Most days I tend to agree with The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s editorial take on the issues of the day – but Sunday’s no-holds-barred endorsement of the proposed half-cent sales tax increase was over-the-top.
Especially in light of their recent spot-on assessments of exactly why Volusia County voters have lost trust in the very governmental institutions that ostensibly exist to serve their best interests. . .
I mean, how can you shine a bright light on the backroom wrangling, the mini-moves and the sweetheart deals, then concede – “A “yes” vote is the best chance Volusia County has to get on track and work toward a better future for everyone. It’s an opportunity the county can’t afford to miss” – without any call for accountability or fiscal responsibility from those who got us into this mess in the first place?
“The plan is not perfect, but we don’t see a better alternative”?
Somehow, I knew in my heart-of-hearts it was coming – but when I actually saw it in print, with “‘Yes’ on sales tax” blaring in bold typeface – my heart sank, and, like many of you, I was overcome by a sense of melancholy with the realization that “independent” journalism and editorial freedom is a fallacy in this bastardized oligarchy that has replaced our sacred representative democracy here on Florida’s Fun Coast.
I could be wrong (and I sincerely hope I am) but with all 16 municipalities in lockstep and everyone who is anyone in Volusia County business and industry champing at the bit for the big payday they just know is coming – did anyone think our newspaper of record wouldn’t eventually be onboard as well?
I get it. The News-Journal supports this tax scam for the same reason the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce does – because, what the hell else are they going to do?
Speak truth to power?
Question the true motivations of the infamous Dr. Kent Sharples and his cabal of billionaires?
Whip the disillusioned villagers into a hysterical frenzy with a bold headline reporting that our local system of governance has been hijacked by a passel of incompetent shitheels with no strategic vision beyond lining the pockets of their political benefactors?
Right. . .
Expect to see more of the same when the deluge of social media and direct mail campaigns heat up in coming weeks – agitprop paid for by the very same people who stand to benefit most from this tax pass-through when the proposed tax funds filter from our pocket to theirs.
Trust me. This wave of misinformation and empty promises is just getting started.
From its inception, the marketing strategy for this shameless sales tax increase has been a discombobulated mess – a slapstick of errors, missteps and good old-fashioned fuck-ups that resulted in the measure being pulled from the general election ballot last year in the eleventh-hour.
The initiative was resurrected after the Volusia CEO Business Alliance determined that a sufficient majority of their shills had been returned to office after the election, then set about saddling residents with a $490,000 special election – a first of its kind “mail in” ballot with “secure” drop off locations at area city halls – and so many other irregularities that many are already calling the referendum a bald-faced sham.
Add to that the revelation that the much-ballyhooed citizen oversight committee – the strategically added regulatory provision that we were promised would ensure our compromised elected officials allocate taxpayer funds appropriately by “holding their feet to the fire” – is no more than a toothless watchdog, with “no decision-making authority,” who will serve at the pleasure of the very politicians they were commissioned to regulate.
Don’t take my word for it – read the proposed ordinance.
Now, we’re supposed to be fooled by the reappearance of the long-dead, highly controversial push to consolidate municipal fire department’s under Volusia County’s tattered umbrella of overpriced and understaffed emergency services – and not recognize this as a patented feint maneuver designed to distract us from these horribly telegraphed final efforts to get this tax increase across the goal line?
How dumb do they think we are?
Smart people have come to the realization that Volusia County is the realm of a few ‘Rich & Powerful’ insiders who maintain their grip on power by underwriting the political campaigns of hand-select candidates for local office – then controlling them like the wooden puppets they are.
It’s sad to watch once proud “public servants” prostrate themselves before their masters like the slavish tools they are – wallowing in mediocrity, pissing good money after bad to all the right last names, giving away our traditional natural amenities and destroying our quality of life in the name of greed.
If nothing else, this wholly mismanaged shit show has served as a tableau of ineptitude – a gross representation of why much of the Halifax area remains a quagmire of blight, dilapidation and hopelessness – and why the wild, unchecked growth underway in “new” Daytona west of I-95 exemplifies how political insiders are allowed to haul massive profits out of the pine scrub – while you and I pay for the predictable impacts.
In my view, most thinking people are coming to the realization that this grossly expensive special election will be about much more than a money-grubbing sales tax.
It will be a referendum on the future direction of Volusia County – to include our compromised elected officials, the way our local governments are administered and the influence of special interests in the political process – a final demarcation from the ‘business as usual’ that has seen the needs of the many brutally sacrificed for the benefit of the few.
In the end, many budding political careers will be steaming wreckage in the political fast lane – written off by their uber-wealthy manipulators as collateral damage of a failed attempt to get their grubby hands on a $42-million annual windfall. . .
At the end of the day, I believe this vote will be a resounding indictment of those individuals and institutions who ignored their best instincts and succumbed to the slimy motivations of a few well-heeled insiders with a profit motive – who sold out their constituents for the promise of a few crumbs of a much larger pie – and destroyed the public’s trust in the process.
I hope you will join me this afternoon on GovStuff Live with Big John – 1380am The Cat – or on-line at www.govstuff.org (Listen Live button). We’ll be discussing the proposed half-cent sales tax and taking your calls on other issues of vital importance to our lives and livelihoods here on Florida’s Fun Coast.