Like water, anger and frustration cannot be compressed.
These forces are incredibly strong, but when properly focused – like in hydraulic systems – negative emotions can be used to affect positive change. However, if allowed to reach critical pressures, these feelings will eventually cause irreparable damage to your health and mental stability.
These corrosive feelings begin when you discover entrenched issues that have a direct impact on your family, your livelihood, and the greater community – yet, you feel helpless to intervene.
In Volusia County, this feeling of vulnerability is becoming more prevalent as taxpayers realize that our core needs are being ignored in favor of the wants of an influential few.
People are awakening to the fact we are ruled by a bastardized system that rewards mediocrity and fiscal irresponsibility, so long as the right people are allowed open access to the public teat.
Please understand, the ‘system’ is specifically designed for self-protection and perpetuation.
Like a cancer cell, county government rapidly adapts to threats to the status quo. That process includes marginalizing opposition, suppressing dissent, and rewarding incompetent enablers all while feeding voraciously on its long-suffering host.
If you read Barker’s View, you are obviously a thinking person.
I’m not blowing smoke up your ass.
People who reason critically and view the world around them with an analytic eye tend to read and evaluate differing points-of-view – including alternative opinions that are counter to official political posturing.
If you do this regularly, the exercise reveals that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Last week saw the final goodbyes of Volusia County Chairman Jason Davis and council members Doug Daniels and Josh Wagner.
Look, I didn’t always agree with Mr. Daniel’s politics – and he pissed me off more than once during the beach driving wars – but I always felt his heart was pure and I believe he worked hard in the public interest.
Plus, he has that snarky sense of humor I like. He never took himself too seriously.
In keeping with the professionalism he demonstrated during his tenure, Mr. Daniels did not attend the ‘Theater of the Absurd’ that was this council’s final meeting.
Too bad Wagner and Davis didn’t show the same class.
After distributing various parting gifts – and playing a self-aggrandized ‘video montage’ prepared (no doubt) at our expense by county staff – Mr. Wagner breached the decorum of the council chambers and confirmed his narcissistic “look at me” obsession when he brought out a guitar and forced his family to join him in a butchered version the Billy Joel standard “We didn’t start the fire.”
Seriously. It was weird.
Don’t take my word for it, go watch it on YouTube – just know that it’s a minute-and-a-half of your life you’ll never get back.
If there is a positive – Josh Wagner, the poster boy for term limits and perhaps the most openly crooked politician to ever grace the local stage – is out-of-office. I hope he enjoys his new beachfront home as much as I enjoy the fact he no longer directs public funds.
Unfortunately, two bright spots in county government – Sheriff Ben Johnson and Property Appraiser Morgan Gilreath – are also departing after many years of exemplary service to the citizens of Volusia County. I’m truly sorry that the public send-off for these good and faithful public servants was lumped in with the likes of Josh Wagner and that cartoon character, Jason Davis.
It didn’t seem right to me.
I hope that their families and respective organizations hold more intimate retirement commemorations for Sheriff Johnson and Mr. Gilreath. Their service deserves better.
After Wagner’s over-the-top, maggot-gagging hoopla was complete, the sitting members of the council “evaluated” the respective performance of County Manager Jim Dinneen and County Attorney Dan Eckert.
In their last sloppy “Fuck you” to the good citizens of Volusia County – perhaps the most dysfunctional and ineffective county council ever to convene – voted to give Dinneen and Eckert 3% pay raises.
This brings ‘Mean Little’ Jimmy Dinneen’s total compensation package to approximately $375,000 annually.
You read that right. $375,000.00.
I encourage everyone to play a little game. Go on-line and research where Dinneen’s base salary – $241,793 – compares with other public administrators around the nation.
It’s fun. Go on, give it a try.
Start with the Vice President of the United States ($230,700) and end with the Mayor of New York City ($225,000).
Don’t forget, the national average for a government chief executive is about $190,000.
The very first blog post I brought to this forum appeared January 1, 2016. It was entitled, “Really?”
In that first crude attempt to bring you my jaundiced opinion on the issues and newsmakers of the day, I wrote in disgust how the Volusia County council ignored reality and gifted Dinneen and Eckert with pay raises.
Now, just one-year later, here we are back at square one.
In what has become a mere formality, prior to gobbling up his $7,000.00 compounding treat like a trained seal catching a sardine, Mr. Dinneen rattled off a laundry list of rehashed “accomplishments” (interestingly, these were the same dubious ‘achievements’ that every other government or taxpayer funded organization in the county has taken credit for this year).
During the Dinneen/Eckert love-fest, Delusional Deb Deny’s cooed, “We are good hands legally, we are in good hands with management and we are in good shape financially.”
With the exception, you can’t fund infrastructure repairs and replacement without a tax increase.
With the exception, you can’t find a compassionate solution to the homeless problem.
With the exception, you have a toxic relationship with literally every municipality in the county.
With the exception, you continue to throw massive amounts of public funds at private interests with no expectation of a return on investment.
With the exception, you – oh, the hell with it. You get the gist.
I guess Deb doesn’t frequent the same parts of Volusia County that I do. . .
After ensuring a very Merry Christmas for Mr. Dinneen, the council turned their generous affection toward County Attorney Dan Eckert, who spent most of the past year suing his own constituents.
Yep. Dan got 3% – bringing his annual salary to $211,951.00.
Rather than caution Mr. Eckert to stop abusing his authority, drop the extended lawsuits and appeals against grassroots community organizations, or quit serving as a high-paid thug every time the county council feels the need to punish a dissenting voice – our own Pat “Sleepy Time” Patterson took his one opportunity for an honest performance evaluation to suggest Mr. Eckert wear blue jeans on ‘Casual Friday.’
I used to laugh when our elected leadership said shit like that – but I don’t anymore.
In perhaps the best analogy of the day, our goofy comic strip caricature, Jason Davis, showed those assembled in the council chambers his own farewell video: Fittingly, it was a horse’s ass riding off into the sunset.
And I’m not talking about his mount.
Good riddance – and thanks for nothing.
Stupidity deserves no sympathy.