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Currently Browsing: Brevard County

We Get Mail. From John Tobia?

We have mentioned Brevard County Commissioner John Tobia several times on this site previously. Most recently, we wrote about his misguided attempt to limit free speech from citizens, a position which he later pulled back from.

The Brevard County Commission decided not to take up Tobia’s proposal – even the scaled back version.

However, we did get an email blast from Tobia and we think it need to be seen and read by others who aren’t on the Tobia mailing list:

County Commissioners Bust Tax Cap While Spending Frivolously

On July 23rd, the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners voted to bust the voter-approved spending cap by a 4-1 vote. I was the lone dissenter. This cap was imposed by an overwhelming majority of voters (73%) in 2008 to reign in out-of-control government spending.

The Board did this by declaring a “critical need.” This need was said to be increasing funding for public safety. Yet, it did this while still spending money on things that are, without question, not critical needs. For example, the County gives away thousands of your tax dollars to an organization, the Brevard Cultural Alliance, for “arts in public places.” Making things worse, this organization has been accused by a variety of citizens and groups, including arts organizations, of gross mismanagement of funds. I have been, and will continue to, work towards putting a stop to this frivolous spending.
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Can The Brevard County Commission “Censure” A Commissioner?

When we first started writing about Commissioner Lober’s behavior, we were one of the ones who called for action. The post is called “Commissioner Bryan Lober Should A) Apologize B) Be Censured C) Resign. Pick Two.” While most of the controversy surrounding Lober deals with his Constitutionally protected speech outside of being a Commissioner, our post dealt with his speech and activity while acting as a Commissioner.

Unfortunately, Lober has not followed our advice and neither has the Commission in censuring him.

Prior to a Commission meeting, County Attorney Eden Bentley was asked whether the Commission could, under it’s rules, “censure” a sitting member.

Bentley said they could not.

It is not surprising that Commissioners have latched onto Bentley’s opinion. Her opinion basically makes it seem that they cannot do anything when it comes to the activities of Commissioners both in the chambers or outside of the chambers. It is a “get out of jail” card for the Commission. If you claim you can’t do something, you don’t have to do what you don’t want to do. Given that Bentley works for the Commission and they apparently don’t want to censure one of their own, it makes sense that she says they cannot “censure” a member.

Is that opinion accurate?

The answer is a definite “yes.” Followed by a definite “no.”
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Brevard County: Tobia Pulls Back On Speech Restrictions.

This is welcome news.

Brevard County Commissioner John Tobia has beefed up his proposed civility ordinance aimed at keeping commissioners in check during their meetings.

Critically:

His latest proposal also eliminates references to potential sanctions aimed at members of the public for incivility. (emphasis ours)

It almost seems like someone reminded Tobia of the Constitution and the idea behind the First Amendment.
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Brevard County: Called It! We Saw This Coming From Miles Away.

After last week’s Brevard County Commission meeting, there was a sense that people wanted the Commission to “do something,” in the case of Bryan Lober and his reprehensible remarks he has made to people. People are rightly upset with some of the things that Lober has said and at the meeting, some called for a censure or Lober. Some people called for his removal from the Vice Chair position. Some called for his resignation.

And then there were those who called for “more civility” and “rules to support more civility.”

We suspected then that there would be those who would want to restrict the rights of people and their speech.

We were right.

Commissioner John Tobia has led off with a proposal that, according to the FloridaToday:

The current version of Tobia’s proposed policy has these provisions for conduct during County Commission meetings for members of the commission, county staff and the public:

• No speaker may attack the personal character of any individual, including, but not limited to, calling into question their integrity.

• No speaker may label another individual pejoratively, including, but not limited to, applying labels such as “racist,” “bigot,” “misogynist,” “sexist,” “criminal” or “evil.” Tobia said this provision should not be interpreted as preventing a speaker from labeling a policy or general idea that way.

There are constitutional issues – major constitutional issues – with these proposals.
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“Fighting Words.”

Last night at the County Commission meeting there were lots of speakers and lots of people on both sides of the Lober issue making statements that made little sense to us.

There was a call for an “ethics committee” and “citizen review boards” to review the conduct of Commissioners.

All of the proposals have legal problems and we won’t address them here at this point in time.

One thing we will take on is comments by on “Robert Burns,” who is helped run Kenny Johnson’s campaign in Palm Bay and is looking to move up the political chain. He has appeared on this blog making what we considered false statements.

During public comments, Burns addressed the issue of the doctrine of “fighting words” as it applies to the First Amendment and Lober’s comments. (It would also apply to other comments, but who said what, when, is not the issue.)

After his comments, Burns received applause which would be great except for one thing: Burns was wrong on the facts of the doctrine of “fighting words.”

Burns said:
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Brevard County: Some Commissioners Comment On Lober’s Comments.

In an article in Florida Today, some County Commissioners have commented on Commissioner Lober’s recent comments and spats on Facebook.

Let’s start with Commissioner Curt Smith of District 4:

County Commissioner Curt Smith said Lober’s comments are “disappointing.”

“This kind of conduct drags us all down in the gutter,” Smith said. “I find what he said very disturbing. I don’t think the comments were befitting the professional conduct people hold us to as elected officials.”

That’s fairly strong and while Smith later says he is not sure what they can do about it, at least he is out there saying Lober’s comments were wrong.
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Brevard County: Why Lober’s Comments Are Not Only A Party Issue.

(image courtesy of Florida Today.)

As with many things, it started small….a spark….a bad “joke” and stupid comments on Facebook.

The comments made by Brevard County Commissioner Bryan Lober has left many scratching their heads.

Then this one:
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Brevard County: Children’s Services Council On The Agenda For Tomorrow.

(note: The logo in the image is from the Florida Children’s Council which is “an association of Children’s Services Councils statewide.” If the Brevard Children’s Services Council has a logo, we couldn’t find it.)

We have written far too much about the interaction between the Children’s Services Council (CSC) and the Brevard County Commission. To say the least, some of that interaction has not only not been pleasant, it has been down right acrimonious.

When we last left the coverage of the battle, the CSC was suing the Commission for what the CSC claimed was the illegal “dissolution” of the CSC by ordinance saying that as the CSC was created through public vote, it has to be dissolved by public vote. The Commission, for their part, claims they could dissolve the CSC at any time and take any money the CSC had in their coffers.

The County Commission authorized the County Attorney to go after the money which was being held by other organizations until the legal dispute was resolved.

We have never taken a position on the existence of the CSC itself, but we have taken positions on the legality of the ordinance and the County literally threatening individuals and organizations. While the people and the organizations have to use their funds to defend themselves, the County is using taxpayer dollars to essentially sue charities. We don’t think that is a good look or smart on the behalf of the County.

However, the CSC is back on the agenda for the Brevard County Commission this Thursday at 3:30 PM.

Here’s the agenda:
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Brevard County: Well, That Went Swimmingly.

This past Tuesday, May 21, 2019 the Brevard County Commission held a regular meeting. You can find the agenda and the video here.

This was the first meeting after the arrest of David Isnardi, the husband of Commissioner and Chair Kristine Isnardi. It may have been kismet, but she was out of town attending the graduation of her son from a military school in Virginia. That left the meeting to be chaired by Commissioner Bryan Lober.

Lober represented David Isnardi for bond hearings in what many people consider to be the appearance of impropriety.

We suspected the topic of the appearance of impropriety and the alleged corruption in Palm Bay would come up during public comments, and it did. What we did not expect was the level of animosity coming from the audience and from Commissioner Lober.

An article in the FloridaToday tells the tale:
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Barrier Islands / South Of The Pineda: Heads Up!

People on the barrier islands south of the Pineda Causeway should be aware that starting today, May 20, 2019, Brevard County will be conducting “sanitary gravity sewer assessment” via a contract with RedZone Robotics.

The boots on the ground will have a South Beaches Authorization Letter stating they are the “real deal,” and a number to call if you have questions.
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