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Calvin “Tres” Holton Has Left The Building.

According to multiple independent sources, Palm Bay City Councilman Calvin “Tres” Holton has packed up his house and left the city.

There are several implications to this.

His leaving the town he claimed to love and serve means that Holton should not be able to vote in any upcoming meeting.

The City Charter requires a City Council member to be a resident of the city. With Holton abandoning his residence, the implications are clear. He no longer meets the standards to sit on the Council.

The real issue then becomes “what happens to Holton’s seat?”

The City Charter does not allow a sitting Council member to have 4 unexcused absences in a row. Furthermore, the absent Council member can’t just say “I’m sick” or something like that. The absence and the reason has to be verified and approved.

3.063 Absenteeism.
(1) Absence from four (4) consecutive regular meetings of the council, or a total of six (6) within a twelve (12) month period, shall vacate the seat of the member. The city clerk shall notify the council of the third and fourth consecutive absences or the sixth within a twelve (12) month period of any councilmember.
(2) Absences created by illness, mental or physical disability, written suspension by court order, or other lawful written order or action shall not be considered absences for purposes of this subsection. However, the existence of an illness or mental or physical disability must be established by written medical evidence setting forth in detail the nature and cause of the illness or mental or physical disability and the prognosis thereof.

With the Seat vacant, the City Council appoints someone to fill the vacancy as per the City Code:
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Palm Bay: Who Is John Mendoza?

Two of these things are NOT John Mendoza

There has been a great deal of acrimony in this year’s elections in Palm Bay, and nowhere is that acrimony greater than in the race for Seat Four between Calvin “Tres” Holton, Thomas Gaume, and Kenny Johnson.

While in most campaigns there are barbs thrown back and forth, this election has been different. In posts on Facebook there have been pleas for decorum only to be followed by posts that attack everyone who disagrees with someone else. (If we had a nickel for every ad hominem attack we have seen, the entire staff here would retire.) For the most part the candidates themselves have tried to stay above the fray. That is not to say that the candidates have either directed or encouraged supporters to be more like attack dogs, but it seems that is what has happened.

One of the “attack dogs” who has been particularly vicious has been an account by the name of “John Mendoza,” who is a supporter of Holton.

Both the Gaume and the Johnson camp have wondered who this person is as they are not registered to vote within Palm Bay. Speculation from those camps has always been that “John Mendoza” might be Holton himself but that was a tough nut to prove.

Until now.

In a forum, the following exchange took place between a Gaume supporter and “John Mendoza.”
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Palm Bay: The Johnson Campaign Response. It’s Strange To Us.

The Johnson campaign has released a statement in response to the information that we talked about the other day in a post. At the time, we said that as there was not much known about the alleged incident, people would have to decide for themselves whether what was disclosed mattered to them in deciding who to vote for.

As we discuss below, we think the statement from the campaign should be added to that equation.

Here’s the statement:

Campaign Official Statement of 2015 Incident

We can confirm there was an arrest. As a result of an investigation all charges were dropped. The record was expunged by mutual agreement to protect all parties involved. This information was not released prior because that is the entire purpose on an expungement.

The other party involved in the incident is aware of the current political attacks and at the request of the family, the campaign had not released a statement up to this point. We have been asked not to share further details about the incident to protect their privacy, and to avoid the same attacks, slander, and libel that I and my campaign manager have faced in recent weeks.

Local authorities have opened an investigation into how this information was obtained and disseminated publicly by people involved with our opponents’ campaign.

Since the incident in question, Kenny is a current certified A Plus Volunteer with Brevard Public Schools which requires an extensive background check by the State of Florida. He was awarded the 2018 Partner of the Year Award from Brevard Public Schools.

Our campaign is focused on how to come together as a community to move our City forward, together. We are focused on running a positive campaign for the betterment of our community. It’s unfortunate that others have felt the need to resort to negative campaigning and petty politics. This type of political mudslinging is exactly what’s wrong with government and why it’s time for a change at City Hall.

We understand this response will not and cannot satisfy everyone. We encourage that you vote based on who you think will best serve the City of Palm Bay and the community. It is important to remember there is another party involved, and they deserve the privacy and protection they have requested. For that reason there will be no further comment on the matter.

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Palm Bay: Draining Or Adding To The Swamp?

As we get closer to election day, things are getting more and more heated and perhaps not in a good way.

After last week’s mess over a racial slur spray painted on a candidate’s sign for the Palm Bay City Council Seat 5, that same candidate is embroiled in another controversy that is more like rain on a summer afternoon in Florida – it is covering everyone.

People posting in various forums claim that candidate Kenny Johnson has an arrest record from an incident that occurred in 2015. We will not get into the charges as they don’t seem relevant to us, but as of this writing, there doesn’t seem to be a conviction. Even if there were a conviction as some have suggested, the sentence seems to have been community service.

By the lack of a conviction or even a conviction with community service as a sentence, it seems somewhat obvious to us that the infraction was either not proved, or minor.

Which leads to the next question: “how long do we, as voters hold someone accountable for their past actions and statements?”

Before you answer that, some statistics may be in order:
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Palm Bay: Bond. Street Bond.

The Palm Bay City Council will hold an “off day” regular meeting tonight starting at 7:00 PM. The agenda can be found here.

There are several things we find interesting.

First is the proposed language for the ballot for the proposed issuance of a bond for City infrastructure (New Business Item 1):

OFFICIAL BALLOT
CITY OF PALM BAY, FLORIDA
BOND REFERENDUM ELECTION- NOVEMBER 6, 2018
BONDS FOR ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS IN PALM BAY

Shall the City be authorized to issue general obligation bonds for the exclusive purpose of improving local roadways and ancillary facilities and eliminating potholes in an amount not to exceed $150,000,000, payable from annual ad valorem taxes maturing not later than twenty years from the date of each issuance and bearing interest at a rate not exceeding the maximum legal rate, with all expenditures reviewed by a citizens advisory committee?

For bonds _____ Against bonds _____

We always get nervous when we terms that are not defined. There is no definition in the ballot language or the ordinance itself which tells people what an “ancillary facility” is, what projected plans there are for these facilities or even some estimated costs.

Second item of interest is the Position Control Plan (New Business Item 2). This is a fascinating look at the number of people and pay scales for Palm Bay employees.
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Palm Bay: There Are Rules And Then There Are Rules. (Scratching An Itch.)

It had been an itch we could not scratch. As we returned from the Palm Bay City Council Meeting last week, we kept thinking “we’re missing something.” None of us could put our fingers on it, but we knew something wasn’t right.

We finally figured it out.

Last week the City Council passed a “lobbying ordinance” that requires what the City defines as “lobbyists” to register with the City and pay a fee. The ordinance had been proposed by Councilman Calvin “Tres” Holton.

We can debate the need for this type of ordinance all day long. We understand those who think there is a need for it, but the ordinance will catch unsuspecting people out in it and it won’t do a darn thing to help “transparency” within the Palm Bay City government.

Assume for a moment that a vice-president of a company is sent down to Palm Bay to talk to City officials about building a new facility where the company can build world class widgets. The company is looking for tax incentives and things like that. If the vice-president gets concessions and the company moves, he gets a bonus. That Vice President is not considered a lobbyist under the ordinance.

If that same company hires someone in the area to come down and talk to Palm Bay officials about moving here, that person is considered a “lobbyist” under the ordinance. They are performing the same function as the vice-president, but they have to jump through a different set of hoops under the ordinance.

We can’t see a practical difference. If the City is worried about “lobbyists” and “who is meeting with who,” they should keep a database on the meetings. Problem solved. The same accountability for both the speakers and the public employees / elected officials is there which we suppose is the goal. In other words, put the onus to do the right thing on the people making decisions, not just the people trying to convince them.

Yet there is more to this ordinance and it is one of those things that chills us to the bone as generally speaking we are against governmental compelled speech.

The ordinance reads:
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Palm Bay: Kenny Johnson Is Not A Black Candidate.

Kenny Johnson is running for the Palm Bay City Council Seat 4 against incumbent Calvin “Tres” Holton and Thomas Gaume.

This past Friday, one of the Johnson electioneering signs was found to have a racial slur painted on it. (We are including a picture of the sign below the fold.)

A vandal spray-painted a racial slur on one of Palm Bay City Council candidate Kenny Johnson’s campaign yard signs near the intersection of Minton Road and Jupiter Boulevard.

Councilman Brian Anderson spotted the defaced sign while driving past about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, called Johnson, and showed him the racist graffiti during a Facebook video call.

“I was immediately upset,” Johnson said. “I got over it, but then I became upset again because I knew my parents were going to find out about it — and I knew they were going to be hurt that somebody said that about their son.”

There are all sorts of theories as to who may have defaced the sign. Some have said it was racists. Some have said it was someone who wanted to use race to divide the City of Palm Bay. Some have said that the Johnson campaign manufactured this incident to drum up support and portray Johnson as a victim of racial hatred. Whoever did this is a vile human being and deserving of every ounce of scorn that can be heaped upon their brainless heads.

However, in some ways, who did this despicable act doesn’t matter. What matters is how you, we and us react to this. We can condemn it as we should, but whoever did it is relying on the idea that Kenny Johnson is a black candidate running for office.

He’s not.

Kenny Johnson is a candidate.

Period.

Full stop.
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Palm Bay: Council Meeting, Laws, The Palm Bay Police Department, And Assorted Other Ramblings. UPDATED!

UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The above image was created using two images. The image of the police officer made us laugh and is not reflective of our opinion of the Palm Bay Police Department.

The Palm Bay City Council meets tonight in a regular meeting starting at 7:00 PM. The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

After the agenda was published, the City added three agenda items dealing with the special assessment rates for Units 31 and 32.

Those items, memos and supporting documentation can be found here:

Special assessments for Unit 31 Roads
Special assessment for Unit 32 Roads
Special assessment for City Water for Unit 32

The supporting documentation has proposed rates as well.

We suspect that this may be a big issue with lots of comments from the public for the Council to ignore listen to. With the Mayor out of town and not attending the meeting, Deputy Mayor Holton will be sitting in “the big chair” and act as the chairman for the meeting. We wonder if he will pull out a seldom used rule to limit comments from the public on this issue?

We also expect that the public and perhaps a Councilmen or two may bring up and address the issues raised in a Florida Today article and that we discussed yesterday on Holton’s alleged illegal conspiracy and activities in regards to the Sunshine law and the production of public records.

We expect a somewhat contentious meeting at least on those two issues.


Yesterday we published a post saying the Palm Bay Police were investigating the Holton recording and the petition signing. As we were writing the post, the news feed showed that the Palm Bay Police Department had issued a one line statement, closing their investigation and saying:
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