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Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Claims They Have To Do Whatever The County Commission(ers) Say. How Wrong Can They Be?

After our post on April 1, 2020 concerning the outrageous actions of County Commissioner Bryan Lober, Sheriff Wayne Ivey and an un-named Deputy Sheriff in removing one Robert Burns from a “press conference” / meeting, we received an emails from Burns forwarding both his complaint to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the response from email from Brevard County Sheriff’s Office West Precinct Commander Bruce L. Barnett.

We want to make it clear that we are not fans of Burns and his tactics, but this goes beyond our mutual dislike for each other. If the Sheriff’s Office thinks they can trample on the rights of people with impunity, that affects us all.

First, the Burns’ complaint email dated March 28, 2020:

Lt Simpkins,

I’ve been trying to reach you to get more information and file a formal complaint about the incident that occurred this past Tuesday at the press conference.

According to Sgt Hammond your subordinate, he was instructed by you to have me removed from the county press conference at the request of Bryan Lober.
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BREVARD COUNTY: How Can So Much Go So Wrong From So Many Sources?

We had debated as to whether we would do a traditional “April Fools” post like we have done in the past and other sites do, but somehow that idea seemed inappropriate at this time given COVID-19 and the surrounding issues.

We should have known we’d have plenty of fools to write about.

Our mail box was flooded yesterday with people saying “did you see that you were mentioned in the Florida Today?” and then supplying the link.

Intrigued, we went to the Florida Today site and saw this in an opinion piece from Isadora Rangel:

[Brevard County Clerk of the Courts Scott] Ellis said people like Burns — and, for example, the local right-leaning blog Raised on Hoecakes — serve a purpose to bring things to light. It’s up to the public to decide whether to believe what they write — not government’s.

We appreciate the shout out from Ellis.
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Sorry Lober, You’re Wrong. We Don’t Owe Politicians Anything. They Owe Us.

Buckle up and grab some popcorn.

The above is a response in a Facebook thread from Bryan Lober who warms the District Two Seat on the Brevard County Commission.

How that response came to be is almost as interesting as it is wrong.

We’ll get to why the response is wrong in a moment, but let’s start with what triggered this whole mess.

A few days ago, people were receiving texts from an unknown source. Here’s the copy of the text. (We have blurred the phone number.)
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The Denninghoff Memo.

There has been an ongoing conflict between the City of Palm Bay and Brevard County concerning the “exchange to nowhere” and the connecting roads.

During the last City Council meeting on February 6, Palm Bay Councilmen ripped into the County on a variety of issues.

However, a week before that, on January 29, Brevard County Assistant Manager and head of the Development and Environmental Services Group, had sent an email to the City of Palm Bay and specifically to Deputy City Manager Suzanne Sherman as to the state of the negotiations between the City and the County.

The email was referenced at last Tuesday’s County Commission meeting in a discussion concerning the negotiations with Palm Bay on the proposed inter-local agreement. (ILA)

What caught our ear was the fact that the email implies the negotiations were a “sham” when viewed from the point of view of the County.

We decided to ask for the email which is found below.
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Palm Bay: We Don’t Need To Elect Officials Who Believe Laws Don’t Matter.

Janice Crisp is running for Palm Bay City Council Seat 2.

We have run across Crisp before who has some strange ideas when it comes to the press and bloggers. For example, she claims that the press must be licensed by the state.

That’s obviously not true, and so we try and stay away from people with ideas like that. To think that they are seeking public office where they can write and and vote on laws without basic understanding of legal principles is frightening to us.

On Tuesday, Crisp spoke in front of the Brevard County Commission. Normally we wouldn’t say anything, but her comments are bizarre.

We took the time to transcribe them.

I’m from Palm Bay and I’m running for City Council. What I would like to speak with you guys about is the process in which people are able to request public records. I know that there’s been an increase in what you have to pay but what I’m here to talk about is how the process and how people are identified – are we letting real people or just people who make internet requests.
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Florida Today: Rangel Labels BOCC Actions A “Farce.” (It Was.) Makes Farcical Arguments To Prove Her Point.

“I need to take a selfie before the launch…..”

Florida Today’s “public affairs and engagement editor” and a member of the Editorial Board Isadora Rangel has an op-ed piece concerning the recent resolution passed by the Brevard County Commission to “uphold and adhere to the principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States of America.”

We had written about this five days before Rangel. It is not that we are claiming that Rangel plagiarized our post, but there are some striking similarities.

For example:

RANGEL: No one seemed concerned that every commissioner already takes an oath of office that requires them to “support, protect and defend” the Constitution, making the resolution a moot point and mere political theater — or farce.

RoH: Right off the top, why is Isnardi seeking to pass a resolution, which by definition has no legal weight of the law behind it, saying “we want to protect the Constitution” when in fact upon taking the office of Commissioner, she and the other Commissioners take an oath to follow the laws of the State of Florida, the Florida Constitution and the United States Constitution?

Why the need for the resolution?
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Claiming The Need For Money, Sheriff Wayne Ivey Joins Suit Over Budget Vote……Spending More Tax Payer Dollars.

In case you have missed it, Brevard County Officials are involved in what started out as a bruhaha and has involved into a lawsuit.

The issue is the whether the County Commission’s vote to pass “critical need funding” for the Sheriff’s office in 2019 was legal.

Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of declaring a “critical need” related the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office budget. County Commissioner John Tobia cast the no vote.

With that required “supermajority vote” of at least four commissioners, it allows the county to exceed a voter-approved cap in how much money can be raised via property taxes in the Law Enforcement Municipal Service Taxing Unit portion of the budget.

Although property tax rates for the county general fund and 18 other specialized operating tax rates would decline under County Manager Frank Abbate’s proposed budget, that would not be the case for the Law Enforcement MSTU portion of the budget.
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Ellis – Tobia Opinion Piece: We’re Missing Something. We Have To Be.

Brevard County Clerk of the Court Scott Ellis and Brevard County Commissioner John Tobia have an opinion piece in the Florida Today concerning a lawsuit filed by the Ellis in his capacity as Clerk of the Court.

We’re going to boil down the piece to the relevant portions:

Brevard Commission cannot hide behind closed doors to discuss tax cap lawsuit.

The Brevard County Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 on Jan. 7 to discuss, behind closed doors, a lawsuit filed by the Clerk of the Court against the Board.

[….]

Rather than discussing this issue in the sunshine with the Clerk’s Office, the Board has voted to have a closed-door meeting to discuss strategies to fight this lawsuit. (emphasis ours)

The State of Florida has strong laws concerning public meetings and records as it should. Citizens have the right to know what is happening within their governments and for the most part those meetings and discussion should be held in the open.

However, there is an exception to open meetings and that exception is a board meeting to discuss strategy when lawsuit has been filed.
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