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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:

As of Tuesday, July 31st the investigation has been closed by the Palm Bay Police Department.

We received several emails essentially saying that Holton did nothing wrong and the closing of the investigation proves it.

To that we say:

Imagine if you are heading down Malabar Road doing 55 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Are you speeding? Were you breaking the law?

If a cop pulls you over and lets you go on your merry way with just a warning, were you breaking the law by speeding?

The answer is, of course, “yes. You were breaking the law.”

The fact of the matter is that the Palm Bay Police Department never should have been in the position of trying to investigate this.

No matter which direction the investigation took, there would always be an appearance of impropriety. They reason for that is that the police contract is approved and voted upon by the City Council – the very council upon which Holton sits. In addition, the police chief, who works at the pleasure of the City Council, would be directing if not advising on the investigation.

We want to be clear. We are not saying that the Palm Bay Police Department did anything wrong here. The standard is not actual impropriety, but even the appearance of impropriety.

We cannot imagine what it would be like for some poor cop to be ordered to go arrest Councilman Holton at a Council meeting. Perhaps the Police would allow him to come to the station and turn himself in, but even then, it would be a bit of a media circus. All of the work and self congratulatory pats on the back on bringing new businesses to town would go out the window. After all, what business wants to deal with a City council that has corruption and public trust issues?

Police and prosecutors have great latitude in what cases they pursue. Not deciding to pursue a case can be based on many factors such as time, optics of such a case, or even “it was too nice of a day to arrest someone.”

We would have hoped that like a charge of corruption within the department, or a shooting involving a police officer, that the Palm Bay Police Department would have turned this case over to another investigatory agency such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. That way there is not an appearance of impropriety no matter how the case turns out.

Still, what is missing from those who claim that Holton is not guilty of breaking the law is any type of rebuttal to what we have laid out and the laws we have cited.

“Is not” is not exactly convincing, if you get what we are saying.

We here at Raised on Hoecakes make mistakes. It happens. We are usually the first to admit when we do and apologize for those mistakes. That’s the way adults handle issues. So when we get emails saying ‘you’re wrong,” we always ask “where is our mistake? Please show us.”

When asked to provide proof or a least an argument as to why we are mistaken, the silence from those who have said we are wrong on the issue of the petition and the breaking of the Sunshine laws by Holton is deafening.

So be it.

The question is then should we hold elected officials to the law, even if the police choose not to file charges?

Shouldn’t we hold elected officials to a simple standard of following the laws?

Do laws apply only to people who are not elected officials, private workers and citizens?

That’s a decision that you are going to have to make in your mind.

As for us, we know that we believe that leader lead by example. Those leaders who do not follow the law are telling the rest of us that the law doesn’t matter.

We find that unacceptable.


UPDATE: The Palm Bay Police Department issued a statement on Thursday that they had forwarded the investigation to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement:

The Palm Bay Police Department Wednesday said it has forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement a complaint involving allegations that the mother of Palm Bay’s deputy mayor made a covert recording and improperly signed a petition involving city taxes and fees.

….

On Wednesday the Palm Bay Police Department issued the following statement to FLORIDA TODAY: “The Palm Bay Police Department received a complaint on Sunday, July 29, alleging the unlawful recording of conversations and the illegal signing of a petition. Upon reviewing the report the Palm Bay Police Department forwarded the case to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.”

A spokesman for the department later added that he was unable to provide any additional information about the case because it’s now “part of an FDLE investigation.”

It’s unknown what, if anything, the FDLE plans to do with the forwarded information. They could investigate or let the matter drop.

“We did receive the complaint and it is under review,” said Angela Starke of the FDLE. “I don’t have any additional information to offer at this time.”

As we said earlier, the PBPD was in a no win situation and any result of their investigation would be considered suspect by someone and tinted with the appearance of impropriety.

The Palm Bay Police Department did the right and moral thing.

In a City where the second biggest issue is public trust and alleged corruption, this was the perfect move by the PBPD.

To those who claimed that the lack of charges by the Palm Bay Police Department exonerated Holton, they were wrong.

Time to wait and see what happens.



5 Responses to “Palm Bay: Council Meeting, Laws, The Palm Bay Police Department, And Assorted Other Ramblings. UPDATED!”

  1. Carmine Vitale says:

    I eagerly await the findings of this investigation. I have also been in the company of those wishing to see a change at City Hall and the consensus is Mr. Holton doesn’t deserve re-election. Simply put, the man lives for controversy and I don’t believe he holds the best interests of the public at heart, let alone the tax payers of our City. It is sad and disturbing to watch the way this man acts at the dais, and for him to allegedly stoop so low as to do what they say he has done has him hitting rock bottom. I have been around several of the organizers of this petition, and never once have I ever heard any misleading information being said or any tactics being used to coerce people into signing the petition either. I hope when all is said and done the powers that be find he HAS violated the law, Sunshine laws, ethics laws, heck even his own civility clause and that he is finally answers for his actions. Regardless of all that…. I am positive I will not be voting for him. Keep up the great work in your reporting.

  2. Third Dimension says:

    I really cannot add to Carmine’s comments. What I can say for myself, I’m sure most all of us are looking for a few things here.
    Justice, an accounting for his actions, repeatedly, his removal one way or the other from the dais, and from politics for good.

    We’ve seen arrogance, unprofessional decorum, derogatory statements, slander, lack of respect, untrustworthiness, less than honorable adherence to the law, what can be called no less than lies to the public, and on and on.

    I believe it is time Palm Bay, ROH, concerned citizens….. lend me your ears.
    An old-fashioned letter writing campaign to the Governor’s Office, Committee on Ethics, the FDLE, and city council members. Asking as a city of educated, well versed, concerned citizens, we are asking for Justice and Holton’s removal from office.

    The facts of the case are clear, the law was violated by two generations of the Holton clan. I can only imagine the civil lawsuit over Holton slandering, and defaming two innocent volunteer petitioners in public from the dais. With one being the wife of the gentleman arrested outside city hall, for getting the same petition signed.

    Let’s type up some emails!

    https://www.flgov.com/contact-governor/

    http://www.ethics.state.fl.us/AboutUs/ContactUs.aspx

    http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Contact-Us/Comment-Form.aspx

    • AAfterwit says:

      ALL:

      This post was originally automatically held for approval by the staff due to it exceeding the limit for the number of links in a post. We have the limit set at 2 links per post. Posts with more than that go into a “waiting for approval” folder. The reason for the limit is that it helps block fake and spam posts that contain many many many links for products and services that no one really wants to see. (You’d be surprised at the amount of spam we get.)

      Anyway, we informed Third Dimension of what happened, and approved the post so all could see it.

      A. Afterwit.

  3. Third Dimension says:

    Well said Carmine. Let’s all take the time to contact Governor’s office, Florida Committee on Ethics, FDLE, and the city council.
    Asking for Justice, and removing Holton from office.

  4. Carmine Vitlae says:

    Thank you, Third Dimension and I am definitely checking out those websites, and preparing my letter(s). I watch/attend these council meetings and I am aghast at the way this (leader) acts from the dais, on social media (under assumed names), even in person listening to him speak, it disgusts me. He has an attitude as if he is above the rest of us. He does not care about the average tax payer in our city, he is out for himself, nothing else. Can’t wait for the outcome of all this. Time for me to start that letter. Thanks again.

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