Palm Bay: Mr. Holton Goes to Tallahassee.

Palm Bay City Councilman Tres Holton went up to Tallahassee the other day to lobby support for Representative Randy Fine’s Bill HB971.

More on the bill in a moment, but how do we know that Holton went to the State capital? He self-promoted told us, of course.

Fine’s bill is well intentioned but ultimately flawed. It is one of those bills that sounds great but in practice appears to be a disaster.

The bill seems so simple. In essence if you don’t have your trash picked up on a certain day and still haven’t had trash picked up four days later, you can’t be charged and if you have paid for the service in advance, you get a refund that is generated by the trash company or the municipality if they have their own trash services.

The same applies to telecommunication and audio / video services. If your service goes off for 24 hours or more through no fault of your own, you get a refund or you are not billed on a pro-rated basis for the time missed.

Yay!! More money for the common man who just wants their trash picked up and the ability to watch TV!!

But will it work out that way?

We don’t think so.

Let’s examine the services and impact separately.

The telecommunications / video services part is a little easier to understand the reasoning, but may be difficult to implement. The reason for the difficulty is the bill doesn’t account for so called “acts of God” such as hurricanes, storms, tornadoes, etc. So while the bill accounts that if your power is off and you don’t have services, the power companies and the communications companies are going to have to communicate what areas are out of power and what individual accounts are out of power. That means more computer programming to cross the databases to show which company is responsible for the outage and guess who is going to pay for that? If you said “we the consumers are,” you’re right. Because the service agreement is with you, the individual, the companies are free to raise their prices at any time (assuming that you are not in the middle of some promotional deal.)

The second problem is that as most communications services are pre-paid for upcoming services and not services already rendered, there are already laws on the books requiring refunds for services which were paid for but not supplied. That means the bill is a duplicate of current law.

As for trash pick up, that’s a little more complicated in some ways and a little more simple in others.

First, municipalities that do not have their own trash services contract them out to other companies. In the case if Palm Bay, the City contracts and administers the contract with Waste Management. What the Fine bill does is interfere with the contract stipulations that are negotiated between the local municipality and the waste collection company. Instead of the local City government negotiating a deal that is best for their citizens, HB917 sets a “one size fits all” stipulation for the entire state. That doesn’t make sense to us and is against the principle that both Fine and Holton have said that they support – the principle of “home rule.”

“Home rule” is the idea that when it comes to governing, local is better than county; county is better than state and state is better than Federal.

Here, Fine and Holton are supporting the idea that laws out of Tallahassee are better than contracts with local citizenry input.

Secondly, unlike telecommunications, while people are recovering from hurricanes and storms, they are still generating trash and waste. Unlike the communications part of the bill, the waste collection companies are still going to have to come and get the trash that is generated when their trucks cannot get down flooded streets, or streets that have been washed away to some extent or streets that are undermined by rain. There’s snthing like the idea of telling companies they have to go down flooded streets or have to go down streets that can’t support the weight of the truck itself.

Third, waste companies calculate proposed contracts on several basis. One is costs and projected costs (labor, fuel, etc) and the other is the volume of waste itself. Unlike the telecommunications companies where you cannot go back in time and make phone calls or watch a show live, waste companies are still going to have the same amount of waste to dispose of. While everyone wishes waste after a natural weather event or something else could be collected immediately, that is simply not the case and yet companies will still have to dispose of the waste it contracted for. There is something unfair about requiring a company to do the work and yet be held accountable for things they cannot control such as weather events, etc.

Not only that, in Palm Bay, it is not Waste Management that is billing people for services – it is the City. That means that as the bill allows fines for services not provided, the fines may have to be paid by the taxpayers and not Waste Management as there is no mechanism in the contract that would allow the fines to be passed on to the Waste Management.

And as for the fines themselves? The fines have two destinations. Initially the fines are remitted to the “General Inspection Trust Fund,” which means another layer of government which means more costs to the taxpayers. The second destination is the person on the account, but does anyone think that the fines going to the State government first won’t incur more costs?

YAY! Bigger government that is farther away from us and more expensive!! Who doesn’t like that idea?

In our opinion, the bill would increase costs to the consumer and expand government.

As a matter of general principle, we are against those things.

However, while Holton wants to make this about “better services” and all that, (because more government involvement is always better in his mind) the fact remains that the Palm Bay City Council negotiated the contract with Waste Management.

Another commenter in the Facebook thread had this to say:

With that sordid background and Holton’s admitted hatred of accusations against the City, it is natural for him to want the state government to “fix” what the governing body he sits on created and can fix.

Talk about “passing the buck,” or “kicking the can down the road,” or whatever you want to call it, it is still about a lack of accountability from a Council on which Holton sits.

(It should also be noted that the bill does not allow or propose a mechanism for the companies to dispute the fines. That’s a problem because even large corporations are entitled to due process. A government that can levy fine without recourse is not a good thing.)

In short, we disagree with the bill itself and until it addresses the flaws we mention, we will continue to be against it.

That being said, this post would have been just a discussion of the bill itself and Holton’s self promoting. However, the Facebook thread took a sharp turn and went in a totally unexpected, yet previously seen direction.

It started out simply enough when a citizen had the apparent gall to call Holton by his legal, given name rather than his nickname.

Yep. Holton went down the path that somehow addressing him by his legal name is “malicious” and apparently in Holton’s mind, malicious against a child.

Once again, we see Holton tries to play the victim and he fails miserably. He even trots out the ol’ distraction of “I donate my salary.”

Does Holton really think that the people of Palm Bay don’t realize that he takes that deduction off his taxes? Or that the repeated reference to his donation is anything more than another case of “look at me?”

1“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)

Holton’s response is childish. Calling someone by their legal name is not “malicious.” It has nothing to do with any child and had nothing to do with Holton’s child until Holton himself brought the child into the discussion. Shame on him. Shame on him for trying to uses his child as a weapon. The accusation that the poster is trying to be “clever, rude and mean” falls on its face as facts are nothing more than facts. Calvin Lewis Holton, III is his legal name. If he doesn’t like it, change it.

Of course, we wonder if Holton thinks the State of Florida is being “malicious” and targeting his son or being “clever, rude and mean.”

Remember this? The concealed weapons permit that Holton put out there in another rant where he claimed he was the “victim?”:

In our opinion, if you get upset by someone using your real, legal name,…..if you are that thin skinned and need to claim victimhood for everything, maybe politics isn’t for you. Heck, the playground for second graders may not be for you.

Of course, there could also be the reason that Holton doesn’t want his real name used as searching for it brings up a trespassing charge from 2012 in Palm Beach County.

(click on image for a larger view that will open in another tab.)

(Sorry, but Occam’s Razor comes into play here. Which is more likely: someone would not want their legal name of “Calvin” be used because it is an “attack” on a child or trying to keep the worst kept secret in Palm Bay out of the public eye?)

When pressed on the issue of his travel expenses in the thread, Holton replied with this:

The response is hysterical as we are in the midst of a battle with the City over turning over public records and in the middle of that fight to not follow the Sunshine laws is none other than Holton himself.

The irony is not lost on us that he would say “make a public records request” knowing that (in our opinion at this time) he doesn’t fully believe in the Sunshine laws.

In conclusion, the proposed bill is not a good one for many reasons. Holton’s self promotion is not a surprise. Holton’s support for bigger, non-local laws is not a surprise. (Fine’s support for state rule is a surprise.) Holton’s odd attack on the use of his legal name and the attack on the person who used it by bringing up his own child as a “weapon” is not surprising, but it is pathetic.

Just another day in paradise.

5 Responses to “Palm Bay: Mr. Holton Goes to Tallahassee.”

  1. David Morris says:

    Keep up the good work. It is obvious from the way council votes and never meet same place same time. They are breaking sunshine laws. A good way to prove this would be to watch them during council meetings. They are always on their phones texting and emailing. Do a FOI for them during the meeting and there would be nothing or little compared to what time they spend on them. So they support the law as long as they don’t have to obey it. Lannen and lynk are the same. All you have to do is pay attention.

  2. Third Dimension says:

    I must say the effort, context, and knowledge shared on Raised on Hoecakes is outstanding.
    I feel positive that I’ve enjoyed knowing a few of you, in the shadows.

    Getting back to Calvin. A person to whom I know politically, and personally, has been a huge disappointment. What a lesson we can learn about narcissistic behavior.

    There has been an obvious level of corruption and ethics violations that quite a few of us can see. How do we simple mined red necks git to fixin’ this mess?

    Elections and Ethics complaints are very effective. Let’s just repeat for a fact, the two people are at the center of this hub. AA & DI

    Let’s git to fixin’

  3. Alice Addertongue says:

    Calvin always plays the victim, and will always find a “shiny object” to move the focus of his misdeeds to something else.

    Home’s for Warriors / SCPA – Has yet to produce a contract for his services, Submitted an invoice for his services only after (the day after actually) Don Overton filed his whistleblower complaint. Wrote a check (that has yet to be cashed) to reimburse for his personal air conditioner work that was done, but yet denies any wrongdoing.

    Walked out of a Council meeting after being called out for violating the Council’s Policies and Procedures that requires him to pay attention to the matter at hand. His action at this time can be viewed as 9 counts of violation of 286.012, Florida Statutes (2017), and 1 violation of Palm Bay Council Policies and Procedures 7.5.4 (B), as he did not vote on the 9 remaining items on the agenda at a meeting at which he was in attendance. This time the “Shiny Object” was the Civility Pledge he wanted others so badly to adhere to, but chooses to act in contrary to his own pledge on a regular basis.

    Then of course there’s the whole drunk text / email / weapons fiasco, that ended up costing the taxpayers $10,000 for metal detectors at the Council Chambers. As pointed out at one of the citizens at that meeting, I’m more scared of the Council members and the damage they can do (have done), than any of the citizens in attendance at any of the meetings.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Alice Addertongue,

      We had addressed this same point in several posts. Holton was in violation of Council Policies and Procedures, Florida Statutes, and his own ridiculous “civility pledge.”

      What is just as sad is that when Councilman Bailey brought up the fact that Holton had violated the Council Policies and Procedures as well as Florida Statutes, Mayor Capote did not even acknowledge or address the point. He did not pause or even ask for an explanation from Bailey or an interpretation of the law from City Attorney Lannon.

      It was a case of “wink-wink, nudge-nudge, I won’t address your violations so you won’t address mine.”

      Palm Bay has issues that deal with honesty and corruption.

      When the Mayor and the City Council aren’t willing to police other members of the Council, there is a deep ingrained malaise that needs to be cleaned.

      Thanks for the comment (and thanks for all the comments all the people have made in this thread.)

      A. Afterwit.