I had to laugh.
It was either that or throw myself on the floor and have a good cry.
Earlier this week, I saw an urgent social media post by outgoing Volusia County councilman Josh Wagner. He was all whippy over a proposed action coming before the council later this week.
Councilman Wagner was screaming like Paul Revere, sounding the Klaxon and imploring people to pack the chambers wearing uniformed white shirts to ram home the point that Volusia County residents can raise a strong and united front when the chips are down.
What was this momentous act of governance that warranted our collective march on Deland?
Finally! A compassionate resolution to the homeless problem?
Or how about a reduction in government spending? A pay increase for deputies? Allocations for infrastructure repair and replacement? An end to county corporate welfare schemes? Securing beach access? A limitation on insider influence in county government? A motion to terminate County Manager Jim Dinneen and his $325,000+ annual salary? A pledge to work collaboratively with the municipalities for the common good? A strategic plan to revitalize our core tourist district? A long-term solution to regional water issues? Movement on the extension of SunRail service?
Reducing the current buffer zone for surfers at area fishing piers.
Look, I don’t sit here and make this shit up, folks.
Frankly, I couldn’t if I tried.
Councilman Wagner, the mealy-mouthed backstabber who masqueraded as a beach driving advocate to get elected – then turned-tail when it mattered most – wants to divert our attention to some non-issue as he creeps out of office to chase ambulances for a living?
No. I don’t think so.
If Josh Wagner proposed a resolution endorsing chocolate cake – I wouldn’t support it, and neither should you.
Why? Because he can’t be trusted.
The fact that Josh Wagner is what passes for political “leadership” is indicative of all that’s wrong with Volusia County.
He’s the poster boy for mediocrity.
In my opinion, Josh Wagner remains the only person in Volusia County politics who thinks his opinion still matters, and the only legacy of his worthless political career will be the cheap, mean-spirited divisiveness he brought to any issue at hand.
I look like an elephant – and I’ve got a memory like one.
Others may have forgotten Mr. Wagner’s slimy and embarrassing involvement in the Waverly Media fiasco – or his close, personal relationship with Jimmy Sotolongo, the convicted grifter and criminal manipulator who is currently fashioning anal bungs out of apple cores in federal prison.
Or his obstructionist name-calling during the stand-off with the City of Daytona Beach over encamped homeless at the administration building.
But I haven’t.
If he accomplished anything, Josh Wagner set a new low for political bait-and-switch, and his complete lack of concern for the needs and wants of his constituents will remain the stuff of legend.
He wasn’t just wrong. He was malicious – as half-bright, self important politicians often are.
If there is one bright spot on the horizon, it is that Mr. Wagner’s reign of arrogance is rapidly coming to an unceremonious close. Soon, all we – the long-suffering taxpayers – must endure is his endless tacky television spots.
He will not be missed.
Meanwhile, back in Daytona Beach, the city commission is set to spend $826,000 in taxpayer funds for two beachside parking lots with a combined assessed value of just $125,000.
You read that right – and I have nothing more to ad.
It is what it is.
If I seem hyper-sensitive to the machinations of what passes for government in Volusia County, it is this level of mind-boggling idiocy that keeps me on edge.
How can people who have been elected and appointed to high public office have the audacity to look their constituents in the eye and attempt to convince them that using public funds to grossly overpay for private property is in their best interest?
Who are these people?
Clearly, Daytona Beach Redevelopment Director Reed Berger is delusional – and an abject failure at anything close to “redevelopment” or revitalization. Frankly, in most places he would be institutionalized for even suggesting to a newspaper reporter that the assessed value of a property under consideration for purchase with public funds, “doesn’t mean anything.”
Not when your spending other people’s money, I suppose.
As a Volusia County taxpayer, I’ve reached the point of critical concern.
There is no denying the fact that huge sums of public funds are being funneled to a precious few well-connected individuals while the rest of us suffer in stunned silence.
And absolutely nothing is going to change.
The deck is stacked – not that it matters – because you and I aren’t even in the game.
We live in an environment where we pay exorbitant taxes for substandard or non-existent public services (don’t take my word for it, take a drive on the beachside, or mid-town, or Ridgewood Avenue, etc.). Only to see our hard-earned dollars skimmed off or openly given away to insiders and power brokers who could care less about you, your family, or the community we call home.
The ‘system’ has become horribly addicted to our money. And like any junkie I ever knew, the only thing it truly gives a shit about is the habit. Tax, spend with the right people, repeat.
If we are to be brutally robbed by the same treacherous scum day-after-day, year-after-year, whose fault is it?
The thieves who prey on us?
Or ours, for tolerating it?