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BREVARD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD: First Amendment Crushed In Their Hands. (“Liberal Left” Is “Name Calling.”)

On March 9, 2021, the Brevard County School Board held a meeting at 5:30 PM. One of the items that was not an agenda item but did come up was a document sent by the school system to employees on for working with LGBTQ students. People who supported the document and newly declared rights of LGBTQ students as well as those opposed to the document lined up both outside the building and made comments during the public comment portion of the meeting.

We are not going to talk about the document or the guidelines. That’s a post for another day.

We are however, going to talk about how the Board sought to restrict people’s rights as codified in the First Amendment.

Prior to comments from the public, Chair Misty Belford read the rules for public comments. Those rules included time limits (3:00 minutes,) and pandemic protocols. At timestamp 00:58:00 Belford reads the following:
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CARES Funds Go To County Employees Who Are On The Job And Being Paid.

Last Tuesday we watched as the Brevard County Commission presented grants from the Federal CARES funds that had been sent to the County.

According to the US Treasury Department:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020. This over $2 trillion economic relief package delivers on the Trump Administration’s commitment to protecting the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

The CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserve jobs for our American industries.

We want to take a small look at the proposals made by Commissioner Bryan Lober.
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BREVARD COUNTY: Rules Don’t Apply To Sitting Mayors. (REMF’s)

Palm Bay Mayor William Capote is running for County Commissioner for District 5.

It is not unusual for people to see political signs all over the place this time of year.

Capote has signs out as well which is to be expected.

What is not expected is that he is placing signs in the city right of way which is against the current sign code. That would be the sign code that the Mayor voted for twice in the last year.

To our way of thinking, this leads to two questions:
1) Where the heck is code enforcement? These signs are all over Palm Bay in the right of way. It is the responsibility and the duty of Code Enforcement to gather up the signs when the signs are placed illegally. Is Capote getting a pass because he is the Mayor?
2) Even if we assume that Capote himself is not putting the signs out, is he so oblivious to them being in the right of way not to tell the people in his campaign to not place them in illegal locations? If he is not putting out the signs, is he just letting his campaign workers be on the front lines of breaking the code while he sits in City Hall with his feet up on his desk?
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The Mating Calls of Government: Photos And Taxes.

Today at 9 AM, a bunch of elected officials and employees from the City of Palm Bay and Brevard County will gather for a “ribbon cutting ceremony” for the infamous “Interchange to Nowhere.”

The interchange has been plagued by lies, failed government deals, failed negotiations, expired permits, money spent to keep the FDOT portion of the interchange open, and posturing between the County Commission and the Palm Bay City Council.

No intelligent human being could ever think that the exchange should be celebrated much less gathering people together for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The bizarre thing is that while both the County Commission and the Palm Bay City Council have been telling residents to avoid social gatherings and “be responsible,” last week Palm Bay Mayor Capote (the REMF) reminded people of the ribbon cutting ceremony and hoped people would come out to watch and celebrate.

How hypocritical and tone deaf can a group of elected officials be?

We realize that the mating call of a photo op is strong for officials, but what kind of message is being sent to the people of Palm Bay and un-incorporated Brevard County?

“When it comes to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19, do as we say, not as we do?”

We can’t wait to see the photos from this ceremony because when the ribbon is cut, the person doing the cutting shouldn’t have anyone within a 6 foot radius, right? That’s what we have been told and warned, right?

To us, it is also a case of money. To some extent we may be being petty here, but we guarantee that officials aren’t even buying the ribbon. After wasting tons of taxpayer money, the final insult may be “taxpayers need to buy the supplies so we can celebrate how great we are.”
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Ivey Doesn’t Get It.

We’ve entered the Twilight Zone in the case of Gregory Edwards, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, and Edwards’ widow, Kathleen.

Over the weekend, Ivey announced that he would allow the FDLE to conduct and investigation into the death of Edwards while in the custody of the Brevard County Sheriff’s office at the County Jail.

This would be a turn around by Ivey as he had blocked the FDLE from an independent investigation of the incident at the jail not once but twice. It sounds like a good thing, but it isn’t.

This case has primarily gained local attention requesting an additional independent review by some members of our community as a result of the demonstrations currently taking place around our country following the unacceptable death of George Floyd,” Ivey said in a statement issued Saturday.

The review by the state’s top investigative agency will not involve a second investigation, as some, including Edwards’ widow, have demanded. Under the terms of the review, FDLE agents will simply go over the investigation already conducted by the Sheriff’s Office to determine its validity.
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More Voices Call For Release Of Edwards Video.

“The moment I release it, I give up all of the security features that are in my jail.” – Sheriff Wayne Ivey

More voices are calling for the release of the video of an incident at the Brevard County Jail where Gregory Lloyd Edwards, a 38-year-old army medic, died while in custody of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Brevard public defender, defense lawyers call on sheriff to release jail video involving Gregory Edwards and corrections deputies

Members of a criminal defense attorney organization, along with the Brevard County Public Defender are calling for Sheriff Wayne Ivey to release a jail video showing a violent confrontation between Gregory Edwards and corrections deputies.

Edwards died the next day.

Margaret Wagner, a criminal defense attorney and representative of the Brevard chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said that lawyers and prosecutors are frequently provided videos of jail interactions and fights as part of public trials and court cases. The group has over 50 members in Brevard.
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Ivey And Edwards Revisited.

It is difficult to not think of the George Floyd case these days. It is hard for us to sit here and think that the man had to die. Police and citizen interactions are always complicated. Police, by the very nature of the job, generally see the worst in people. While we are sleeping snug in our beds, they are dealing with some lowlife beating his wife. While we are at work in our 9-5 jobs, they are at the door of someone’s home telling a parent, sibling or child that their loved one won’t be coming home ever again because they were killed in a random shooting, drug overdose or accident with a DUI driver.

While we are cognizant of the job police do (and most do it well,) if there is a group that can relate to the stress, anxiety, and death of friends, it is veterans. It is the men and women who protect our country and its values who can most closely relate to the police officer on the beat.

Which brings us back to the case of veteran Gregory Edwards.

We wrote a little bit about this case the other day, saying:
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Just Say “No.” Part II

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we wrote this post, it bloomed into something that is over 4000 words, which is far too long for any post – even if you have time to read it during the current pandemic. It’s too long to get through with one cup of coffee and we don’t want to be accused of creating or feeding caffeine addictions.

This is part two of a two part series. You can find part one here.

(That’s assuming we haven’t been arrested.)


Another incident of Ivey and the BCSO being above the law when a citizen was summarily removed from a press conference being held concerning the COVID-19 pandemic being held in a public area. Ivey stood by while his officer illegally removed the person. The BCSO later “defended” the action by saying they have to do what the County Commission tells them to do. In this case, Commissioner Brian Lober demanded that the person, who was not creating a disturbance, be removed. We always thought that the oath Ivey and his officers took was to the US Constitution, the State of Florida Constitution, and the local laws and not blindly follow the directions of a Commissioner.

When we wrote about this incident, we noted:

In the case of Smith v. City of Cumming, Georgia (2000), the Eleventh Circuit (which covers the State of Florida) held:

The First Amendment protects the right to gather information about what public officials do on public property, and specifically, a right to record matters of public interest. See Blackston v. Alabama, 30 F.3d 117, 120 (11th Cir.1994) (finding that plaintiffs’ interest in filming public meetings is protected by the First Amendment); Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436, 439 (9th Cir.1995) (recognizing a “First Amendment right to film matters of public interest”); Iacobucci v. Boulter, No. CIV.A. 94-10531, 1997 WL 258494 (D.Mass, Mar. 26, 1997) (unpublished opinion) (finding that an independent reporter has a protected right under the First Amendment and state law to videotape public meetings); see also United States v. Hastings, 695 F.2d 1278, 1281 (11th Cir.1983) (finding that the press generally has no right to information superior to that of the general public) (citing Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 609, 98 S.Ct. 1306, 55 L.Ed.2d 570 (1978)); Lambert v. Polk County, 723 F.Supp. 128, 133 (S.D.Iowa 1989) (“[I]t is not just news organizations … who have First Amendment rights to make and display videotapes of events….”); Thompson v. City of Clio, 765 F.Supp. 1066, 1070-71 (M.D.Ala.1991) (finding that city council’s ban on member’s attempt to record proceedings regulated conduct protected by the First Amendment); cf. Williamson v. Mills, 65 F.3d 155 (11th Cir.1995) (reversing district court’s grant of qualified immunity to a law enforcement officer who seized the film of and arrested a participant in a demonstration for photographing undercover officers). Thus, the district court erred in concluding that there was no First Amendment right. (emphasis ours)

Burns’ right to be at the meeting / press conference is well established law. There is no need for any “investigation” as to the legality of this matter at all. The law is clear.
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