Congratulations Volusia!

On Tuesday, We, The People overwhelmingly decided that enough is enough!

After a protracted and incredibly expensive public/private marketing effort culminated in a weird, $490,000 mail-in ballot scheme designed to give the half-cent sales tax money grab it’s best chance of passage – Volusia County voters roundly rejected a strong push by a cabal of uber-wealthy opportunists and their hired chattel on the County Council and municipal commissions up-and-down the Fun Coast.

For the first time in decades, voters sent a clear message to our ‘powers that be’ and their “Rich & Powerful” overseers that there is some shit we won’t eat.

In my view, the only positive to emerge from this incredibly expensive and time-consuming fiasco is that many in Volusia County are beginning to question how much longer we can afford this level of external manipulation of our sacred systems of governance by politically connected insiders who have clearly demonstrated just how pervasive their influence truly is.

Clearly, Volusia County voters are slowly awakening to the real threat posed by this oligarchical control of our government processes – and that should scare the hell out of petty politicians who have now been exposed as little more than two-bit shills for entrenched special interests – while blatantly ignoring the needs and wants of their long-suffering constituents.

Many politicians and hangers-on in Volusia County politics were caught flatfooted on this one.

It seems they never understood the basic flaw in their “No Plan B” strategy that painted them as visionless shit-heels who lack the skills to identify the myriad problems that accompany unchecked growth – or the basic ingenuity to develop workable solutions beyond taxing the eyeballs out of every man, woman, child and visitor.

In the aftermath, our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley, is apparently still trying to grasp the reality of his situation:

“It was not anything personal. It was about taking care of the needs we’ve been facing, that we’ve been putting off.”

To those of us who, for years, have been ignored, expected to pay the bills and endure the corporate giveaways, inadequate impact fee structure purposely designed to profit their political benefactors in the real estate development community, and the craven spending habits and favoritism of those compromised puppets we elected to represent our interests – it has been incredibly personal.

I just hope Old Ed was looking at his watch last night as the returns were announced – because it’s not every politician who knows the exact second his career ended. . .

Just do the right thing, Ed – Resign.  Step aside.  Make way.  Slink off to that smoldering ash heap where cheap-jack politicians go once they have been exposed for who and what they truly are. . .

Look, I try to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat – but this one just feels good.

And it should.

For far too long the residents of Volusia County have taken it on the chin – trapped in a system they can neither understand nor escape – struggling in an artificial economy controlled by the same five people passing the same nickel around – where public policy is decided in boardrooms by those with the ability to pay-to-play, then rubber-stamped by politicians hand-selected in backrooms, anointed by “kingmakers,” and financed by massive campaign contributions that skew the political playing field and ensure a handsome return on investment.

Unfortunately, the problems of suburban sprawl, inadequate transportation infrastructure, water quality and the devastating environmental impacts of unchecked growth are real – and they are not going away.

But, this is what it feels like to finally negotiate from a position of power.

That’s what elections are all about.

Now, the true test will be if we can use this incredible grassroots momentum to return accountability to the halls of power and restore the public’s trust in local government in 2020?



6 thoughts on “Congratulations Volusia!

  1. Mark,

    I spoke to you the other night at the Bel Air community meeting in the Schnebly Center.

    Judge Case ruled against our short term rental business. Now, if we want to continue to pay for our homes by renting them out to strangers, we have to go underground putting our properties back on the website slate at night when the code enforcers are not looking and taking them off early in the mornings. It has become more difficult than ever. Not sure if the hotels paid her off or if she just didn’t want to make waves here in town and figured we would run an appeal to state level. Just thought you’d like to know. Call me anytime. 386 334 8904


    1. While I hold a substantial amount of empathy with local rental property owners and their struggle to bring our tourism real estate market into 21st century methods of putting heads into all kinds of beds (and thus, collecting lots of new revenue for all of us), I can attest without reservation to the integrity of Judge Case. Anyone who has had the privilege to know this outstanding public servant would openly belly laugh at the notion that she could be bought by our local, silly-ass Hotel/Motel lobby.


  2. Mark, you should take some time to gloat. You and a few others deserve the majority of the credit for this huge victory for the underdog…the average Volusia count taxpayer. By exposing the behind the scenes motivations for this blatant money grab and the players behind it, you have done the citizenry a great service. Thank you my friend.
    B. Smith Ormond Beach


  3. Local and county officials…. start listening to your constituents and stop treating us like uninformed dolts who are merely financial resources for your personal agendas.

    We should be treated as educated and experienced partners with the unified goal of making our communities safe and environmentally sound.

    This is the first step in recognizing the gap between leadership and constituency. Let’s work together to close this gap.


  4. The county manager said, “We didn’t do a good enough job educating the people.”

    Ed Kelley said, “We should try again in 2020.

    I agree… you can put it back on the ballot in 2020 as long as you put a recall vote on the same ballot of every member of the council that voted to waste a half a million dollars on us ignorant voters.


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