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Cocoa Beach: Pass Tax, Then Run And Hide.

From Fox35 News.

Kind of interesting that elected officials will stand there and tell people how great things are on camera, but when the going gets tough and tough questions need to be addressed, the officials run away.

The spotlight shines on the just and the unjust.



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Alexa And Petra The Parrot Who Wants All The Lights On.

Oh dear. The parrots are now talking with Alexa.




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And They Wonder Why There Is Dissent….

One of our ninjas sent us this story of a local couple who own some apartment properties in Brevard County.

The couple is well respected and have taken beaten down apartment buildings and turned them into places where people want to live. According to our ninja, the couple is untra-fast to respond to issues that may happen in rental units. They have put up security cameras, outside lighting, repaired parking lots, etc. The buildings are always painted and the grounds in great shape.

In short, they are the ideal landlords the type of landlords that people want to deal with.

In fact, when the economic downturn hit and people were hurting for income, they lowered their rental rates for existing renters.

In addition, as local owners, they are people the Brevard County government should respect and support.

This year the couple got hit with an increase in fees as well as an increase in property taxes because, well, because governmental bodies can raise taxes and fees and say “we need the money.” (As if you don’t need the money as well.)

The increase in taxes and fees was over 10% – the same amount that it jumped last year.

When the couple took their check to the County Tax Office, they commented on the rate increase and how they were going to have to raise their rental rates which would force out good tenants who don’t have the luxury of telling their employer to pay them more under the threat of law.

“Well,” the government person sitting there said, “you can always sell the properties to a corporation and not have to worry about it.”

Wow.

Just wow.
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Smith VS. Tobia. Round Two. Ding!

As if the fight between Commissioner Curt Smith and Commissioner John Tobia couldn’t get more interesting and in a sense, more foolish, the two went at it again over expenditures of CRA funding which Tobia feels are at the most illegal, and at the least inappropriate.

Tobia questioned the use of CRA money by the Downtown Melbourne CRA and Olde Eau Gallie CRA, alleging the CRAs “improperly used” about $684,500 of city and county money for festival expenses.

Tobia said he had opinions from the Florida Attorney General’s Office and Brevard County Attorney Scott Knox to back him up. And he wanted the County Commission to authorize “performance audits” of the two CRAs, partly to see if any other money was spent improperly.

“If this is what my office was able to find, I would like to see if anything else is out there,” Tobia said. “I’m sure Downtown Melbourne, as well as Olde Eau Gallie, has nothing to hide.”

Smith responded with:

But Smith said he was “kind of torn with this. I don’t know enough facts to feel comfortable voting for it. 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.”

Tobia’s response was two fold – one of which was dead on and the second a bit of hyperbole. The first response was that the item was on the agenda for two weeks. In essences, Tobia was asking “what is the delay? How much time do you and your office need to investigate. Isn’t two weeks enough?”

We think that is a fair question.
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How Trump Hates Blacks.

The narrative is that President Donald Trump hates blacks or any other ethnic group that is not white. And because that narrative is thrust in the face of everyone almost on a daily basis by so called social justice warriors, ANTTFA, leftists, progressives and Democrats (which may be repeating ourselves,) it must be true, right?

Well, it is true unless you ignore the facts.

From left to right, UCLA basketball players Jalen Hill, LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley

Let us introduce you to three basketball players from UCLA. Jalen Hill, LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley were with their team in China for a game against Georgia Tech. Instead of representing their school and the United States in an honorable way, the three freshman thought it would be a great idea to shoplift from a store next to the hotel in which they were staying.

How much of an idiot do you have to be to shoplift in China, a country that watches everything with cameras and has what we would consider draconian laws on theft?

How stupid and entitled do you have to be?

The three were caught and were placed under house arrest. Depending on how the Chinese would prosecute the case, the trio was looking at somewhere between 30 days to ten years in a comfy place called a China jail.

As luck would have it, there was a large planned meeting of US State Department officials and the Chinese shortly after the arrests and confinement of the three players. The Trump State Department quietly pushed to have the charges of the three reduced. Allegedly, an agreement was made where the three would be held in their hotel for three weeks. They would still be in China while their team flew back to the US, but that outcome was clearly better than being in a China prison.

As more luck would have it, Trump himself was in the region as part of a scheduled tour to meet with leaders of nations in Asia. One of the scheduled meetings was with Chinese President Xi Jinping where during the meeting, the subject of the three players was raised.

The result of that meeting?
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Another Tool Against Scammers.

Well, this looks like fun….

Introducing Re:scam – an artificially intelligent email bot made to reply to scam emails. Re:scam wastes scammers time with a never-ending series of questions and anecdotes so that scammers have less time to pursue real people.

If you think you’ve received a scam email, forward it to me@rescam.org and we’ll take it from there. We’ll even send you a transcript of the conversations Re:scam has had with the scammer – sometimes they can be quite funny! Please note, this can take a while as the bot is designed to reply to the scammer at varying times to appear natural – it may take anywhere from a few seconds to a few days to reply to the scammer each time.


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Cocoa Beach: Oasis, Parking, And Height And Density.

Owner Vicki Joyce has announced the locally popular and tourist mecca Oasis Shaved Ice eatery in Cocoa Beach will be closing at the end of the month.

While the demise of the store is sad, the closing illustrates a real problem.

According to Joyce, lack of parking in front of her shop helped kill business because “customers couldn’t find a place to park.” No parking meant no business, “and people wouldn’t stop” for a shaved ice treat.

[….]

She’s looking at alternative — and smaller — locations, but so far the cost is prohibitive, and she’s hoping to still find some way to stay put. A hoped-for small business loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration didn’t come through.

Up until this week, the front two parking spots just outside Oasis were marked with yellow diagonal lines — which was confusing to customers, who thought the yellow lines meant “no parking.” Joyce said she reached out to the city of Cocoa Beach, but because State Road A1A is a state street, it was out of their hands.

First, “out of [the City’s] hands” is a cop out. As the parking lines have been removed, it is not that the City couldn’t get something done, but rather they chose not to. There were other issues and problems in their mind that were more pressing and urgent rather than to stay on the Florida DOT about the lines. Or maybe people were patting themselves on the back for other projects (like the Main Street project – more on that in a moment) than to take seriously the request of Joyce to have an issue that was slowly help kill her business. Unless someone in the City is willing to produce a call log that shows calls to FDOT, and local and state representatives, we have a hard time believing the City was that concerned. If they do produce the logs, then we are more than willing to talk about the people outside of the City that were not responsive to a simple request that was eventually granted.
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Hurricanes And “Assignment Of Benefits.”

You may remember a little afternoon shower that rolled through the state of Florida a couple of months ago. NOAA named the meteorological disturbance “Hurricane Irma.”

Irma caused lots of damage which is estimated in the tens of billions of dollars, but Irma may be highlighting, or at least bringing more to the forefront, another gathering storm.

This one is an economic storm.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

These assignment of benefit, or AOB, contracts are upending the insurance market in one of the largest U.S. states. Insurers and regulators said the pacts are responsible for driving up insurance rates for some Florida homeowners and spurring a boom in contractor lawsuits against insurers.
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