Happy 4th. This is an abridged version of the Indian River Report.
The Indian River Taxpayers Association will meet Wednesday at 11:45. Guest speakers include state representatives Ralph Poppell and Debbie Mayfield. Maybe they will tell us why the new "invasive seat belt law" was so important and answer critics from the local school board members and staff that blames legislators for lack of education funding. (Lavish spending by the School Board at the request of overpaid administrators have nothing to do with it of course). Anyone can attend. If you never have you should. Costs a little over 10 bucks. Worth the price of admission.
"Rumor has it." In most news outlets "rumor has it" would never be allowed. That's news this is commentary. My definition of "rumor has it" is that I have a very good source that I believe to be extremely credible that has confirmed the report but that I am not willing to stake my life on it.
So, here it goes, "rumor has it" that there is a high level investigation going on that involves officials from the Treasure Coast. "Sources say", that damaging evidence has already been recorded in depositions.
So, I don't want to point the finger at who the official or officials are, none are County Commissioners or School Board members, but just remember you were informed first by the Indian River Report. I would like to make sure that I identify this as pure GOSSIP. Unfortunately I am a lowly blogger. I will leave the proof up to the States Attorney, the US Attorney, and the FDLE.
Sheriff Daryl Loar is fighting in the trenches to make what he believes are needed changes in his department. This week he said no to appeals from officers to keep their jobs after incidents involving behavior not acceptable to the new top cop.
Public opinion seems to be mixed but favoring the Sheriff. Not so within the department where a revolt may be brewing. What can they do? Underground talk includes a work slowdown. As one deputy put it "there's two ways to do this. If we support the boss and a fight starts we jump in and break it up...if we don't, we get to the scene of a fight and wait til its over. We take the loser to the emergency room and the winner to jail."
Speaking of the Sheriff he has another problem on his hands. Two weeks ago there was a suicide in the jail. This week it's 13 cases of Swine Flu.
Light agenda this week in the County Commission. Most controversial is a proposal by Commissioner Joe Flescher to give incentives for local business to win government contracts. Fleschers proposal is designed to give local employees and job providers a break. Opposition will be intense. Look for Commissioner Peter O'Bryan to be the swing vote.
After a year of delays County Staff members are now in the drivers seat on the subject of the future of mining in Indian River County. After hundreds of hours of staff time and hearings the recommendation is now in the hands of Planning Director Bob Keating. Keating is probably the most capable staff member in any department in any County that I have dealt with for 20 years. However, should a County staff member have this kind of power?
Property Drop Not So Bad
Good news for government spenders. The Property Appraiser has reported that property has fallen 9.1% not the 12 plus percent previously reported. That means hundreds of thousands if not millions more in tax receipts for local governments.
Sebastian still getting hit the hardest.
Let's see. Property down 50% for many. Hundreds of property owners upside down on their mortgages, so how did taxes go down only 9.1%. Blame it on commercial property, save our homes and limited comparison sales for accurate appraisals. Either way, government is going to get its money. You and I can starve.
CITY OF VERO
With an apparent meltdown underway for University Health Clinics, city officials are confident that they made the right call when they recommended Crown instead of the financially strapped local group.
Staff members are unmercifully lobbying Councilwoman Debra Fromang to support the measure. Fromang has thus far been the lone voice of reason questioning the wisdom of the "Government Clinic idea.
"Rumor has it" (see story above) that a recent report from a consultant refuses to confirm the savings touted by supporters who all seem to be city employees who would benefit or paid consultants who would benefit from passage of a government employee only medical service.
Red Light Final
This is my final statement on the Red Light Camera issue. A local businessman reports that he got a red light ticket. He challenged the ticket. It seems it was not his car. It even showed the car in the photo. However, camera suppliers and City Governments don't get money for non tickets. "It took months and they sent me to collections with the only black mark on my credit. Finally after month of frustration they finally admitted that they read the tag with a "U" and mine was a "V". They finally dismissed the ticket but not the collection."
Get ready folks. You are in for a real education on the abuse of power.
Next week. A report on unemployment in Indian River County. What is it...why is it...who is responsible for it, where is it going.
Some good news. Realtors are reporting some action in the market. " I haven't had a sale in two years and now I have three this week", said one Realtor I talked to.
Also in the good news column. Sebastian Regional Medical Center is having a grand opening of its new 55,000 square foot facility on Wednesday at 10am.
School Superintendent Dr. Harry Lacava wrote a letter to the editor on Sunday to provide cover for incumbent school board members especially those up for election in just 13 months. He said state legislators, not school board members were responsible for the possible 11% tax increase in these troubled times.
Didn't he and his assistants tell us all along to write legislators and demand money for education even if everyone was cutting back? Now they are telling you to be mad at legislators not school board members for education spending. What planet is this?
Here is the letter:
Generally the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I remember the 4th right after 9-11. We were a people together. Did anyone else feel the air in this weeks celebration? It was more like the day I found out that a dear relative was sick. I knew it was not today but I was clear in the realization that he would die soon and I should not miss a minute of time with him.
That's how I feel about America. It is very ill. Maybe terminally ill and a miracle is the only think that can save it.
Can anyone help me find a miracle?