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Palm Bay: City Can’t Remember Their Own Statements.

On November 7, 2019, Thomas Gaume made a presentation on the timeline and potential consequences of the City’s handling of the ballot initiative petitions. In making his presentation, Gaume used the City’s projector so his material could be seen by not only the members of the Council, but the audience and staff in attendance.

To make the presentation, Gaume had to submit the presentation for approval from the City under rule 7.8.6 which when originally passed in February 15, 2017 read:

7.8.6 VISUAL PRESENTATIONS BY THE PUBLIC

A. Members of the public wishing to use electronic media when addressing city council must provide the electronic file to staff for screening no later than noon two (2) business days prior to the meeting. Screening ensures that the material is in a format capable of broadcast or presentation over the audiovisual system, and assures that the material is legally appropriate for broadcast over the audiovisual system and cable. No visual materials may be displayed through the audiovisual system that City staff has not screened. No visual presentations containing offensive material will be displayed or utilized in any fashion.

1. Visual materials include any visual or textual items that are to be displayed through the audiovisual system irrespective of their specific format or media. This includes, without limitation, photographs, audio and video presentations, charts, computer presentations, computer screen images, posters and flyers, whether in physical or electronic format.

2. Visual presentations during public comments are limited to times outlined above in this Section.

B. Visual materials do not include items held or worn by a speaker at the podium or worn by a member of the audience, even though such items may be televised through the cameras that view the audience and the dais.

There are all sorts of problems with this rule that will come into play in a moment. However, the rule was changed and amended slightly on December 20, 2018 to read:
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Palm Bay: City Of Palm Bay Solves Road Funding Issues – Passes Charter Amendment Which Uses Money From BCSO, Clerk Of Courts, Tax Appraiser, and Supervisor Of Elections To Pave Roads.

Via FNNetwork.com:

In a move that stunned political onlookers and citizens, on Thursday the City Council of Palm Bay passed a Charter Amendment requiring Brevard County Constitutional Officers pay for the construction and maintenance of roads and storm water projects in Palm Bay out of their budgets. The move frees up millions of dollars for other projects in the city.

“We should have done this before,” Mayor William Capote said. “This was a great legal strategy thought up by our City Attorney. All the props to her. I told you that my staff is like my family and my family did something great. ‘Papa’ Capote is proud of them!”

In voting for the amendment, Councilman Johnson said that he was looking forward to the construction of a youth center centered around Willet Creek.

Councilmen Santiago and Anderson supported the amendment as long as the ability to keep special assessments was in the bill. “You can’t have too much money to spend on projects,” Anderson said. “We are hoping that we can use funds for the construction of “The Governor William J. Le Petomane Thruway” in memory of a former City Mayor who later became governor in the late 1800’s.

The amendment was not without controversy as Councilman Bailey noted that the City Charter did not allow amendments to be passed by a single council vote.

“The hell with the Charter,” Santiago told Bailey. “If I can appoint disgraced and former City Councilman Calvin Holton to the Marketing Committee of the Brevard County Tourism Development Council, we can do anything.”

Santiago and Anderson also floated the idea of bringing back former City Manager Gregg Lynk to oversee the projects.

When contacted, the Brevard County Constitutional Officers seemed stunned.

“I won’t be able to take care of the pets in shelters without funds,” Sheriff Ivey told the FNNetwork. “How can we operate without funds?”

Clerk of the Courts Scott Ellis was a little more blunt. “I will go down to Palm Bay and kick some serious butt if they think they can tell us we have to pay for their streets and work for them.”

When told of the comments by Ellis and Ivey, Mayor Capote giggled saying “Randy Fine can’t do it no better than me.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Apparently some people don’t recognize sarcasm when they see it. Please click on the in-article links to see the “documentation” of this “article.” We wrote the article to show that the above cannot be true and yet the City demanding that the Supervisor of Elections can be forced to do the City’s bidding by proclamation of the City Charter is as ridiculous as the City making a Charter amendment which would allow the City to take money from the County Constitutional officers’ budgets. The above is satire. What follows is the analysis of why the City’s arguments fail in the lawsuit and have no legal basis. In addition we ask the main question that the City has not answered: “Why did City Officials continue to lie to the petition group and impugn the integrity of the Supervisor of Elections?”
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Palm Bay: City Lawsuit Against Supervisor Of Elections Lori Scott.

Below you’ll find the lawsuit filed by the City of Palm Bay which seeks to force the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections to count the petition signatures.

There are several issues with the lawsuit.
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Palm Bay: Laughing With VS. Laughing At.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We weren’t sure whether to write this post or not as it involves a citizen, but we ultimately decided that the issue brought forth was worthwhile and worthy of comment.

Every city has them.

They are the regular John and Jane Doe’s off of the street who are involved. They give more than cursory looks at agendas and agenda packets. They attend meetings. They do research. They comment and make statements to boards and the governing body.

Unlike most of the people they speak to during a meeting, John and Jane Doe aren’t being paid. They do all the work on their own time, on top of their regular jobs and families.

As you might expect, we like these kinds of people. Whether we agree or disagree with them, we like them because they are involved.

In Palm Bay, one of those people is a guy by the name of Bill Battin.
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Palm Bay: BREAKING The Petition Vote.

Tonight the Palm Bay City Council voted to go to court to force the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections to start the verification process concerning the petitions.

The vote was 4 – 1 with Anderson, Capote, Johnson and Santiago voting for this course of action, and Bailey opposing it.

We have lots of concerns with this.

First, City Attorney Smith said that the City was not wrong when issuing petitions that did not comply with Florida Election Commission and the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections. Her position seems to be that the Florida Division of Elections’s rules only apply to state Constitutional petitions.

The problem with that position is that the law allow for agencies to implement rules to accomplish goals that are mandated by law. The Legislature does not proscribe the methods used to verify signatures and leaves the requirements up to the Florida Division of Elections. The Brevard County Supervisor of Elections adopted the provision for Florida Constitution signature verification as she is allowed to do.

In essence, the City will have to argue that the Supervisor of Elections cannot institute rules on how to accomplish something that is mandated by law.

Good luck with that position.
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Palm Bay: The Petitions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we started to work in this post, the more we realized how screwed up what is going on truly is. The initial focus of the post took a turn away from its original destination of “the petitions and the end game is on the agenda” to “what in the Wide Wide World of Sports is a-goin’ on here?”

Tonight at 7:00 PM the City Council of Palm Bay will hold a regular meeting starting at 7:00 PM.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

There are two items of interest to us on the agenda and both are related:

11. Consideration of a moratorium on special assessments and placement of language presented by the Citizens of Palm Bay Petition Committee on the ballot for the November 2020 general election. (Mayor Capote)

12. Consideration of the appointment of a Charter Review Commission. (Mayor Capote)

We talked in great length about the petition drive in a post called “A Tale of Two Petitions.”

To re-cap, citizens in Palm Bay wanted to repeal (or revert) an amendment to the City Charter that was passed in 2016. The residents claim that the change was passed due to mis-information from the City and a lack of understanding as to amounts they could be charged for roads and infrastructures in front of their property. The special assessments as approved often ended up taxing people more than the values of their properties in order to build the infrastructure the property owners had been promised for years.

(Because we want to be transparent about this, we supported the idea behind the petition group but felt the wording of the petition and the proposed ballot language was lacking small details. We discussed that here. Our stance on the petition drive was therefore neutral.)

The petition group plowed ahead, got the requisite numbers of signatures to have the issue on the ballot and turned them into the City. The City took the petitions to the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections for signature verification. The petitions were rejected en masse for failure to have a spot for the signer to put in their date of birth and or their voter registration ID number.
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Palm Bay: Freudian Slip?

A “Freudian slip” is defined as:

a slip of the tongue that is motivated by and reveals some unconscious aspect of the mind

Wikipedia says:

A Freudian slip, also called parapraxis, is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that occurs due to the interference of an unconscious subdued wish or internal train of thought. The concept is part of classical psychoanalysis. Classical examples involve slips of the tongue, but psychoanalytic theory also embraces misreadings, mishearings, temporary forgettings, and the mislaying and losing of objects.

The reason we are talking about this is that during the comments on the Waste Management contract at the Palm Bay City Council meeting of February 7, 2019, Councilman Santiago makes this statement which can be found on page 5 of our transcript:
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Palm Bay: Waste Management Contract. (Part II)

Yesterday we wrote about comments made by the City Council concerning the Waste Management contract.

We are going to do today the same thing we did yesterday – continue looking at the comments and allowing you to see them in context.

Once again, the video of the meeting is on the City’s website. Our overall transcription begins at 3:40:00 of the meeting.

Today’s analysis of the comments begins on page 3 of our transcript with a comment from Councilman Johnson:
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