EXTRA! EXTRA! BIG MONEY WINS AGAIN!
Did anyone with two synapses still firing really think the outcome of Tuesday’s primary election would be different?
Just me? Whatever. . .
Look, it’s okay to have ‘Hope’ – it’s false hope that we must avoid – and make no mistake, this bastardized oligarchy that masquerades as governance here on Florida’s Fun Coast didn’t evolve overnight, and a lasting political solution is going to take time.
Despite the setbacks and slow pace, I believe change is in the air. Just don’t expect to wake up the morning after an election and find all the tinker toys miraculously in place.
That’s not the way it works – and there are hundreds-of-thousands of dollars why.
I’m certainly no political scientist – just another disgruntled asshole who is fed up with our collective condition in one of the highest taxed counties in the state of Florida – helplessly bearing witness while those we have placed our trust in piss good money after bad, then demand more.
A place with devastatingly low wages, an overwhelming sense of hopelessness among families –many of whom continue to live below the poverty line – where economically important areas of our county have taken on the appearance of a depression-era Hooverville, overrun with homeless mendicants with no where to go, all while political insiders and well-connected big money interests continue to receive massive corporate welfare, dubious ‘economic development’ incentives and direct access to the public tit.
Apparently, the majority of those who actually took the civic initiative to vote in Volusia County disagree with me (about 3 out of 10 registered voters) – and that’s okay. It’s democracy in action, and while I don’t have to agree with all of it, I accept the will of the electorate.
The fact is, it is difficult – if not impossible – in this political age to run an effective campaign against an uber-wealthy collective with the financial wherewithal to pour massive amounts of cash into the coffers of hand-select candidates who promise to maintain the status quo and protect the “system” – which allows the same five people to pass the same nickel around in this artificial economy we have allowed our ‘powers that be’ to create.
In my view, Tuesday’s primary results weren’t all doom and gloom.
Unfortunately, Jeff Brower – the hard-working candidate for the District 1 Volusia County Council seat against the well-financed incumbent “Sleepy” Pat Patterson, and West Volusia realtor Barbara Girtman – won’t be moving forward to November.
That’s a damnable shame.
In my view, Jeff ran a very clean, focused and energetic campaign – and his fundamental grasp of the issues and strong commitment to those things that make our area unique, such as our century-old tradition of beach driving, was refreshing.
The good news is, I don’t think we’ve heard the last from Jeff Brower – he’s in it for all the right reasons – and I believe committed citizens like Jeff represent the future of Volusia County.
Not unexpectedly, former Sheriff Ben Johnson won the at-large race against Rev. L. Ron Durham handily – and despite the fact his campaign was heavily financed by all the usual suspects – he has personally assured me that he will continue his legacy of public service as a representative of all citizens of Volusia County – not just the special interests who can afford to pay-to-play.
Time will tell.
In my many years of professional dealings with Ben, he has always been a man of his word, so I have no reason to doubt his sincerity. However, I don’t believe Councilman-elect Johnson is a change-agent either – and neither is the Right Reverend Fred Lowry – who was returned to his well-worn seat on the dais of power by District 5 voters.
Perhaps that lack of substantive change in DeLand is what appealed to voters?
It’s pretty clear to regular readers of this forum that I don’t agree with the direction of Volusia County – and no one ever accused me of having a “mainstream” view on the issues of the day – or a viable solution to the problems we face.
Maybe the idea of the “high information” voter is a fallacy, and people truly are moved more by the glossy mailers, newspaper ads and radio soundbites that money buys – rather than past performance – I don’t know – but the County Council results speak for themselves.
If yesterday’s primary was a bellwether of the general election in November – the “new” Volusia County Council will be almost indistinguishable from the “old” box of rocks.
Barker’s View would like to congratulate Holly Hill Mayor-elect Chris Via, and returning Commissioners Penny Currie, John Danio, Roy Johnson and John Penny on their well-deserved victories this week.
In my view, the Holly Hill City Commission embodies constituent trust in their elected leaders – and represents the kind of stability, leadership and civic continuity that entrepreneurial investors look for in community government.
I believe the best small town around is poised for great things over the next four years.
Congratulations to returning Volusia County Judge Dawn Fields, who – despite the nasty campaign rhetoric of her opponent – is exactly what we need on the bench, a thoughtful, caring and genuinely nice person who also happens to be a damn fine judge.
I was also delighted by Amy Pyle’s impressive showing in the Daytona Beach City Commission race. Her simple platform of putting neighborhoods first was obviously well-received – and we can all look for exciting things from Amy as her hard-fought campaign moves forward this fall.
Now, our focus turns to the ‘Big Dance’ – the general election in November – and the stakes have never been higher for places like Ormond Beach, New Smyrna and Deltona.
It’s going to be interesting, folks.
Buckle-up, we’ve got a bumpy ride ahead this fall.