We are about to talk a little about a person we are pretty sure would rather not be talked about at all, but to get where we want to go, we have to mention her in context. We want people to know that we aren’t trying to make this post about her, but rather the actions of a City of Satellite Beach City Council person.
Early in 2012, city resident Carol Robitschek took on the daunting task of trying to resurrect the City’s newsletter, the Satellite Beach Beachcaster. In a cost cutting measure, the previous City Council had discontinued the Beachcaster. After the 2011 election, the council also decided not to print a Beachcaster.
Up to the plate stepped one Carol Robitschek who made it her cause to get the Beachcaster back on the road. She took her crusade to the City Council and convinced them to produce a stepped down version of the Beachcaster in order to gauge the support within the city for the publication itself.
With absolutely no printing, publishing, layout or graphics experience, Carol dove into the Beachcaster and produced what we are calling the “Robitschek Beachcaster” from February / March of 2012.
To be fair, there were some technical issues with that issue of the Beachcaster, but they were issues that were easily understood. In fact, a friend of ours went to a meeting and was able to tell Carol what she had used to layout the Beachcaster and why the issues had appeared. He knew what to look for and how it certain applications affect different end products.
Carol told our friend that she had literally spent hours upon hours trying to make the thing work, often going to bed in tears because of the frustration in simply not knowing what was going on within certain programs.
Our friend Steve (who does some of the graphics here at Raised on Hoecakes) stepped up and started working with Carol to make the Beachcaster better than ever.
Carol was supportive of the effort which came to a crashing halt when Steve and I were accused of being cowards by Vice Mayor Rhodes. We were also attacked in a City Council meeting by Councilwoman Denan.
While working on the Beachcaster, Steve made it clear he was simply a layout and graphics guy. He wanted nothing to do with the copy or the contents of what was said in the Beachcaster. He was not going to assume the role of a copy editor. Given the amount of time he was spending on the layout, he thought (and we agree) that articles should come in without need for change or editing. Whatever the author wrote was what was going to go into the Beachcaster.
During a discussion on the Beachcaster, Councilwoman Denan said she had submitted three articles for the Beachcaster. To some extent that is true. She did submit three writings. However, none of them were ready for publication.
Spelling errors were rampant. Information was missing. She asked a copyrighted graphic be included in one of her articles.
It was, quite frankly, a mess.
When Steve walked away from the Beachcaster, he knew he was leaving behind a lot of people who wanted to see the Beachcaster become something modern, informative and cool. At the same time, in good conscience he felt he could not support a publication that by its very nature existed within the First Amendment while members of the City Council sought to shut off speech they did not like. He did not like the idea of a sitting Council member demanding accountability for everyone’s actions other than her own.
Normally, we would have left this in the past, letting go of an incident that never should have happened, but there is a new movement to resurrect the Beachcaster.
There is some concern amongst some citizens on the content of the Beachcaster as to whether it is now more of a political paper or an informational city newsletter. We don’t want to enter into the fray on that one at this time as people – including the indomitable Carol Robitschek – are working on the proofs with the publisher.
However, in an email concerning the current Beachcaster effort, Councilwoman Denan wrote:
From: Sheryl Denan
Sent: Friday, September 7, 2012 8:44 AM
Subject: Re: original Beachcaster proof
I agree with Scott.
The Beachcaster that wnet out last time prepared by volunteers was
absolutely horrible. it contained no information on the election
results for the first time in the history fo the beachcaster post
election. There was no input from Council yet it was paid for by the
city. Ironically the chair of the commmitee came back to the council
and blamed us for the contents stating we had the opportuntiy to
review the product before it went out.
Perhpas the council needs to review the final product so the last
dibacle does not happen again.
Couincilwoman Sheryl Denan
Are you friggin’ kidding us?
Were the election results really needed 4 – 5 months after the election? In a version of the Beachcaster that was designed to gain input on the level of interest and direction of the Beachcaster, Denan complains about not having election results?
(We don’t want to be spelling / grammar Nazis here, but for someone who complains about something being “horrible,” the number of spelling and grammar errors in her email is appalling. We somehow found it amusing there is an extra “i” in “Councilwoman” as if to subconsciously note this is about her, and not anyone else.)
We are angry about this email from Councilwoman Denan. Without a clue as to how hard it is to do what Carol Robitschek did, Denan takes a shot at the completed work. Did the City Council including Denan have a chance to approve the Robitcshek Beachcaster before it was printed and mailed?
Yep. They did.
When the new Beachcaster designed by Steve was being put together, did Denan have a chance to put in articles as per instructions? Yep. Did she? Nope.
Did she then misrepresent her actions to the city?
You bet your “Beach-asster” she did.
Why does this matter? Shouldn’t we just let it go?
No, we shouldn’t.
The Citizens Advisory Panel for Efficient Government (CAPEG) report often refers to using volunteers to cut down on labor costs for projects within the city.
Who in their right mind is going to want to volunteer for a project where their work and effort is criticized by a Council member who not only did not lift a finger to help, but made things worse and then failed to hold themselves accountable for their screw up? Who wants to volunteer under those conditions where a Council member can berate others with impunity while trying to play the “victim” card?
There is no one in the City of Satellite Beach who is more keenly aware the February / March Beachcaster of 2012 had issues than Carol Robitschek. You can ask her. She’ll tell you it had problems. Were those problems insurmountable? Absolutely not. Working with a good group of volunteers and a supportive City Council, it should have been easy to improve the Beachcaster and at the same time acknowledge Carol’s vision to keep the Beachcaster alive.
That isn’t what happened. People were driven away by the Council. People were unfairly criticized by Council members.
The Beachcaster will rise again. In fact, our friend Steve contributed the new logo for the Beachcaster after being asked to do so by one Carol Robitschek. Even though he had a disagreement with the City Council and certain Council members, he has a respect for Carol trying to make things better.
As we sit here, we have to wonder why is it that the members of the City of Satellite Beach have a spirit of building and unity, yet Council members seem intent on demeaning efforts by people and keeping the city divided? We don’t understand that philosophy.
In closing, in case you missed the point of this post, the “Robitschek Beachcaster” should go down as a point in the history of that publication where one woman refused to take “no” for an answer. Her spirit and drive should be applauded.
At the same time, the Denan email reproduced earlier should cause everyone in the City to shake their head and wonder “what the heck?”
Shameful. Simply shameful.