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Palm Bay: Most Of The Things Wrong With Palm Bay Illustrated In One Incident.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We know that there are may be problems with the formatting of this post. Part of that has to do with the fact that Facebook is now linking videos and texts together. So you may see a brief skip in your browser before everything settles down. Sorry for the problem.

We have also “updated” and added to our comments that we made on a Facebook page at the bottom of the post.


A few weeks ago, Candidate Thomas Gaume who is running for Seat 4 for the Palm Bay City Council against incumbent Calvin “Tres” Holton and challenger Kenneth Brian Johnson II posted this video and accompanying text on his campaign page and was picked up by a Facebook group.

What happens when a lie is uncovered? REPOST!

Back in February I had posted the video below that shows the Palm Bay Deputy Mayor's behavior toward the (then Deputy) City Attorney. I stated at the time, and still stand behind my admiration of the way that Patricia Smith handled the situation with poise, professionalism, and treated the Deputy Mayor with the respect of the office. That's important, as in the military we're taught that you don't have to respect the person, but you will respect the rank, office, or position. A lesson that obviously wasn't taught to our Deputy Mayor, as he showed no respect, or civility as it was called for in the "civility pledge" that was brought forward as an agenda item, only after he had walked out a meeting that was in progress and neglected to vote on the remaining NINE agenda items before the Council. There's also rules of decorum in the City Council's policies and procedures that call for Council members to treat staff, and all of the constituents with respect.Why is this important? Because after I posted the video in February 4th, after almost 3 weeks I received the following email from then City Attorney Andrew Lannon on February 22nd:"Mr. Gaume: My colleague, Patricia Smith, whom you met, is a very private person and would never ask anyone to take anything down from their social media site. However, because I care about her, I need to ask you a personal favor. Would you please remove the post on February 4th wherein you play the video of that portion of Council Meeting on January 17th? I know it is a public record, and you are not required to do so. In exchange for this favor, I would gladly buy you lunch at a restaurant of your choosing."To which I replied:"Not a problem at all, it has been deleted from my personal site where it originated and was shared from. I would be honored to meet you for lunch anytime at your convenience. However being a Candidate (and given your position) I would have to insist on seperate checks as I don't think it would be appropriate for either of us to subject ourselves to any situation that could possibly be taken advantage of, no matter how small or genuine the intent.Tom"The video had been up for several days, and truthfully had ran it's course and would have fallen off the bottom of everyone's facebook feeds, and faded away into history if not for those emails, and the phone call I received on April 26th from then former City Attorney Andrew Lannon confessing that he had told me a lie and it was in fact the Deputy Mayor who had came to him wanting him to make efforts (I'm being polite here as I don't know the context of the conversation between the Deputy Mayor and Mr. Lannon that led to the email) to have me remove the video.So after a month of thinking about how to handle the situation, and not act on my first emotional instinct, I've decided that the video needs to be seen and readily available to the public. As I stated in the original post, this is an edited version. I don't feel that context is important here, as it was edited down to 30 minutes to show the unprofessional behavior of our Deputy Mayor (there are many other instances, just search Google for his name (Tres Holton)).The fact that he would ask someone to perpetrate a lie in order to remove a video that shows him in a bad light is bad enough, but to bring Ms. Smith into that lie is quite another. I have verified everything I have typed here, how is not important, but I wouldn't go to all this trouble if it wasn't simply to set the record straight and show that this is just another bad action, by a bad Elected Official.I'll now let the video speak for itself, and I have memorialized it on many platforms have published it out on bit torrent so it will live in perpetuity in the ether.UPDATE: For those that would like to see the full video of this agenda item it is available to view here: http://palmbayfl.swagit.com/play/02012018-723/9/

Posted by Thomas Gaume, Palm Bay, Seat 4 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Back in February I had posted the video below that shows the Palm Bay Deputy Mayor’s behavior toward the (then Deputy) City Attorney. I stated at the time, and still stand behind my admiration of the way that Patricia Smith handled the situation with poise, professionalism, and treated the Deputy Mayor with the respect of the office. That’s important, as in the military we’re taught that you don’t have to respect the person, but you will respect the rank, office, or position. A lesson that obviously wasn’t taught to our Deputy Mayor, as he showed no respect, or civility as it was called for in the “civility pledge” that was brought forward as an agenda item, only after he had walked out a meeting that was in progress and neglected to vote on the remaining NINE agenda items before the Council. There’s also rules of decorum in the City Council’s policies and procedures that call for Council members to treat staff, and all of the constituents with respect.

Why is this important? Because after I posted the video in February 4th, after almost 3 weeks I received the following email from then City Attorney Andrew Lannon on February 22nd:

“Mr. Gaume: My colleague, Patricia Smith, whom you met, is a very private person and would never ask anyone to take anything down from their social media site. However, because I care about her, I need to ask you a personal favor. Would you please remove the post on February 4th wherein you play the video of that portion of Council Meeting on January 17th? I know it is a public record, and you are not required to do so. In exchange for this favor, I would gladly buy you lunch at a restaurant of your choosing.”

To which I replied:

“Not a problem at all, it has been deleted from my personal site where it originated and was shared from. I would be honored to meet you for lunch anytime at your convenience. However being a Candidate (and given your position) I would have to insist on seperate checks as I don’t think it would be appropriate for either of us to subject ourselves to any situation that could possibly be taken advantage of, no matter how small or genuine the intent.

Tom”

The video had been up for several days, and truthfully had ran it’s course and would have fallen off the bottom of everyone’s facebook feeds, and faded away into history if not for those emails, and the phone call I received on April 26th from then former City Attorney Andrew Lannon confessing that he had told me a lie and it was in fact the Deputy Mayor who had came to him wanting him to make efforts (I’m being polite here as I don’t know the context of the conversation between the Deputy Mayor and Mr. Lannon that led to the email) to have me remove the video.

So after a month of thinking about how to handle the situation, and not act on my first emotional instinct, I’ve decided that the video needs to be seen and readily available to the public. As I stated in the original post, this is an edited version. I don’t feel that context is important here, as it was edited down to 30 minutes to show the unprofessional behavior of our Deputy Mayor (there are many other instances, just search Google for his name (Tres Holton)).

The fact that he would ask someone to perpetrate a lie in order to remove a video that shows him in a bad light is bad enough, but to bring Ms. Smith into that lie is quite another.

I have verified everything I have typed here, how is not important, but I wouldn’t go to all this trouble if it wasn’t simply to set the record straight and show that this is just another bad action, by a bad Elected Official.

I’ll now let the video speak for itself, and I have memorialized it on many platforms have published it out on bit torrent so it will live in perpetuity in the ether.

UPDATE: For those that would like to see the full video of this agenda item it is available to view here: http://palmbayfl.swagit.com/play/02012018-723/9/

In a great sense, Gaume’s post is part of his campaign and specifically his campaign against Holton. We think that it is fair to say that neither man is going to invite the other over for Thanksgiving dinner.

But we think the video shows more.

We sat down and pounded out a reply in the Facebook thread:

This whole video is more than a failure of courtesy on Holton’s part. (And make no mistake, he is terribly rude, condescending and inappropriately demanding as we shall explain in a moment.)

Smith’s original answer is based on the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority.” Listing all of the qulifications of the members of the City’s legal department does not mean they cannot be wrong. A better response (and shorter) would have been, Councilman Holton, we are paid to give the City and the City Council legal advice and our advice is not to discuss this at this time in this forum. I will not move off that opinion and that advice.”

At 5:00 in the video, Holton asks what he calls a “generic question.” Instead of fighting about the question, as the generic question has nothing to do with the agenda item, the question never should have been allowed. It is off the topic. At 6:30 of the video, Holton says “this is not a question having anything to do with a specific application….” which means it is out of the scope of the agenda item. Capote should have shut that down right then and there.

Even as Holton browbeats and insults Smith, Smith smartly does not move away from her legal opinion and that is a good thing.

At 8:00, Holton asks whether Smith works for the City Attorney or the City Council. Smith says she works for the City Attorney and Capote backs that up. She and Capote are wrong per the Charter 3.111. Holton is right on substance, wrong – horribly wrong – on form.

However, the question then has to be “where was Holton going to go with the idea that Smith works for the Council? Was he going to demand that she answer the question? Of course, he cannot do that because he is not the Council – only one sitting member. At best, he could call for a motion to compel Smith to answer the the above question (which would most likely have failed, but that never happened.) Was Holton going to try and have a hearing for insubordination for Smith that night if she didn’t answer? Is that where he was trying to go even though the City’s Employee Manual requires that such hearings initially take place in private?

Furthermore, Holton needed to read further down the Charter:

“3.113 Duties of the City Attorney:

The city attorney, and/or assistant attorney(s), shall provide required legal advice to the council and to the city manager. “

Smith had done that. Her legal advice was that the Council wait and be briefed by Lannon. She fulfilled her duty under the City Charter, which means that Holton trying to tell her that she worked for him / them mattered not one iota. She fullfilled her duties.

The irony is, of course, that even though this video is from a while ago, Holton broke disclosure laws last week and doesn’t seem to have an issue with that. In a case with us, he broke the Sunshine Law in a PRR for emails. He also broke his own civility pledge. Holton tries to apply the laws to others, but never himself.

In this video, Bailey is stellar. He really is. He is forceful and honest. He addresses several points well, including the non-specificity of the proposed ordinance. It also appears that he has one other thing in his pocket but doesn’t bring up until he has to, and that is that the proposed ordinance addressed too many things. He could have asked Smith if the ordinance was legal based on the overly broad and encompassing language, and Smith probably would have said yes. Legally, Holton’s proposed ordinance would not have survived. We offer a “golf clap” to Bailey for his actions that night.

But there is another thing in the video that happens that many probably missed. Bailey goes to address someone and Capote says “no…don’t talk to him. All things come through me.” Per Robert’s Rules of Order and the City Council policy and procedures, Capote is right. Citizens cannot address Council members directly and Council members cannot address citizens or others directly. We bring this up because last November, we had the same concern when Holton started to brow beat and speak to us directly and when we objected via a point of order, Capote told our rep to sit down and that Holton could speak to us directly. It was a case of the Council protecting itself. The Council ALWAYS seems to protect itself.

Therefore, in summary:

Smith was right to stick to her guns on the legal advice especially as she wasn’t involved directly in the case at hamd – the absent Lannon was.
Holton was rude and condescending to her.
Smith and Capote were wrong on who Smith “worked for,” but once again, Holton was rude and condescending.
Bailey was very solid and picked up the nuances of the problems with the proposed ordinance. He also eventually got going through the Mayor right.
The Council protects itself and not others.
Holton is hypocritical and thinks that laws apply to others (as demonstrated by his actions). (Did we mention that he is rude and condescending?)

Even after this long post, we still haven’t covered the essential issue here:

HOLTON ASKED LANNON TO GET THE VIDEO OFF OF A SITE.

Lannon called in a favor based on a friendship and respect for Smith (as that was the stated basis for the request.) Not only did Lannon lie, Holton didn’t want the video out there to be seen and commented upon by others. It appears that Holton realized how bad he looked through this entire incident and instead of manning up and apologizing in public to both the people of Palm Bay and especially to Smith, he wanted the video buried. We’d prefer that Council members take ownership of their actions rather than trying to bury them.

Everything done in the darkness eventually comes into the light.

After coming back to the post several days later, we realized that we hadn’t quite stated all that we wanted to, and we want to correct that here and now.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote:

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

– Ben Franklin

The lesson here is that not taking care of small things leads to bigger disasters.

This meeting and the emails / conversation between Gaume and Lannon epitomize that lesson.

First “nail:” As we tried to make clear and failed in our comment above, when Holton asks about a “generic case” and “not this specific application,” the Mayor should have shut that down as being off topic and as is it outside of the scope of the agenda item. It is funny in a sad sort of weeping way how when citizens go astray from the agenda item, the Mayor will quickly bring them back on topic. That didn’t happen here. Small things like following Council Rules and Robert’s Rules of Order stop larger issues from happening.

Second “nail:” In his comments, the Mayor repeatedly says he doesn’t want to get “’emotional’ about this…..” Daggone it, GET EMOTIONAL. One such emotion we would like to have seen is passion – passion for the people of Palm Bay, passion for following the rules, and a passion for doing what is right. You can be “emotional” and be under control. You don’t have to rant and rave as a show of emotion. Your intensity, your commitment to right and wrong, sticking to your beliefs can all be demonstrated without raising your voice and yet displaying that passion. It is always amazes us that when running for office, politicians say that will “fight for the people,” and then they roll over like a jelly roll.

Third “nail:” While Holton was attacking not only Smith but her legal acumen not a single person on the dais said anything about the so called “Civility Pledge” the Council passed last year. For example, the “Civility Pledge” states for Council Members:

I believe that the way in which the Mayor and Councilmembers interact with City staff, with members of the public, and each other matters greatly.

I shall take responsibility for my personal speech, behavior, attitude, and strive to conduct myself in a manner befitting an elected official of the City of Palm Bay.

I shall strive to be civil in addressing City staff, members of the public, and my fellow elected officials, to listen attentively to speakers, to respect the right of others to hold different opinions, and to avoid rhetoric intended to humiliate others.

I promise to promptly cease if I start to engage in a personal verbal attack on a City staff member, a citizen, or on one of my fellow elected officials at a City Council meeting.

We spoke about the so called “Civility Pledge” in front of the Council and displayed this graphic:

So while Holton was attacking Ms. Smith, no one – and we mean no one – on the City Council said anything about the Civility Pledge. The Pledge was nothing and is nothing more than theater.

Fourth “nail:” While this wouldn’t come out until later, Ms. Smith’s passionate defense of the City’s legal department and their qualifications for the job did not cover the fact that in his initial emails to Gaume, Lannon lied. It’s a small lie, but that’s what we are talking about here – how small things lead to bigger things. The fact that Holton would ask Lannon to get the post taken down shows 1) Holton’s commitment to the First Amendment, 2) Holton’s belief that it was acceptable to ask Lannon to lie for him and 3) Lannon’s lie itself. What does that say about the City Council and staff when we have people that are more concerned with protecting their image and their jobs to do what is morally right? Lannon had no legal or ethical duty to ask for the takedown of the video and yet he did. Do we really want or expect a legal department that lies to protect the City Council? (Even though the Council is their client, that doesn’t excuse the lies.) Lies on top of lies on top of lies and soon you have a mountain of lies that all of Waste Management’s trucks can’t haul away.

Fifth “nails:” All the things we listed in the Facebook comment.

It would be wrong fo us to expect people within the City government to be perfect angels. That isn’t going to happen.

But we believe that the amount of corruption – both real and imagined – would be much less if we could count on the City Council and the City Staff to do what is right both morally and under their own rules, ordinances and laws.

As it stands right now, too often we see Council members look away because of expediency.

Good government runs on commitment to the people, to the laws, rules and codes and not to expediency.




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