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Live Wire Weekend: Landon’s City Hall Arrogance, Obama’s Ego, Nate’s Latest and Gay Sons

| November 6, 2010

Paddle-out ceremony during the 2009 tommy Tant Classic in Flagler Beach. (Courtesy of Tommy Tant Classic)

Paddle-out ceremony during the 2009 tommy Tant Classic in Flagler Beach. (Courtesy of Tommy Tant Classic)

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Straw Referendum on Landon’s City Hall Arrogance

tom lawrence flagler county tea party

Opposing Jim Landon's city hall may be Tom Lawrence's easiest road to it. (© FlaglerLive)

Jim Landon, the Palm Coast city manager, wants to build a $10 million city hall, but doesn’t want to ask voters’ permission. His predecessor, Dick Kelton, did so just five years ago and got handed the largest referendum defeat in Flagler memory: 82 percent of the electorate said No. Landon got something of a referendum anyway: the Flagler County Tea Party Group came out in force at a town hall meeting Thursday evening, at the Buddy Taylor Middle School cafeteria, and let Landon know: referendum or not, there’s great opposition to the project. The opposition is gelling not merely against the proposal itself, but against Landon’s manner, increasingly seen as reflecting an arrogance as contemptuous of voters as it is of city priorities.

The rallying cry is: why not ask voters’ opinions on the matter? Landon’s response was a deflection. He argued that voters had to be asked five years ago because the measure included raising taxes to finance bonds. They don’t have to be asked this time around because there would ostensibly be no tax hikes–not immediately, anyway, although you don’t take $10 million cash out of a city’s coffers, with reserves at their lowest in the city’s history, and an economy at its lowest since the Depression, and not expect serious repercussions that will entail tax hikes: Landon is cashing out what’s left of the city’s rainy-day fund, and forcing more than $5 million to be borrowed, at public expense, through the Town Center Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). Landon, at any rate, was intentionally missing the point. Referendums aren’t put to voters only when borrowing money is in play. Referendums are put to voters when the issue warrants it, and when a local government respects its voters.

This local government doesn’t. Or rather, this city manager doesn’t, although he’s tainting the city council he represents, and it’s the council members–beginning with Jon Netts, whose term as mayor is up next year–who’ll pay the price at the one referendum Landon can’t skirt: city council elections. Who knows: maybe that’s Landon’s game. Netts is the council’s strongest moderating voice, and often its only voice on critical issues. Getting him out of the way would be a clever move by a city manager who prefers his power unquestioned, not shared. Then again, the alternative would be what? Tom Lawrence, the tea party’s leader, was at the Buddy Taylor meeting, too: he already has a political base anyone would envy. He was a city councilman earlier in the last decade (though appointed, not elected). He’ll be gunning for that mayor seat faster than you can say Boo Radley if the stars keep lining up above that graveyard of city planning known as Town Center.

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Nate Truelove Update: At Home

Nate’s great-grandmother Charlene writes: “We were all a little disappointed that Nate was sent home from Brooks Rehab on Oct. 28, but were not terribly surprised since we’d been told early on that in the majority of cases of children with Nate’s type of brain injury, the child is sent home within two weeks, but usually makes sufficient progress within three to six months to be sent back to Brooks for further rehabilitation. Nate’s 2nd grade teacher from Starke Elementary in Deland visited him while he was at Brooks.

“The living room in the family’s home is now Nate’s bedroom. His 1st grade teacher from Palm Terrace in Daytona Beach visited him Oct. 30 and had his attention for three hours, so he obviously enjoys visitors. He’s also pretty fascinated with the dog. He enjoys watching DVDs but the family can’t afford cable. Nate has many appointments scheduled with various doctors and transportation will be provided (he’s always wanted to ride the bus). He will be provided with therapy at home and at a rehab facility in Daytona. There will be skilled nurses available to provide his specialized care and also speech therapy. It’s a good thing Nate was sent home Thursday, because his feeding pump, which feeds him baby forula directly into his stomach, didn’t work and Heather had to feed him manually, which is quicker, but fills him up too fast. The pump was replaced Friday.

“I had a dream last night that Nate was suddenly talking and acting like the normal joyous little guy we miss so much. He’s taking baby steps, but I tend to be like an impatient child and have to constantly remind myself that God’s timing is perfect. We are very thankful that Nate is alive and seems to be much more alert and responsive than he was a few weeks ago. He doesn’t appear to be suffering. We’re all trying to be thankful and concentrate only on the positive. Everyone has problems from time to time, and I’m sure they help us grow.

The accident occurred on 9/19 on Old Kings Road. The left tire may have contributed to the accident. Nate was sitting in the back seat on the right side of the car and was wearing a seat belt. The car split in half, and Leslie, his grandmother, who was driving the car, was able to gently pull Nate out of the car, which helped to save his life. Leslie blames herself, but it was just an accident. It was traumatic for her and replays in her brain, much as Danny’s death must haunt Heather, Nate’s mother: Dan died in her arms in 2004, when, after they had stopped on the shoulder of I-95 to help another driver, a car drove into Dan and two others, killing them all.

“Heather and Mike (who we jokingly call David) are very thankful for the donations that have been made and would like to thank each of you personally, if you’ll let them know who you are. Heather is holding up extremely well, and Mike is a huge help. Both are thoroughly trained in providing care for Nate. They’ve had so many unexpected expenses: new tires for her car, mega over-the-counter drugs for Nate that Medicaid doesn’t cover, plus the expense of building a ramp. I understand that tickets for the raffle of the Tiki Man at JMJ Tobacco in Flagler Beach are selling like hotcakes ($1 each or 10 for $5). The drawing will be held Nov. 15. A group in Ormond donated money toward the family’s November rent and are also holding a bake sale for Nate. All donations are being used for Nate’s care and family expenses. Checks can be made out to Heather Jenkins and deposited at any Bank of America, Account #898043396491, or sent to Heather at 425½ W. Howry Ave., Deland, FL, 32720.

“For more information on Nate, please contact Charlene Yazurlo, Nate’s great-grandma (that‘s me), at 386/439-4583, or email me at; or Nate’s grandma, Leslie Yazurlo, 693-4304, or 868-7339, or email her at Both of us are Flagler Beach residents, as Nate used to be. Thanks so much for all you’re done. Thanks, especially, for keeping us in your prayers.”

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Feed Flagler Update #1

We started this yesterday to follow up on what Flagler County and Milissa Holland started last month. We won’t stop until Thanksgiving: the drive is on to raise thousands of dollars for Flagler County’s food pantries and to pay for the Nov. 24 Thanksgiving meal for some 2,000 people in the second annual Feed Flagler celebration. The effort is also designed to stock families’ and food pantries’ shelves well beyond Thanksgiving, which is what makes this necessary and particularly worthy. There’s also a challenge on: several companies and government agencies are competing to out-raise each other, with Tax Collected Suzanne Johnston leading the way: By Friday, she’d raised $1,733.09.

Do your part. We’re doing ours. We started our own fund-raising through FlaglerLive, seeding it with an initial contribution yesterday. Hollingsworth Gallery’s JJ Graham was quick to add his own (funny how those who can afford it least can be those quickest to give). We just got an out-of-county contribution from David Millonig in Pensacola and one from Palm Coast’s Nancy Nally. And Flagler Beach’s Darrell Smith just pushed us over the $200 mark. Thank you all. Keep it coming.

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Smitty Special: Carlin on Voting

The best argument you’ll ever hear about the right not to vote and complain: George Carlin at his best, thanks to our own Norton Smitty, who channels Carlin on most days.

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Obama’s Ego Factor: Can He Change?

From Politico: “As Obama walked toward the arena at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, where he gave an electrifying keynote address, a Chicago Tribune reporter noted that he seemed to be making a good impression. […] “I’m LeBron, baby,” Obama told author David Mendell. “I can play on this level. I got some game.” Those words came at the start of the supernova phase of Obama’s career. But Wednesday came another quote, not quite so crisp, destined to become an early marker of the crash-to-earth phase. “This is something that I think every president needs to go through because….sometimes we lose track of the ways that we connected with folks that got us here in the first place,” Obama said toward the end of his post-election news conference, after repeated questions pressing him to go beyond his initial clinical descriptions of the disastrous election results and explain whether he felt responsibility or remorse. “Now, I’m not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like they, like I did last night. I’m sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. But I do think this is a growth process and an evolution.” Is he capable of growth? And how painful the evolution? […] Having triumphed over an early perception by political insiders and many journalists that he could not defeat frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama, this person said, frequently invokes the 2008 experience and what he believes was its lesson—always stay the course, don’t be distracted by ephemeral controversies or smart-set importuning for a change of direction.” The full story.

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America Is Now Officially For Sale

How the Brits see Tuesday’s election. From Johann Hari in the UK Independent: “The laws and policies of the legislature of the United States of America are now effectively on e-Bay, for sale to the highest bidder. Are you a Wall Street boss who wants to party like it’s 2007? Are you a Big Coal baron who wants to burn, baby, burn? Are you an insurance company that wants to be able to kick sick people off your rolls? Meet John Boehner, the most powerful Republican and soon-to-be Speaker of the House. But – of course! – you already have. Here’s an example of how you have worked together. In 1995, the House was going to finally repeal subsidies for growing tobacco, because an addictive cancer-causing drug didn’t seem like the most deserving recipient of tax-payers’ cash – until Boehner walked the floor of the House handing out checks from tobacco lobbyists to his fellow elected representatives. They changed their minds. The subsidy stayed. Explaining his check-dispensing, Boehner says: “It’s gone on here for a long time.” So get your bids in: the House is open for business. […] This is the story of the modern Republican Party. They use the cultural signifiers of the good people of Middle America to get their emotional identification, meanwhile they pillage Middle America and redistribute its wealth to the rich. Sarah Palin is the queen of this cause. She presents herself as a warrior for hockey moms and Momma Grizzlies, while spreading fictions to stop those very people supporting social programs that could save their lives: remember her claim that Obama’s healthcare plan involved setting up “death panels” to execute the old and disabled? Her true slogan is Shill, Baby, Shill.” The full column.

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O’Reilly, Fairer Than Olbermann?

Olbermann O'ReillyThe Philadelphia Daily News’s Stu Bykofsky spends a weekl analyzing every guest and topic on the Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann shows to figure out which of the two is, in fact, fairer. He votes for O’Reilly, and concludes: “Olbermann’s usual mien is mean – scowling. O’Reilly’s typically laughing, too often at one of his juvenile jokes. Both are narcissists who take themselves too seriously, but that’s true for many on television. O’Reilly uses a really clever device. After stating his case, he often asks guests, “Tell me where I’m wrong.” Olbermann can’t do this: Every guest agrees with, and amplifies, the host’s opinion. During the week, O’Reilly’s ratings were about triple those of Olbermann. Is it just Fox’s superior lighting, colors and graphics, or might it be content? Here are the totals for the week: “The O’Reilly Factor” welcomed 20 guests from the right, 11 from the left and seven who were neutral. Left and neutral voices combined almost equaled those from the right. “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” had 20 guests from the left, two neutral and not a single voice from the right. Zero voices of dissent. So, if you never want to hear anyone challenge liberal views, lock in on Olbermann. While progressives disdain Fox’s claim of being “fair and balanced,” “The O’Reilly Factor” does present opposing views. O’Reilly will cut them off in midsentence, true, but he even does that to people who agree with him. (Shock therapy might help.) Olbermann seems unable to even listen to anything other than progressive orthodoxy.” The full story.

Generation War

The story that never cracked the top ten issues of Elections 2010: from Todd Pitman in the Huffington Post, writing from Marjah, Afghanistan: “Lance Cpl. Jacob Adams was in 5th grade math class when hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. His parents took him out of school early that day. Adams, 20, is now serving in a Marine battalion battling Taliban gunmen, many of whom were also just kids on Sept. 11, 2001. He’s part of a new generation of U.S. troops inheriting the wars spawned by the terror attacks. Many of the men and women who took part in the initial invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have since left the military and moved on with their lives. The changing of the guard is a graphic and personal reminder that the fighting has dragged on longer than anyone ever imagined. […] Adams, from Jacksonville, Florida, said even though he was only 10 when the Twin Towers collapsed, he knew then that he wanted to join the military. But back then, “I didn’t think we’d still be at war,” he said. […] Countless members of the Army, Navy and Marines who took part in the initial invasions of Afghanistan and two years later of Iraq have rejoined the civilian world and are now raising families. […] The war is also being passed down among Afghan generations – most of whom have spent their entire lives watching their country engulfed in fighting that stretches back to the Soviet invasion in 1979.” The full post.

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My Son Is Gay

A terrific post from a cop’s wife: “I have gone back and forth on whether I wanted to post something more in-depth about my sweet boy and his choice of Halloween costume. Or more specifically, the reactions to it. I figure if I’m still irked by it a few days later, I may as well go ahead and post my thoughts. […] Boo decides he wants to be Daphne from Scooby Doo, along with his best friend E. He had dressed as Scooby a couple of years ago. I was hesitant to make the purchase, not because it was a cross gendered situation, but because 5 year olds have a tendency to change their minds. After requesting a couple of more times, I said sure and placed the order. He flipped out when it arrived. It was perfect. […] And then the big day arrives. We get dressed up. We drop Squirt at his preschool and head over to his. Boo doesn’t want to get out of the car. He’s afraid of what people will say and do to him. I convince him to go inside.

“[…] Two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they smelled decomp. And I realize that my son is seeing the same thing I am. So I say, “Doesn’t he look great?” And Mom A says in disgust, “Did he ask to be that?!” I say that he sure did as Halloween is the time of year that you can be whatever it is that you want to be. They continue with their nosy, probing questions as to how that was an option and didn’t I try to talk him out of it. Mom B mostly just stood there in shock and dismay. And then Mom C approaches. She had been in the main room, saw us walk in, and followed us down the hall to let me know her thoughts. And they were that I should never have ‘allowed’ this and thank God it wasn’t next year when he was in Kindergarten since I would have had to put my foot down and ‘forbidden’ it. To which I calmly replied that I would do no such thing and couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. She continued on and on about how mean children could be and how he would be ridiculed. My response to that: The only people that seem to have a problem with it is their mothers.

“[…] But here’s the point, it is none of your damn business. If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off. If my daughter had dressed as Batman, no one would have thought twice about it. No one. But it also was heartbreaking to me that my sweet, kind-hearted five year old was right to be worried. He knew that there were people like A, B, and C. And he, at 5, was concerned about how they would perceive him and what would happen to him. Just as it was heartbreaking to those parents that have lost their children recently due to bullying. IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY. Even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it ‘concern.’ Those women were trying to bully me. And my son. MY son.”

See Also:

Noam Chomsky: The Stony Brook Interviews

Get settled. This is a long, fascinating ride in philosophy, linguistics and, of course,
politics. All three parts of the Stony Brook interviews.
Part One: On the Mind of Freedom

Part Two: On the Philosophy of Mind

Part Three: On Asian America

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School Board Recognizes FPC’s Cross-Country Team

The Flagler County School Board on Monday evening devoted one of its spotlight moments to the Flagler Palm Coast High School cross-country team, whose members, during a trip to the Manhattan Invitational last month, decided to wear pink socks to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The gesture led to unexpected and moving results (see the stories below). Here’s the team immediately after its moment with the school board, pink socks and all.

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The Latest Onion Social Security Scam

From the greatest news source on the planet next to the Daily Show:
Social Security Scam Robs Elderly By Convincing Them They Are Dead

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A Few Good Links

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8 Responses for “Live Wire Weekend: Landon’s City Hall Arrogance, Obama’s Ego, Nate’s Latest and Gay Sons”

  1. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Re: Palm Coast City Hall

    Why heap so much abuse on City Mgr. Landon? No doubt he’s arrogant, but then why shouldn’t he be, he’s been given free reign to do and say what he pleases and getting the council to approve spending our money a new city hall in this dismal economy would look good on his resume.

    It’s council members who should be getting the abuse. They’re responsible for Landon and everything that goes on in the Palm Coast government, but from past performance, it’s doubtful any of them have any idea what they’re doing.

  2. Paul Kelly says:

    The little boy that wanted to dress up as a female Scubby-Doo character has the right to choose that costume! That’s what Halloween is for! I think the little boy showed restraint, actually. Just think, he could have chosen to dress up like Nancy Pelosi! Now that, my friends, would be something to alarmed about!

  3. Barbara Taylor says:

    O’Reilly, Fairer Than Olbermann?

    Blowhard Olberman suspended infinitely for campaign contributions to Democrats while trying to blame Hannity and Fox News for the same thing weeks earlier.
    We will miss Keith: NOT

  4. NortonSmitty says:

    Our ever vigilant fourth estate on the job: When you read it, it actually makes sense, but the headline guy definitely needs a spanking. (Or maybe a beer)

  5. NortonSmitty says:

    Our ever vigilant fourth estate on the job: Our ever vigilant fourth estate on the job: When you read it, it actually makes sense, but the headline guy definitely needs a spanking. (Or maybe a beer)

  6. dlf says:

    Obama has an ego problem, now that is a surprise, even if it did come down a little after Tuesdays results. We are looking at a one term prez and he may knock Carter out ot the spot of being the worst prez in the history of the USA..

  7. Leaving Flagler county due to high unemployment rates says:

    Mr Landon, maybe if you used some of your arrogance in a positive way my family would not need to be on unemployment checks and having to sell our home to move from Flagler county. We gave you 100% loyality and this is what we get after living here for 30 years in an area that has a higher employment rate in the state. Personally, I hope you have difficulty in sleeping at night. What is your annual pay? Is it around $168,000 a year? Are you up for another raise again? There was no valid reason to lay off the people that worked in city hall and then you find money to build a new city hall. You had the 20 something people laid off and then had them reapply for jobs at a much lower rate of pay. Except for the ones that were yours and others favorites, they were hired back on wtih a starting pay of around $42,000 per year. The ones laid off had a starting pay much lower when they were hired on 5 years or longer. BTW, I didn’t hear much clapping at the seafood festival when the city officials were announced….wonder why. I would love to be around here when you lose your job, but I can’t wait, we need jobs and we’re not going to get them with you involved in this city/county.

  8. movingtoo says:

    @leaving Flagler county…don’t feel bad the ones that are still around are having to apply for welfare benefits and are in search of new jobs elsewhere in fla. BTW, Landon makes about $218 a year w/all his benefits. And all the city council people that back him??….have their own businesses that ironically monopolize the market here in PC, it’s the “good ol’ boys” system. A bunch of Yorker Yankees who made a crap load of dough in retirement, have come down here and invested $$ in businesses, eliminating competition and Landon is their “do boy”. They make tons of money and as a free gift to you, they give you the lowest of lowest legally allowed in retirement and benefits, while they bank the cash. Until the city comes together as a group and cleans house….some will continue on as if the South won…

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