Florida Roundup.

Florida-Steak---ROH Here are a few items that have caught our eye concerning our home state of Florida.

The Florida Today reports:

Brevard County wants to put restrictions on the height of future cellular phone towers as part of a proposed massive overhaul of rules for such structures.

While we respect the right of County to make regulations on buildings and projects, what caught our eye was this statement from Commissioner Robin Fisher:

Separately, Commissioner Robin Fisher urged Brevard planning staff to identify five county-owned sites where the county may want to consider building its own towers.

“It’s a very lucrative business, and I think it would be in our best interest to get in it,” Fisher said. “We can take a lead on this.”

The government should not get involved in any business. That is not its role in society. When it comes to businesses, the government should protect the rights of people and their ability to make money without harming others or violating the rights of others. There should be no place for the government to enter the market to compete against businesses over which it has regulatory powers.

The County should not only not “take the lead” on this as Fisher suggests, but get out of the way of others who legitimately are in the business.

The Mayor of Winter Park had a man removed from a City Council meeting because the man failed to stand during a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

While we disagree with the man’s choices, he has the right to stay seated and not participate in a prayer and the recitation of the Pledge.

One would think the City Attorney who was in attendance at the meeting would have stopped the Mayor, but alas that did not happen. One would also have thought that the Chief of Police would have quietly protested the man being deprived of his rights, but that didn’t happen either.

The City has since changed its “policy” on incidents like this.

On Friday, [the City Council] voted 3-2 to replace prayer with a moment of silence and allow people to stay seated during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Happy happy! Joy joy! The City Council approved a policy that would not deny a person their rights!

Oy vey.

We had previously written that the City of Melbourne had managed to lose / misplace a M-16 rifle from their weapons inventory.

The weapon was eventually found in the home of an officer.

In the aftermath, City Manager Mike McNees is giving Police Chief Steve Mimbs a written reprimand. Other department personnel will be disciplined as well:

The memo says Mimbs previously reprimanded Officer Victoria Faulk and gave “written counseling with related direction regarding inventory control” to Cmdr. Marc Claycomb, who were involved in the incident.

According to information released for the first time Friday:

Faulk was issued the rifle 2009 as a replacement for a weapon that needed repair. The Colt M-16 was left in Faulk’s gun safe at home when the other weapon was returned to her.

In three subsequent annual inventories, which are required by the federal surplus program, Claycomb and a now-retired supervisor signed off that the gun was in the department SWAT locker, but it was actually at Faulk’s home, McNees’ memo reads.

That is all well and good but our question concerns the inventory itself. The inventories were conducted as a Federal requirement. When Commander Marc Claycomb signed off on three years of Federal inventories saying the M-16 was safe and sound in the weapons locker of the Melbourne Police, he wasn’t exactly being truthful.

If a regular citizen had lied on an official complaint of form to the police, there would be more repercussions than just “written counseling.”

If a supervisor in the private sector had cost a company money or the end of a contract / program with the government, that person would most likely be gone for gross incompetence.

Why doesn’t the same standard apply to government employees?

Speaking of guns and police officers:

The 2-year-old son of a Clay County sheriff’s deputy was struck in the foot by a shattered bullet fragment and sustained minor injuries when his father’s personal handgun accidentally discharged into the floor of a Middleburg fast food restaurant where the family stopped for lunch.

Bullet fragments bouncing off the floor also struck the boy’s grandfather as well as two female customers who were standing nearby. Neither the boy nor the three adults required medical treatment. However, all were examined at the scene by county emergency medical personnel, according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report.

Finally, Broward County seems to be having problems with municipalities not spending CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) funds in an appropriate and legal manner.

Broward will seek the return of county property tax dollars from city community redevelopment agencies that hoarded that money instead of spending it on projects to fight slum and blight that are ready to get underway, according to County Administrator Bertha Henry.

The county’s toughened stand follows recent findings by Broward’s Inspector General that Margate deliberately mishandled $2.7 million in CRA funds. It also comes amid fresh criticism about the way Hallandale Beach allegedly handled its community redevelopment funds.

Frank Schnidman, an attorney and senior fellow at Florida Atlantic University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, said in an interview that Hallandale Beach appears to have mishandled $12.6 million in CRA funds – an allegation disputed by a top city official.

While the main contention is that some cities did not spend the County TIFF money for CRA related projects, there are also cases where cities co-mingled funds with the city budget and the money was used for non-CRA related expenses.

Sadly, we’ve seen this type of report before.

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