Showing posts with label POLITICS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label POLITICS. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Brevard County Commissioners Curt Smith, John Tobia use Jesus Christ to make personal jabs

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – Brevard County Commission Chairman Curt Smith and Commissioner John Tobia used Jesus Christ to make personal jabs against one another at Tuesday night’s County Commission meeting.

The religious eruption between the two Commissioners occurred during a discussion over Tobia’s motion to audit Community Redevelopment Agencies after Brevard County Attorney Scott Knox rendered an opinion that the Downtown Melbourne Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and Olde Eau Gallie CRA festival expenses were not in compliance with Florida Statutes and that the CRAs owed the County approximately $311,000.

“I’m kinda torn with this, I don’t know enough facts to feel comfortable voting for it,” said Smith. “I reserve the right to investigate it further. And if I change my mind and say that there is something here that needs to be investigated, I’d be happy to bring it up again. But right now, I’m not in favor of it.”

“I just want to find out what the level of comfort is. We have an Attorney General of the State of Florida saying what they did was inconsistent with statute, we have the County Attorney whose saying it is inconsistent,” Tobia responded. “Short of Jesus Christ coming down here and telling us this is inconsistent, what is it your looking for to find out that will get you across that hump that we probably need to do our job and make sure that County funds that are being expended are being expended consistent with state statute?”

“I find it odd that you invoke the name of Jesus Christ since you don’t believe in him anyway,” Smith retorted. 

Smith is known to emphasize that he is a devout Christian during his political campaigns.

Photo and video credit: SCGTV

Monday, October 16, 2017

Matt Nye Announces Run For Florida House 52 Seat Against Thad Altman

MELBOURNE, Florida – Local political activist Matt Nye has filed to run against Representative Thad Altman in the District 52 Florida House race. Mr. Nye organized the Brevard Tea Parties and currently serves as the Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, the national parent organization of the local Republican Liberty Caucus of Central East Florida, which he founded back in 2008.

“The citizens of Florida deserve a state representative who will work to reduce, not expand, government, and who will not use the position as leverage for personal gain,” Mr. Nye said. “From his earliest days on the County Commission to his most recent position as a State Representative, Thad Altman has a consistent record of placing the interests of lobbyists and special interests above those of his constituents. When one is drawing a $160K annual salary for a do-nothing position without qualifications one is obligated to carry water for other folks whose votes are needed to keep your own bread buttered.”

Matt Nye is a citizen watchdog and outspoken critic of government spending and waste. In July of 2012, Mr. Nye filed the criminal complaint against former Clerk of Courts Mitch Needelman that led to the investigation and arrest of Needelman, lobbyist Matt Dupree and BlueWare CEO Rose Harr for an $8.52 million bid rigging scandal. Matt worked with then former Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis to compile the list of evidence presented to FDLE. The Needelman case is the largest corruption case prosecuted in Brevard County with the trial scheduled for October 16th.

“It seems as though most all we have are elected officials whom do and say anything to get elected,” Mr. Nye said. “Some are outright crooks shamelessly feathering their nests through sweetheart jobs, contracts, and political money changing committees, and others weakly submit to going along to get along, voting as they are told by party leaders, lobbyists, and moneyed interests. All vote in direct contradiction of their campaign promises.”

“I’m here to give the voters a true option – a candidate that will actually follow through on the promises he makes.”

Matt Nye, 45, is a native Floridian and a nine-year resident of Suntree, where he lives with his wife, Natalia, and their two dogs Lily and Cookie. Matt works as a Regional Director for Verteks Consulting, a leading provider of voice and data networks and serves in various Republican positions as well as serving as the Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Suntree.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Representative Randy Fine To Hold Brevard County Accountable For Sewage Dumped In Lagoon

Florida Representative Randy Fine is “fired up” over millions of gallons of raw sewage being dumped in the Indian River Lagoon by Brevard County and other local municipalities as well as repeated water main failures.

“I’m pretty fired up this morning about the ongoing infrastructure disaster we are watching play out across Brevard County,” Fine said on Friday.

“For me, the water failure yesterday afternoon was the last straw. My office is calling all water and sewage utilities in Brevard to develop a list of how many times, and on what dates, we have had service failures, including lack of service, boil water notices, requests to stop using services, and sewage released into the lagoon. I will share this list once it is done.”

Millions of gallons of sewage have been dumped into the Indian River Lagoon by Brevard County government officials after record rainfall in September produced floodwaters that seeped into broken sewer lines, especially around Indian Harbour Beach and Satellite Beach.

“This might be acceptable if it happened once in a blue moon. But these discharges are all too frequent. It is a disgrace,” Fine added.

The last time more rain fell on Florida’s Space Coast within a single month was just nine years ago during Tropical Storm Fay in August 2008.

“Some like to say that we have to be understanding, because it has rained a lot. Guess what? This is Florida. It rains. We have hurricanes. In business, you plan for the worst, and then hope for the best. In government, it seems you plan for the best, and then make excuses when the worst happens.”

“Government has a few basic functions, and making sure we can wash our hands, our kids can drink out of the water fountains, and we don’t put feces in our waterways ought to be at the top of the list. No one can have a reasonable life without these,” Fine continued.

“Unfortunately, some of our politicians think taxpayer funds are better spent on parades, art festivals, instituting carbon taxes, hiring themselves for $100K second jobs, handing out corporate welfare, and taxpayer-paid monthly fancy dinners. It is unacceptable, and I’m furious. I’ll be working on legislation to address.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

Federal Court Rules Brevard County Commissioners Cannot Discriminate Against Atheists

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – A federal court struck down the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners’ practice of prohibiting atheists from giving opening invocations at commission meetings.

In its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida held that a local governing body cannot limit its invocation speakers to members of religious communities.

The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by the CFFC, the Humanist Community of the Space Coast, the Space Coast Freethought Society, and some of their members. The groups asserted in the case that the Commission’s rejection of atheists, humanists, and other non-theists who sought to deliver solemnizing messages at the beginning of commission meetings violated the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.

“ ‘[T]he great promise of the Establishment Clause is that religion will not operate as an instrument of division in our nation,’ ” U.S. District Judge John Antoon II wrote. “Regrettably, religion has become such an instrument in Brevard County. The County defines rights and opportunities of its citizens to participate in the ceremonial pre-meeting invocation during the County Board’s regular meetings based on the citizens’ religious beliefs…. [T]he County’s policy and practice violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article I, Sections 2 and 3 of the Florida Constitution.”

“It is unconstitutional for any governing body to discriminate against people who don’t believe in God,” said Alex J. Luchenitser, associate legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and lead counsel in the case. “Yet that is exactly what Brevard County did through its invocation policy. We’re pleased that the Court put an end to the County’s discriminatory practice.”

The Brevard County Commission will now consider whether or not to file an appeal of the decision or pay damages to the atheists.

Image credit: SCGTV

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Florida Sheriff Appears On FOX News Channel, Calls On Armed Citizens To Stop Terrorists

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey appeared on FOX & Friends to explain why he published a video which calls on armed citizens to be ready to stop terrorists themselves after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Califorinia.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Cocoa Beach City Commission Opposes Brevard County Gas, Sales Tax Increases


COCOA BEACH, Florida – City of Cocoa Beach Commissioners voted 4-1 against supporting the County placing a 1/2 cent sales tax referendum on the ballot to help pay for roads at their meeting on Thursday. The Commissioners also unanimously opposed supporting an increase of the gasoline tax by six cents during their discussion. The Commission then allowed that Agenda item to die without voting.

Brevard County Commissioner Trudie Infantini appeared at the City Commission meeting to oppose raising the sales and gas taxes. Image credit: City of Cocoa Beach.

Trudie Infantini, the most outspoken County Commissioner against raising the tax, appeared before the Commission and gave three examples of where the County is spending money on items other than roads: $6 million for the Miracle City Mall in Titusville; another $6 million on an unoccupied speculation building at Spaceport Commerce Park; and $8 million to Blue Origin.

“The Blue Ribbon Panel was only given the choice of finding revenue suggestions, they weren’t asked to find cuts in the government,” Infantini said to the Commissioners. “… You don’t give somebody who makes bad choices with the existing money more money to spend.”

“We had discussions [regarding the County road backlog] at the Space Coast League of Cities, and my first thought was how did they get themselves in this situation,” said Cocoa Beach Vice-May Tim Timulty. “They are literally hundreds of millions of dollars behind the improvements of the roads and it’s getting worse. They need to do somewhere around $50 to $55 million worth of improvements on roads every year. Last year, I think they did $8 million and the year before it might have been $12 million, $13 million. So right there, they have already fallen roughly $90 million behind.”

“Meanwhile, they’re spending money on NBEDZ and various other programs in the County that have nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do, with the infrastructure of the County,” Timulty continued. “The first and foremost responsibility of government is to take care of the infrastructure and the safety and well being of the citizens. And that’s not happening because they are spending money elsewhere. That’s what needs to be taken care of first. I can’t support this at all.”

Newly-appointed Commissioner-Elect Ed Martinez cast his first vote, at least in spirit, during the meeting. Citing the little payback from the gas and sales tax revenue to Cocoa Beach, Martinez opposed any endorsement of the taxes by the City.

“If I had my vote. I would not endorse this. It’s just simple economics,” Martinez said.

According to a Blue Ribbon Advisory Board for Transportation Infrastructure (BRAC) report, the gas tax hike would generate $7.8 million and the half-cent sales tax increase would generate $17.56 million in revenue for the County and Brevard’s municipalities. However, the City of Cocoa Beach would only receive an estimated $126,000 from the gas tax revenue while the lion’s share of the revenue would go to the County and other cities. The entire proposal for increased transportation taxes (.PDF file) can be viewed here.

BRAC estimated that the average household cost for a half-cent sales tax is $67.50 annually.  The 1/2 cent sales tax for roads is in addition to the 1/2 cent sales tax already levied by Brevard Public Schools, so that the total sales tax in Brevard County would be 7%.

Commissioner Barfield wants to increase gas taxes by 6 cents

The proposal for the additional 6 cent gas tax was made by County Commissioner Jim Barfield whose district includes Cocoa Beach. The proposal sparked overwhelming opposition from residents during last month’s Brevard County Commission meeting. The County Commission will make a final decision on whether to increase the gas tax during its meeting on February 1st, 2016.  
Brevard County Clerk of Court, Scott Ellis, who is a former County Commissioner, said on the Bill Mick Live radio show last week that their is plenty of money for roads in the County’s budget, but that it is simply a matter of making roads a priority instead of spending millions of dollars on economic development handouts to companies and CRAs, including over $3 million annually to the North Brevard Economic Development Zone.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ed Martinez Appointed As Cocoa Beach City Commissioner

COCOA BEACH, Florida – In a 3-1 vote, Cocoa Beach City Commissioners appointed Ed Martinez as the next city commissioner to fill the vacancy created by outgoing Mayor Dave Netterstrom. Commissioner Mike Miller, the sole “no” vote, made it clear that he was not voting against Martinez, but instead was voting against the procedure the Commission took to select the finalists. Netterstrom was prohibited by City Charter from casting a vote on his replacement.

Martinez gave the Commission and the public his last pitch during the final round of candidates as to why he wanted to become the next City Commissioner.

“I gave this a great deal of thought – submitting my application for this seat. I spoke to my wife, friends, community members and business owners,” Martinez said. “I was encouraged by a lot of them. And they gave me positive feedback – and instantly they provided me with advice, concerns, wishes, gripes, things that need to be fixed, as I am sure you all are aware of.”

“My motivation is a simple one, gentlemen. I love this city. It’s my home. I have two businesses on this street. I care about the small business in this community. As a member of the Cocoa Beach Main Street board, I am passionate about the promotion and the re-beautification of downtown Cocoa Beach. And I’m passionate about this city.It will be my honor to serve on this Board with you.”

During public comments, residents asked that all the remaining candidates to disclose any conflicts of interest.

“As far as a conflict of interest, I own an ice cream shop across the street. I don’t think I have a conflict of interest on that one,” Martinez said.

A little while later int the meeting, Commissioner-Elect Martinez cast his first vote, at least in spirit. Citing the little payback from the gas and sales tax revenue to Cocoa Beach, Martinez opposed any endorsement of the taxes by the City.

“If I had my vote. I would not endorse this. It’s just simple economics,” Martinez said.

The vacancy was created when Netterstrom tendered his resignation effective December 31, 2015. Martinez will fill the vacancy on the City Commission from January 1, 2016 to November 17, 2016. 

Image Credit: City of Cocoa Beach



Mayor Cites Deadbeat Company As Reason To Support Rick Scott’s Enterprise Fund

Palm Bay Mayor William Capote
Mayor William Capote

PALM BAY, Florida – City of Palm Bay Mayor William Capote voiced his support on Wednesday for Florida Governor Scott’s proposed reforms to Enterprise Florida, including the creation of the Florida Enterprise Fund.

“I am proud to fully support Governor Scott’s proposal to create the Florida Enterprise Fund and improve the economic development process at Enterprise Florida. Enterprise Florida has been integral to creating jobs in our community; the recent relocation of Oakridge Technologies and the decision for Harris Corporation to remain in Brevard County are two examples of this program’s success,” Mayor Capote said in a release.  “These reforms will continue to diversify our local economy, empower our small businesses, and create even more great jobs.”

The Mayor’s comments regarding job creation by Oakridge Technologies were released the same day that the battery manufacturer made local news headlines for not paying its employees in Palm Bay.

Florida legislators tightened the purse strings for economic incentives this year because a large portion of that money is tied up to Enterprise Florida projects (Oakridge, BlueWare, and Xun Energy in Brevard County alone) which never hit their jobs promises to receive the incentives, leaving millions unspent in escrow.

“The support we’ve received from across the state for the new Florida Enterprise Fund has been tremendous,” said Governor Scott. “The endorsements from local leaders proves that Florida is focused on creating more jobs and diversifying our economy so our children and grandchildren can find great careers in Florida. I look forward to working with the Legislature during the upcoming legislative session to create the new Florida Enterprise Fund.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Alert Through U.S. Holiday Season

Just three days before the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel season, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert on Monday that won’t expire until February 24, 2016.

The State Department said that “current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.”

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq, and that there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations – but conducted on an individual basis.  Terrorists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. 

The State Department advises U.S. citizens to exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation, and to be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places – especially during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.  

AAA Travel forecasts that nearly 47 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday season alone, the most since 2007. 

Image Credit: Wiki Commons / PhillipC

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Poll: Trump Dominates Republican Presidential Race In Florida

Donald Trump has doubled the vote of his nearest Republican Presidential Primary challenger in the winner-take-all delegate state of Florida, according to a new poll by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) released on Wednesday.

Brevard County School Board Votes 3-2 To Raise Own Salaries

VIERA, Florida – The Brevard County Public School Board voted 3 to 2 to raise their own salaries from $37,840 to $39,226, the same rate as Brevard County first-year teachers' salaries. School Board members Amy Kneesy, Karen Henderson, and Andy Ziegler voted for the increase while Misty Belford and John Craig voted against the salary increase.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Democratic Progressive Caucus: Let Syrian Refugees Into Florida

TAMPA BAY, Florida – The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, a chartered caucus of the Florida Democratic Party, has issued scathing remarks against Florida Governor Rick Scott because he opposes Syrian refugees settling in the Sunshine State following the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Tallahasee Proposal To Allow Florida Cities To Become School Districts

TALLAHASSE, Florida – A proposal to amend the Florida Constitution introduced in the Florida Legislature would allow cities to become their own school district and allow Tallahassee to abolish individual Florida county school districts. Neighboring counties could also agree to join together to become a single school district.

Florida Governor Opposes Relocation of Syrian Refugees

Florida Governor Rick Scott

Florida Governor Rick Scott has joined 18 other state governors across the U.S. to ask the federal government to stop relocating Syrian refugees in their home states following the Paris attacks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Did Brevard County Schools Follow Purchasing Rules?

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – There have been suggestions made that better rules and procedures might have prevented Brevard County Public Schools (BPS) from paying millions of dollars to Educational Data Resources for enterprise software that was not delivered. But do the rules that are already in place safeguard against such improper payments, and did BPS follow those rules?

The Viera Company To Brevard County: Keep School Impact Fees In Viera

Proposed School Sites In Central Viera
UPDATE: The Brevard County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve The Viera Company's proposal.

Brevard County Schools Ignored State Auditors’ Red Flags On Software Contract

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – An operational audit published in January 2014 by the State of Florida Auditor General raised red flags about payments made by Brevard County Public Schools (BPS) to a software vendor because there was no documentation evidencing that BPS actually received deliverables from the vendor for those payments.

Satellite Beach “Sustainability Board” To Fight Climate Change

UPDATE: The City Council voted unanimously to create a Sustainability Board. However, the other related items on the Agenda will be brought back to the Council by the Sustainability Board at a later date.

SATELLITE BEACH, Florida — On the agenda for the Satellite Beach City Council meeting scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 7 p.m. is a proposal for the City to elevate a 'Green Committee' environmental group into a "Sustainability Board" so that the tiny beach town can do its part to battle the controversial scientific theory of climate change.

Brevard County Schools To Charge $600 Per Child For Early Release Aftercare

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – The Brevard County School Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to charge parents $600 a year per child for aftercare on Early Release Days.

Port Canaveral CEO John Walsh Forced To Resign

PORT CANAVERAL, FL – In a 4-to-1 vote on Wednesday, Port Commissioners and Port CEO John E. Walsh agreed that his last day as Canaveral’s chief executive officer would be January 21, 2016.