what I opine about on my own blog. If you don’t like what I have to say, then don’t read it.
This isn’t a news channel beamed into your house, or a newspaper left on your doorstep – it’s an opinion blog, something you have to seek out if you care to read it.
I never said Clint Johnson’s hands were clean – and I recognize that he has contributed to this terrible debacle in many serious ways.
I also understand that he has embarrassed himself, his office and the City of DeBary.
However, if he is to be removed from office, that should be accomplished by the electorate – the voters of DeBary – not by some kangaroo court on asinine charges of “charter violations” made up by the likes of Dan Parrott and Kurt Ardaman.
I do not live in DeBary – I live in Ormond Beach. But I fail to see how that disqualifies me, or anyone else, from commenting on topical issues of good governance and environmental crimes that have implications far beyond the limits of your small town – and small mind.
By the way – I watch your council meetings on-line religiously, and I can read a newspaper and speak with those involved just like you can.
Don’t presume to tell me what I know and what I don’t know – and I have no obligation to educate you, or anyone else, by speaking at a public meeting. I can voice my opinions in whatever forum I want – and attending a DeBary City Council meeting is not a prerequisite to forming a point-of-view.
Talk about arrogance.
Mr. Culligan, the thoughts in this blog are purely my own – and I have the inalienable right to speak freely and voice my opinion (right or wrong) as I see fit. And at the end of the day, there’s not a damn thing you or anyone else can do about it.
It’s called Freedom. Get used to it.
Thank you again for you thoughts.
I, being somewhat of sound mind, hereby nominate Matk Barker, for DeBary Citizen of the Year even though he lives beach side!
Thanks for reading, Tom!
Like you, I have little use for the mayor. Actually,I’m not sure the cheese was ever on his cracker. He,through his actions and words has made his bed. But the removal needs to be done by the voters not the “council” . What he di was grandstanding and ludicrous but not a reason to remove him from office. Maybe it’s time to dissolve the city and let it go back to the county as the only reason it was formed was to keep Orange City from annexing it. Seems to me,with all it’s problems that might not have been such a bad idea. Remember elections have consequences.
Thanks for your good note – and for adding substance to the conversation.
Thank you for reading.
Mr Barker your clear and farsighted opinions on our city government are on point with what is going on. This is by far the worst government we have had since we incorporated as a city. We have huge problems that some think that only the mayor is responsible for, I have differed in that opinion. I agree with you on every point you have made and it mirrors my assessment of our government. How much experience do you have as city manager or council. We could start the campaign tomorrow LOL.
Thanks so much for the great note. I appreciate your concerns, it’s a mess.
Again, thanks for taking the time to write.