On Volusia: The Pageant of Power

I think most people who are still paying attention have come to the realization that our elected officials on the Volusia County Council aren’t the “best and brightest” we have to offer.

Not by a long shot.

But they know how to take direction, and their malleable situational ethics combine with a high opinion of themselves to make them the perfect tools for the uber-wealthy political insiders who manipulate public policy through the infusion of massive campaign contributions into local elections – and by providing political protection for what passes for county management.

When I began this experiment in alternative opinion blogging, one of my first sorties into county politics was an aptly headed piece entitled, “Qui Bono?” (Who Benefits?) expressing my frustration with Volusia County for its apparent inability to recognize that the base problem with the proposed half-cent sales tax initiative isn’t so much the tariff itself – everyone sees the need for transportation infrastructure – it is the fact that our elected and appointed officials in the county seat have lost basic credibility with their constituents.

I later updated my original screed when it became apparent this money grubbing tax wasn’t going away.

(Find it here: https://barkersview.org/2017/04/11/on-volusia-qui-bono-redux/ )

The bottom line is, We, The People, simply don’t trust them anymore.

And why should we?

Name one damned thing this clique of bought-and-paid-for political Muppets have done that would engender the confidence of their long-suffering constituents?

Go ahead, I’ll wait. . .

The fact is, time-and-time again, the members of the Volusia County Council have proven what they are – a rubber stamp for massive “economic development” incentives paid like clockwork to their wealthy campaign donors – spineless politicians (in the loosest sense of the word) who have no qualms about pissing backwards on campaign promises (remember your emotional assurance to NEVER vote to remove vehicles from behind the Hard Rock, Ms. Denys?  I do.)

Add to that the countless instances where our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley, and his fellow elected dullards, have bent over, en masse, to accommodate the needs, wants and whims of yet another flimsy speculative developer by giving away the people’s century-old heritage of beach driving and access in exchange for a parking lot and another tasteless theme hotel.

Now that elected officials in all of Volusia’s 16 municipalities have followed the strict edict of those self-serving quadrillionaire’s over at the CEO Business Alliance and resolved to support the county’s half-cent cash snatch – the majority of our elected marionettes on the County Council are demanding that they grovel before the Dais of Power in DeLand and formally beg the Monarchy to put the initiative on the ballot this fall.

No shit.

(As though wild horses could keep Little Jimmy Dinneen from getting his obscene tax plan before the voters, right?)

Just when you thought these arrogant, morally bankrupt assholes couldn’t sink lower – they reached whale turd depths when they demanded that a representative from each city bow their heads and parade before them, hat in hand, like the slavish vassals they have become, to demonstrate lock-step support for strapping every man, woman and child of the third highest taxed county in Florida with an even heavier burden.

Why?

Because they were told to.  That’s why.

You see, the High Panjandrums of Political Power that call the shots here on the Fun Coast don’t limit their campaign contributions to just county elections – and if the cities want their share of the crumbs left after Volusia County takes the lion’s share – they will do as they are told and prostrate themselves before their superiors in a pathetic display of “solidarity.”

In my view, the ultimate goal of this shameless scam of a tax increase is to ensure that all the right last names have an even larger pool of our hard-earned cash from which to fund private projects, provide access to their mega-developments, or perhaps erect another phallic symbol to their own self-importance in the form of a glass and steel office building with their name at the top.

Disgusting.

I mean, the backroom deals and cream skimming has gotten so out-of-hand in Volusia County that we now need something they’re calling a “sales tax oversight advisory committee” to ensure that our elected officials follow the rules and spend transportation infrastructure funds as they were intended.

Jesus.  What are we becoming?

I find it interesting that South Daytona City Manager Joe Yarborough – the longest serving manager in Volusia County – who coordinated this tax sham with the other municipalities –  acquiesced to this bullshit and agreed to debase his city council, and the residents of his community, by supporting this repugnant pageant of fealty to Volusia County?

My hope is that our municipal officials will search around the dusty corners of their various City Hall’s and find what’s left of their civic pride and dignity – then reject this lurid display of sycophantic groveling before their masters in DeLand.

My God.  Show some fucking backbone.

In my view, this orchestrated display of kneeling before the King’s Court sets the wrong tone and further weakens the independence of the municipalities and their right to self-determination.

To any city official within earshot:

Show some pride, dammit.

I guarantee the act of kissing the county council’s collective ass in an open public meeting won’t convince one more long-suffering citizen of Volusia County – you know, your cash-strapped constituents who work hard at the menial scullery jobs available in our artificial economy – to support the pilferage of one more nickel for our Rich & Powerful overseers.

 

 

4 thoughts on “On Volusia: The Pageant of Power

  1. Good post Barker, the $.05 tax increase will never pass, all I speak to say they will never vote for an open ended, non specific use tax.
    The County Council and City council do not listen to our opinions.
    I would like to have the County council meetings moved to start at 6 pm, this way us working folk would have a chance to speak verbally our opinions.
    This area of Volusia, is about to be deluged with the erection of approx. 19,000 new homes.
    Deland is becoming the same way-thousands of new homes going up. Where are our elected officals to slow this down?
    In Mr. Dineen’s defense, if I see something not right on and off the roads, I e mail him and it is usually corrected promptly. But to anticipate a $260,000,000. new County building is something this County can not afford. This County can do a lot with $260,000,000.

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  2. VCC announces first annual Volusia Bakeoff coming soon.
    This years theme “Let Them Eat Cake!”.

    The first 5 entrants will receive a complimentary can of soup distributed by Chairman Brown, current owner of Volusia County.

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  3. WHY NOT TO VOTE FOR THE ½ SALES TAX INCREASE:

    Volusia County is already one of the highest taxing counties in the State of Florida.

    County and local politicians giving nearly 90+ million of our tax dollars to millionaires and billionaires who heavily contribute back to their campaign accounts. Thus County and local tax dollars that should have been utilized to improve local roadways being given away to the rich and powerful.

    Millions of our County tax dollars going to a commuter rail system that was designed to take cars off of an interstate highway that is supposed to be funded with State and Federal funds. A commuter rail system we were foolishly railroaded into paying for forever by our County government. Thus local tax dollars being taken away from local road projects in order to help subsidize taking cars off of a State Highway.

    The fact we already have a 12 cent per gallon County Gas Tax in place that is supposed to be utilized for local and County roads.

    The fact the County’s politicians and bureaucrats bend over backward to push for and approve developments for their developer cronies. Developments that are the cause of the increased traffic that is now creating the need for road improvements yet they are unwilling to increase impact fees. Thus they want the rest of us to pay more while the developers line their pockets and fund the politicians’ political campaigns.

    An ECHO program full of broken promises, incomplete projects, with little accountability, and overseen by an appointed citizens board, the same type of board that is proposed to oversee the ½ sales tax program.

    The proposed quarter (+) billion dollar new Court House proposal. If there is a quarter of a billion dollars available for use, use it for road improvements.

    A ½ sales tax proposal that started out as being for roads and is now being proposed for infrastructure and various other things, thus leaving it wide open for the funding to be utilized for almost anything.

    Propaganda and scare tactics utilized by County Politicians and County Bureaucrats in order to gain public support for tax increases for County Fire Services and the same will be done for the sales tax.

    The removal of cars from the beach for the rich and influential against the wishes of the majority.

    The disdain that is shown to taxpayers, like me, by the County’s bureaucrats and politicians. (i.e. Emails that go unanswered, snide remarks made, and they put the wishes of the very few rich and the developers within our County first in front of the working class majority.)

    The overall distrust of our County Government. We have no voice and we have no representation. Our quality of life is not important to them. After Volusia County is turned into a Broward County, they will take all of the money and run from the mess they have created. It is the way things work. It could be called the Circle of Legal Corruption.

    Per Mayor Bob Apgar of DeLand “under State law the City can educate but we can’t advocate” for the ½ sales tax”, however, the Cities and County are getting around the law by teaming up with CEO Business Alliance who will be doing the advocating for the Cities and County and the County and several of the Cities will be engaging in an “educational campaign”.

    Let us not forget we are already paying an additional ½ sales tax for Volusia Schools along with the school property tax. Many of the large developments that are going in are for ages 55 and up and are being exempt from School Impact fees yet when many of our homes were built we paid the School Impact Fees even if we never had children attending Volusia Schools. We are also paying a County General Fund Tax, County Library Tax, Volusia Forever Tax, Volusia ECHO Tax, Volusia Forever I&S Tax, West Volusia Hospital Authority Tax, Volusia County StormWater Tax, a St. Johns Water Management Tax, a Florida Inland Navigation Tax, and if you live outside of a city you are paying a Volusia County Municipal Service tax and a Fire District Tax. If you live in a City you are paying City taxes and let us not forget as mentioned earlier you are paying that 12 cents per gallon of gas tax that is supposed to be utilized for roadways. We pay fees and taxes on our Cable, Internet, Phone, and Electric bills that go to the County and Cities. We pay sales tax, some of which comes back to the County and Cities, along with a plethora of other fees, fines, and hidden taxes that come back the County and Cities. Let us not forget all of the taxes we pay to the Federal government, some of which also make their way back to the County and Cities. And to add insult to injury, if we wish to enjoy two of the projects we were forced to help pay millions for, Tanger Mall and One Daytona, we will be forced to pay an additional tax called an Amenities Fee if we buy anything. AND NOW THEY SAY THEY NEED MORE! I think most of us are already paying our fair share.

    There is that point when our government will turn hard working and contributing members of our society into broken dependents of it and they will tax the poor to the point where they will never be able to climb the ladder out of poverty. The rich will continue to get richer on the backs of the poor and middle class until there is nothing more to take and they will move on. In Volusia County, the rich are the true parasites and honor and integrity has no place in politics.

    If they want economic development they need to get out of the way of it. Don’t attempt to choose the winners and looser, get out of the way by keeping taxes as low as possible and the winners will come and all of the citizens will prosper together. Higher taxes destroy the middle class, keep the poor people poor, and inhibit economic development.

    Thank You Mr. Barker for being our voice. Sadly they don’t care much about what any of us peasants have to say. I will now take my piece of proverbial cake and head back into my cave. And if you happen to run into old Ed Kelly please tell him for me…Thanks for the F^*&ing pal next time please use lube.

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