This week’s théâtre de l’absurde that passed for a meeting of the Volusia County Council exposed just how far those stalwarts of the status quo will go to maintain their tenuous grip on power at the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Complex.
Not pretty. But smashmouth politics never is.
It also became glaringly obvious that the Old Guard’s strategy going into the August primary will be to use any means necessary to continue the procrastination and obstructionism that allows those speculative developers and home builders with a chip in this very lucrative game to make hay while the sun shines.
Even a jaded political watcher like me became disheartened as the hours droned on with absolutely nothing of substance having been accomplished for the long-suffering residents of Volusia County.
Yeah. Don’t give me any mealymouthed tripe about that token election year tax rollback hype – anyone who didn’t see that “throw those peons a bone” horseshit coming isn’t paying attention.
Even that whackadoo, our self-anointed éminence grise The Very Reverend “Dr.” Fred Lowry, saw it as a short-lived election season sham when Senior Writer Jarleene Almenas quoted him in the Ormond Beach Observer:
“Rollback is awesome,” Councilman Fred Lowry said. “But next year — I won’t be here but I don’t see that happening.”
Me neither. . .
I’m talking about all the important things that didn’t happen this week as county staff – with the help of a highly practiced political disruptor who got under Chairman Brower’s skin with the skill of a practiced dunk tank carny – led our elected dullards through the weeds like a lumbering odd-toed ungulate with a ring in its nose. . .
I must admit. It was impressive to watch.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, while tens-of-thousands of asset limited/income constrained working families struggle to make ends meet, feed themselves in an era of rampant inflation, and place a roof over their children’s heads on a warehouse worker’s wage, once again, our elected dullards kicked the can down the dusty political trail on the growing affordable housing crisis.
On Tuesday, Volusia County’s Facilitator of Growth and Mismanagement, Clay Ervin, trotted out another prevaricating dog-and-pony show – complete with monotonous PowerPoints and strategically confusing acronyms, all wrapped in non-committal bureaucratese – that gave the appearance our ‘powers that be’ care about workforce housing.
When I heard gassy terms like “Create an environment supportive of new affordable housing development,” and “Discuss and receive direction on possible development of a trust fund,” “Using state law to waive impact fees” (because we’ve seen how well that works out long-term) I realized it was more mumbo-jumbo geared toward creating yet another political insulation committee.
Then it became frustratingly clear that nothing of substance would happen quickly – if ever.
After making absolutely certain that nothing they voted on would have any lasting impact on the problem – the Volusia County Council voted to accept what will become another five-year plan – which, if they started working on the myriad issues today (they won’t) it will be 2027 before their “plan” begins to gel.
Another waste of paper containing a long-winded “report” to take-up more space in some musty dead record morgue in the bowels of the Thomas C. Kelly Complex. . .
When talk turned to the formation of the much-anticipated reanimation of the long defunct Environment and Natural Resources Advisory Committee – designed to make recommendations on minimum environmental standards to protect what’s left our greenspace – the focus became vetting potential political appointees – not conservation.
This isn’t exactly the National Security Council. Just another time-buying and politically motivated obstructionist barricade erected on the path to substantive progress.
Look, absolutely no one on the dais gives a damn about who serves on these committees, so long as they are of a like mind with the needs, wants, and whims of their political benefactors – and they care even less about the lukewarm “recommendations” coming out of these time-wasting charades.
Just another waste of time while the bulldozers roar. . .
The next civic atrocity came when Councilmen Ben Johnson and Danny Robins attempted to paint the August 13, 2022, Wildlife Corridor Workshop at Ocean Center as a political hit-job – then came razor-close to having this important information-sharing session postponed until after the November election.
(Anyone see a pattern here?)
Please don’t take my word for it. Down a strong antiemetic, block off nine-hours of your life you will never get back, and watch it for yourself here: https://tinyurl.com/bdhpy2r8
Whether you agree with the “establishments” scorched-earth strategy or not, it was a highly effective way of cutting into a few of their political opponents while prolonging the process to ensure nothing of substance changes.
In my jaded view, the growing frustration surrounding this paralysis and destructive in-fighting is why of the 93 candidates seeking election in Volusia County municipal elections, 17 ran unopposed and were automatically elected.
According to an excellent piece by the great veteran reporter John Bozzo writing in Hometown News, “The number of unopposed candidates rises to 26 after a county judge spot and every open seat on the Soil & Water Conservation Board and West Volusia Hospital Authority Board are included.”
Anyone want to take a dip in the shitpit of Volusia County politics?
Me neither. . .