As I write this, perhaps the strangest election of our lifetime is over, and we still do not know who our next president will be, and probably won’t for the foreseeable future.
What we do know is that in Volusia County record numbers of informed voters stood firm and let our entrenched power structure know that there is some shit we won’t eat.
And it feels damn good to win one for a change, eh?
Our County Chair race was a clear referendum on pay-to-play politics – an oligarchical system that for far too long has allowed a small coterie of well-heeled insiders to control our lives and livelihoods through the infusion of massive amounts of cash into the campaign coffers of hand-select candidates for public office.
In essence, We, The Little People, have been told who (and what) we would be voting for as both the candidates – and the message – were wholly controlled by those seeking to retain their suckling order at the public teat.
Finally, the blatancy of the manipulation became a sick joke, and many residents became apathetic – almost accepting – of a system that abhorred citizen input and destroyed anyone who attempted to expose the sham.
In time, the spirit of democracy was slowly replaced by a support system for uber-wealthy insiders with a profit motive.
The depth of the problem became evident when District 4 Councilwoman Heather Post was elected following a hard-fought campaign in 2016.
Almost immediately, our doddering fool of a lame duck County Chair, Ed Kelley, began the process of beating any independent thought or action out of her – and with the help of Councilwoman Deb Denys and others – we watched as the status quo fought desperately against all attempts to change the self-serving nature of county government.
But on Tuesday, the overwhelming majority of Volusia County voters sent a resounding demand for fundamental change – and our outstanding candidate, Jeff “Plan B” Brower, a gentleman farmer from DeLeon Springs, stomped across this salty piece of land like a champion – bringing a message of hope and inspiration for a better, more prosperous, future for everyone.
In doing so, he exposed a skewed system where his politically malleable opponent, Dishonest Deb Denys, amassed hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in corporate campaign contributions – and thousands more in a shadowy Political Action Committee – as our powerful overseers made the worst investment of their lives.
In turn, Councilwoman Heather Post earned a well-deserved return to the dais of power as she trounced Old Ed’s handpicked handmaiden Barbara Bonarrigo – a nice lady who seemed totally out of her element from day-one – clueless about the challenges facing Volusia County families – more inclined to lunch with her party’s upper crust, rub-elbows with wealthy benefactors, and have her picture taken with B-List politicians than get her hands dirty.
At the end of the day, the excruciating heat and withering desperation of the campaign exposed many arrogant perennial politicians for exactly who, and what, they are.
Look, I admit it – I am not very magnanimous in victory.
It’s just one of my many character flaws. . .
However, in my view, Deb Denys was a political monster – a sleazy shill for power-hungry special interests – who represented everything I abhor, capable of turning her back on her constituents (and her party) when it served her egotistic needs or those of her political puppeteers.
I have no sympathy for her.
Now that she has the stench of defeat about her – I suspect this will mark the end of Ms. Denys ambitious political aspirations – and she has no one to blame but herself – and that addle-brained asshole, Chairman Ed Kelley. . .
Good riddance to both of them. . .
Now, it is up to Chairman-elect Brower, Councilwoman Post, and the other candidates who were elevated to public office this week to hold firm to their high campaign promises, ignore the trappings of office (and the new fawning friends they are about to make) and remember that character counts – and that returning a transparent and accessible government of the people, by the people, and for the people to Volusia County is their sole mandate.
There is a lot about this election left to unpack and I will get to all of it in coming days and weeks.
I don’t know about you, but I plan to take a few days off to reflect on all we have gained – and what we have lost – in the aftermath of this strange and brutal election season.
So, absent something extraordinary, I won’t be publishing Angels & Assholes this week.
If you voted this year – the sacred civic obligation of all free citizens – consider yourself a true Angel.
Thank you to all candidates and voters for participating in the greatest form of governance on the face of the earth – and congratulations to everyone on this hard-won victory!
13 thoughts on “We Won, Volusia!”
I’m doing a happy dance! 👍🏻🙌🏻
It was resounding victory for Brower. Hats off to him for the win. Also interesting were the results for the Ormond Beach city elections, where for the second time in two cycles, the incumbents trounced the challengers.
I agree with everything you’ve said here. Good riddence to Deb Denys. I was hoping and praying for her defeat.
Thank God for Jeff Brower! We voted for common sense, fair play, and the recognition that we the taxpayers should have a voice — all of which have been missing in Volusia County politics for far too long. And thank you, too, Mark — for helping spread the word. As a longtime westside resident familiar with the Palmetto Curtain, I am so grateful that there’s finally some good news for voters.
When I left Jeff Brower at about 10PM last night, to my knowledge his opponent, and none of the political movers and shakers who supported her, had contacted him to either concede or off their congratulations for one of the biggest political upsets in Volusia County history. Now, on to new challenges……fixing the corrupt political system in Volusia County, cashiering the inept Paul Deering from power in the Republican Executive Committee of the county (Paul cant even seem to figure out how to change the voicemail message at the GOP headquarters in the run-up to one of the most important elections of our time. And, finally, getting a solid answer from Michael Waltz about why he has refused to meet with our Councilwoman Heather Post for the two years he’s been in office (I have my suspicions, I just want to see how he squirms out of the question now that his County meal ticket is no longer in power). Congrats Jeff Brower! Congrats Heather Post! And thank you, Mark D. Barker for using the First Amendment to serve the people of Volusia County and not the power brokers.
You’re correct about Waltz. He has some serious explaining to do about why he wouldn’t meet with Heather Post, since she’s heavily involved with helping our Veterans. He also needs to explain why he endorsed Denys when he had to know or suspect she would employ lies and deceptions in her campaign, including the infamous Anti-Trump mailer sent out to Democrats and Independents. We don’t need to hear from Dirty Ernie his Chief Running Dog down here. We need explanations from Waltz himself. Pronto!
As always my opinion.
Someone lock and deadbolt the backdoor! Not so sure DD is gone for good!! Huge Congratulations to Jeff Brower…awesome campaign!
Thank you Mark for all the work and support for Jeff. You sized him correctly from the start. Now let’s hope never hear from good old Deb anymore and she just fades from memory, which should not be a problem for most us, even some she attempted to destroy.
Thank You Mark .We got rid of two pieces of shit.Now it is time if you are a GOP member get rid of all the GOP party in Volusia who are useless shit.We the public are trying to get rid of the builders and corporate money.VOLUSIA GOP DID NOTHING IN THIS ELECTION AND I AM A REGISTERED DEM FOR 50 YEARS.I VOTE FOR THE TRUTH.. I voted Brower and Post but Selby won who is deep in the swamp
in engineered homes and lots of friends like Plantation Oaks I would go Independendent but the useless GOP party who never picks up their phone .I just vote now.The hell with politics..Do what you have to do in what you believe in.Thanks again Mark
You need to thank Suzanne from Dream Green Volusia! She told me and many others about you last year.
MORI HOUSSAINI didn’t get any return for the tens of thousands of dollars he invested in Deb Denys, Barbara Bonarigio or Ida Wright. Neither did Tom Wright.
Big money was a big loser! YEAH!!!
It should be live with it. All choices made , win or lose, we have to live with it . Our good choice or somebody else’s “good choice”it doesn’t matter till the next choice.
Why do we Still have a “Port Authority” when there is NO PORT and they still collect taxes for it. If the funds are being used for other projects then abolish the port authority tax and Create a” Slush Fund Tax ” then we will know what it’s used for.