On Volusia: An Issue of Trust

Why is it so difficult for Volusia County politicians to accept the will of the people and move on?

Regardless of the question, when We, The People use our sacred vote to choose how we wish to be governed, oppose entrenched power structures or express our shared disapproval for dubious measures that enrich the few at the expense of the many – we are invariably second-guessed and formally challenged by those we have elected and appointed to represent our interests.

If the electoral system is the foundation of our hallowed representative democracy – a regulated process that allows the governed to share power with those we elect through political accountability – then what do we call it when our elected policymakers ignore our collective will and fight to overturn our decisions with protracted legal actions (while using our money to pay for their arrogant folly) – or simply cycle the question through repetitive election cycles until their desired outcome is achieved?

In the aftermath of the Volusia County sales tax initiative – a failed plan that asked long-suffering taxpayers to suspend reality and lavish a $42 million annual windfall on the same compromised politicians and entrenched bureaucrats that created this quagmire of overburdened transportation and utilities infrastructure by rubber stamping massive development without any concern for the devastating impacts of unchecked growth – it’s clear many of our elected officials are still not mentally prepared to accept our decision.

You see, in their cloistered world high atop the Ivory Tower of Power – you and I are too stupid to understand the significance of the problems we face – or the importance of allowing the same dullards who created this mess even deeper access to our pocketbooks as they try in vain to find a workaround to their previous handiwork.


Immediately after the results of the “special” mail-in only referendum (the brainchild of a privately-funded, first of its kind scheme concocted by government contractors and others who stood to benefit most) that cost Volusia County taxpayers an obscene $490,000, our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley, began discussing the option of resurrecting the half-cent sales tax question on the 2020 ballot.

This week, The Daytona Beach News-Journal ran a very informative Community Voices column penned by my incredibly smart friend, Mike Scudiero – our areas preeminent political consultant and analyst – who offered a cogent road map for sour grapes politicians who remain intent on ignoring the will of their long-suffering constituents.

Mr. Scudiero hit all the high points – explaining the mechanics of crafting a better argument for taxing the eyeballs out of every man, woman and child in Volusia County at the point of sale – to include fashioning a more transparent plan, providing a factual accounting showing exactly how much of the burden will be borne by tourists, being inclusive of tax-wary Republicans and touting the “Come on, everybody’s doing it!” philosophy that the increase would bring us in line with fifty other Florida counties. . .

What Mr. Scudiero’s strategy failed to consider – or counter – is the fact that the vast majority of Volusia County residents have lost total confidence in this compromised cabal of political marionettes that populate the seats of power on the Volusia County Council and beyond.

The “Trust Issue” is the one aspect of this sordid debacle that even the incredibly influential  Volusia CEO Business Alliance can’t throw enough money at.

And absolutely nothing has changed. . .

Despite the fact the electoral deck has been stacked against us – with staggered terms and other pernicious protections designed to ensure the status quo survives – I believe the one positive lesson resulting from this monstrously expensive fiasco is that we can protect our interests and bring positive change through the power of the ballot box.

Perhaps it is time Volusia County voters begin the process of exercising our will – and replace this contemptible oligarchy that has, by design, ensured that the self-serving wants of the uber-wealthy puppeteers who deftly manipulate the rods and cables of government always outweigh the needs of those who are expected to pay the bills.

Let’s return a sense of sanity and restore the public trust in our local government.





3 thoughts on “On Volusia: An Issue of Trust

  1. The whole pseudo-argument of how much tourists will pay what percentage negates the fact, that no matter what and however a number is derived at, that 100% of Volusia residents will live under an increased tax (upon an already existing tax) 100% of the time end of story.

    The entire “tourists will pay” thing is pure marketing gimmickry.

    Just like the “no plan B” is pure hackneyed marketing — you see, on a ballot question, never give the voters a hint of any other option; kudos to the political consultant in making that fallacy a talking point.

    PS: Barker I’m reading too much of your stuff, look how wordy this post is!


  2. Mark, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the shout-out. You are a gentleman (no matter what some people may think!!!) and a pro. I felt that way from your HHPD days when we first met. And so you know, I agree on the trust issue. It is not a point lost on me, by any means. I think part of what I wrote for the NJ and that I could have clarified better, is that the 57,000 people who voted against the tax are probably a lost cause for anyone trying to get this thing passed a second time around, and the fact that turnout will be higher in a general election certainly helps, but clearly as you note, the trust issue is one that won’t go away just because the turnout increases. The transparency I was suggesting be employed here is long overdue, on many fronts. As always, you bring up good points and a fair argument. Keep swinging away out there!


  3. “…and the fact that turnout will be higher in a general election certainly helps…”

    A potential higher turnout? Every registered voter both dead and alive, made out of whole cloth or moved long ago, were mailed a ballot.


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