|Citizens' Editorials 2013 Citizens' Editorials 2012||
Special City Council Meeting on the 29th at 7PM:
Mr. Kutney and Mr. Francis will be interviewed on Thursday - July 30th @ 6PM
Interviews will not be streamed online via the webcam to insure fairness to all applicants. Citizens will be able to view the interviews via the internet after Thursday.
Before getting to the article, please remember, if Mayor Johnson has two like-minded Council members elected to office next year, then I guess some meetings will be noticed as “Subcommittee” meetings. With no staff. No webcam to document. Is that what we want? It’s not what I want. The Mayor wants it – he suggested it in an email to the current Council and City Manager and I’ve posted that email here on POP. POP won’t be around next year during the election to discuss this…but I’m thinking about it already. Perhaps so should you. Ok…onward…
All sizzle and no steak
At the 7/22 meeting the Mayor mentioned he has raised money for a project that would make government run smoother – ok, what is the project? Didn’t he tell the people that gave money what the project is? Why didn’t he tell the Council? Why bring it up if you’re not going to explain it – it was an attempt at communication that failed. Why he is off raising money and then sharing that with the Council? Is the Council involved in some way that they are not aware? What is all of this? Why wasn’t it communicated? What is the Mayor hiding? Whatever the Mayor said to the contributors, why did he not, why has he not stated as much to the Council members?
All hat and no cattle
At the 7/22 meeting the Mayor brought up the UCF incubator business symposium to use City Hall as some point. To do what? Mayor said he had attended one and there was a “hotbed of activity”. Like what? What is the substance?
All foam and no beer
At the 7/22 meeting the Mayor brought up the “tech corridor”. What is it? Who are the people behind it? Are they clients with the Mayor’s marketing business Eastwood Marketing? When the Mayor asked the Council if they were on board, what exactly does that mean? What does it mean when the Mayor said, “…they (tech corridor) need a few things.”? What does that mean? Is the Mayor brokering a business deal with the Council? Why did the Mayor not communicate all of the particulars? This was an attempt at communicating.
All wax and no wick
The Mayor wants to marginalize public participation. He mentioned a website DeBary Hope and likened it to Craig’s List – some kind of website – more details forthcoming from the Mayor. Not fully communicated.
The Mayor did not communicate with the Council at the 7/22 meeting as he, apparently has, with UCF, tech people, and raising money for a project that somehow involves the Council. I don’t know. And then the Mayor looked for permission to move forward.
The Mayor will say he communicated with the Council – he didn’t. He talked. He said…stuff. He mentioned…stuff. But what was it all really?
All mouth and no trousers is what my friends across the pond would say.
The four Councilmembers need to wade into these issues - the Mayor is kind of mentioning things and wanting support for...something. The four Councilmembers need to get in front of this by asking questions. And by asking questions. And demanding real answers. Your silence is being taken as permission.
The Mayor says he wants to focus on the City's business - but he says little about the City business on the Agenda - plenty to say about these meetings with other people, in other cities, in other Counties. When the Mayor states he is not hiding anything...that tells me he is hiding something...
The Mayor’s Mingle Mangle – Part V of V
Let’s Review the Bidding
Well, I just returned from the Council’s Workshop and…wow.
What did the Mayor have to say about the budget? Nothing.
What did the Mayor have to say about the City Manager issue during the meeting when it was on the agenda? Nothing.
What did the Mayor talk about? Incubators. Tech corridors. A group hug…I mean…a group photo of the whole Council on the next Mayor’s Mailbox Mailout – Councilmembers, do not do this, please. It’s ok to politely say “No”. Did the Mayor ask you to say “Yes” to the Mayor’s Mailbox initially?
The Mayor talked about wanting to move public participation to before the 7PM start of the meeting at 6:30PM.
This issue of Public Participation the Mayor brought up was not on the agenda in a specific way - Meeting Procedure Discussion is how it was listed on the agenda. The Mayor did not want to hear from the citizens in the room tonight that turned in yellow cards while this issue was being discussed. To his credit, Mr. Butlien voiced his desire to want to have a say about this. To her credit, VM Handy-Peters said she wanted to hear from the people. CM Dwyer said he did, too. I believe CM Carson was nodding his head. I wanted to hear all four Councilmembers say, “Let’s hear those people.”
However, when VM Handy-Peters voiced her desire to hear from the people, the Mayor’s response to this issue of public participation was, “We can leave it the way it is.” And it was over. The Mayor is tired of hearing from the same people and it looks bad for the City – this is what he expressed.
There was discussion about how much money is being spent on the City Attorneys particularly how much each Council member is utilizing the City Attorney. This brought out a number of questions from the Mayor – he seemed wary of the whole conversation. VM Handy-Peters wants transparency on this issue. There was also discussion about perhaps curtailing Councilmember use of the City Attorney by going to the City Manager first. The Mayor did not like this. “Restrictions?” The Mayor does not want to be restricted in using the City Attorney. But I felt the Mayor was trying to restrict public participation by what he was proposing earlier – maybe it’s just me.
But then the most telling incident happened. After all agenda items were covered and Adjournment was the only item left, the Mayor went over 5 items not on the agenda. The Mayor wanted permission to send a letter to Mica about an issue.
The Mayor asked the Council to add some more individuals to the City Manager interview list – just like that. Not during the discussion when it was on the agenda – no. And the Mayor had the audacity to say “…I’m not trying to hide anything.”
The Mayor related a bike ride he is doing – that’s great but “Communications” was not on the agenda – so if late public speaking cards are not allowed why was this? The Mayor mentioned a website DeBary Hope and said more details to come. Mayor mentioned raising money for a project to help government run smoother – more details to come.
Meeting adjourned. I reviewed the meeting in my mind and looked over my notes. I thought about this series of editorials I’ve written.
Ultimately, the Mayor was selling the incubator from UCF to the Council – why not invite them to give a presentation? The Mayor was selling the “tech corridor” and “they need a few things” the Mayor stated. What do they need? Who are “they”? Can “they” come and talk to the Council as a whole so we’re all on the same page? Who represents the tech corridor and the Mayor kept asking, “Can I tell them you’re interested?” The Mayor was selling the Council on a group photo for the Mayor’s Mailbox – and basically just said he’d have it set up for the next meeting without the other four saying much that I could hear.
My impression was that of a hard sell of those things the Mayor is interested in. The people he knows to have a shot at being City Manager (CM Carson was not in favor of this and I’m in full agreement with that sentiment – the process has to be fair to all). The Mayor was selling the tech corridor, the UCF incubator, and a group photo for his mailer. No comment on the interviewing process for city manager and nothing on the budget.
The Mayor mentioned at the end that he wants to communicate with Council and perfunctorily asked what he could do. And while he broached issues like the incubator and tech corridor, there were no back up materials and I’m not sure what he was asking for. To compare, CM Brady brought much more substance to his discussion to explore the possibility of an inspection program for rental properties.
The Mayor is going to feel that no matter what he does, he just can’t win. But when you bring up what is clearly an agenda item after the agenda item has already been discussed, and then state you’re not trying to hide anything, well, as my parole officer used to tell me, “If you get tired of people riding you, then stop acting like an ass.”
Part 5 of this 5 part editorial is now complete.
Thus ends Act I of this 5 Act series on Mayor Johnson.
Act II will review the Mayor’s various postings on social media sites – this 6 part series is halfway finished as of today.
Act III is a 3 part series of editorials that will focus solely on Mayor Johnson’s tenure at the Orange City Police Department including the circumstances surrounding his departure.
Act IV will primarily concentrate on the Mayor’s voting record while on Council.
Act V will cover all of Mayor Johnson’s antics which will occur during the writing and posting of Acts II thru IV.
I have no idea how many parts Act V will encompass
– indeed, does anyone?
Mayor’s Mingle Mangle – Part IV of V
From Mayor Johnson’s email:
I desire to see more people elected to council that are younger, enthusiastic, persistent, thick skinned, confident, and most of all innovative. 1 person that tries to find a better way of doing something that “is the way it is”, has more value than 10 people that show up to perpetuate an inherently antiquated and slow system.
It’s already been posted and discussed on POP how the Mayor could not tolerate contrary opinions about Swamp House Grill restaurant. Here it is again in case you missed it:
When Mayor Johnson posted on Facebook recently (7/9/15) about Swamp House Grill and urged people to experience it, some people spoke in favor of the restaurant, food, service, etc, and others did not. The Mayor’s response on Facebook:
What do all the negative comments serve to accomplish?
When Council members tried to talk to the Mayor about issues at the 6/24/15 meeting, he was not thick skinned, did not want to hear it and shut the meeting down. He stated the words, “This is why we need a strong mayor type of government.”
The Mayor sent an email to Council members asking for a meeting without staff or webcam to record it and “notice” it as a “subcommittee” to put it under the radar. Thick skinned? Mayor Johnson favors a change in our form of government while attempting to avoid working under the current form of government we have while looking unfavorably on contrary opinions – even about a restaurant.
Mayor Johnson’s words and actions show that he doesn’t really need to be thick skinned – he can try to deny an alternate point of view on a social media site that exists to present alternate points of view. Or he can stop abrasive discussions by just shutting down a meeting. Or he can avoid criticism by attempting to have a meeting that isn’t recorded or noticed as a City Council meeting. Thick skinned? Mr. Mayor comes across touchier than a blind man reading Penthouse Forum in Braille.
Scroll down on this webpage to the email sent to the City Council – the date is 6/24 and it was written by Colette Rowley. What Ms. Rowley relates is troubling and I hope these claims are looked into as it relates to the treatment of a citizen by the Mayor.
Given all of this, why would “thick skinned” be a requirement? It’s not for the Mayor. The Mayor used the words “personal vendettas” when the four Council members tried to talk to the Mayor on 6/24/15. If anyone opposes the Mayor, the fault is not to be found in the Mayor, it is the other – they are jealous, it is personal, it is a vendetta. It’s never the Mayor.
From the Mayor’s email:
1 person that tries to find a better way of doing something that “is the way it is”, has more value than 10 people that show up to perpetuate an inherently antiquated and slow system.
“Antiquated and slow.” Old and slow. Government is supposed to move slowly. It’s designed that way. Government should not be run like a marketing agency. But read the philosophy of Clint Johnson’s Eastwood Marketing (Click here to link to webpage ) posted on his website:
We seek customers who are not afraid of pushing the limits of creativity and finding new ways of doing old things to not just stay ahead of the competition but change the very way their industry is done. Our goal is not just to pay the bills but to build relationships with fellow disruptors that unapologetically ask why of everything that is “the way things are”.
I think it’s a great philosophy for running a marketing agency. I don’t remember it as a campaign slogan for governing.
Now, some people take the position that I’m whupping up on the Mayor like a drill sergeant on a tubby recruit with a sexually ambiguous first name. I’m not. I’m actually what the Mayor desires to work with in his marketing agency: “a fellow disruptor that unapologetically asks why of everything…”
Actually, why is the Mayor willing to build relationships with fellow disrupters in business but not citizens posting their opinions, Council members voicing their opinions, citizens voicing their opinions?
Thus ends Part 4 of this 5 part series - it is intended as a 5 Part series; however, there is a meeting tomorrow night. So we will see. Part 5 is forthcoming…Let’s Review the Bidding…stay tuned…
p.s. Mr. Mayor, on your Eastwood Marketing philosophy webpage, “its” needs to be changed to “it’s” and “2nd to none” really should be “second to none”. But “obsessive” is correct in the following sentence:
“…we employ an obsessive attention to detail...”
Mayor’s Mingle Mangle – Part III of V
Rejecting the Premise
There are a number of premises that Mayor Johnson expresses in his two emails that have been the focus of this series of editorials. From the Mayor’s emails:
Yes, the landscape is laden with all that back-patting – so avoid it. But Mayor Johnson’s Facebook page is laden with photos of the Mayor with all kinds of political people, events, etc. Dinnners. Ribbon cuttings. All that stuff. Foo-foo stuff. “Ego assuaging”. Like pumping up an application. Embellishing it a little?
The state rules do not prohibit building relationships – poor leadership and a desire to control everything prohibits building relationships. Not sharing ideas with fellow Council members prohibits building relationships. Posting potential site plans and potential stop sign placements on social media pages may prohibit building relationships. Telling people what they want to hear even if it contradicts what you said to different people the day before prohibits building relationships.
Retired individuals do not run and serve in elected office to “fill their time”. They do it to contribute and give back.
There are no “vague and arbitrary rules to prohibit building relationships so leaders can truly lead…” The inability to communicate with fellow Council members can not all be put on rules and the pre-established process of governing which has been in place for…how many years? But now all of a sudden those rules are unsound and illogical so says the Mayor after six months in office.
If the premises listed by the Mayor are accepted, one would be led to believe that private meetings without staff or the webcam to record are necessary. But that is not the case.
What is the case is the Mayor ran for office, ran to sit on the City Council that operates within the law and he, apparently, is only now finding out he doesn’t want to do it that way – so everyone else will have to change. This is why individuals who want to run for elected office should attend a meeting or two or have an inkling of how the process works. Mayor Johnson did not and does not. Or he did and he does understand the process but wants to fundamentally change our form of government – was that on his campaign platform?
Reject the premises offered by the Mayor. The Mayor didn't "happen" into his position - he sought it - fiercely. He wanted to do this - he thought. We all have some disdain for government and its workings.
We all know about bureaucracy – heck, just look at the word. There’s no “O”. Sounds like there should be an “O”. Bureaucracy. The word could be streamlined and work better with an “O”. Instead we have “E”, “A” and a “U”. We need to cut the red tape in the word “Bureaucracy”, drop the three-letter ballast and just stick an “O” in there. The problem is the “E” has tenure, the “A” is the union shop steward and the “U” is married to the boss’s accountant’s son. Ok, sorry for that embellishment…back to it:
I want to hear what government can do – at a Council meeting not on Facebook.
I want to hear what can be accomplished – at a Council meeting not on Facebook.
It seems the Mayor’s solution is to get young, energetic individuals in office – that’s his solution.
The Mayor is waiting for four more Clint Johnsons to be elected.
I want to know about the Mayor’s revolutionary way to improve government as he opined on Facebook a month ago. I want to hear about how he is asking the County to place stop signs in certain places (Do the other Council members know about this? I hope so –they should) and having the police be conspicuous in enforcing the law as he has opined on Facebook – here are the quotes:
Clint Johnson on FB – June 25th at 11:08PM: I agree with you, Jim. To that end I have hundreds of hours and a lot of money invested in working on a revolutionary solution to the inherent problems with government as it is known today. Stay tuned!
From Mayor on FB – July 10th – 10:32PM: It's my pleasure to work with you. Most of your neighbors are very reasonable and understanding. Some though.... Lol
Mayor – FB – July 10th – 8:12PM: We've been working diligently to find an alternative solution to that entrance with Traffic Engineers, FDOT, Volusia County Traffic, City Manager, and a couple representatives from the neighborhood It's unlikely but it's worth giving it the ol' college try.
Thus ends Part 3 of a 5 part series. Part 4 is forthcoming…Thick Skinned… stay tuned.
**The almost full text of the emails cited is posted below Part I of this series. The Council is meeting this Wednesday the 22 nd at 6PM. I also want to thank Dennis Miller for helping me write the best part of this editorial.
Mayor’s Mingle Mangle – Part II of V
Younger and Smoother
AGEISM : prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly
In Mayor Johnson’s response to a university student he shows his bias for youth. He insults every retired Councilmember currently serving and in the past who served. A Council needs everyone, Mayor. It needs all kinds of viewpoints to come up with the best, one decision for the City and its citizens. Mayor uses the word “young” or “younger” 3 times in 4 paragraphs. Such commentary in private business could easily be met with a lawsuit or class action suit for age discrimination.
Plus the Mayor has these two beauties:
Retired Councilmembers are not serving to “fill their time” Mr. Mayor. They have something to give. Maybe they want to share their experience from when they were working in business and/or government and contribute to the City. How dare you say this to a university student studying Public Administration about our Citizens. The student will take this information coming from a Mayor and believe it – perhaps act on it in the future. You’ve done a terrible injustice to DeBary citizens and to the student. Mayor Coleman, Lenny Marks and John Likakis are just a few of the many retired citizens who have been a symbol to me of what retired life can be like: in service to others. Bringing life experiences and hard won truths to bear on issues facing our City and see us through them. In addition, many retired citizens run other aspects of our City: the Lombardi’s and the DeBary Library to name but one. They do that out of passion – not to pass time.
Shame on you Mr. Mayor for what you expressed to that student.
As to your comment about “the better our political structure will become”, I disagree. Does the Mayor mean we need younger people serving to improve our political structure because he can’t work within it? It doesn’t suit his desires, so we need to change the system?
Mr. Mayor, the City Council, our political system, and all that you want to change won’t work better if you skirt sunshine law or make everyone younger on the Council. Neither youth nor post middle aged individuals guarantee good leadership. Having leadership qualities ensures good leadership. Leadership is not tied to an age number. Leadership is not having meetings out of the sunshine. Leadership is not shutting down meetings. Leadership is about a person having qualities of leadership.
Mr. Mayor has run for a political office that operates within certain parameters which he was either ignorant of when he ran or willfully wants to change now that he is installed in office. Yet the other four currently serving Councilmembers and all past Councilmembers worked within the same system to effect change and be stewards of taxpayer money with none of this kind of talk of change to do the job. Governing can be improved upon without doing the things the Mayor suggests – the first step is by talking to your Council rather than social media people. Since June 24th when you shut down the meeting you haven’t talked to your Council members – the July 1st meeting just went along and it was ended and no discussion. CM Carson did share his hope of working together and try to get along. So for a month the Council members have not really talked to each other about working together. This discussion needs to happen.
Oh, to have wisdom in youth and strength in old age.
Thus ends Part 2 of this 5 Part series. Part III is forthcoming…Rejecting the Premise…stay tuned…
Mayor’s Mingle Mangle – Part I of V
I’m posting almost the full text of both emails discussed herein. I’ve omitted the student’s information that asked the Mayor questions he answered – the student’s name, address and phone number were in the email – I’m not posting that – I believe it would be wrong – legal…but wrong. Also, I had to pay 21 bucks for emails –the Mayor posts them for free – the City is missing out on revenue and, isn’t it the rule to ask for these emails and pay for them? I have to pay. The Mayor doesn’t? He can just post them?
Two pieces for us to put together from the Mayor’s emails to understand what the Mayor wants to do in his own words:
They Mayor tried to “correct the record” on Facebook about these two statements. Mayor Johnson, who can’t correctly report his own personal information on an application, is trying to correct the record. It’s like Bill Clinton giving a speech about the importance of fidelity in a marriage. Anyway, statement 1 is one of three different ideas the Mayor expressed in that paragraph – it’s not taken out of context – it’s a full idea in and of itself with a different one before it and a different one after it which we will get to later in Part II of this series of editorials.
To begin, sunshine laws DO NOT prohibit effective team building and free group cooperation – it’s just that the way the Mayor behaves at meetings and on social media prevents him from building and working with the other Councilmembers. Sunshine laws never got in the way with past Councils working together – but now with this Mayor it does. So I disagree with the premise the Mayor states. The Mayor simply has to share his ideas with the Council. He has to be able to justify, explain and support his decisions and actions. He does not want to do this. He is unwilling. Unable? He shuts down meetings and acts in an unprofessional manner.
Statement 2: Mayor Johnson tried to clear this up by saying the meeting would be noticed. Well, yes, noticed as a “subcommittee” – what is that? A Workshop? No. A City Council Meeting? No. The Mayor did not want staff or the webcam to record the meeting – so no notes? That desire is to get around open meetings in the sunshine. I don’t think we need a slide ruler to see this. So to say the word “notice” somehow clears it up is intellectually dishonest to the point that I no longer need talk to the Mayor because I’ve seen enough to know I’m going to get half-truths and I don’t have time to separate the wheat from the chaff. To put the word subcommittee in quotes shows that it is something other than a Workshop or regular meeting. I hope if the Mayor tries to actually do this in the future, the other 4 Councilmembers do not show up – it’s not right.
Thus ends Part One of Five. Part II is forthcoming…topic: Ageism...
EMAILS - Emphasis is mine:
From: CJohnson@debary.org [mailto:CJohnson@debary.org]
If you could reply with your answers to the questions below I would really appreciate it.
1. Describe the work you do and how you came to this position. What is your educational work and background?
2. What impact does the work you do have on the community/state/nation and so on?
3. What do you find different or unusual about working in a public organization? How do you think your job compares to other jobs at a comparable level in business or industry?
4. What knowledge, skills, and values are important to your work? For instance, if you were hiring someone to take your place, what would you look for?
Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to reading your response.
I would be glad to meet with you and have a formal interview. Just call 386-668-2040 ext 311 to work out the scheduling. In the meantime, I will also answer these questions.
1) I own several businesses, primarily a screen repair service ( www.ScreenForce.com ) and a marketing firm ( www.EastwoodMarketing.com ). I attended Stetson University for business but left to pursue my entrepreneurial goals. I decided to run for Mayor because I love DeBary and felt the city needed a new younger leader to help guide it through the inevitable growth and development challenges we are facing with the improving economy and Northerly expansion of the Orlando region.
2) Serving as Mayor is often recognized as the most impacting political position in the country as the decisions made by a city council can have such profound and direct impacts on a residents quality of life. I fight against bureaucracy to streamline the process of government and believe that as more cities embrace this mentality, we will lead upwards by example and see our country improve on every level.
3) The political sphere is laden with excessive ego assuaging with meals, recognitions, and back patting to gain support. There are also many many state mandated rules such as “sunshine laws” that prohibit effective team building and free group cooperation. Finally, there are vastly too many people in politics, especially on a local level that use it as a way to fill their time in retirement.
In contrast to the business/professional realm: Executives must continually work hard and earn recognition which inspires more genuine effort. There are no vague and arbitrary rules to prohibit building relationships so leaders can truly lead and teams can work towards a more common and concise goal. Finally, the best thing about the private sector is that every job is filled with young, energetic, and innovative employees aspiring to earn a decent wage and make things run smoother.
The more we can see the former shift to the latter, the better our political structure will become.
4) I sort of answered that above. I desire to see more people elected to council that are younger, enthusiastic, persistent, thick skinned, confident, and most of all innovative. 1 person that tries to find a better way of doing something that “is the way it is”, has more value than 10 people that show up to perpetuate an inherently antiquated and slow system. Will you run in 2016? lol
Thanks for the message,
From: CJohnson@debary.org [ mailto:CJohnson@debary.org ]
In response to the workshop, I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss innovative ideas such as creative code enforcement, rental property solutions, business symposium events, new commercial opportunities, and unique ways to make DeBary great.
We can cut the cost of staff/video and consider it an informal noticed “subcommittee” discussion to bring back more complete ideas to the whole council for deliberation if anyone has already rescheduled or isn’t interested in attending.
The Mayor's Excellent Excrement Embellishment Sandwich- he'll put cheese on it to make it taste better...and...
When Mayor Johnson posts something...no one can say anything to the contrary...not no way...not no how...
7/14: Bastille Day
- But the Mayor wants to keep DeBary Citizens in the Dark
Developing Story: The Mayor does not want to have Workshops in public or on the webcam - Sunshine Law be damned. He wants to improperly notice meetings by calling them "subcommittee" meetings. Here is the Mayor's own words from an email to the City Manager and the Council on July 9th:
In response to the workshop, I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss innovative ideas such as creative code enforcement, rental property solutions, business symposium events, new commercial opportunities, and unique ways to make DeBary great.
We can cut the cost of staff/video and consider it an informal noticed “subcommittee” discussion to bring back more complete ideas to the whole council for deliberation if anyone has already rescheduled or isn’t interested in attending.
From Norm: From the Mayor on July 3rd in response to a question from a University student asking about duties as Mayor and working in government:
There are also many many state mandated rules such as “sunshine laws” that prohibit effective team building and free group cooperation. --Clint Johnson
From Norm: Did Mayor Johnson not know about these Laws when he ran? Was it always Mayor Johnsons's intention to skirt such Laws? I think these are valid questions.
Free Concert - "An American Tribute" - July 18th at the United Methodist Church - @ 7PM
Don't forget the DeBary Library sells used books everyday in the corner to the left as you enter the library. I attended the Saturday book sale and found some good ones. They do it twice a month.
I've been to Gateway Park and Power Park - today Power Park was filled with kids from the City program - all were having fun.
My daughter had a great time last week at Vacation Bible School at United Methodist Church - singing songs, making crafts and having fun.
The problem is you, Mr. Mayor:
Posted on Facebook by the Mayor on 7/10:
The deadline for a second appeal after the judge ruled in favor of the city on the first appeal has passed and the Walmart Neighborhood Market development is moving forward with the final stage of application. Here is the latest site plan featuring the most recent concessions; No Gas Station & No Strip Mall.
So, there is no strip mall of stores? Just the Walmart grocery store?
That's not the case at all when you look at the picture. It shows 8 retail stores - that's a strip mall, Mr. Mayor. It shows 2 outparcels.
You're putting out bad information that garners nearly 200 comments that lead to anger and profanity. You need to stop posting things. What you posted isn't even a final site plan - it's in flux. Same thing with the stop sign map you posted. You're telling people what the police will be told about issuing tickets? Who are you to do and say these things?
Why post it? This is what the 4 Councilmembers were talking about but you didn't want to hear it. Your posting was not in response to a question from the media. Your constituency is not Facebook followers - it's the City - it's the Citizens. Stop posting bad information - incomplete information - contradictory information.
Lazarus at work:
July 15th Council Workshop Alive
Mayor's own words make my case:
I went back and viewed the tapes and in the Mayor’s own words after public participation the Mayor said about the issue of 24/7 businesses:
“So I’ll leave it to the council for discussion here and see what y’all were thinking.”
Well, they were thinking 2-2 and the Mayor is the tie-breaker. What position do you take on the issue, Mayor? You just made my point that you abdicated your leadership role. You said “damn” when it came back 2-2. You did not want to take a position on this issue you brought forward.
You were, in your own words, “trying to find a healthy compromise to make it more palatable to the impacted residents.” Ok, then you should have taken the position of limiting 24/7 businesses. Why didn’t you?
Just as you spoke in favor of the horsetrack, argued this was our only route, no other projects were forthcoming only to then not second the motion to move forward with it. And why? Because you didn't want to vote on it. You didn't want to take a position on 24/7. Why did you run? To not take positions on issues you support?
You’ve proven my point using your own words: "Council, it’s up to you." A tie? Damn, I have to take a position on this issue? Damn.
If Mayor Johnson is pro-business he would not be in favor of limiting businesses to less than 24/7 service; however, if it was his intent to mitigate impacts at Glen Abbey by limiting 24/7 service to help those folks, he would have stated his position as such - but he did neither of these things at the Workshop - this avoidance of taking a stance on an issue he brought forward is the absence of leadership. The other four Councilmembers took a stance on an issue the Mayor brought forward.
I'm actually getting to the point to where when CM Carson champions an expenditure, a huge expenditure, at Rob Sullivan, I might support him because at least CM Carson knows what he wants and will fight for it regardless of any rebuttal...hold on....ok...I just received a text...they are putting coats and hats on in hell...kiss your children and hug your loved ones...
Afraid to Make Decisions? Well…sometimes…
At the 6/24 Workshop the discussion on reducing business hours at the Walmart project was discussed. The final disposition of the Council was 2-2 with the Mayor wanting to continue the discussion until he found out more about crime and 24/7 business operations. Why would a pro-business, serial entrepreneur want to limit businesses? Why didn’t he know where he was on this issue? He wanted this issue to be discussed in the hopes of working with Glen Abbey residents – so why not go with it then? Or go against it to allow the business to find out if that schedule works? I think it’s because the Mayor is avoiding having to state a position on the issue. Maybe any issue that isn’t a “gimme”.
The mil rate came up at the last meeting on 7/1: Mayor said, “Let’s just leave it the way it is.” Really? With no discussion? How can you keep the mil rate without talking about what projects take precedence? When the Mayor was met with a discussion about his online behavior at the 6/24 Workshop, he shut the Council down, shut the meeting down, shocked the Council and me into a stunned silence and just ended the meeting after a strange rambling mostly to himself.
I’m coming to the conclusion that the Mayor wants to avoid making decisions – certain decisons – to avoid a repeat of the Costa/Presentation debacle where the Mayor couldn’t bring himself to second a motion in favor of a project he favored.
Mayor Johnson ran through the 7/1 Meeting so quickly, he was so anxious to get out of there it was obvious and CM Carson had to remind him of the Freedom and Fireworks event.
I’ve now found out that an applicant for the position of City Manager has withdrawn – could it be in part because of the actions of this Mayor? Mr. Salerno has pulled his application – I really liked his resume and was anxious to see his interview – too bad. Who else might drop out perhaps in part because they’ve been witness to the Mayor’s actions at public meetings as I’ve referenced in addition to the Walmart meetings. Shutting down Council meetings. And Mayor Johnson has only been in office 6 months of a 4 year commitment.
I’m coming to the conclusion that Mayor Johnson wants to be able to point to some group of citizens and say, “They want or don’t want this project or issue, therefore I’m voting “yes” or “no”.” That way he takes himself out of the decision making process for which he campaigned so hard to acquire. Have a certain group of residents vote on issues and go from there or use the responses from the Mayor’s Mailbox. He wanted a position of leadership, campaigned for it, fought for it, and now is abdicating it either by not wanting to vote on items or just shutting down meetings and not wanting to communicate with his Councilmembers.
Once this fear of not wanting to be at Council meetings to govern takes root, it is very difficult if not impossible to overcome and really feel comfortable, confident, dry and secure to govern.
The next few budget meetings and workshops will tell the tale. Let’s see what Mayor Johnson brings to the table – will the conversations be robust with him doing his homework, or will he sit silent and occasionally offer some information about people or companies he’s talked to?
Having said all of that, I could be wrong. If one looks at the Mayor’s Mailbox online, obviously the Mayor has made the decision to bring up the Chicken issue by reprinting an email from a resident about it. Why? For what purpose? "Throwback Thursday"? Why not just deal with issues before you now, Mr. Mayor? I believe most people sending emails to any government entity believe it is private unless and until it is requested via a public request – but the Mayor is obviously able to decide to post emails willy-nilly with names and email addresses on Facebook or his website. When the Mayor is asked if all emails will be posted his answer is: “I abide by all applicable laws.”
A smarmy, BS political answer. But that is how the Mayor decided to answer the question. Mayor Johnson can make decisions – just not the tough ones that are part of the job he campaigned for – but website postings and Facebook postings – no problems with that. No discussion on mil rates, not supporting projects he says he supports, indecisive on items he adds to the agenda, and shutting down meetings to avoid responsibility…and we’re only six months into a four year stretch…
Coming Sunday: Don't express your opinion...so posts the Mayor...
City Manager Short List:
T. Michael Stavres
Lyndon L. Bonner
I'm not the first to suggest that the new stormwater assessment fee should be "added" to the current mil rate to see where we stand on our mil rate right now. The assessment is a "tax" and it went up, literally, 100%. Understood for maintenance on stormwater equipment, but how does that translate into our mil rate of approx. 2.94? We are starting budget season.
A leader talking about a "solution"... o - k...
And...does the Council have an inkling as to what this "solution" is?
Sent in to POP by a reader - as posted on Facebook:
Citizen: Clint I hear you...but my question still stands...why?
Clint Johnson – June 25 th at 11:08PM: I agree with you, Jim. To that end I have hundreds of hours and a lot of money invested in working on a revolutionary solution to the inherent problems with government as it is known today. Stay tuned!
Presentations start at 6:30PM - the Council Meeting starts at 7PM
Agenda for Meeting on July 1st @ 7pm
Wednesday’s Meeting – A Straightforward Affair – Hopefully…
Having said that, I thought it was determined that presentations are to be at 6:30. So why is there a presentation at 6:30 and then a presentation by FDOT later during the regular meeting? All presentations are equal...but some presentations are more equal than others. Councilmembers, please look into this. After all, you changed the ordering of Agenda items.
The meeting coming up starts off with Riviera Bella Plat Plans – this is really getting into the weeds. It’s been approved as a big picture item and will probably go through as is barring any unforeseen items.
Approval of the VCSO Contract – a no brainer. VCSO delivers excellent service to District 6 and we’re certainly not going to look into doing this ourselves. Contract cost is going up from 2,954,953 to 3,075,501.
Council begins the process of finally bringing water to Ft. Florida Rd. Citizens. Easements are the first step.
Under Public Hearings we have amendments to the Comp Plan and LDC to open up the process for bringing development to the TOD area. My specific concern here is changing “feet” to “stories” when talking about the height of buildings. I would keep it to feet as “stories” could be defined in other ways and going to a height we wouldn’t want. Having said that, given we want development down there, it might be better to keep things less defined. We’re changing in the Comp Plan from “light industrial” to “General industrial” in the TOD/SEMU area – so what will “General Industrial” allow that “light” won’t?
The City Manager search: They will get ranked and we’ll find out, hopefully, a short list of names.
Appointments and Communications round out the meeting.
Does he really want to be there?
The Elephant(s) in the Room
I want to clarify my position on what happened last night with Mort:
It would be madness on my part to think Mort would come to a meeting and say something other than what Mort usually says. My point is the Council needs to decide how meetings will be run and what is and is not acceptable. For Mort to tell a Citizen to "Shut up" after she simply gasped at something he said is, in my opinion, out of order, period, end of sentence. He should have been put out right there and then; to that end we need a cop at every meeting. Not just because of Mort but because there are others that simply want to watch the world burn. Mayor Clint Johnson has such a vast vocabulary I find it difficult to believe he has to run to "damn" and "hell" to make his point while at the same time sacrificing adherence with the decorum policy posted at every meeting. You're better than that, Mayor.
Tonight Mort was out of order in telling a citizen to "Shut up" after she gasped at some of his commentary at the podium. Then he used profanity in addressing another woman who did speak out against what he was saying. Mort finished and left. I spoke afterwards telling the Council that I've defended Mort in the past, but it's up to the Council to decide how to run these meetings. There was no police officer present - we need an officer at every meeting, period, end of sentence. There was a minor in the room witnessing all of this and it was wrong. It is not how a meeting should be conducted and it is up to each member of the Council to put an end to it. Mort is Mort. For anyone to think Mort is going to come to a meeting and talk about sunshine and rainbows is madness. In addition, the Mayor used profanity twice (hell and damn) and while that isn't going to turn hair white, you can't enforce a decorum policy if you're cursing.
The email below is public record and was sent to the Council. At tonight's meeting the Mayor brought up this issue and it seemed out of place and was unprovoked from Ms. Rowley in the audience. The Mayor had another rant tonight and then summarily closed the meeting with two agenda items left to go - next time, the 4 Councilmembers need to let him go and continue the meeting - easy for me to quarterback, I know...but the Mayor threw a tantrum and really just disenfranchised the Council after asking them how he can work with them...more on this tomorrow...
Question: Is it ever justifiable for a Mayor to verbally assault a resident in public without provocation or just cause?
Just happened to me. It wasn't pleasant.
The Mayor then demanded that I not post lies about the meeting or to leave immediately. He exclaimed in front of all present that I post lies about him "ALL OVER" the internet. I replied that was not true (and it isn't true and I have witnesses to verify that).. I post only on a private page and nothing that has not been backed up with screen shots.
When I disagreed that I posted lies all over the internet about him, he said, "Are you staying or leaving?" I replied I was staying. He kept on and on that I had to promise to not post lies about the meeting. He then told me to sit down or be removed immediately. There might have been more, I'm angry now. I do know at one point he took a step toward me and I was afraid and had to take a step back.
This was completely unprovoked and in front of 5 other witnesses--the three people attending the meeting (from FDOT) and the two gentlemen citizens I arrived with. A few meetings ago this Mayor approached me and apologized for his conduct during the WM hearings, then told certain city employees (who told me) that we were good friends. So this verbal assault today was so unexpected. Yes, I'm angry.
Part of me wants to believe the Mayor confused me with others who do post on other pages and I hope that was the case and, if so, I hope that I receive a written apology immediately from both the Mayor and the City of Debary. If this Mayor has any sense of Ethics, he will do so, in my opinion. My only other thought might be that I have e-mailed members of Council with complaints regarding social media posts and the Mayor's Mailbox--and attached screen shots to my emails.
No citizen, no matter what their stance is on an issue or their views, should be attacked by an elected official, verbally or otherwise, or be intimidated or otherwise made afraid. I was attacked, intimidated and made afraid today. I certainly hope it won't happen again. I ask that this matter be investigated and that the Mayor be censured for his unprovoked attack on a Debary Resident who was simply attending a meeting as an observer.
Workshop tonight (6/24) at 6PM
Meanwhile in DeBary, the cows grow fat and the bedrooms multiply.
--Mayor Clint Johnson – posted on FB sent in to POP by reader.
This from the person that couldn’t second a motion to just start the process to look at language for the commercial card room proffered by Mr. Costa. Which, by the way, is still being brought up apparently. Representatives for the cardroom are meeting with FDOT and some Council members to talk about 24/7 service on Sunrail and bringing the cardroom to the Council again. What? I was at the meeting – the 2 hour presentation about only the positives concerning the horsetrack/cardroom. At that meeting Mr. Costa stated that the Council could say “Yes” or “No” to the project. The Council can say “yea” or “nay”. Well, they spoke and still, like a kid in an aisle at Toys R Us, they are still wanting to bring it back. The process for the project was not followed: the applicant, which has never before happened, was given 2 hours with no input from citizens to sell only the positive aspects of the project: tax revenues, jobs, etc,. No second on CM Carson’s motion to just start looking at the language changes. The process given to Mr. Costa was so prejudiced and biased against due process for the people and yet he still couldn’t garner a second. So, yes, the process wasn’t followed: the applicant was shown a kind of favoritism that is unprecedented.
Budget: I hope it is easier this year. It should be. Home values are up slightly so even if we keep the mil rate as is, there will be a little more coming in –a couple of hundred thousand? I’m guessing. Home values are up about 2.3%. It will be discussed at the Workshop which is tomorrow at 6PM.
Social Media: I don’t know what problem is being addressed. I don’t know how the proposals will solve the problem. What is being referenced is the Employee Handbook. We’ll see how that discussion goes. I would think that Sunshine Law covers this, but I may be wrong.
After a decade of service to DeBary issues, DeBaryPOP is closing its electronic doors in December. DeBaryPOP is one of a kind - the first and only of its kind. It’s been an interesting ride and I’ve learned a great deal about myself and the citizens of DeBary. DeBary POP was the brainchild of former Councilman Leonard Marks - I, at first, declined the whole idea and dismissed it. Unfortunately for many, I changed my mind.
I think what I appreciate most about having been involved in my City is that it happened from, roughly speaking, my mid-thirties to my mid-forties – I know, I look older than I am. To have had these experiences both good and frustrating at an older stage in my life is not something that I would want. I’ll still go to an occasional meeting and perhaps speak out here and there.
This City is split along lines of socio-economic, North/South, and new blood and old blood. Gated communities, “Old” Debary, and Orlandia Heights.
I guess there really isn’t a “DeBary” as there are “DeBaries”.
When something is proposed, the City is split, if you’re lucky, in thirds. Sometimes it seems like fifths. Facebook brings this out when someone suggests a Starbucks and three posts later we’re arguing about the Civil War and Yankees bringing “their ways” down South.
Which leads me to a question: do DeBary citizens find it harder to forgive Fredrick deBary as a Northerner or as a European transplant?
By the way, Fredrick DeBary’s 200th birthday was this past January – did we do any kind of celebratin’?
Next Editorial: Talking about the Elephant in DeBary...you know what I'm talking about...it's talked about privately...POP will shine a light on it...