Sunday, August 23, 2009

Unemployment, foreclosures, decline in home values, misery index on the rise, quality of life going down, gee, have a nice day!

Indian River Report


A national review of interrogation is being launched by the new Democrat administration. They say the Bush administration “scared terrorists” while held in prison. Officials of the Obama administration say fake executions and someone turning on a drill, “making a drill noise” to scare terrorists was possible criminal behavior. Maybe we should just bake them cookies.

No need to comment on the healthcare debate. There is plenty of discussion on both sides but it does point out the problem of one party rule.

Thanks to the Indian River County Tea Party Committee who traveled this week to Orlando to protest out of control spending.

Just to put it in perspective. A light year is the distance light will travel in one year traveling at the speed of light or 186,000 miles per second. That’s about 6 trillion miles. Our federal government is spending money at near the speed of light.
And where is it all going? Answer, to all of the traditional Democrat supporters:

Stimulus money to retain teachers Teachers unions support democrats over 90%
Auto manufactures to keep employed United Auto Workers support Democrats
Public Works Projects Teamsters Union support democrats
State and Local governments Public Unions support only Democrats
Uninsured Lower income and aliens support democrats
Cash for Clunkers Provides for older cars to be traded

You can go on and on but the answer is that every program can be traced back to a traditional Democrat party segment. Trial lawyers, AARP, public and private unions, minorities, illegal aliens, etc. These are not just programs but a raid on the United States Treasury.

Join the Tea Party. Here is their web address:

City of Vero Officials are moving to sue the state of Florida over what Councilman Tom White calls a “gag order”. In the last session of the legislature a bill was passed that stops public bodies from using public money to pass pet projects.
I have seen governments approve thousands of dollars to pass political projects while opponents of the issue are required to raise money for ads and information to pose the other side.

The ban on the use of public money by politicians to try to shove issues down the public’s throat is a good one. If they support an issue they can raise money, organize and attend town meetings and forums just like everyone else. It is not enough that politicians have access to special interests and play to the camera paid by public money for hours on end on the local government channel. They want to use public money….their endless supply of public money…against you.

The other issue that has raised the ire of local politicians is Senate Bill 360 which circumvents some planning rules. Senate Bill 360 may or may not go too far but is an inevitable reaction to entrenched far left conservationists who often infiltrate and take over planning on the County and City level.

Dr. Richard Baker for example sat on the County Planning and Zoning Board until removed last year when Bob Solari was elected. Baker was known as “Dr. NO” since he opposed everything no matter how good for the residents of Indian River County.

Tom White and the Vero City Council should rethink its position. I don’t know how many times we have to say this but get this…IT IS NOT YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!!

As predicted by the Indian River Report, county unemployment passes 15%. That’s 9,000 unemployed. The only plan to fight unemployment has been put forward by Commissioner Wesley Davis. His 5 point plan to ease misery is making its way through the system despite opposition from the Indian River Neighborhood Association and some staff members.

This week the next part of the package which allows businesses to propose improvements by what is called a “functional equal” was passed unanimously by a County Professional Advisory Committee. The only opponent…you guessed it…the Indian River Neighborhood Association.


The trial for County Administrator Joe Baird is scheduled to begin Monday. Currently it appears that Baird will be back at the helm of the county regardless of the outcome of the trial. Baird appears to maintain the three votes needed to keep his job guilty or not guilty.


Attempts by Commissioners to force additional negotiations between the County and The International Firefighters Union to save jobs appear to have failed. Teamsters and unrepresented county employees agreed to wage concessions to keep layoffs at a minimum. The Firefighters Union is the only group to demand increases.


Power and Utilities

The City of Vero continues to approve increases in rates for services despite protests from city rate payers. This issue requires a full report so a special edition of the Indian River Report will be issued on this subject later this week.
Watch for a complete report on the issue. Furthermore, the Indian River Report will propose a solution. A plan to lower rates immediately and in the long run. You can hear a special preview of the report on the Rhett Palmer Show on Monday at 8am with a replay at 3pm.

League of Cities

Vero continues to support the League of Cities. Three Council members traveled to Orlando to attend meetings last month. Do we really need to do that?


The Indian River Report recently learned that while The Vero City Council is considering charging a dollar for kids to go to the fountain, a proposal for more than 1 million dollars has slipped through to dredge the canals at Vero Isles. The upscale community also known as “the fingers” is home to many of the Vero elite including Indian River Neighborhood Association president Honey Minuse.

The proposal was hidden in the deep well injection project and would be paid by loans and grants that might become part of County residents’ burden should County and City officials regionalize water and wastewater services.

During the last meeting of the Vero Council City Manager Jim Gabbard complained about “all of the misinformation being spread by the press”.

Unfortunately hidden projects like dredging the fingers, no information to Council members about dwindling reserves, mismanagement by FMPA which leads to huge costs to ratepayers and large overruns in consultant contracts casts doubt on the information reported by officials and leads to speculation and distrust.

Perhaps a more open and forthright City management would lead to a more informed discussion.


Debra Fromang and perennial candidate Brian Heady joined the Campaign for City Council this week. Former Councilman Ken Daige is expected to qualify before the September 4th deadline. Fromang and Heady join Indian River Neighborhood Association candidate Bill Fish and challenger Jack Shupe in November’s election.

Sebastian Council member and former director of the Indian River Neighborhood Association Andrea Coy has filed for reelection. She joins several other candidates in the contest. Councilwoman Dale Simchick is widely rumored to be planning a run as the IRNA candidate against Joe Flescher in the District 2 County Commission race. Council person Wolff has yet to announce his intentions.

Simchick is popular and will make a strong candidate. She is backed by Gary Wheeler who controls IRNA organization and money and is obsessed with replacing Joe Flescher on the Commission.

Wheeler best known for his support of Charter Government and over $20,000,000 in money set aside for conservation that went to two large ranch families for development rights, needs just one more vote on the Commission to control County government. Wheeler is counting on Simchick to replace Flescher and Commissioner Peter O’Bryan returning next November to give him absolute control and allow the IRNA to make a comeback after last year’s election defeat.

Also in election news the campaign manager for Tax Collector Carol Jean Jordan has been retained to run the campaign for Erin Grall who announced for State Representative District 29.


It is difficult to imagine that the economic news could be much worse. Here are the highlights from this last week:

1. Unemployment passes 15%. Second largest in Florida and surpasses St. Lucie County.
2. Foreclosures hit new record up 90% over previous period
3. County Population decreases as workers leave and are replaced by retirees
4. Work force shrinks. Hundreds have left the workforce. First time since 1945 when military left
5. Home prices continue to decline. Down 33% over last year, more than 50% since peak


But here is the most disturbing of all. There has long been a rumor that suicide rates are up sharply due to the continuing decline in our quality of life. I have confirmed this with area funeral home directors who say that they believe this to be true.

The Press Journal I am told has a policy against reporting suicide as a cause of death. I can’t say that I disagree with the policy but that should not stop a report about suicides in general. I have received unofficial confirmation from various law enforcement personnel and I have written the Coroner’s office for statistics but have yet to hear back from them. I will do a follow up report to confirm or deny the speculation when I do get a reply.

The bottom line is that we need to set petty politics aside and get serious about the state of our local economy. Last week I was in Fellsmere where a new resident spoke against the new MESA Park. She said “they are just low wage service jobs. We don’t want low wage service jobs”. The standing room only crowd of residents told the retiree in no uncertain terms, “yes we do”.

The same is true for Sebastian Councilwoman Andrea Coy. She attended last month’s economic development council meeting and after giving lip service to needing new jobs proceeded to list jobs and companies that we don’t want in Indian River County.

At the same meeting a suggestion was made to have an Ad Hoc Committee to study the economy and why Indian River County is chronically one of the highest areas in Florida for unemployment. Penny Chandler of the Indian River Chamber immediately responded, “Who told you that you could do this”.

With all due respect to Ms. Chandler we don’t need her permission to do anything.

So until the IRNA becomes a better neighbor, the Chamber of Commerce director becomes more interested in employment Countywide not just her own, public employees stop protecting their benefits and salaries and politicians put their power egos on hold we are not just making the misery index go up, we might be killing people.

How about it folks. Can’t we get together for the common good just until this crisis passes? You can go back to your petty squabbles later.


School starts Monday. Last year several students were hurt waiting for the bus in the dark. I proposed delaying the start of school by one hour until daylight savings time expires. This has not been done. I hope no one gets hurt in these first few weeks by our School Board taking no action. Be careful tomorrow. There are kids out there.


  1. There are some dramatic unemployment level and foreclosure level heat maps for Florida at localetrends

    Unemployment Maps

    Foreclosure Maps

  2. Welcome back Charlie Hunney! Don't let the bast, uh bureaucrats get y'all down. If they're angry, it's caused you rattled their nest and they don't cotton to that. See, they get paid whether they actually work or not so which do y'all think they would chose?


  3. Talk about Government spending.... the Iraq war has been expensive.... Is former President George Bush a Democrat?

  4. Also, Piper Aircraft is taking their business overseas... Why did Vero tax payers subsidize them?


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