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