On Volusia: The Trials of Heather Post

Why is it we always find a way to make an ass out of ourselves whenever we have guests over?

On the very morning of our world-famous “Daytona 500 Day” – with all its spectacle and pageantry – and the sense of excitement that only comes from 40 rolling billboards, driven by no-name adolescent’s making left turns for 500-miles, can generate – we open the newspaper and read about the latest brouhaha between the uber-weird District 4 County Councilwoman Heather Post and her “colleagues” on the dais of power in DeLand.

How embarrassing. . .

Last Saturday morning, Councilwoman Post hosted something she self-described as “Government 101” – a “Meeting for Citizens to Engage Themselves in This Critical Process.”

Now, I have no idea what that means, but Post apparently wanted an opportunity to lecture her weary constituents on how “local city commissions and county councils work, how bills are enacted at the state level, and the process to amend the Florida Constitution.”

Didn’t hear about it?

That’s okay – apparently no one else did either.

According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, about eight people showed up.

Look – God bless her – at least Heather tried to educate us bumpkins on how this bastardized oligarchical kleptocracy we call governance here on the Fun Coast functions.  That’s more than most in county government have done.

For her trouble, a couple of Post’s fellow elected officials on the Volusia County Council made it clear that any attempt to break ranks – violate the ancient Code of Omerta – and engage with constituents will be met with faux outrage and an overweening sense of officious superiority that only these preening assholes can muster.

After all, the idea of communicating with citizens, opening a dialog or allowing those who pay the bills some limited input – or even insight – into the murky intrigue that passes for “the people’s business” is anathema to County Manager Jim Dinneen’s administration.

Make no mistake, Mr. Dinneen – at the physical direction of those wealthy political insiders who set public policy while feeding greedily at the public trough – personally controls everything but the ebb and flow of the Atlantic tide here in Volusia County.

In my view, our County Manager is a cheap bag man – a Teflon coated facilitator – who enjoys the political protection of those who pour hundreds-of-thousands of green dollars into the campaign accounts of those cut-rate whores we elect to represent our interests – and it serves no purpose to allow taxpayers even a hint at what happens behind the curtain.

Perhaps Mrs. Post’s most egregious sin on Saturday came when she was mildly critical of Mr. Dinneen’s gross ineptitude and inability to properly manage a 2011 contract with an out-of-state information technology company that utterly failed – for seven years –  to implement a computer program for the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Seven years.

Ultimately, Jimmy’s little oversight cost you and I $117,000.

So, when Mrs. Post’s fellow elected officials were made aware of her seminar – and her public reproach of county management – in typical fashion, they circled the wagons and dramatically overreacted.

For instance, the always arrogant Councilwoman Deb Denys – whose District 3 seat is up for reelection this year – complained in the News-Journal that Post’s symposium was more of a “PR stunt than ‘Government 101.’”

Jesus.  That’s rich.

In my view, the most shameless self-promotion in recent memory came earlier this month when Deb – a demonstrable liar with a history of saying one thing to her constituents, then doing another when it comes time to vote – feigned interest in discussing impact fees for transportation infrastructure, knowing full-well what the result of that empty exercise would be.

Then, in perhaps the most egregious display of political pomposity since his autarchic suggestion that the City Island library be “relocated” and the property used for speculative development, our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley, took a cheap swipe:

Speaking of Mrs. Post’s meeting in the News-Journal, Old Ed said, “I had not heard that” (which is not unusual, there are a lot of things Mr. Kelley conveniently doesn’t hear about) “I think you’d want someone explaining that who’d had a little bit more than a year of experience on the council.” 

“This should have been something discussed in a council meeting.  I guess I can go host a talk show now.”

My God – only a perennial/professional small-minded local politician could have uttered such a damnably arrogant slight against a fellow sitting official.  And since when does a duly elected member of the county council need to ask permission to engage with those she represents at a community forum?

(For the record, Ed – the reason you can’t host a talk show has nothing to do with Mrs. Post’s community meeting – and everything to do with the fact you’re a scatterbrained dullard who hasn’t had an original thought since you accepted your first campaign contribution.)

Look, I don’t agree with much of anything that Heather Post says or does – she fancies herself a maverick, yet votes in lock-step with the majority of the council on any given issue, especially in matters involving the wants of developers – but we do find common ground on a couple of thoughts she expressed – “It is the people’s responsibility to ensure that we (elected officials) are doing the best job possible.  We need people to keep us accountable.”

I also agree with Mrs. Post when she states, “I’m not a politician.” 

That’s true.  She’s not a politician.

She’s an uber-weird show-boater with a ‘look-at-me’ complex – but since when has that personality quirk prohibited anyone from holding public office?

In fact, its become a prerequisite.

In my view, this on-going spit-spat between Heather Post and the rest of the council is indicative of much larger, and certainly much darker, issues in county government.

When a goofy public affairs forum, attended by a handful of civic-minded people, results in this level of official outrage and petty personal assaults by what passes for our senior elected “leadership,” in my view, it exposes the depths to which this administration will stoop to silence internal dissent, marginalize opposition and ensure that the light of day never sees the cloistered maneuverings and shadowy collusion of those political insiders who truly control our lives and livelihoods in Volusia County.


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