Volusia Politics: Rewarding Mediocrity

Have you noticed that everyone who is anyone in the Halifax area is getting an award this season?

Hey, don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy a good tribute to my own self-importance as much as the next guy.

Heck, I’ve got a whole “I Love Me” wall at Barker’s View HQ.

It’s anchored by the things I am most proud of, my Honorable Discharge at one end – and Nola’s graduation certificate from “Puppy School” at the other.

(Unfortunately, she couldn’t walk with her class after a disastrous misstep on the “Sit/Stay” test.  God bless her, she tried.  Eventually, Nola gave a reasonable showing and she was granted her sheepskin, minus honors. . .)

I think she holds a grudge, though.

Every time we go to Pet Smart, she has a bowel movement – half her body weight – near the Puppy School campus.  Every time.

Letting them know what she thinks of their dubious ‘academic standards’ I guess.

Nola lives the opulent life of Queen Nefertiti – spoiled in every respect – but she’s a Holly Hill Cur at heart.  And you know the saying, “You can take the girl out of Holly Hill, but you can’t take the Holly Hill out of the girl.”

I love her to death.

Nola Mae

Look, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but when the awards season comes to an end – you and I won’t be standing atop the podium, rubbing shoulders and slapping backs with the muckety-mucks.

So, don’t look for your name to be called when the illustrious “J. Saxton Lloyd Distinguished Community Service Award” or the coveted “Lou Fuchs Outstanding Leadership Award” is bestowed.  (I’m pretty sure Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Fuchs would be mortified if they could see the condition of the community they helped build.) 

No.  All we’re getting is another shit sandwich.

Just shut up and know your role, John Q.

But don’t get discouraged.  The point is that those who think they so richly deserve these accolades (mainly the rich) are actively working to make our lives infinitely better by encouraging our elected officials to give away our tax dollars to their uber-wealthy corporate friends who promise to create “good jobs” in Volusia County.

Hooray for us?  I guess.

Why, just last week I read where those election-rigging Russians are going to solve all our woes with a brand-new skyscraper of a hotel/conference center that will stand out like a huge shining Opal in the squalid dumpster fire that is our beachside.

We’ll all be swimming in it (not the pool, that’s for guests) – and relishing our new ‘hospitality jobs’ cleaning motel rooms, parking cars and tidying up the landscaping.

Milk and Honey, baby.

I sure hope so.

In the meantime, our power-elite are busying themselves passing around the same self-aggrandizing honors at high-end banquets and “public/private” galas.

And one things for sure – they don’t want We, the People, anywhere near them.

They only need us to pick-up the bill when it arrives – that’s what “public/private” means.

I recently read where the well-to-do Old Guard of the Civic League of the Halifax Area honored Glenn Ritchey, Peter Heebner and Dr. P.T. “Bud” Fleuchaus for their recent work on the Volusia County Charter Review Committee.

I’m assuming they received the “James T. Dinneen Award for Protecting the Status Quo” medal?

To be honest, I’m not sure what the once venerated Civic League actually does these days – except “study” the issues – oh, and give each other pretty plaques.

In addition to the “Award Recipients” section, the Civic League’s website is resplendent with haughty, league-funded studies entitled, “The Public Pension Crisis” (of which yours truly is the poster boy), “The Fire Study” –  An independent and objective study of fire rescue services in Volusia County (updated January 19, 2011?), and “The Tourism Report,” which concludes, “There is a need for leadership in government and the private sector to assist in accomplishing our common goals of the revitalization of the tourism industry and our quality of life for the area. Therefore, the Civic League must take an active role on these issues, especially working with the City and County in the redevelopment of the ISB gateway.

Obviously, the ‘tourism study’ hasn’t been updated in a while.

I guess the Civic League is big on suggestions – not so much on the whole “leadership” thing anymore.

Earlier this month, Team Volusia, the tax funded conduit for corporate welfare, held their annual gala dinner at the posh Mori Hosseini Center.  They used the occasion to trot out Team Volusia’s new three-year ‘strategic plan’ – Strategy for Success – for which we paid $55,000+ to a firm in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Little Rock.  I don’t make this shit up, folks. . .

Next month the Daytona Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their “97th Annual Gala” featuring guest speaker Nancy Grace – yes, that Nancy Grace – the viciously evil crone who embodies all that’s wrong with cable news.

She’ll be proselytizing to our assembled ‘movers and shakers’ on “Personal Inspiration and Motivation – Overcoming Obstacles.” 

Really?  Really.       

In addition, the upper-crust will make a few speeches and paint a pseudo-reality – all pap, no substance – doing their level-best to convince us yokels that our local economic outlook is peaches and cream.

At the end of the evening, those in attendance will “network” at the feted Dessert Reception, hosted by NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway, “featuring coffee, a multitude of dessert options, and more networking.”

Valet parking will be provided by Mori Hosseini’s own ICI Homes.

How absolutely Swellegant!

I don’t know about you, but I’ll savor that thought while I’m heating up my Swanson TV dinner.

Look, I know that I’m one of those “foul-mouthed east-Volusia naysayers” you hear so much about.  A degenerate malcontent who keeps pointing out the flaws in the sow’s ear and bringing unwanted attention to the perennial problems our power brokers try so hard to pretend don’t exist.

But, is it possible that I’m the only one on the “Fun Coast” who is sick and tired of the abject wasteland that is our core tourist district?  Or who sees the horror show that is the east ISB ‘gateway’, Midtown, or the Ridgewood Avenue commercial corridor, which increasingly looks like a scene from the zombie apocalypse (seriously)?

Leadership awards?

My God.

Maybe some civic-minded organization will smell the coffee and honor us with special recognition – the long-suffering taxpayers of Volusia County – the great unwashed hordes who continue to fight the good fight and struggle to make a living, serve the public, build a business,  swing a hammer, treat the sick, respond to emergencies, provide care, park cars, report the news, tend bar, serve food, mow grass, raise a family, and contribute their time and talents to make a viable community despite the self-serving efforts of our elected and appointed officials – and the blue-chip puppeteers who control our destiny.

Don’t hold your breath.

I think Nola has the right idea after all.

Dos Vedanya, y’all.



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