A Shift in Power

Sometimes I am astounded at just how tone-deaf our Halifax area ‘movers-and-shakers’ can be. 

Call it an obtuse insensitivity to what the average Volusia County resident is feeling – or a complete inability to grasp what those trying desperately to eke out a living in this artificial economy experience in a skewed marketplace, where incentives and cash infusions go to some well-connected businesses, while others are allowed to wither and die – and you see just how out-of-touch some “very important people” in our community truly are.   

In his usually cogent piece in Sunday’s Daytona Beach News-Journal, editor Pat Rice voiced the opinion that newly elected Volusia County Council Chair Jeff Brower is the one who needs to “mend fences” with the same uber-wealthy political insiders who did everything in their sizeable power to block his election while pouring massive amounts of cash into his challenger’s campaign account – collectively pissing away hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in the worse investment of their lives.

Now, Mr. Brower is the one who should make-nice and mend fences?

My ass.

Despite Mr. Rice’s pathological need to publicly smooch the backsides of King J. Hyatt Brown, Mori Hosseini, Glenn Ritchey, and their cronies at that mysterious camera stellata over at the Volusia CEO Business Alliance – the fact is, Volusia County voters just sent a resounding message that they are sick and tired of business as usual – and, through their sacred vote – are actively throwing off the traces of pay-to-play politics and the long-standing good ol’ boy network that facilitates it.

Frankly, I find it rich that Mr. Rice, who lightly veiled his active support for Mr. Brower’s opponent in a gauzy attempt to avoid the appearance of bias, believes that our new County Chair should immediately acquiesce to the status quo, and embrace a system where a mega-developer – not those we elect to represent our interests – controls the flow of funding from the state legislature – and gazillionaires feed greedily at the public trough as they pad their private projects with our tax dollars and act like they’re doing us a favor. 

And don’t get me started on that sham known as Team Volusia – which is little more than a publicly funded international travel club for its upper-crust do-nothings – who never met a low-hanging warehouse job they didn’t like. . .

When Mr. Rice mewls about how difficult it is to attract new business to Volusia County – and those elusive “high-paying jobs” that always seem just beyond our grasp – perhaps he should consider that many companies don’t want to locate their operation in an environment where a few well-heeled insiders have suppressed civic, social, and economic progress in favor of private profits, monopolized the political landscape by insulating city/county executives, and skewed the local marketplace for decades. 

“In the end, the county chair is just another member of the County Council. The position’s power is largely symbolic.  And mandates are fleeting.”

I wonder how different that quote from Mr. Rice’s lecture might have been had Dishonest Deb Denys come away from this knife-fight victorious? 

In my view, it is high time that the editor of what’s left of our local newspaper – and those who have used wealth, power, and the privilege that comes when smart people in public office equate the size of one’s bank account with the clarity of their civic vision – comes to the realization that We, The Little People, have spoken.

And that rallying cry was not limited to the Volusia County Council.

In Daytona Beach, political newcomer Stacy Cantu routed entrenched incumbent Rob Gilliland – who never met a massive theme development he didn’t like – and championed the sprawl which now blankets our aquifer recharge areas off Boomtown Boulevard west of I-95.  

Clearly, taxpayers are no longer content to discuss decades-old issues at contrived coffee klatches while our core tourist area and beachside gateway continues to rot – a malignant blight that is repellant to entrepreneurial investment – while established businesses find a way to relocate to surrounding communities who are welcoming them with open arms. 

In Sunday’s News-Journal editorial, “A county faces change,” which was collocated next to Mr. Rice’s piece, our local newspaper opined:

“Brower, in particular, should reach out to groups like the CEO Business Alliance, ensuring the county’s participation on the economic-development team that helps recruit good jobs. He may have run against the local power structure, but as county chair he has a duty to build alliances that work toward Volusia County’s best interests.”

Bullshit.

For far too long the power dynamic in Volusia County has required the peoples elected representatives kowtow before the insiders who hold title on their political future as they obsequiously genuflect before their monarchial overseers, hat in hand, and seek permission before invariably acting contrary to the interests of their constituents. 

Now, it is time for our greedy former ‘power brokers’ to assume their place in line – no better or worse than any other taxpaying citizen of Volusia County – and participate in a true democratic system of governance where massive campaign contributions to hand-select candidates no longer rules the day – or influences lopsided policies that control our lives and livelihoods.

In my view, Mr. Rice should understand that Jeff Brower isn’t beholden to anyone but those elected him to high office – and he isn’t required to grovel to special interests – especially those who worked (and spent) so desperately to silence his message, besmirch his character, and protect the status quo.

The balance of power just returned where it rightfully belongs – with the citizens of Volusia County. 

Get used to it.  

10 thoughts on “A Shift in Power

  1. Once again you eloquently nailed what I was thinking. My first thought was WTF 🤬! God bless the citizens of Volusia County for electing Jeff Brower and draining the swamp. Jeff doesn’t need to mend fences with anyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The best election outcome in this county for many years. The voters in Volusia county have spoken and sent a horrible county council member down the road. Thank you Volusia.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a shame to see Pst waste time, reputation and tight subscription dollars. I remember reading some really good editorials he wrote that didn’t involve pay-to-play. If he turns around and supports his own county chair, some of us might buy his newspaper again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. God bless the citizens who took time to understand what we were voting for, let’s hope the results will follow. Thank you Jeff Brower…

    Like

  5. Excellent op-Ed. Thank you for speaking so strongly against the corrupt in Volusia County. I hope and pray that Brower, and Barker as a media voice, will continue to represent ALL of Volusia County, not just the wealthy and politically connected.

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  6. I quit reading his opinions a long time ago, but couldn’t resist. I thought, Barker will enjoy replying to this one. You read my mind.

    Now, maybe “can’t we all just get along” Fred Northey will sit up, take notice and start doing something productive.

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  7. Preach, man, preach.

    Is there any chance the new(ly emboldened by acquisitions) USAT-formerly-known-as-GateHouse overlords are behind the, uh, evolution of Pat’s opinions?

    As for supporting local media, it’s becoming an increasingly difficult choice to allow their distant hostage-takers to funnel subscriber and advertiser $ out of town while squeezing the newsroom financially and interfering in editorial prerogative.

    Maybe it’s time for Daytona Beach to have its own place in the Observer family?

    Anyhow, the last thing Brower needs to do right now is suck up to the usual suspects.

    I wonder if the voters understand how much stonewalling he’s going to face, tho. Possibly so, since they sent Heather Post back. They may actually understand that this is a war that will take a while to win.

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  8. Mark I started reading your blog by accident.Thank goodness I found it..Brower is the best choice as people wake up to the good ole boy and girl club.Shame Margaraitaville and Mosaic never knew of Derrick Henrys past and maybe he would not have gotten his second term by 25 votes.Wrote an email to Rice who now is owned by Gannett with no news now on Saturdays or Sundays.The paper will become a Dem rag like the PB POST.Told him what a shame the fake advertising 5 times a day money would have better gone to the Daytona homeless shelter like the owner of Wholesale Lighting did with her two hundred thousand.Pat Rice is an old good ole boy who thinks I give a shit what he prints and works for a company that is $1.53 a share today.FAKE PRINT LYING MEDIA IS DEAD.Long live free speech

    Like

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