The High Cost of Not Asking Questions

“They call me King Turd up here on Shit Mountain but if you want it you can have the crown.”

–Sturgill Simpson

I think I know how Sturgill feels. . .because I definitely wore the crown this week.  

It is abundantly clear that not everyone likes what they read on this blogsite.

Good.  That’s the point. 

Last week, I opined on the ugly internecine warfare over at the Volusia Democratic Party clubhouse which has left some questioning if newly appointed Chair Richard Thripp is playing favorites following a disputed internal election.   

I also pointed out Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry’s flagrant foul when he and his wife arrogantly paraded past a long line of senior citizens so they could receive a limited dose of the Coronavirus vaccine at Halifax Health on Wednesday. 

When called on it by the News-Journal, Mayor Henry immediately shunted the blame for this growing public relations nightmare to the City of Daytona Beach’s “community relations manager,” Dr. L. Ron Durham, then claimed “I want Daytona Beach residents to be inspired to get the vaccine.”  

I am still not sure how the Mayor’s wife, Dr. Stephanie “Do you know who I am?” Henry, fits into the inspirational plan (a public service campaign that appears limited to Mr. Henry’s Facebook page) – but last week Big John reported on GovStuff Live that Mrs. Henry received her first dose of the vaccine against the CDC’s eligibility criteria – and Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order – which gives priority to Floridians 65 and over, long-term care residents and staff, health care personnel with direct patient contact, and hospital patients deemed to be at extreme risk for COVID-19.

I find that concerning.

You should too. 

When you shine a light into some very dark corners of our community, what you find often raises more questions than answers.  

Like, what is Dr. L. Ron Durham’s role in deciding who will, and who will not, receive the potentially lifesaving vaccine? 

And what criteria does he use when determining which senior citizens will be saved – and which will be cruelly tossed from the lifeboat to make way for tin-pot politicians and their families?

Now that Durham’s role has been exposed by the Mayor – what does his boss, City Manager Jim Chisholm, plan to do about it?  You know, to preserve the integrity of the distribution process during the worst public health crisis of our time? 

And why would Halifax Health – which, for years, has been deeply enmeshed in Volusia County politics through a hand-select Board of Marionettes, strategically manipulated by those “Rich & Powerful” forces that control everything but the ebb and flow of the Atlantic tide here on the Fun Coast – give away 500 precious doses to friends and family members of staff before, say, my 86-year-old mother – who missed out simply because she doesn’t know the right people?   

Or why – during the 40th extension of the Local State of Emergency related to coronavirus disease – with some 449 people dead of the disease in Volusia County alone – did the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County close its doors and leave the phones unstaffed on Thursday to celebrate the New Year?   

Perhaps most important, why are Volusia County’s most vulnerable citizens being asked to compete for a limited number of doses in a first come/first served free-for-all at Daytona Stadium tomorrow and Tuesday, while residents of surrounding counties are treated to an effective online appointment system that avoids the crush and queue of seniors desperate to protect themselves?

And why won’t the publicly funded FDOH in Volusia’s public information officer return phone calls to the working press?  And just how long will those of us who pay for the service tolerate this bureaucratic obstruction and lack of transparency? 

Whatever.  I could go on, but you get the picture. 

In the aftermath of my screeds on these two hot topics, I have been attacked by some misguided souls aligned with Thripp and Henry – held out as everything wrong with the acerbic political discourse in Volusia County – with some of their faithful followers calling for this blog to be censored and removed from social media.

That is where we stand at this foul point in history:  You don’t like the editorial message? 

Have the “authorities” shut it down. . . 

My God.

(For the record, while I post a link to several prominent social media sites, Barker’s View is a standalone alternative opinion website – which means you can either access and read the content – or not.)

Other pouting partisans have attempted to marginalize my opinions – dismissing these contributions to the discussion as a “non-contributing factor” (perhaps they are) – and labeling me a miserable bastard who “must be difficult to know in real life” (which I am – just ask my wife and friend).

Look, I get it.  It comes with the territory and I have grown some hard bark over the years. 

I will proudly add these recent criticisms – and questions about my lineage – to the massive pile of grievances, gripes, complaints, and open threats I regularly receive – angry missives that let me know I am hitting close to issues and questions that some would prefer to remain in the shadows.

Killing the messenger doesn’t help answer these pressing and disturbing questions. . .

In my view, this week’s pushback exemplifies the age-old problem of Volusia County’s two major political parties: 

They always defend their weakest link to the detriment of their members and message – even in the face of the gross political privilege and entitlement that perpetuates the “Us vs. Them” divide between our elected officials and those they are sworn to serve.   

So, keep those cards and letters coming, folks.

I don’t take it personally.    

To those who feel the need to defend Mayor Henry and Chairman Thripp from the slings and arrows of harsh criticism – and have demanded that I sit-down and be quiet – please know I’m not going anywhere. 

Not until I get answers. You shouldn’t either.

I still believe that so long as these diatribes continue to infuriate, incense, enflame, and inspire – perhaps they will encourage a deeper search for answers that will lead to lasting solutions.    

17 thoughts on “The High Cost of Not Asking Questions

  1. Keep the Heat turned up, maybe Chisholm and Durham will run away like roaches in the light that they are, similar to what public pressure did to Duhneen!
    Maybe a recall petition to rid us of the Mayor might be started by those smarter that the likes of me!

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  2. Thank you once again Mark Barker for bringing the issues to the forefront! For pointing out the differences between the haves and the have nots . Entitlement should not come forth from those elected to represent us. And certainly not for a spouse!

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  3. So, does the ‘vaccination’ qualify as either misfeasance or perhaps malfeasance? Shouldn’t a Daytona Beach citizen file a grievance? All well and good to expose it, but I think most of us have had enough of things being ‘exposed’ (in 2020 at least) and would prefer to see some actual redress.

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  4. total incompetence in the City of Daytona.
    Mayor and wife sidestepped the rules. Did you think he would follow rules?
    Member when he was caught with voting ballots?

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  5. Dr. Durham? Did he get that title the same place Jill Biden got hers? He’s nothing more than a two bit lackey that probably genuflects in front of Pinocchio Henry every morning and licks his shoes clean before kissing his feet-and another part of his anatomy a wee bit to the north. Their comments in the News Journal the other day were puke inducing. Guess the two of them think we are way too stupid to read through them as lying BS. As for the few who disagree with your views on things, total jackasses is what I say. I also say, keep hammering away at the truth and misdeeds that go on around here, it’s the only way people will actually find out the shenanigans that go on every day.

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  6. a vaccine for an upper respiratory infection with an overall survival rate of 99.75% and a 95+% rate among seniors. obviously some folks would need it, their immune systems compromised due to multiple underlying conditions or perhaps, just an unhealthy lifestyle.
    our reactive rockefeller medical establishment would not be raking in boatloads of money if the system was pro-active, focusing on wellness, good habits, focusing on eating and exercise.
    some states talking about forced vaccines. vaccine cards. everything focused on restriction and control.

    oh well, back to our regularly scheduled, and unscheduled, delusions.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark always a great job.The secret of those who hate you dont read or report on things they dont want us to know about .Lets take CNN and MSLSD who never report on Hunter Biden or Swawell and FANG FANG.HAD friends who hated Trump a year before he ran and the slowdown getting the vaccine out is Trumps fault not the states and counties.Open up the Daytona Speedway and get the national guard to give out the vaccines.This morning Pat Rice wrote an opinion piece of racism in Midtown.He always makes me puke.Derrick Henry really needs a reminder of his history as he and his campaign manager almost saw jail time for the mail in ballots found under his laptop plus more and people getting ballots mailed to them they never requested and then got a visit from a Henry volunteer to pick up the ballot.Henry and his wife did not deserve the shots.Should be a shocking try for re election when he sees the demographics in Daytona changed and the new residents are not stupid.Glad I live in Ormond Beach

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  8. “I still believe that so long as these diatribes continue to infuriate, incense, enflame, and inspire – perhaps they will encourage a deeper search for answers that will lead to lasting solutions.”

    Good idea, but probably not the way to bet……

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  9. LPGA FILLED UP AT 7AM THIS MORNING BUT DERRICK HENRY AND WIFE GOT THEIR VACCINE.Time to recall Henry.One Daytona got 40 million so open up the Speedway get the vaccines promised and start shooting up the 136k over 65 in Volusia.Call in the National Guard and end it.

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  10. Boy howdy, you were spot on about your prediction of the vaccine cattle drive at Daytona Stadium today. The shit show made national news on Good Morning America. It was so disheartening and sad to see the long line of vehicles conveying elderly folks to get their vaccine, only to be turned away after hours of waiting.

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  11. Nice job Mark!

    Always appreciate your masterful writings in exposing the corruption that permeates amongst Volusia’s politics, unscrupulous developers and big business elitists. I have to believe that the light you’re shining on these issues and individuals is making it a might bit uncomfortable for these loathsome characters to continue doing business as usual. As such, by prior first hand experience, I’m acutely aware of the fact that you are going to come under pressure to dial back or shut down what your doing. You are providing a great community service so please don’t fold under the pressure – I don’t perceive you to be someone who will.

    BTW, I don’t agree with the supportive comments I have read from some of your followers likening you and your actions to those of our current president. In contrast you come across as a well read, deep thinking individual with a good sense of moral character and concern for the overall good of the community.

    Keep doing what your doing!

    Roger Sonnenfeld

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  12. Have 2 emails from Jeff Brower.Faster than Pat Rice.Volusia knew nothing about this cluster until Daytona Beach and the Henry gave out a press release .He was on the phone with his fellow Volusia members trying to work with them until 11PM last night. They informed Florida health to inform Volusia County anytime something like this happens.Volusia not happy with DB .Henry and wife already got the shot .My wife and I got covid on Dec 12.

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