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PALM BAY: Our Work Gets Brought Up In A Debate!

On Monday, September 28, 2020, there was a debate between two candidates for Palm Bay City Council Seat 3.

The two people running for the seat are Randy Foster and Thomas Gaume.

We had mentioned Foster and his anti-Second Amendment / freedom stance stance and his corruption issues in previous posts and there is no need for us to rehash them here.

In the debate, both candidates were given a chance to ask the other a question. We were rather shocked when we were told Foster’s question centered around something that we had created.

(The content owner of the video doesn’t allow for embedding of the YouTube video. The question starts at the timestamp of 1:58:00 )

Here’s a screen capture of part of the question being asked:

Here is Forster’s question as best as we can transcribe it as Foster’s comment is disjointed in our opinion:

Tom I went on your Linkedin page, because I’m on Linkedin, and I was very disturbed about this post on your Linkedin page. I don’t know if you can see it but maybe I can show it to you better. You posted and it is tied to your campaign website a sign that looks like this …..

[shows picture of City Hall sign]

….and that’s not the exact sign that’s in front of City Hall.

One in front of City Hall looks like this…..

[shows picture of our graphic]

Any, you know, I guess that is the intellectual property of the….it’s probably copyright…so you did some Photoshop and I find the sign very disturbing.

I don’t know what you mean by the middle finger, the City of Palm Bay, and you got the middle finger, on this sign of Florida, “where rights dies and stupidity strive.”

This has been on your Linkedin for seven months. When you’re running for City Council.

Is this what you think….the question is, “is this what you think of Palm Bay?” This is what you think of our City government?”

Linkedin is a a website where professional people are. It’s for business, it’s for government,… a lot of professional people and it’s all over the world. And when they look at your website, your Linkedin webpage, and they see this, this is not a good representive (sic) of a City Councilman who’s trying to run for City Council.

So what do you say about the middle finger in your post.

Like a parent that can always pick out their child, we recognized the image that Foster was holding up as we had created it.

The graphic was part of a post which discussed the loud silence from the City Council after the release of the JLAC report which found violations of the law and City policies as well as the release of the FBI / FDLE report showing what a cesspool City Hall was. In addition, the Council members were caught “huddling” before the meeting, which is a violation of the Florida “Sunshine” laws.

This is what we wrote at the time:

The Mayor did not mention the FBI reports concerning violations of the law by current and former City Council members.

Those violations include: bribery, racketeering, prostitution, illegal drug use, true threats of violence, Sunshine Law violations, campaign contribution violations, “pay to play” requirements by members of the Council and the Mayor and many more.

It’s the elephant in the room and Capote chose not to address it or mention it in his State of the City Address.

Even though Capote tried to cover up the negative issues, citizens were not as accommodating to the Mayor’s plan to be an ostrich, putting their heads in the sand hoping the issues would go away.

Citizen after citizen stood up during the public comments portion of the agenda calling for everything for a thorough accounting of the actions of elected officials and others, to demands that the entire Council resign.

Of course, the City Council not only did not respond, but acted as if the citizens were invisible.

Five grown men sat in front of everyone in Palm Bay and essentially told the citizens that their voices did not matter; that there was nothing to see or act upon in the JLAC and the FBI reports; and that the palm tree on the City’s logo was actually a gigantic middle finger directed toward the citizens who had elected them in good faith.

We had also been fighting for the City to stop illegally suppressing the speech of people at the Council meetings due to them not liking the content, which is a clear violation of the First Amendment.

So yes, we believe that Palm Bay’s City Hall is where “rights die and stupidity thrives.”

We won’t comment on what Gaume said in response to Foster’s “question,” but we will comment on the question itself.

One in front of City Hall looks like this…..

Any, you know, I guess that is the intellectual property of the….it’s probably copyright…

The logo on the sign is the logo of Palm Bay. By law it cannot be coprighted:

According to 15 U.S.C. § 1052 (also known as the Lanham Act):

No trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it–

(b)  Consists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms or other insignia of the United States, or of any State or municipality, or of any foreign nation, or any simulation thereof.

Right off the bat, Foster is in trouble as he tries to score points based on his false understanding and ignorance of the law.

However, even if the logo were copyright, we still have the right to change it as part of a parody and fair use under the right to criticize:

Section 107 of the Copyright Act is the section that provides for fair use, a doctrine which allows certain actions which otherwise would amount to copyright infringement. The Section lists several examples of fair use, including uses of copyrighted works “for purposes such as criticism [or] comment.”

Both parody and satire employ humor in commentary and criticism, but the key distinction, and the reason that parodies are more likely to be considered fair use than satires, is the purpose each serves. Satire is defined as “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” Compare that to the definition of a parody: “a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule.”

While both parody and satire use humor as a tool to effectuate a message, the purpose of a parody is to comment on or criticize the work that is the subject of the parody. By definition, a parody is a comedic commentary about a work, that requires an imitation of the work. Satire, on the other hand, even when it uses a creative work as the vehicle for the message, offers commentary and criticism about the world, not that specific creative work. Therefore, parodies use copyrighted works for purposes that fair use was designed to protect.

Furthermore, our graphic is political speech, which is granted the highest First Amendment protection.

And if you don’t like that, our parody of the sign did not cause direct economic damage to the logo of the City or damage it’s economic value in anyway.

One must ask why Foster brought up the copyright issue to begin with. Would he have us take it down, even though it is clearly protected speech under the First Amendment?

Is his zeal to attack Gaume, is he willing to violate the First Amendment rights of people much like he wants to violate their Second Amendment rights?

Foster is wrong on the law and wrong on the rights of people and yet wants people to vote for him. (What is ironic is that Foster touts his work history in law enforcement. It makes us wonder if he was this sloppy on the law while doing that work.)

We’ve had too many people on that dais who don’t care about the law or the rights of people. We don’t need another.

Foster continued:

I don’t know what you mean by the middle finger, the City of Palm Bay, and you got the middle finger, on this sign of Florida, “where rights dies and stupidity strive.”

We’ll tell you what we meant as we wrote it for all to see:

Five grown men sat in front of everyone in Palm Bay and essentially told the citizens that their voices did not matter; that there was nothing to see or act upon in the JLAC and the FBI reports; and that the palm tree on the City’s logo was actually a gigantic middle finger directed toward the citizens who had elected them in good faith.

Foster has brought up corruption in City Hall as a key component of his platform. If corruption is not figuratively giving the citizens the bird, then what is corruption? Should people just sit back and enjoy their tax money being spent illegally as well as bribes and kickbacks in City Hall?

Is Foster against corruption because that is what the people want to hear, but actually not care?

In addition, the graphic doesn’t say “where rights dies and stupidity strive.” It says “where rights die and stupidity thrives.”

We wonder why Foster botched reading the sign. After all, his reading changes the meaning totally as most people know there is a huge difference between “strive” and “thrives.”

Our point here is that Foster had weeks to come up with his question and in that time if he can’t read correctly what the graphic says, how would he deal with agendas, ordinances, variances, etc., he would be voting on as a Councilman, all of which are more nuanced than a one line graphic and are often presented in a lesser time frame?

This is what you think of our City government?

Short answer: yes. We believe that the City government has been giving citizens the middle finger for some time. If Foster hasn’t seen that, he hasn’t been paying attention.

So what do you say about the middle finger in your post.

We have no idea what Gaume’s answer was. It doesn’t matter to us. We are overloaded on politics right now and can’t watch everything.

However, we know what we say about the middle finger in that graphic:

We say we need to elect people who aren’t willing to say what people want to hear, and then if elected, continue to suppress the rights of people, turn a blind eye to corruption and not listen to the thoughts, ideas and concerns of the citizens. We need people that are willing to follow and understand the law. We need people that are willing to support the 1st Amendment rights of people and all of their rights.

In other words, we need to elect people that aren’t willing to give the people of Palm Bay the bird.



One Response to “PALM BAY: Our Work Gets Brought Up In A Debate!”

  1. Ron Lockwood says:

    It seems that no matter how empathetic or tolerant we citizens of Palm Bay can be with the mindlessness and incomprehensible irresponsibility of elected officials in our Council, we pay the price daily as business owners and residents. Priorities to them are backroom agreements prior to scheduled meetings in public view (or so it seems) and they even huddle up on the dais before meetings to rub our noses in their bad behavior. Fortunately, a visual image of a middle finger is far less egregious than some of the language uttered in disbelief or stricken from social media platforms. By now, we who dwell in Palm Bay are finally at a point where changing the political atmosphere and climate are at the polling places. Let us hope we do the right thing and elect some principled, honest folks who will work ‘For the People’ and not themselves or their own agenda.

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