Palm Bay: BREAKING The Petition Vote.

Tonight the Palm Bay City Council voted to go to court to force the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections to start the verification process concerning the petitions.

The vote was 4 – 1 with Anderson, Capote, Johnson and Santiago voting for this course of action, and Bailey opposing it.

We have lots of concerns with this.

First, City Attorney Smith said that the City was not wrong when issuing petitions that did not comply with Florida Election Commission and the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections. Her position seems to be that the Florida Division of Elections’s rules only apply to state Constitutional petitions.

The problem with that position is that the law allow for agencies to implement rules to accomplish goals that are mandated by law. The Legislature does not proscribe the methods used to verify signatures and leaves the requirements up to the Florida Division of Elections. The Brevard County Supervisor of Elections adopted the provision for Florida Constitution signature verification as she is allowed to do.

In essence, the City will have to argue that the Supervisor of Elections cannot institute rules on how to accomplish something that is mandated by law.

Good luck with that position.

Several Council members said they were worried that if they allowed the item onto the ballot because the signatures could not be verified on this petition, another group could come along, collect signatures using the same form and also be denied by the Supervisor of Elections.

Which leads to the question “why in the world would Palm Bay require people to use petitions that they know are legally insufficient?”

That’s really what they are saying – “we know that there are issues at the Supervisor of Elections office with the forms we mandate be used, but let’s not resolve the issue, let’s give the same form out!”

That may be the dumbest thing we have heard in a long time.

It almost seems that the City is interested more in protecting itself rather than protecting the rights of its citizens. It almost seemed more like the City didn’t want to come off as being wrong than doing the right thing.

We are going to have more on this later in a longer post.

The issue of moratoriums came up as well. That too failed.

We found interesting that people that spoke against the moratoriums were against it because of the money lost for infrastructure projects.

By law, special assessments can only apply to the affected property. In other words, if you think that because a special assessment is placed on a group of property in on area is going to affect how much money goes to their area, they are wrong. The special assessments can generate money that only applies to those properties. Special assessments are not money going into for lack of a better term, “the general road and infrastructure fund for the entire City.”

Finally, as we expected, we still don’t know what happened with the petitions.

One of the leaders of the petition group said the petitions were turned into the City in October. The City, by Charter, has 10 days to get them to the Supervisor of Elections. It appears that the City did just that, and the petitions were rejected because of insufficient information. The City new that almost immediately yet they kept telling the petition group they didn’t know what was going on with the Supervisor of Elections.

The logical conclusion is that the City was lying and is now desperately trying to cover up the repeated lies.

The Council also tabled the item on a Charter review committee at this time.

One of the readers of this forum said “nothing will ever change in Palm Bay until people are arrested.”

We agree.

One Response to “Palm Bay: BREAKING The Petition Vote.”

  1. Thomas L Gaume says:

    If the Council refuses to comply with spirit of our City Charter by refusing to place the petition language before the voters the Council’s action will be construed as interfering with the right of the people to petition, and may be considered an act of malfeasance.

    Our new Governor addressed such things in his inaugural speech, and I intend to make sure he is aware of the actions of this Council if this issue isn’t resolved on or before March 7th.