National reaction to the week of the Tea Party has been mixed. I agree with Russ Lemmon, it was a ten. The reaction by Obama backers can best be summed up in a joke.
President Obama was sitting in the Oval Office when his press man ran in and said Mr. President, Mr. President the taxpayers are revolting. Yes I know replied President Obama, I don't like em either.
Big story this week has to do with the School Board.
As usual the Vero Press Journal missed or buried the big story. Here are some of the stories the PJ published as news: "K Mart has Double Coupon Week", "Daisy Hope opens Thrift Store", "Cinco De Mayo at St. Francis Manor". We had stories written by reporters from St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee passed off as local news.
Ask yourself, If two county Commissioners went on a camping trip together and spent several days talking and then returned to cast several important votes in lockstep using many of the same arguments to rationalize their position the Press Journal would scream bloody murder wouldn't they? And rightfully so.Well that is exactly what may have happened on the School Board and the Press Journal knew about it but did not say a word!
School Board members Debbie MacKay and her new best friend Claudia Jimenez reportedly spent several days together on a camping trip with their families. They returned from their trip to vote against Imagine Schools 6th grade and supported a measure to add grades to a barely functioning Thompson Elementary. Both railed against Charter School parents, administrators, teachers even charter children as being racist. According to camping buddies MacKay and Jimenez, Charter parents employees and children also discriminate against the handicapped, and are downright all around bad people. Far cry from their pledges to support diversity and parental choice.
The meeting which was not broadcast but recorded will be available on Monday. School officials have refused to release the CD until then. This meeting shows MacKay and Jimenez acting together on a number of issues. It also shows teachers confronting Board Members and staff. The teachers union made a strong case for keeping teachers and cutting administrators. Currently almost half of all 2100 employees are not teachers. It also shows that Dr. LaCava is the highest paid school administrator on the Treasure Coast not counting the $100,000 gift from Board Chairman Carol Johnson.
So what does the Press Journal say about the trip. Nothing...zip...nada even though I know for a fact they knew about it early last week. So who is watching out for you? Don't count on the Press Journal.
The Indian River Report will wait until Wednesday to give our crack newspaper and its less than neutral editorial staff a chance to address the issue. If not the Indian River Report will make an official request for information from Ms. MacKay and Jimenez and will file an official request for an investigation of possible Sunshine violations.
Indian River unemployment keeps rising. Now over 12% and climbing. It was not encouraging when I observed the Indian River Neighborhood Association arriving with a large delegation for a meeting in the Community Development office. So far the IRNA plan to address unemployment has been to raise taxes, raise fees, oppose mining, manufacturing and construction. They say they want to "preserve our quality of life". What they don't say is they want to preserve "THEIR" quality of life, not yours".
In these tough economic times many communities are delaying or changing priorities on expensive projects. So far Indian River County has not made any adjustments to its multi million dollar construction schedule. One possible change is on 66th Ave.
Commissioner Gary Wheeler brought forward the suggestion at last weeks Commission meeting. Three lanes instead of four would save taxpayers millions and still increase capacity more than 20%.
Furthermore, a handful of property owners are playing hardball with the County's efforts to purchase needed right of way. This redesign would eliminate the need for right of way. Property owners like former Commissioner Ruth Standbridge should have taken the County's first offer. New appraisals would likely show substantial reductions in price. Commissioners also wisely declined an offer to the Banack family that could have led to taxpayers possibly having to purchase a half million dollars in unsold palm trees. Remember the Banack family trust. They were the ones that got the School Board to buy $14 million dollars worth of property at $95,000 per acre. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins.
Important meetings this week include the County Commission on Tuesday. The future of Dodgertown will be on the agenda as well as the City of Vero. Can't tell anyone what will happen but it will be worth being there.
Planning and Zoning meets to discuss the next step in Commissioner Davis's economic recovery plan. The plan calls for a board of common sense to allow reform in the burdensome permitting process. Staff has made some additions upon direction by the Professional Services Committee. P&Z meets at 7:00 Thursday.
Economic Development meets Tuesday at 3:00. They will discuss budgets and ways to develop tourism. By the way, I have been told by a reliable source that a movie had an interest in filming here recently. According to the source they were told "we're not interested." Please tell me this is not so....please!
Surrounding Counties are doing things that you should know about.
St. Lucie County is considering a proposal to give local bidders priority. A similar proposal was not passed in Indian River. Maybe we should look again.
Talk about Quality of Life. What will happen to us if Osceola County gets its way. Plans for a city sized project at Yeehaw Junction called Desteny is being considered by state planners. Includes, get this, 100,000 new homes. YIKES! Straight down State Road 60 to the beach. If the IRNA wants to do something to protect our "Quality of Life" this is a good place to start. Fight Osceola County.
Most observers say the new Loar administration is doing a good well as it gets settled in the job. But this week had a few challenges. First the wrong man was arrested and kept in jail for 8 days before he could prove mistaken identity. OOps.
Second a series of questions were submitted addressing budget cuts. The list was clearly written by an insider in the department. Disgruntled current or former employee is probable. The County is asking all Constitutional officers to cut budgets 12%. The Sheriff will be doing very well to come in flat. Not to pick on Kay Clem but cuts are more than possible at the Supervisor of Elections office especially since there are no elections this year. None at all.
THUMBS UP / THUMBS DOWN
Thumbs up for Circuit Judge Robert Pegg. Saved the girls Lacross team. Whatever else everyone supports the players.
Thumbs up for Carol Johnson, Karen Disney, and Matt McCain. They got it right.
Thumbs down for Claudia Jimenez and Debbie MacKay. Even if they didn't break the law they got it wrong. Both voting the wrong way and going on a camping trip together before a vote. There is more but I will keep it to myself for now.