Oracle or Empty Suit? Time will tell. . .

Is a self-help guru what the City of Daytona Beach needs right now?

The answer just may be yes.

You wouldn’t know it by reading our local newspaper – who has given more front page/above the fold space to a homeless knife sharpener and the inventor of a trash bag hook than the chief executive who will shape the future direction of our community for decades – but last weekend the Daytona Beach City Commission succumbed to what some, on the dais and off, felt was a horribly flawed selection process when they picked between two polar opposite personalities to select their new City Manager.

I watched part of it on DBTV. 

Let’s just say when a nice, civically engaged lady like Anne Ruby stands at the podium and frustratingly calls her elected officials ‘stumblebums’ – it wasn’t pretty. . .

After hiring a highly paid out-of-state headhunter to conduct a nationwide search for qualified candidates to replace the retiring Jim Chisholm – a process that garnered less applications than the Port Orange opening, or the recent search for a Police Chief in Eustis – several finalists mysteriously dropped out of the process altogether, ultimately leaving the City Commission with just two potential managers to select from.

At the end of a very long day – which included an eleventh-hour attempt by Quanita “Call me Commissioner!” May to wipe the slate clean and start over again – a discombobulated round-robin discussion led by Mayor Derrick Henry resulted in the selection of Deric Feacher, 44, the current manager of Haines City, a community of 28,000 near Winter Haven. 

Commissioner May cast the lone vote against Mr. Feacher. . . 

Now, all that remains is for Daytona Beach City Attorney Robert Jagger and City Commissioner Aaron Delgado to negotiate an amicable contract with Feacher to be discussed and approved by the full commission in coming weeks.

Don’t be surprised if Mr. Feacher’s employment agreement looks nothing like yours. 

Because of the highly contentious and politicized nature of the job, most city and county managers enjoy extraordinary protections – to include golden parachutes and other expensive perquisites, extras, and privileges – including a salary and benefits package that those in the private sector could not envision in their wildest wet dreams.

Is it worth it? 

We’ll see.    

According to a 2018 article in the Lakeland Ledger, his evaluation by the Haines City Commission – his first as City Manager in that community – said that Mr. Feacher “…finished with a composite 3.96 from the city commissioners. Feacher was scored from 1 to 5 on 10 different categories. Scoring a 1 was considered “unacceptable.” A 5 represented “outstanding.”

While serving as City Manager of Winter Haven, his performance was rated a 3.5 – before he was terminated on a 3-2 vote in 2016. . .

I’m not holding that against him – and neither should you – for city managers, that comes with the territory.

“Just less than exceptional” evaluations aside, it appears the City of Daytona Beach is getting quite a bundle in Deric Feacher:

A relatively experienced chief executive who doubles as a charming self-help guru – the total package, all wrapped up with a stylish bowtie!


When not working his day job in Haines City, Deric C. Feacher, transforms into “The Messenger!” – a personal-growth expert and disciple of the controversial-but-charismatic John C. Maxwell (who can teach you how to become a coach, mentor, speaker, and influencer using the “Maxwell Method,” which leads to “certification” – allowing you to use books, videos, speaking scripts, guides, and presentations written and sold by, well, John C. Maxwell, as you help others become their “better selves” – for a fee, of course. . . ) 

According to his self-promoting “all-Deric-all-the-time” website, :

“Deric C. Feacher, “The Messenger,” is the transformational speaker you need! He works regularly with people who face almost insurmountable challenges, but after hearing him speak, realize they have the tools to reach their full potential and are just one small step from success!”

I have listened to a few of Mr. Feacher’s “Let’s Get Together” podcast episodes – inspirational snippets with titles such as, “Validation is not necessary,” and “Dream Chaser or Destiny Creator” – and I must admit – after a few installments, my self-loathing isn’t nearly so debilitating. . . 


Look, I realize that I am a curmudgeonly whiner who subscribes more to the P.T. Barnum “There’s a sucker born every minute” theorem than the overblown teachings of a self-help industry that has become a parody of itself (as any episode of Dr. Phil will prove) – but to each their own. 

The fact is, now more than ever, we need a self-confident “leadership expert” to help save us from ourselves – even if it comes in the form of a personable guy from out of town with a great smile and a briefcase. . . 

If they are honest with themselves, there are few who live or do business in the Halifax area who won’t admit that the “World’s Most Famous Beach” faces “insurmountable challenges” – or that most of the tools in our chest have been lost, stolen, or just allowed to rust away.

As a result, we desperately need a superhero to step out of a phone booth, assess our shortcomings with the benefit of x-ray vision, and rescue us from the resort town grifters, uber-wealthy insiders, and decades of monstrously self-serving politicians that have brought us to this civic, social, and economic nadir.   

Is “The Messenger!” the dynamic caped crusader we have all been so anxiously waiting for?

God, I hope so. . .

photo Credit: The Ledger

A Change is Coming

Who’s running this popsicle stand?

If you live in Volusia County chances are your little slice of paradise is administered by the council-manager form of government – a system in which the elected council or commission hires a professional manager who essentially serves as the chief executive officer – responsible for the day-to-day operations of all city or county departments and employees through a staff of experienced department heads. 

Depending upon who you talk to, there are myriad reasons why most communities that provide comprehensive public services have adopted this form of governance, but the bottom line is it takes the inefficiencies of petty politics out of the equation.

At least that’s the working theory. . .    

As I have said before, We, The People elect the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker to serve on a council or commission – like a corporate board of directors – who appoint a manager with ostensibly strong administrative and organizational skills to run the operations of the county or municipal government, enact the public policy decisions of the elected body, and provide information to assist the legislative function.

To that end, the manager is given extraordinary powers over every aspect of government operations and services. 

For instance, the executive has complete autonomy to hire and fire employees, set internal policies, personally direct the operations of all departments and services of the government and administrate all financial and budgetary processes.

It also means that no one elected official has more ‘power’ than any of the others – meaning the mayor or council chair are typically relegated to refereeing public meetings and acting in a ceremonial role, cutting ribbons at the grand opening of the latest Dollar Mart, or presenting a proclamation recognizing Mavis Bracegirdle as she turns “100-years young!” . . . 

The ‘system’ also insulates career civil servants, the professionals who provide essential governmental services to the community, from the often politically motivated meddling of elected officials.

Most managers do a fine job, serving multiple masters while bringing economic and civic progress to their communities.

Others?  Not so much. . . 

The role requires a strategic mind – the ability to stay ahead of the game and just above the political fray – with the dexterity to communicate the important details of complex civic issues to the elected officials then guide them toward reasonable consensus. 

It can be tough to find the ‘right fit.’

In my experience, problems arise when communities mistake a good ‘project manager’ for someone with the comprehensive skills needed to oversee the multifaceted operations, administration, and budgeting of a county or municipality.  

Many candidates for city manager positions cut their teeth as department heads or senior administrators, responsible for one slice of a much larger pie, with expertise in public works or city planning, but without the broad range of experience operating what is a large and unwieldy piece of machinery while keeping 5 to 7 hyper-critical politicians happy.    

For instance, if asked to paint City Hall – the project manager could request proposals, administer the bid process, hire the contractor, select the grade and color of paint, set a budget for the project, supervise the minor details of the job, and see the work completed in a reasonable period within the financial parameters. 

Just don’t ask them to see that the building’s roof receives proper preventive maintenance, the lawn is mowed, and landscaping maintained, the parking lot is properly paved and striped according to regulations, the irrigation system remains operational, the air conditioning system is functional, the physical plant is safe and secure for public use, etc., etc. 

This inexperience and ineptitude often breeds inner turmoil as the manager begins blaming others for their own incompetence, a practice that always results in expensive turnover, the loss of institutional knowledge, low morale, and the confusion and second-guessing that come when the chief executive starts circling the wagons. . .  (For more details, see: City of Deltona)

There is an old joke that being a city manager is like riding a bike – except the bike is on fire.  You are on fire.  The fire is on fire.  Everything is on fire. . . 

Tough gig.  

Just over one year ago, Daytona Beach City Manager Jim Chisholm began his long goodbye.

And I do mean long.

A process that should have taken a few months to get right drug on.  And on.  And on. 

A clumsy nationwide search by a highly paid out-of-state headhunter garnered a relatively few applicants (for a Florida resort town with the best weather in the nation and a reputation for lavishing its chief executive with an exorbitant salary and benefits package?) which everyone agreed failed to produce the depth of talent, civic vision, and professional experience everyone hoped for.

So, here we are. 

After winnowing the field to the final three using a tired, run-of-the-mill, wholly uninspired selection process, on Saturday, the Daytona Beach City Commission will hold one-on-one meetings with the candidates followed by a special City Commission meeting to discuss and select the top candidate.

If you live or do business in the City of Daytona Beach, you might want to be there for that. . .

This is without doubt the most important decision this iteration of the City Commission will make during their tenure – and Mr. Chisholm’s brogans will be big shoes to fill. 

In my view – like it or not – Jim Chisholm epitomized raw political power – it was always his show – and whoever was elected to office was just visiting. 

Whomever is ultimately selected to fill this important role will need superhuman skills to bring this fractured community together – to mend fences with marginalized citizens who have been effectively shutout of their government – rebuild the deteriorating core tourist area, curb beachside blight, reestablish trust and communications, get a grip on the malignant growth in the piney woods west of I-95, prepare for the exsanguination of our aquifer, establish priorities beyond funneling public funds to the wants and whims of influential insiders (who offer the attractive prospect of political insulation in exchange for loyalty), then have the courage to open the doors and windows at City Hall and let the disinfecting power of sunshine into that dank and cloistered environment so desperately in need of change.   

Photo Credit: The Daytona Beach News-Journal

The Citizen Journalist

I am not a writer – and certainly not a “journalist.”

At best, a dilettante opinionist, at worst, a blowhard with internet access. . .

I regularly receive requests from loyal members of the Barker’s View tribe asking that I “investigate” a governmental excess or inefficiency – or “look into” some political intrigue or right a civic wrong that media outlets have turned up their noses at – and, on occasion, these requests pique my interest and I’ll make a call, do a public records request, or ask around to satisfy my own curiosity.

And sometimes those who contact me go away pissed because I do not share their moral outrage over an outsized water bill – or the fact their trash was not collected on time – or demand answers as to why Volusia County won’t maintain their driveway, etc., etc.

Sadly, regardless of the issue at hand, in nearly every case the person who calls me demands anonymity – a request I always honor – because they fear retribution from their own local government if it were known they were seeking answers, even to relatively benign questions. 

Most of the time I refer the concerned reader to their elected representative (a name they rarely know), a resource that had not crossed their minds, because so many politicians stop acknowledging the concerns of their constituents about 12-minutes after they win an election. . . 

Many times, those who reach out to me are just like-minded souls who want someone to listen to their concerns or kibbitz about the issues of the day.

I know how that feels – and nobody likes hearing the rumors and gossip more than I do. 

But the fact remains, I don’t ‘report the news’ in this space – I wouldn’t know how – yet I am all too quick to tell those who do how the job of covering the news should be accomplished (playing the hyper-critical know-it-all is kind of my schtick. . .)

I’m not saying that local media outlets aren’t their own worst enemies at times – because they are – but when I read a news story regarding community issues without official comment, or listen to a television reporter stand before the camera and say with a frustrated sigh, “..and (insert highly paid government officials name here) didn’t return phone calls on Monday or Tuesday seeking comment,” or “We don’t comment on litigation, personnel issues, anything of substance, etc., etc.” – normally followed by a canned written statement from something called a “Public Information Officer” – I get the feeling that true transparency and outreach in government is a thing of the past. 

And it becomes apparent that the chasm between our government bureaucracies and the working press has never been wider. 

When I was playing government – I worked for a small municipality that didn’t have a public information staff to spin a response to media requests.  As a result, I learned the importance of openness and honesty when providing a release, always done with daily personal contact with the reporter – making sure their needs were met and developing trust over time.  

As a result, I became friends with many long-time reporters – some of whom remain close to this day. 

While those personal and professional relationships did not insulate me from the occasional trip to the woodshed – they allowed me to push critical information to the public, explain situations without fear of having the information released prematurely, and involve the press as a trusted and valued member of the team during emergencies.

With that citizens got to know their public servants by name – and knew who to call when they needed help.

(Two-years after I retired, I was still receiving calls on my cell phone from former constituents who didn’t realize (or care) that I was no longer their police chief – they just wanted me to sort out a problem they were having. . .I miss that.)   

Perhaps that accessibility is why a hack like me gets so many requests from citizens searching desperately for help navigating the rat maze that passes for our ‘Halls of Power’ during their search for that illusive kernel of truth?

In the information vacuum that has been created by the increasingly insular nature of our elected and appointed officials, many taxpayers take to social media for answers – seeking validation of their suspicions – speculating on the who, what, why, when, and how of public policies and positions that effect our lives and livelihoods – effectively becoming ‘citizen journalists’ seeking clarity in the murky world of local politics and passing that knowledge on to their neighbors.

It also gets confusing when elected officials wade into the often-contentious waters of social media to argue with their frustrated constituents or harangue them for taking a position contrary to the carefully crafted official narrative, odd behavior from those holding positions of trust that breeds more questions and solidifies the notion that citizen input in the process is unwelcome and almost universally ignored by decisionmakers.

I’m not sure consolidating, hoarding, and controlling the release of information as a means of maintaining power and control over the governed is how things are supposed to work in a representative democracy. 

So, if you have questions about pressing civic issues – or just need help with a government service – I encourage you to reach out to your elected representative at the city or county level and share your concerns with them – and ask for their help.

Demand answers and make your needs and opinions known. 

Better yet, attend a public meeting and address your elected officials during what passes for public participation – it is every citizen’s right and civic responsibility to seek information and contribute to the greater discussion – even if those on the dais of power sit there staring into space like gargoyles – I guarantee others in the community who share your concerns will be grateful for your involvement.

Then, if you fail to get a prompt and respectful response from the official who was elected to represent your interests, you know who to cast your sacred vote for in the next election.   

That is where the ultimate power lies. 

Angels & Assholes for March 19, 2021

Hi, kids!

It’s time once again to turn a jaundiced eye toward the newsmakers of the day – the winners and losers – who, in my cynical opinion, either contributed to our quality of life, or detracted from it, in some significant way.

Let’s look at who tried to screw us – and who tried to save us – during the week that was.

Asshole           The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Recently, News-Journal editor Pat Rice published a piece under the headline, “Honest, accurate local news matters,” announcing that certain content would now be available by subscription only and encouraging readers to purchase his product by touting the importance of “local journalism.”

“…such journalism is absolutely vital to the fabric of the communities that make up Volusia and Flagler counties. We have a First Amendment right to do our work, and we also feel a great responsibility to do it professionally.”

He’s right. 

In my view, Mr. Rice and his associates have an ethical responsibility to gather and present the news in a professional and objective way – ensuring that all sides of a story are told in a fair-minded way – rejecting the slant and sensationalism that has become the not-so-subtle marketing tool of “news” organizations everywhere.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal failed in that sacred obligation last week.

It seemed simple enough – the low-hanging fruit of the “bad cop” narrative – a guaranteed draw, especially when coupled with the arrest of a larger-than-life personality in the form of Robert “Naked Cowboy” Burck, a 50-year-old street performer most identified with New York’s Times Square who parades around in his skivvies, strumming a guitar, and taking selfies with tourists. 

According to reports, on the first Saturday of Bike Week 2021 – after being warned that accepting money from visitors near Main Street businesses violated specific provisions of a city ordinance which also prohibits panhandling – Burck apparently ignored fair notice and continued doing his thing. 

In a statement issued by Daytona Beach Chief of Police Jakari Young, we learned that officers were prepared to issue the Naked Cowboy a notice to appear in court – little more than a citation for the city ordinance violation – but while in custody, Mr. Burck began engaging a small crowd that gathered to watch, using extreme profanity, and chiding the arresting officer. 

Then, things turned ugly. . .   

At one point, Mr. Burck turned to the arresting officer and uttered a disgusting racial slur:

“Put your mask on.  You’re a Joe Biden fan, right?  You want higher gas prices and fucking (N-word epithet) running the country. . .”

Then, as the female officer moved Burck to the rear of a patrol car – his guitar was inadvertently broken – prompting him to hurl a revolting homophobic epithet to humiliate the officer, calling her a “Fucking dyke” – twice. 

The entire exchange was captured by the officer’s body worn camera – and when I watched the unedited full-length version released by the Daytona Beach Police Department – I was so taken aback I had to watch the shocking footage multiple times so I could confirm I heard what I thought I heard.

In my view, those hurtful words degraded the officer – and disparaged our entire community – and were the last thing I expected to hear from this iconic street performer.   

Yet, when I watched the News-Journal’s version of the video – the offensive parts had been masterfully edited out – leaving only those sections which supported the “cop screws up” storyline – totally ignoring the fact a famous performer came to our community and uttered the worst, most divisive racial epithet in the English language, in my view, using the provocative and hateful speech as a means of humiliating a local police officer. 

Ultimately, the city ordinance violation was dismissed by a judge, Mr. Burck paid a nominal fine to settle a misdemeanor charge, and adjudication was withheld. 

But not one word of his abhorrent verbal abuse of a local police officer appeared in the newspaper – and this week, when they had a chance to set the record straight – they laid up short.

From the onset, the News-Journal, and other national and international media outlets, covered this story with front page/above the fold prominence – including sympathetic interviews, lecturing editorials, one under the sensational banner, “Free the Naked Cowboy! Panhandling law doesn’t ban street performers,” publishing letters to the editor headlined, “Daytona Beach owes ‘Naked Cowboy’ an apology for arrest, and an explanation,” then heralding Burck’s triumphant return with “The Naked Cowboy rides again on Main Street after arrest at Daytona Beach’s Bike Week.”

What I found most reprehensible was an oh-so-morally-superior op/ed last Friday headed “Learning lessons from the Naked Cowboy” which said, in part:

“Mayor Derrick Henry, Police Chief Jakari Young: We suspect that you, like the rest of us, didn’t know about this until after the worst had happened. But you are the ones with the power to turn the story around. Burck told The News-Journal’s Jim Abbott he plans to return to Daytona Beach today, and all eyes will be on him when he does. Be ready with a plan to make things right. Ask Burck for forgiveness. Do the same for his wife, who had to watch her husband being manhandled and taken away, leaving her holding his broken guitar.

Make it clear that, as a city, this is not who we are.”

You read that right – the News-Journal’s editorial board demanded that two prominent African American civic leaders seek forgiveness from someone who spewed highly charged racial and homophobic slurs on a public street corner in their community? 

Are you serious?

Kudos to Mayor Henry and Chief Young for refusing to grovel and beg for absolution. 

That takes courage – especially after our hometown newspaper did little more than canonize Mr. Burck for over a week. 

Where is the moral outrage?

Where is the fervent cry for “social justice”?

I guess those haughty concepts are null-and-void when it is a police officer on the receiving end, eh?   

Fortunately, the same First Amendment that gives Mr. Burck the right to spew this inflammatory speech on a street corner in Daytona Beach is the same one that gives me the right to rebuke his comments – just as the venerated concept of journalistic integrity requires that Mr. Rice tell all sides of the story – even those facets that do not comport with the prevailing narrative that cops are the last socially acceptable punching bags. 

I love The Daytona Beach News-Journal – it is “my newspaper” – but I fear what it is becoming.

In my view, now that Mr. Burck has stated his regrets in the newspaper (and hired a Jacksonville lawyer to “come after” the City of Daytona Beach) The Daytona Beach News-Journal owes Chief Jakari Young, Mayor Derrick Henry, and the Daytona Beach Police Department an apology – a big one.

It is time that Pat Rice assure us all that, as our newspaper of record, this is not what “local journalism” has become.

Angel               Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite

So, long Dr. Chrite, we hardly knew ye. . . 

This week Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite abruptly announced he was resigning the presidency of Bethune-Cookman University after being selected to lead Bentley University in Massachusetts, one of the top business schools in the nation.   

According to reports, he did not notify the University’s Board of Trustees of his decision – but clearly Dr. Chrite is smart enough to get while the gettin’s good. . .   

To say his relatively brief tenure at Bethune-Cookman was difficult is an understatement, and in a February 2020 letter to alumni, Bethune Dr. Chrite did not pull punches.

“2020 will be a pivotal year in the history of B-CU,” President Chrite wrote. “It will be the year our beloved university prepared to close its doors, or it will be the year we turned a corner and began moving toward an exciting future.”

He was right.  Times were grim.    

At that anxious point, B-CU was in its second year of academic probation after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges demanded the elimination of an $8 million operating deficit and improvements to its horrendous system of governance.   

The loss of accreditation would have signaled the death knell for this challenged institution – one that has been financially gutted by mismanagement, a lack of oversight by self-serving trustees, and voracious greed.

Last fall, under Dr. Chrite’s outstanding leadership, Bethune-Cookman University announced it would maintain its all-important academic accreditation as the University was able to reduce expenditures, complete an extensive review of policies and protocols, overhaul its contractual obligations and transactional relationships, and get them working to B-CU’s advantage.

In addition, Dr. Chrite brought together experts in finance, accreditation, and academic governance, then increased private sector support to transform the University “…into a properly running institution of higher learning.”

Thanks to the almost universal confidence Dr. Chrite inspired, Volusia County’s own political powerhouse Mori Hossieni is believed to have lobbied hard behind the scenes to ensure B-CU received a much needed $17 million infusion from the Florida Legislature.

Now the shock and disappointment of Dr. Chrite’s decision is sweeping the community, and many are begging the obvious question – why?

Everyone except Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry, that is. . .

According to a report in The Daytona Beach News-Journal by Pat Rice and Eileen Zaffiro-Kean on Wednesday, Mayor Henry said:

“Based on a lot of factors I knew he wouldn’t be there that long,” Henry said. “There are a lot of subterraneous issues at Bethune-Cookman that are complex, and the community is not aware of the rationale of some of the decisions he made at the university during his tenure.”

Oddly, Mayor Henry felt the need to kick Dr. Chrite on his way out the door, describing a non-existent “gulf” between the university and the community.

Say what?

Then, on Thursday, we learned in an informative article in the News-Journal:

“The mayor’s wife, Stephanie Henry, had been dean of education at B-CU when Chrite arrived. She was offered another position during a staff reorganization of the school but decided to leave the university.  She left on good terms,” the mayor said. “She left in great standing with him (Chrite).”

Sure.  Whatever you say, Mr. Mayor. . . 

I can only assume that the “subterraneous issues” Mayor Henry described included Dr. Chrite’s, honesty, transparency, truthfulness, a willingness to put the needs of the university above those of his cronies, and a highly developed fiduciary responsibility to something other than his own bank account.

It is called “professional integrity” – something that has been sorely lacking in the halls of power at Bethune-Cookman University – and Daytona Beach City Hall, for that matter. . .

Unfortunately, men and women of good character do not seem to last long in our local power structure – so, we say goodbye and best wishes to another lost visionary as he rides into the sunset. 

Kudos to Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite for his outstanding efforts to right the ship during turbulent times and under extremely difficult circumstances.  In my view, Dr. Chrite’s good work honored Dr. Bethune’s dream and saved this important institution from the brink of disaster.

Let’s hope the B-CU Board of Trustees will continue on the path Dr. Chrite so boldly blazed. 

Yeah, right. . .

Angel               Ormond Beach City Commission

No, I didn’t bump my head – but thanks for the concern. . .

Look, I rarely agree with anything those pro-development lackeys on the Ormond Beach City Commission do or say – but I must give credit where credit is due.

On Tuesday night the majority struck a small blow for the preservation of a sliver of this community’s last remaining greenspace. 

In a strange turn of events, Mayor Bill Partington joined City Commissioners Troy Kent and Susan Persis in voting against a proposed land use change that would have seen some 2.81 acres on West Granada Boulevard rezoned from “open space/conservation” to “medium density residential” – literally paving the way for more godawful townhouses on the already horribly congested thoroughfare. . .

According to a piece in the Ormond Beach Observer by Jarleene Almenas:

“City Commissioners Dwight Selby and Rob Littleton were the only ones to vote yes. Littleton said it was a “tough” decision, as the property was located in his zone. He said he supported the land use change, but would have been very strict once the development order came before the commission at a later date.”

My ass. 

During the meeting, Commissioner Persis had an incredibly cogent thought that is being lauded by many of her thankful constituents:

“I think it looks beautiful the way it is,” she said. “…I don’t know why people feel we have to build on every leftover greenspace that we have in Ormond Beach.” 

“I don’t see anything wrong with leaving something ‘Open Space/Conservation.’ We don’t have a whole lot of greenspace left in that area, and it’s just concerning to me why we would need to build something right there.”

Perhaps the fact that Ormond Beach residents are rising in unison, vehemently demanding that their elected officials take steps to preserve and protect environmentally sensitive lands along The Loop and beyond from further destruction and development, is beginning to sink in at City Hall.

I damn sure hope so. 

With the pending encroachment of the monstrous Avalon Park, and mounting pressure from unchecked development along the city’s southern border, it is refreshing to see one small patch of green will remain. 

For now, anyway. . .

Kudos to Mayor Partington, and Commissioners Kent and Persis for having the courage to do the right thing for your constituents and community.   

Quote of the Week

“I want to be clear that I believe the urgent issue of LGBTQ+ discrimination in our schools deserves a strong response based on policy, not just sentiment. I could not in good conscience support a resolution that relegated such an important issue to spring break when students would not be in school. The resolution dismissed the values of inclusion that it allegedly represented. We cannot keep passing toothless statements of support instead of tackling the very real problems our LGBTQ+ students are facing.”

–Volusia County School Board member Anita Burnette, writing in the Ormond Beach Observer Letters to the Editor, “Volusia County School Board’s Anita Burnette: says LGBTQ discrimination deserves ‘a strong response,” Friday, March 12, 2021

I am always skeptical of politicians who do one thing – then wait to see which way the political winds are blowing – before saying they would have done this or that IF only the measure had gone farther in resolving the issue, blah, blah, blah. . .   

I guess when a sitting School Board member wants to end LGBTQ+ discrimination in Volusia County Schools, she does it by refusing to second a resolution supporting “LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week”? 


It’s Politics 101: How to appear the hero without really committing yourself. 

Look, maybe Ms. Burnette is sincere. 

As a neophyte politician recently elected to the Volusia County School Board, perhaps the most grossly dysfunctional governing body in Volusia County, I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt.

The fact is, this tempest in a teapot did not need to become such a disruptive dispute in the first place. 

In my view, it is a given that more should be done to protect the health, welfare, and education of student’s who identify as LGBTQ+ – but this should not become the flashpoint for more hysterical and divisive debate – asinine arguments fueled by the unrighteous indignation of a few pompous closed-minded fools – intramural feuds that always breed contempt, amplify differences, and pit student-against-student as they follow their parents’ lead.

Typically, that is when the quaint notion of an elected official ‘doing the right thing’ meets its fiery end on a pyre of empty, but highly emotional, demagoguery – and the cycle of stagnation repeats.   

What the hell – let’s see what Ms. Burnette is capable of, eh?

I don’t know about you, but I am willing to give Ms. Burnette a chance to prove herself – and demonstrate the deftness and political savvy to bring all sides of this difficult and divisive issue to the table and propose realistic public policies that ensure all Volusia County students have an educational environment free of bigotry, prejudice, bullying, and intolerance. 

Good luck, Ms. Burnette.  You’re gonna need it. . .

And Another Thing!

“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls – you’re about to behold a sight so strange, so horrifying, so utterly monstrous, that I urge you who are easily frightened or upset, who suffer from nervous disorders, weak hearts, or queasy stomachs, who experience nightmares, and any children under the age of 16, to forgo witnessing this exhibit of the greatest oddities and illusions in the history of local governance. . .”

Sometimes I think Volusia County would do well to hire an old-fashioned carnival barker to stand outside the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Building and warn us rubes of the frightening geek show that awaits us inside on those days our illustrious elected officials gather for their bimonthly production of the Théâtre de l’absurde.

This week was no exception.

Let’s face it, political cowardice, in all its ugly forms, has been a dominating factor in Volusia County governance for years – it is autochthonous to the “system.”

At best, this phenomenon is marked by a lack of backbone which prevents our elected officials from doing the right thing – for the right reasons – for fear of alienating their most vocal critics, or, god forbid, their political benefactors.

Everyone agrees that elected officials should have the discretion to change tack in response to an ever-evolving political environment – so long as they are open and honest about it.

This week, the Volusia County Council suddenly reversed course on its temporary ban on the processing of code enforcement actions involving short-term rentals – cravenly adopting the political doctrine of ‘who screams loudest’ – a policy guaranteed to create hell and havoc as elected officials flip-flop on contentious issues to appease their noisiest constituents.

Never works. . .

In my view, County Chair Jeff Brower is a good man who is trying desperately to do right by his campaign promises and deeply held convictions – something that frustrates the status quo – but he simply must learn how to read trends, anticipate the mini-moves of his “colleagues,” and get his head in the game. 


For instance, Mr. Brower’s open shilling for an internal job applicant from the dais almost guarantees that County Manager George Recktenwald will not hire that individual as he seeks to avoid the very real appearance of political influence (or worse) in the process.    

I realize developing that level of dexterity can be especially difficult in the shadowy milieu of Volusia politics – a three-dimensional chess game where the loyalties and motivations of those we have elected to set public policy morph from meeting-to-meeting depending upon who is pulling the rods and cables – creating an unstable atmosphere where nothing is as it seems and literally anything is possible.   

Rather than hold firm to a unanimous decision that suspended enforcement action for a few weeks while the state legislature wrangles with the thorny issue of short-term rentals – the majority blinked when faced with potential legal action from residents of Bethune Beach – and caved to Councilman Fred Lowrey’s strategic handwringing over the potential loss of the county’s grandfathered regulatory authority.

On a 4-3 vote – with Chairman Brower, Councilwoman Heather Post, and Councilman Danny Robins holding firm to the council’s previous call – the moratorium was lifted, leaving owners of short-term rentals subject to immediate enforcement action without prior notification.     

Now, those unfortunates who have rented their properties through April 30 (the end of the legislative session) are left holding the bag – subjecting them to angry renters whose vacation plans have been upended and the possibility of throwing current visitors out on the street, while exposing the property owner to potential legal action. 

I don’t care which side of this incredibly divisive issue you fall on – that hardly seems fair. 

Of course, the larger problem is an elected body that sends mixed signals – voting on, then extending, a controversial policy after receiving public input and with the best intentions for all concerned – then reversing course midstream in another off-the-agenda vote. 

It appeared botched and bungled as Billie Wheeler and Fred Lowrey worked to embarrass Mr. Brower – whose head swung back and forth like a drowning man searching desperately for a life ring. 

When setting ‘parameters’ for citizens wishing to serve on the council’s ad hoc short term rental advisory committee – something that, depending upon its makeup, has the potential to dissolve into a no-holds-barred Battle Royale for the ages – Councilwoman Wheeler attempted to limit appointments to electors living in the unincorporated area – openly shitting on residents who may live in a Volusia County municipality and own rental property in an unincorporated area such as Bethune Beach or Ormond-by-the-Sea.

You know, taxpaying property owners with an actual chip in the game?

Ultimately, Wheeler successfully got the issue kicked even further down the road by whining she didn’t have enough time to vet applications – convincing her colleagues to push the formation of their own advisory board until late April – proving once and for all that Ms. Wheeler’s Gumby-like spine makes her the most malleable, wishy-washy politician to ever bend with the prevailing winds.   

Fairness and equal representation be damned – when Billie Wheeler was told that she doesn’t like peer-to-peer rentals anymore – the fate of these poleaxed property owners was sealed. 


In my view, Councilman Danny Robins said it best when he asked the rhetorical question – “What kind of message are we sending to our visitors?  What kind of message are we sending to our property owners, our residents, our taxpayers?”

“Step right up, folks.  Look if you must at the greatest shit-show on earth. . .”

That’s all for me.  Have a great weekend, y’all.

Barker’s View will be taking a short pause next week – Angels & Assholes will return for your listening and dancing pleasure on April 2! 

In the meantime, please feel free to revive old civic nightmares of who tried to save us – and who tried to screw us – in the BV archives!

The Cowboy has no Clothes

I hate to go against the prevailing winds of media adulation – but I don’t give a damn about the Naked Cowboy.

There.  I said it. 

The Daytona Beach News-Journal has turned the arrest of Robert “Naked Cowboy” Burck, 50, a well-known street performer and fixture in New York’s Times Square, who ran afoul of the City of Daytona Beach’s panhandling ordinance on Main Street last weekend, into a cause célèbre. 

The first Saturday of Bike Week 2021, reports indicate that Burck was asked by police to stop accepting money from visitors and bystanders who were posing with him in his Fruit-of-the-Looms and distinctive white cowboy boots near the entrance to a Main Street business in violation of a provision in the panhandling ordinance.

When he failed to comply with the officer’s request, he was subsequently arrested and citied for the city ordinance violation.   

It is what happened during Burck’s arrest – and his subsequent beatification by the News-Journal – that I have a problem with. 

Maintaining order and controlling crowds during largescale events is both an art and a science. 

It is this constant monitoring and attention to detail that allows a relative handful of officers and special events personnel to manage beer-soaked Bike Week crowds, keep traffic flowing citywide, and provide a safe and fun environment for visitors and residents.

With Main Street serving as the traditional epicenter of Daytona Beach Bike Week activities, it is imperative that law enforcement maintain an extraordinary level of situational awareness – keeping their heads on a swivel – coordinating security and enforcement activities to anticipate and effectively mitigate problems before they start – because merriment can quickly turn to chaos when a partying crowd transforms into an angry mob.   

As in the case involving Mr. Burck, officers often use their increasingly limited discretion in providing warnings and suggestions to control behavior, ensure compliance, and keep the peace – but a police officer’s quiver has a limited number of arrows – and when someone refuses to heed fair notice or ignores lawful directives – their arrest and removal from the situation is often necessary.

The fact that the violator enjoys celebrity status – however shallow that term may be in this foul year 2021 – should not factor into the decision. 

That is called favoritism.

Selective enforcement can undermine the rule of law and subject law enforcement officers, and our criminal justice system, to accusations of bias and preferential treatment whenever us ‘commoners’ feel we are being treated differently than someone with prominence, political power, or fame.       

In a statement to the News-Journal, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young rightfully defended his officers – and placed blame for this highly publicized incident squarely where it belongs:

“Just to be clear, a person’s celebrity status does not exempt them from following the law and we will not pick and choose who the law applies to,” Young wrote. “Mr. Burck was arrested as a result of his own actions. Had he complied when the officers initially made contact with him, he would have been free to go and enjoy the rest of his evening.”

Anyone who took the time to watch the unedited full-length video captured by the arresting officer’s body worn camera, clearly saw Mr. Burck using profanities, shouting at onlookers, making a racially charged reference to “the blacks” being allowed to “walk around” and accept tips but not him – and, finally, directing a disgusting homophobic slur at the young female officer – twice calling her a “fucking dyke.” 

(Don’t take my word for it, watch the full video here: – be your own judge of the horrific racial slur Burck spit at the officer between 2:55 and 3:00 minutes into the video. . .)


Not one word of that in the virulent media coverage of the Naked Cowboy’s arrest. 

To add insult, when contacted by a News-Journal reporter, Burck’s California-based manager claimed, “What frustrates us so much is the bad mark it (the arrest) puts on our corporate associations.”  

No word yet from Naked Cowboy Enterprises on how publicly hurling misogynistic brickbats will ultimately affect the company’s “corporate associations” . . .

Look, I abhor the current “cancel culture” that is turning us into a nation of 330 million perpetually offended crybabies – but how can anyone ignore the fact that using a highly demeaning epithet to denigrate a law enforcement officer in the lawful performance of her duty is acceptable conduct?   

Where is the moral outrage

Where are the fervent calls for “social justice”

Where is the public denouncement and widespread condemnation of this cruel and searing brand used to dehumanize the LGBTQ+ community – a desensitization that fosters violence and discrimination?

Oh, I forgot – the hurtful words were used to humiliate a cop – which makes the revolting practice not only acceptable, but automatically elevates the person wielding the slur to immediate hero status in a society where police officers are the last politically acceptable piñatas.   


Not surprisingly, the News-Journal and other national and international media outlets, covered this non-story with front page/above the fold prominence – including sympathetic interviews, editorials under the sensational banner, “Free the Naked Cowboy! Panhandling law doesn’t ban street performers,” publishing letters to the editor headlined, “Daytona Beach owes ‘Naked Cowboy’ an apology for arrest, and an explanation,” heralding Burck’s triumphant return with “The Naked Cowboy rides again on Main Street after arrest at Daytona Beach’s Bike Week.”

In response to the horribly slanted coverage, some community members rallied to the Naked Cowboy’s defense – with one local merchant gifting him an expensive guitar to replace the one that that was inadvertently broken while in police custody “…as a goodwill gesture from the people of Daytona Beach.”

Enough already.

If News-Journal editor Pat Rice can openly ignore the debasement of a young police officer in a desperate effort to sell papers – all while masterfully avoiding any reference to Burck’s abhorrent behavior – then perhaps he has simply given up on introspectively exploring the myriad reasons his readership is turning elsewhere for “news.” 

In my view, if anyone is owed an apology, it is the police officer – one who willingly puts her life on the line to ensure the safety of our community – who was so disgustingly abused by a famous person who is apparently a whole different guy than the scantily clad wandering troubadour he portrays on the street. 

Angels & Assholes for March 12, 2021

Hi, kids!

It’s time once again to turn a jaundiced eye toward the newsmakers of the day – the winners and losers – who, in my cynical opinion, either contributed to our quality of life, or detracted from it, in some significant way.

Let’s look at who tried to screw us – and who tried to save us – during the week that was.

Asshole           Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry

There is a difference between correcting behavior and punishment – seeking compliance rather than crushing a violator under the full weight of government – using harsh laws, arbitrarily interpreted by a closed system, in a symbolic gibbeting of otherwise law-abiding citizens and businesses as an example to others. 

A means of extracting vengeance whenever the Monarchial rule-makers feel disrespected by a member of the servile class. 

This time last year, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick “Il Duce” Henry got his name in the newspaper by enacting a sweeping Royal Decree in the waning hours of Bike Week 2020 which “revoked” lawfully obtained permits, effectively shutting down small businesses and entertainment venues, hindering commerce and totally disrupting the remaining 24-hours of a special event vital to our local economy. 

You may remember that during this same time, Mayor Henry fought desperately to have Volusia County “fence off” public beaches, imposed an asinine curfew, closed community amenities, and sought to enact other cockamamie executive orders and mandates under the COVID-19 “emergency declaration” with no apparent concern for the financial impact his nanny state impulses would have on struggling small businesses. 

He did it to flex his muscles under the expanded “emergency” powers.  

He did it because no one on the Daytona Beach City Commission had the courage to question it.

And any other explanation that relies on “safety” or the “public interest” simply does not hold water – because last December, Derrick Henry exposed his “do as I say, not as I do” self-serving nature – and, in my view, no longer possesses the moral authority to lead. 

I believe Mayor Henry forfeited the right to Lord over his subject’s the exact second that he – and his wife – exercised political privilege and accepted the COVID-19 vaccine in violation of Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order – arrogantly waltzing past his elderly and infirm constituents whose access to the highly-sought inoculation was a matter of life and death.

I realize Mayor Henry was not alone.  Many cowardly politicians on both sides of the isle cut the over-the-horizon line – the moral equivalent of throwing our most vulnerable off a lifeboat to make room for the civic and political elite. 

It was wrong.

I know some of you are tired of me dredging up this embarrassment time-and-again – but I think most would agree that the rules apply to everyone – or they should apply to no one. 

I was reminded of that this week. 

On Tuesday, the outstanding tag team of Clayton Park and Eileen Zaffiro-Keen reported in The Daytona Beach News-Journal on the on-going saga of Main Street Station – a beleaguered year-round bar and music venue currently struggling for its life on the horribly neglected Main Street.

Apparently, Main Street Station had the terminal misfortune to run afoul of the Mayor’s wrath during the Edict of Derrick the Great 2020, which declared that anyone who dared ply their wares or – god forbid – try and earn a living on the last day of Bike Week, would be branded Outlaws of the Realm to be dealt with accordingly.

As I understand it, and I am not sure I do, Main Street Station is accused of failing to comply with the Mayor’s diktat – which resulted in a fine (reasonable) – coupled with an asinine, business-killing prohibition on any outdoor activities for the next three Bike Weeks (unreasonable). 

The owner of Main Street Station, Phaedra Lee, gave a brief explanation in the News-Journal report:

“She (Lee) said she received it at 5:45 p.m. that day. The notice stated that she had one hour to comply.

“We complied with the request as diligently and quickly as possible,” she said. “We closed the backstage, vendors left, beer tub girls cancelled, bars closed. We had 400 people on (that) Saturday night and we charged them $10 to come inside. … We never had a chance to share our story (with city officials).

Instead, the business was hit with code violations, a fine and a ban from taking part in outdoor Bike Week activities in 2021, 2022 and 2023.”

Ultimately, the fine was reduced to $5,000 and Main Street Station was “banned” from outdoor activities this year only – but when they tried to establish their normal outside set-up this week the business was sanctioned yet again for failing to have the proper permits in place.  

In my view, the city’s order prohibiting open-air activities at Main Street Station is counter to the stated goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19 – forcing patrons to congregate inside the venue.

It also has a direct and devastating financial impact on a small business who relies on special events for its very survival – like kinking the oxygen tube on a patient struggling to breathe.

If members of the City Commission have been given marching orders by their political benefactors to kill special events, they are doing a masterful job of it.

I was a little surprised by the lukewarm nonresponse of the Daytona Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce, who deftly sidestepped the well-advertised trials of Main Street Station – but I guess now small business owners know where they stand when they get sideways with mayoral decrees, eh?   

Look, I’ve heard people chiding the cops, attempting to place blame on code enforcement officers for doing their job – that’s wrong – because this is not a law enforcement issue.

Police and code enforcement officers are dutybound to aggressively enforce the laws and ordinances as enacted by elected officials with uniform fairness and firmness – and my hat is off to Captain Scott Lee and the officers and staff of the Daytona Beach Police Department for doing a damn difficult job with consistent professionalism.   

This embarrassing brouhaha is the result of bad public policy – set by a power-hungry autocrat flexing his new-found muscles under the guise of an “emergency declaration” – a pattern that has given rise to the emerging belief that the city’s special magistrate process is being used as the City Commission’s own Uncle Gunnysack. 

Don’t take my word for it. 

Regardless of which side you fall on the short-term rental debate, most agree that levying $15,000 fines for advertising a peer-to-peer rental outside an arbitrary line in the sand is excessive.

Because it is.    

In over thirty years in law enforcement, I learned that people are rightfully wary of subjective “emergency” orders and arbitrary mandates. 

Once they suspect that some tin-pot politician’s Draconian fiats have crossed into the realm of the ridiculous – or catch a whiff of punitive politics at play – they rightfully begin to question the motive.   

When that happens, the people’s desire for personal liberty – and a level playing field for everyone – will make itself known at the ballot box.   

Angel               Filmmaker Jared Thompson  

The purpose of art, regardless of medium, is to move our emotions – to challenge our senses, test our perceptions and make us feel – a process that allows us to view our shared experience and environment differently.

They say the new enlightenment is authenticity, and when I finished watching the phenomenal work of filmmaker Jared Thompson entitled “Daytona Beach: The other side of the bridge,” I was left repeating one word:


Because this short film is as genuine and real as it gets. 

In fact, the jarring visuals captured by Thompson, who grew up in Daytona Beach, were so forceful – simultaneously moving and disturbing – that I immediately recommended it to friends, all of whom were equally impressed. 

This extraordinary documentary lays bare the challenges of those living and surviving in Daytona Beach’s historic Midtown – which is a million miles from the gated subdivisions of Ormond Beach – and a place rarely seen by those arguing over expensive property rights in tony beach enclaves.  

According to an excellent treatment by the News-Journal’s Erica Van Buren:

“The documentary shows scenes of crime, poverty, drug use, murder and citizens coping with the loss of loved ones due to gun violence as the backdrop to some of the poorest streets in Daytona Beach.

“I was inspired to shoot this documentary because I grew up here,” said Thompson, 28, who now lives in Texas. “I feel like we are voiceless on this side of the bridge, away from the tourist attractions and what the city is known for globally. I feel like we don’t matter. And I want to change that.”

In my view, Jared Thompson is clearly an emerging artist at the top of his craft, and his unique perspective on our areas social, cultural, economic, and civic contrasts is incredibly provocative.

A brilliant accomplishment by a gifted young man who tells a compelling story through beautiful – yet intensely graphic – images.

This is important work – not the glazed over Chamber of Commerce version of the Daytona Beach Resort Area we are accustomed to.

It deserves your attention.   

You can find Mr. Thompson’s extraordinary documentary here:

Angel               Dream Green Volusia

Last week I brought you an overview of the grassroots effort of Dream Green Volusia and the wildly popular Defend the Loop campaign which is bringing community awareness to this increasingly threatened scenic byway – one highlighted this time of year when thousands of motorcyclists cruise the beautifully canopied roadway. 

As the Volusia County Council works to purchase a 36-acre conservation buffer at the planned 1,577 home Plantation Oaks development along Old Dixie Highway, Dream Green Volusia continues the fight to bring attention to the importance of protecting and preserving this beloved and environmentally sensitive thoroughfare for generations to come.   

This afternoon from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, Dream Green Volusia will host a 50/50 raffle on Main Street Daytona Beach!

Participating locations include The Pallet Pub, Dirty Harry’s, Froggy’s Saloon, Neptune’s Sports Pub, Boot Hill Saloon, Peanut and George’s Pub and Main Street Station. 

Tickets are $5.00.

The winner will be announced at Main Street Station at 6:00pm – and you need not be present to win (address and phone number are required for each ticket purchased). 

In addition, a second raffle will be held tomorrow, Saturday, March 13, at Iron Horse Saloon on US-1 in Ormond Beach. 

Tickets will be available between 2:00pm and 5:00pm with the drawing at 5:30pm. 

The winner takes 50% of the total collected with the other half going to Dream Green Volusia for land conservation along the Ormond Beach Scenic Loop and Trail. 

For more information on how you can help, please go to    

Quote of the Week

“Much of what happened with VOL (Volusia Online Learning) this school year could have been avoided if district administration would have listened and provided TRUE and COMPREHENSIVE support,” Peterson wrote. “The current leadership does NOT accept any responsibility for being ignorant of virtual school operations or legislation, for not providing comprehensive support, and for not supporting the VOL admin team.”

— J. Susy Peterson, former Volusia County online learning principal, as quoted in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Ex-principal: Volusia virtual school in need of support,” Friday, March 5, 2021

There you have it, folks. 

From the horse’s mouth to your ears: 

“The current leadership does NOT accept any responsibility for being ignorant of (insert any contemporary educational issue here) . . .”

This week – for reasons known only to their personal conscience – members of the Volusia County School Board refused to pass a routine resolution declaring March 22-26 as “LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week.”

The same resolution was unanimously passed last year without controversy. 

What gives?

According to a disturbing report by News-Journal education reporter Cassidy Alexander, “…after hearing from three parents who compared the resolution to supporting pedophilia or teaching students about masturbation, and who said it’s not the school’s role to teach their children about “politics,” the motion failed.”

It didn’t do any of those things. 

The resolution stated, in part, that Volusia County Schools are “…committed to bringing awareness to the effects of the devastating cycle of discrimination on LGBTQ+ health and the resulting disparities, and assured students who identify as LGBTQ+ that adults within the school system support them.

The symbolic resolution did not come with some weird curriculum – and no announcement was required – as students will be on Spring Break during the period during the designated awareness week.

According to Superintendent Scott Fritz, “It was simply saying that every child that walks across our stage and in our schools, will be treated fairly, equally and with equity,” explained Superintendent Scott Fritz, adding that it’s a common resolution for school districts.”

The resolution was supported by board member Carl Persis, whose motion failed for a lack of a second and he pulled no punches in rightfully lambasting his colleagues, “You’re either discriminatory or you’re not. You can’t justify discrimination,” he said. “You either are homophobic, or you’re not. That’s where we are with this.”

Frankly, that is the strongest, most decisive, statement I have ever heard from Mr. Persis. 

Like all of you, I have several lifelong friends who are gay. 

That isn’t some virtue signaling horseshit – it’s a fact. We all have friends, family, and professional colleagues who identify as LGBTQ+.

One of my closest friends experienced serious difficulties when we were growing up simply because of his sexual orientation – and, despite these challenges, I watched him grow into an incredibly successful man who spent his working life developing high-rise condominiums in downtown San Francisco – a person of great character and a true role model for what skill, smarts, and hard work can accomplish.   

Whenever I read something like this, I immediately equate it to my dear friends and former colleagues in the LGBTQ+ community – and I question how anyone could deny or discriminate against these wonderful human beings? 

How could anyone not support a child or refuse to advocate for their health and wellness during this incredibly challenging time in their lives?   

According to the report, “Students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or aren’t sure of their sexuality face significant health risks compared to their heterosexual or cisgender peers, according to the resolution that didn’t pass. They’re far more likely to have considered or attempted suicide or have persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

At the end of the day, School Board Chairwoman Linda Cuthbert (who said she would have seconded Mr. Persis’ motion but was prohibited by parliamentary rules) wants to continue the discussion and asked staff to return with a resolution supporting some watered-down version of “diversity.” 

Let’s hope something positive results from this latest spectacle of stupidity at Volusia County Schools.

My God. 

Ignorant, indeed. 

And Another Thing!

I don’t know about you, but I get a kick out of how things work around here. 

Former longtime South Daytona City Manager Joe Yarborough is a man with many valuable skills, and a deep tool chest acquired over years in the political trenches, who possesses an innate gift for professional survival that kept him at the helm of the municipality for an astonishing 33-years. 

That’s like 132 in ‘city manager years’. . .

In a profession where many managers are little more than itinerant labor – plying their trade until the political winds change, then moving on to their next performance wherever elected officials are impressed by a nice suit and a shoeshine – Joe’s longevity was something I always admired.

Then, things got weird.   

Following his retirement from South Daytona, Mr. Yarborough mysteriously assumed the unusual role as cheerleader for the failed half-cent sales tax push – a shameless money grab that our uber-wealthy oligarchs attempted to shove down our throats so forcefully one would have thought they stood to personally benefit from the enormous pot of cash the tax would produce. . . 

With Joe serving as the initiative’s chief mouthpiece, and Dr. Kent Sharples, president of the shadowy Volusia CEO Business Alliance (who knows something about second acts) as his slack-jawed sidekick, they toured the countryside with a canned dog-and-pony show. 

The embarrassing debacle fell flat on its face in an expensive special election.

To our collective credit, Volusia County voters rejected the hype and scary stories, and everyone involved scattered to the four winds – no doubt hunkering down to determine how best to improve their place in the suckling order at the public tit when the question is called again. . .

Just between you and me, I never understood why Mr. Yarborough put 45-years of hard-earned professional credibility on the line to convince a skeptical public to trust a group of fatuous politicians – who long-ago lost the confidence of their constituents – by shamelessly shilling for a controversial effort that threatened to saddle every man, woman, and child with a sales tax increase ostensibly to fund an unstructured and ill-strategized wish list of transportation infrastructure projects. 

It seemed beneath him – humiliating in a fashion – and the ploy never made sense to me.    

Then, Joe resurfaced last year in a News-Journal article announcing his new role as a ‘gentleman farmer’ hoeing hemp plants on a plot of land near the Alabama-Mississippi border.  According to reports, the Martin & Yarbrough Hemp Company produces CBD infused ointments and unguents for humans and their pets. 

On Monday, during this month’s Barker’s View appearance on the civic affairs forum GovStuff Live! with Big John, we learned that King J. Hyatt Brown personally appeared at a local Rotary Club meeting where he formally introduced Mr. Yarborough as the new manager of his Esplanade in Downtown Daytona! 

Suddenly, everything came into perfect clarity. . .

If a veteran City Manager knows anything it is – always be looking for your next job.

Well played, sir.    

The $23 million transformation of the once public riverfront park into an eternal shrine to the Halifax areas Benevolent King and Savior J. Hyatt Brown is well underway, with crews actively planting majestic oaks, constructing a scenic overlook behind the hulking News-Journal Center, preparing space for the lush gardens, excavating expansive ponds, and laying the mile-long raised walkway that will meander through the park.   

The renovation is being graciously funded by J. Hyatt and CiCi Brown through a $26 million pledge – which, according to reports, includes some $3 million to cover salaries for park employees, including the manager and an assistant that will be hired by the governing foundation. 

Because I’m a cantankerous asshole, I take perverse pleasure in poking fun at serious things – but I honestly believe the Esplanade will be a showpiece for Daytona Beach’s downtrodden downtown – a civic jewel that we all hope will work symbiotically with the recently completed Brown & Brown headquarters to breathe new life into the historic shopping and entertainment area.  

Others are not so optimistic about the park’s ultimate economic impact – and given the city’s penchant for throwing massive amounts of public money into dubious streetscapes, a bridge that was years in the making, public investments in odd “economic development” follies involving all the right last names, corporate welfare, and consistently pulling defeat from the jaws of victory – they have every right to their well-founded suspicions. 

Especially since the taxpayers of Daytona Beach are now on the hook for an estimated $800,000 annually for perpetual maintenance and upkeep of Mr. Brown’s 22.5-acre Enchanted Kingdom.    

Congratulations, Joe.  Well earned.    

That’s all for me!  Have a happy and safe final weekend of Bike Week 2021!    

Two Sets of Rules?

On Friday, The Daytona Beach News-Journal placed the latest civic mystery surrounding Russian developer Protogroup front page/above the fold. 

It has occupied that important space a lot over the past few years. . .

In an interesting article by reporter Jim Abbott entitled, “Beach access closed at Daytona Protogroup site: Closure comes as visitors arrive for Bike Week,” we learned that, once again, the pre-construction rules at the Protogroup site were apparently ignored when public beach access was mysteriously blocked earlier this week.

According to reports, guests at the beleaguered Sea Dunes hotel, which sits defiantly at the base of the project’s south tower, reported that the sandy path on the northside of the property was closed to pedestrian traffic, leaving Perry Schafer, a repeat visitor from Nebraska, feeling like a long-time local:

“There’s holes, barricades; it’s like an obstacle course on a public sidewalk,” Schafer said. “It’s about public safety. I can’t believe nobody’s paying attention to that.”

Welcome to the World’s Most Famous Beach, Mr. Schafer. . . 

In exchange for years of inconveniencing motorists and disrupting the lives of area residents with heavy construction activity on the Oakridge Boulevard approach, Volusia County entered a “Use, Easement and Access” agreement with Protogroup which required that Protogroup maintain a temporary walkway and beach access point.

Apparently, early last week, the owner of the Sea Dunes noticed that the required access point was closed. 

When she mentioned it to those who should be monitoring things – everyone from the county’s inspector to Volusia County Councilwoman Billie Wheeler were taken by surprise.

Say what?

A massive high-visibility project – the tallest twin-spired skyscraper in Daytona Beach – with an ugly history of controversy and a string of violations and unexplained delays is found in open violation of a formal agreement by blocking public beach access during Bike Week and absolutely no one in a position of regulatory authority noticed? 


“None of us knew,” Wheeler said of the closure of the walkway. “I don’t know what else to say other than I’m completely frustrated.”

Well, Ms. Wheeler, you could say you’re a clueless hack who has once again dropped the ball and failed your constituents – but that would require a smidgeon of introspection – something she clearly does not possess. . . 

To add insult, when the City of Daytona Beach was asked about the situation by the News-Journal, City Manager Jim Chisholm’s mouthpiece, Susan Cerbone, figuratively ducked her head out of the fortified portcullis at City Hall and reported that the city’s chief building official ordered the closure due to “construction activity on the site of the project’s North Tower,” although when exactly the walkway was shutdown remains fuzzy:

When Cerbone was asked how long the access has been closed, she quibbled – “for some time.”

I guess the City of Daytona Beach’s building officials cannot be bothered keeping records of such trivialities. . .   

No public notice.  No specificity.  No transparency. 

And no enforcement of the established rules. . . 

Apparently, there is no phone, email, or pony express service connecting Daytona Beach City Hall and the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Building in DeLand – as evidenced by the slack-jawed incognizance exhibited by everyone at Volusia County – from Councilwoman Wheeler on down.

How embarrassing.

What gives? 

One would think that someone at the City of Daytona Beach would have picked up the phone and advised Volusia County that they shutdown public beach access at the Oakridge approach – or that someone, anyone, at Volusia County Beach Management would have noticed that fact before now, right? 


According to Councilwoman Wheeler, “They push the limits,” she said of the developer. “It’s just gone on for years and years and years. They have completely abused the relationship of being good partners.”

So why hasn’t anyone done anything about it, dammit? 

I find it interesting that when Protogroup blocked the beach access point in 2018, Susan Cerbone – who accepts public funds ostensibly to act in the public interest – told us that the City of Daytona Beach had closed the walkway for “safety reasons.” 

With city officials running interference – authorizing the violation of an established use agreement with Volusia County – without notifying anyone (including the public), absolutely no one can be held responsible.  

In my view, this on-going insult serves as the perfect example of the Fun Coast Double-Standard

If you own a short-term rental property in Daytona Beach that is located anywhere outside a few thin slivers of arbitrary zoning districts – the City Commission has directed that you be hauled before the special magistrate, prostrated in front of the Bar of Justice, and subjected to Draconian fines of up to $15,000 simply for managing and maintaining a peer-to-peer rental.

Or, God forbid, you own a bar, restaurant, or small business in Daytona Beach and fail to maintain lockstep conformity with the confusing mishmash of rules and regulations governing special events – because, according to Mayor Derrick “Il Duce” Henry (no doubt in his best Kommandant Wilhelm Klink accent) – “There will be CON-SE-QUENC-ES!”

But if you are a member of our influential “Do you know who I am?” set and openly violate Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order limiting COVID-19 vaccinations to the elderly and infirm by arrogantly waltzing your wife past a queue of senior citizens so the both of you can jump the line and receive a life-saving vaccination in a gross display of political privilege – then no harm, no foul – because who you know in this town is infinitely more important than the rules – or the needs of those most vulnerable.   

Want to dredge sensitive environmental lands, churn wetlands into a muddy sludge, or destroy wildlife habitat to build another strip center or “theme” community?  No problem! We’ve got a patented “hurt here/help there” strategy that’s tailormade to pull the wool over John Q’s eyes and let you do everything you want to do – where you want to do it!

But just try and stand up for clean water, environmental protection, conservation of our wild places, or speak out against unchecked development in a meaningful way and watch your life become a series of misunderstandings as you are maligned and marginalized by powerful insiders who reside in the dank corners of the Halls of Power.

If you are a megadeveloper who promises a colossal “game changer” beachfront condominium and convention center – then hang a seemingly permanent “Under Construction” sign out – block traffic, construct an unpermitted “contra-lane” on Oakridge Boulevard, mysteriously swap contractors mid-stream, ignore deadlines, refuse to respond to the legitimate questions of the working press – like reports of the developer borrowing the money from uber-wealthy foreign nationals seeking resident alien status in the United States – and other mysteries surrounding the project’s financing, etc., etc. – then everyone in a regulatory position coddles you with kid gloves – careful not to upset the applecart. 

Are their two sets of rules in Volusia County?

You bet there is. 

In my view, the reason Protogroup, and other developers, can do as they wish while city and county officials act like a distracted professional wrestling referee is because there is nothing anyone can do about it now! 

Our elected and appointed officials castrated themselves the very minute they allowed a project of this enormity and magnitude to proceed with only “loose” agreements and a malleable performance assurance plan in place – and they cemented this impotence by failing to maintain constant oversight, inspection, and monitoring – which has clearly fostered a “do what cha wanna” laissez faire regulatory environment at the construction site – and in the executive suite.  

Of course, no one can independently confirm anything – leaving it to speculation and theories – because no one associated with this debacle will return the phone calls of the working press.     

Tragically, there is no going back.

In an October 2018 piece in The Daytona Beach News-Journal by reporter Jim Abbott, the former chairman of the ill-fated Beachside Redevelopment Committee, Tony Grippa, said:

“The city still lacks an overall strategy as it relates to A1A and the beachside corridor, and this is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket.”

At this point, however, completion of the project is imperative, Grippa said.

“It would be absolutely devastating to have, in addition to all the old boarded-up buildings, now a new partially completed building,” Grippa said. “That sitting vacant and empty would really hurt the beachside, optically, economically and emotionally.”

Tragic, indeed. 

Photo Credit: The Daytona Beach News-Journal


Please join Barker’s View tomorrow, Monday, March 8, 2021, as I join GovStuff Live! with Big John beginning at 4:00pm!

We’ll be discussing local issues and taking your calls on the Fastest Two-Hours in Radio!

Please find us locally at 1380am “The CAT” – or online at (Listen Live button). 

Angels & Assholes for March 5, 2021

Hi, kids!

It’s time once again to turn a jaundiced eye toward the newsmakers of the day – the winners and losers – who, in my cynical opinion, either contributed to our quality of life, or detracted from it, in some significant way.

Let’s look at who tried to screw us – and who tried to save us – during the week that was.

Angel               Deltona’s Brandy Lee White

I have always viewed Deltona politics as a bad Twilight Zone episode, a weird theater of the absurd – a hyper-dramatic cautionary tale full of bizarre plot twists – a wholly dysfunctional spectacle that has drained any sense of civic trust or respectability from the local government and pitted citizens against their elected representatives. 

When long-suffering taxpayers lose faith in their government, they have a right and obligation to speak out, to get involved, and work to return a sense of fairness and accountability to City Hall.

In fact, the rights of citizens to petition their government for redress of grievances is enshrined as a sacred element of our First Amendment – which also guarantees our essential right to free speech and peaceable assembly. 

But what happens when elected and appointed officials use the full might of government to suppress free and open expression, intimidate whistleblowers, and seek to incarcerate law-abiding citizens as a means of political revenge?

I’m not talking about some oppressive regime in a backwater of the Pakistani tribal region – I’m talking about the City of Deltona. . .    

In 2018, the Captain of the Deltona Hindenburg, former City Manager Jane Shang, ordered the city’s finance director, Tracy Hooper, to sign a formal affidavit charging Brandy Lee White, a civic activist who had worked tirelessly to expose the abject dysfunction and ineptitude of Shang’s administration with a serious crime.

According to reports, Ms. White went to City Hall to obtain the results of a public records request regarding the city’s controversial civic center, and to document the encounter with public officials, White used her cellular phone to record her interaction with Hooper in a public area of the building.

In turn, Shang – apparently with the full knowledge and acquiescence of Deltona’s then horribly broken City Commission – directed that Hooper provide a sworn complaint to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office alleging intentional interception of oral communications.

That’s a felony in the State of Florida. 

When this serious accusation had the desired effect of silencing Ms. White – Shang used the same appalling tactic against another critic – Patricia Gibson – when she rightfully pointed out state licensing issues with a caterer hired by the City of Deltona.

In the words of Rod Serling, “Imagine if you will” the horrific personal, psychological, and professional damage that results from being maliciously charged with a high crime – one punishable with heavy fines and long-term incarceration – and the detrimental impact of having a lifetime criminal record attached to your personal identifiers – merely for having the courage to seek public information and speak out on issues of civic concern.

Imagine what the next six-months would be like for your family as you wait to be swallowed whole by the “criminal justice system” for having the temerity to participate in your local government. . .

Ultimately, State Attorney R. J. Larizza – who is often called to sort the wheat from the chaff at the nexus of political vengeance and criminal allegations – rightfully put an end to what many felt was Ms. Shang’s gross misuse of law enforcement – and dismissed her mean-spirited, spurious, and retaliatory accusation – one clearly designed to suppress lawful citizen dissent.

In turn, Ms. White sought compensatory relief from the City of Deltona as a means of restoring her good name and ensuring that other citizens would be free from similar treatment.

But wringing a cash payment from the citizens of Deltona was not Ms. White’s goal – she wanted to return a semblance of good governance to her community. 

In my view, under the circumstances, Brandy White deserves a monetary settlement – and I can assure you that had I been victimized in this manner my attorneys would be working overtime.

In the spirit of reconciling with the community she clearly loves, Ms. White showed the compassion, restraint, and maturity to enter good faith negotiations with Interim City Manager John Peters and City Attorney Skip Fowler to seek an amicable solution that would result in positive change within the municipal government.

Among other things, the agreement included a formal apology from the City of Deltona, acknowledging the mental and physical toll this outrage has taken on Ms. White and her family, a request that the city develop sound policies that provide a clear process for how complaints against charter officers are investigated – and a prohibition on criminal charges being levied against citizens without their knowledge – one year of mental health counseling for Ms. White’s family and assistance with having her record expunged of the felony charge.

That’s reasonable.

Oddly, after Interim City Manager Peters and City Attorney Fowler placed an item on the City Commission’s agenda calling for discussion of a “settlement agreement” with Ms. White – one that was advertised as having been agreed to in principle – a mysterious item was shoehorned into the peace treaty which would effectively prevent Ms. White from filing a lawsuit against those in the halls of power that she feels violated her civil rights.

In my view, that’s not fair to Ms. White – or the City Commission. 

Now, Mr. Peters may have taken the fall in the newspaper for the last-minute addition – but the responsibility for writing legally binding agreements between the City of Deltona and a third party – ensuring the document and all provisions are legally sufficient and understood by everyone involved – lies with the City Attorney. 

At least it should.

In my view, Mr. Fowler embarrassed the Interim City Manager and elected officials – adding confusion, muddling the process, and prolonging a painful chapter in Deltona’s history – and that should be unacceptable to every conscientious representative of the people.   

Any covenant not to sue – as thinly veiled as it may be – should have been presented well before the meeting to let the elected officials know where they stand with Ms. White.    

After being blindsided, Deltona elected officials agreed to send the matter back to Peters and Fowler with direction to reopen negotiations with Ms. White. 

In my view, that is going to be tough duty, considering the surprise addendum to Ms. White’s previous agreement with these gentlemen.  Now, what reasonable assurance does she have that they will negotiate in good faith and comply with the spirit and letter of the agreement?   

It is called a loss of trust – something almost impossible to overcome. 

My God.  

After having publicly admitted fault with an offered apology – how much longer will the City of Deltona continue to victimize Ms. White with these sneaky eleventh-hour maneuverings as those officials involved with Shang’s decision continue to cover their asses? 

As I have said before, I write this blog to bring attention to shit like this – a wholly dysfunctional and completely compromised pseudo-government that was allowed to run roughshod over citizens – public officials (in the loosest sense of the term) who set upon an outspoken critic like a pack of rabid wolves to crush opposition under the iron boot of an incestuous system intent on preserving the status quo regardless of who or what they had to destroy in the process.


This one bears watching, folks.     

Angel               Ormond Beach Historical Society

My family moved to Ormond Beach when I was just two-years-old – when our community was a much different place than it is today.

It has been the only home I have ever known. 

During my lifetime, I knew the original Ormond Garage – and saw the smoke from my backyard the day it went up in flames – I have sat on the veranda at the old Ormond Hotel and played in The Casements back when it was a damp and dilapidated haunted house, and I have camped along The Loop before it was reduced to an access road for a hodge-podge of subdivisions.   

I attended elementary school at St. James Episcopal on Halifax Drive where our playground was an unimproved lot behind the historic Billy’s Tap Room – and when we kicked a ball onto the roof of the restaurant – we would stand at the fence and yell for Mr. McDonald, who would come out with his high-tied apron and hat to retrieve our ball and good-naturedly throw it back into play.

A different place indeed.

I do not always agree with our developer-friendly City Commission – an elected body that seems intent on churning every available slice of greenspace into another godawful strip center or stick-and-glue apartment complex – even as the specter of Avalon Park and unchecked development along the Daytona Beach border threatens to destroy our quality of life.

But sometimes they get it right. 

This week, I was proud to see the Ormond Beach Historical Society reach their decadelong goal of restoring the McDonald House on Granada Boulevard.   

After receiving some $100,000 in private donations, with the help of a Volusia ECHO grant and matching city funds, in December 2020 a Daytona Beach contractor was awarded $448,650 to restore the east and west side of the historic home – one of the oldest structures in Ormond Beach – which was purchased by the City of Ormond Beach in 1979.

If approved by the City Commission, the second phase of the renovation is expected to be completed by December.

In time, the Society hopes to place a state-of-the-art museum that uses advanced technology to tell the unique story of the “Birthplace of Speed.” 

Kudos to the Ormond Beach Historical Society – and the City of Ormond Beach – for their good efforts to protect and preserve the heritage of our beautiful community. 

Quote of the Week

“Derek Lamontagne, a Port Orange conservationist and chemist, said his passion for the environment led him to advocate for Volusia Forever and apply for the board.

“I realized that the biggest need we have as a planet is to protect more lands before they’re built on. Our planet is facing an extinction crisis,” Lamontagne said. “Habitat loss caused by humans is the main driver of that.”

Lamontagne said he’s excited to listen to residents and experts in the coming weeks and months.

“What they want is what I want,” he said. “We’re facing a lot of rapid development in the area so time is of the essence.”

–Derek Lamontagne, Port Orange, a newly appointed member of the Volusia Forever advisory committee, as quoted in a piece by reporter Mary Helen Moore writing in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Volusia Forever panel talks priorities,” Thursday, March 4, 2021

How refreshing. 

A member of the critically important and politically influential Volusia Forever advisory panel who is excited about listening to those of us who pay the bills is a welcome addition to county government.   

I do not know Mr. Lamontagne personally, but we clearly think alike on matters of development and environmental protection. 

After nearly a decade in mothballs, on Tuesday the County Council dusted off the Volusia Forever committee after the tax-supported conservation program was enthusiastically extended by voters last year. 

While Mr. Lamontagne received his appointment to the board from Volusia County Council Chair Jeff Brower – I was also happy to see that Ormond Beach’s own Suzanne Scheiber, an intrepid environmental activist and founder of Dream Green Volusia, was appointed by Councilwoman Heather Post. 

As you may know, the Volusia Forever program acquires, conserves, and manages environmentally sensitive lands and ensures public access to our diminishing wild places for generations to come. 

The program compliments the Volusia ECHO initiative which supports and preserves our environmental, cultural, historic and outdoors resources.

I like these important programs, and, judging from the groundswell of public support during the 2020 election, you do too. 

We were promised greater oversight of how our tax dollars would be used and managed – and it appears our elected officials are living up to that commitment as evidenced by their thoughtful appointments to the Forever board. 

In my view, if our “new” Volusia County Council keeps messing around and appointing the likes of Lamontagne and Scheiber to advisory roles, before you know it, they are going to have an effective, efficient, transparent, and responsive government on their hands. 

And Another Thing!

Well, that should just about do it for the emotionally charged, off-the-agenda, knee-jerk reactions of the Volusia County Council. . . 

At least I hope it does.

During a raucous meeting on Tuesday, one that at times looked more like an angry hornet’s nest than a public hearing, our elected officials got an earful from a very vocal contingent of highly pissed-off residents who oppose changes to the county’s short-term rental ordinance – including surly shouts and obscenities from the gallery – underscored with horror stories from residents demanding that the recently enacted code enforcement moratorium be lifted.

Conversely, about half of the speakers were steadfast owners of vacation rentals lobbying hard to preserve their properties and livelihoods.

It was disturbing – with horrific anecdotes of neighbor versus neighbor warfare in idyllic Bethune Beach and beyond.     

In fact, it was the first time I ever heard the word “investor” used as an epithet. 

Like many, I was thunderstruck by the incredible emotion and depth of concern on both sides of the issue – the anxiety evident in the quavering voices of speakers – as they vividly described their experiences and how much they care about preserving their neighborhoods and our collective quality of life. 

Owners of short-term rentals spoke eloquently of the benefits their properties bring to our economy in increased tax revenues and supplemental income – and their sincere wish to be good neighbors – as they invest to improve the aesthetics of the area and open hospitality options for visitors seeking a more local experience than one finds in a beachfront high-rise motel.

One impassioned vacation rental owner, a widow facing bankruptcy, asked – if Airbnb can operate successfully in Egypt – then why can’t it work here? 

Tough call.  One that veteran Volusia County Councilman Ben Johnson called one of the most contentious issues he has seen.

There is clearly no easy answer.   

Normally, I am not a fan of political insulation committees – putting a group of people together that toss a hot potato around until it cools, putting time and distance between a controversial issue and the elected officials who will ultimately need to make an unpopular decision – but I like Chairman Brower’s idea to put both sides of this controversial issue in a room and see if consensus on the highpoints is even possible. 

I doubt the two sides are ever going to see eye-to-eye on what many see as the commercialization of residential neighborhoods – while owners argue they should be allowed to advertise their properties and participate in the lucrative and increasingly popular peer-to-peer rental market. 

The fact is, for all the stomach acid expended this week, the point may be moot. 

The Florida Legislature will take up the issue of short-term rentals during the current session – something that may take control of the issue out of local government’s hands.

Last month, the Senate Regulated Industries Committee approved a measure that would require online platforms like Airbnb and VRBO to collect taxes on vacation rental properties, ensure that only properly licensed rentals are advertised and provide the state with specific information regarding vacation rentals. 

In a February article by Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida, we learned, “In exchange, regulation would be “preempted” to the state, largely preventing local governments from licensing or inspecting the rentals.  Local governments could only regulate the rentals in the same way as other properties in neighborhoods, a restriction that cities and counties strenuously oppose.”

A great deal can (and will) happen between now and the end of the legislative session on April 30, so the Volusia County Council is wise to kick this dented-up can a little further down the road before making sweeping changes to the current ordinance.  

I hope our “new” Volusia County Council learned the valuable lesson that it is impossible to pick up a turd by the clean end. . . 

In the future, our elected officials should think twice before upending a can of worms without exploring all facets of an issue (because half-assed spontaneous reactions by an elective body rarely solve anything) and avoid telegraphing their intentions until the established legislative process can work – laborious as it may be.   

That’s all for me.  Stay safe and have a great Bike Week, y’all!