Well, it would appear the Knights of the Roundtable – that goofy pseudo-government comprised of local mayors, managers, county officials and parasitic hangers-on – led by the secret society over at the Volusia CEO Business Alliance – still can’t accept the Will of the People. . .
Inexplicably, during Monday’s mid-day confab of our Templar’s of Taxation, the failed half-cent sales tax referendum was exhumed from it’s freshly tamped grave and laid upon the catafalque of public opinion, as our powerful political forces and farces attempted to reanimate its festering remains.
How utterly macabre?
Perhaps that’s why Volusia County failed to put the meeting’s agenda on their website in advance of the revelation?
Earlier this year, following an incredibly expensive “special election” – a weird mail-in ballot scheme which was ushered in on a full-frontal assault by our ‘powers that be’ and their friends at the CEO Alliance – We, The People overwhelmingly stood firm and screamed ‘Hell No’ to a pernicious plan which would have saddled every man, woman and child in Volusia County with a half-cent sales tax ostensibly for transportation and water-quality improvements.
By any analysis, the brutal death of this shameless money grab was due – almost exclusively – to the citizen’s utter disgust with the machinations of arrogant elected officials on the County Council and beyond – a sense of ostracism which has many feeling excluded and led to an almost universal distrust in local government.
What’s changed since the people spoke just six short months ago?
A moratorium on permitting and building massive “theme” and “lifestyle” communities on our sensitive wetlands and wildlife habitats?
Strict enforcement of fertilizer ordinances, strengthening development regulations or a stop to septic systems on new construction near delicate estuaries?
Have we stopped pumping partially treated effluent into the Halifax River?
Increased public transportation options to the mega-shopping areas on LPGA Boulevard and beyond to decrease vehicular traffic on our already overburdened roadways?
Moved to reduce spending as a means of funding critical infrastructure repair or transportation improvements beyond taxing the eyeballs out of Volusia County residents?
Seen a more responsive, transparent and communicative city and county government?
Discussed substantive changes to our perverse campaign finance system?
Commissioned an independent outside forensic audit of Volusia County government to alleviate taxpayer’s very real fear that we continue to hemorrhage money from orifices our elected and appointed officials don’t even know about?
Or – perhaps the worst example – following the least transparent selection process in governmental history, now County Manager George Recktenwald is set to announce he’s finally hiring the long-awaited “independent” Internal Auditor – one day after the sales tax initiative was resurrected? Really?
Unbelievably, some of our elected officials now want a full one cent tax.
The fact is, absolutely nothing has fundamentally changed – except our property taxes were drastically increased on a swollen Volusia County budget now approaching $1 Billion – and some municipalities are mysteriously finding unencumbered funds immediately after significantly raising taxes. . .
I don’t make this shit up, folks.
When will ‘No’ finally mean ‘No’?
These incompetent shitheels still think we are too stupid to understand that they desperately need the money for infrastructure improvements after painting themselves into a dark corner with over-development and a lack of appropriate impact fees or substantive growth management.
Trust me. We get it.
However, as clearly stated in the failed first attempt, we simply will not piss good money after bad with the same craven assholes who got us into the mess in the first place. . .
That’s a recipe for disaster – and no one should expect us to forgive, forget and hand over more of our hard-earned money to those who have proven unworthy of our sacred trust.
Look, there is little doubt our elected and appointed officials will continue to punish us like recalcitrant children with exorbitant property taxes and fees – and allow even more malignant sprawl to pressure our infrastructure – until We, The People cry out for mercy.
Perhaps that was the dog-whistle our always arrogant Volusia County Councilwoman Deb Deny’s sent to her “colleagues” on Monday when she screeched something about “tough decisions” and “political willpower”?
(As opposed to the abject political cowardice Deb exhibited when she haughtily demanded that each municipality prostrate themselves before the High Altar in DeLand and pledge support for the sales tax earlier this year?)
Political willpower? My ass. . .
Now, several dear friends of mine – intelligent, dedicated citizens whose opinions I trust – are of the opinion that a bottom-up approach – policed by an independent committee of responsible stakeholders who are not beholden to the special interests whose fingerprints were all over the original plan – can effectively carry a new referendum past wary voters then efficiently steward the millions in tax dollars resulting from their “new and improved” sales tax scheme.
I disagree. Vehemently.
You see, I come from a place that says, ‘Leopards don’t change their spots,’ and our current crop of entrenched perennial politicians, who are demonstrably controlled by those uber-wealthy individuals and industries who stand to benefit most, have proven they will never change their character.
Stay tuned, kids. It’s going to be a long, hot election season – and this shit show has legs.