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Palm Coast Voters Lose Again: The City Of Low Turnout Gets a Spoiled Election

| April 11, 2014

Palm Coast's 2014 elections may have been spoiled before they began. (Keith Bacongco)

Palm Coast’s 2014 elections may have been spoiled before they began. (Keith Bacongco)

Kimberle Weeks’s biggest strength is her attention to detail. It’s what you want in a supervisor of elections who must contend more than any other constitutional officer with the precision of laws, election qualifying and campaign finance forms, voter registration, voting-machine technology and so on. But Weeks’s biggest weakness is also her attention to detail. She can look for problems where no problem exists. She doesn’t merely anticipate problems, which is an admirable quality. She invents them. And that causes a whole set of new problems.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive.com flaglerlive She’s been holding the 2014 Palm Coast elections hostage to a nonexistent problem only she could conjure. She was worried that Palm Coast improperly floated a referendum three years ago to change the city’s election cycle to even years, so the city could hold its elections at the same time as county, state and national elections, that way improving turnout and saving money. Weeks disputes the way Palm Coast went about passing that referendum. Nobody else does. Weeks worries that she or the city could get sued after the 2014 elections. More lawyers than could be cast in a Shakespeare play have told her that she has nothing to worry about. Weeks wasn’t convinced.

So she manufactured a new problem, handing Palm Coast the sort of conditional agreement to run its elections that no city in its right mind could or should sign. Palm Coast appears ready to sign it anyway, because it doesn’t want to be faced with the terrible prospect of running its own elections. If it does so, it would be forced to run an election parallel to all the others with a separate ballot, and because the city is cheap when it comes to that sort of thing, it would have just one polling place. Palm Coast election turnouts have been dismal. This would make a mockery of elections designed to be as accessible as they can be to as many people as possible.


But even if Palm Coast and Weeks work out their differences (and it now looks like they finally have) voters have already lost. By manufacturing this controversy, the supervisor of elections has managed to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the elections, giving Palm Coast residents even more reason to shrug and stay home on election day. Assuming Weeks does move on, we now have the city council candidates fielded by the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies club, who appear ready to keep the bogus controversy alive as a way to fuel their campaigns. If they don’t do it loudly enough, we can always count on Dennis McDonald, the Hugo Chavez of the Ronald Reagan Club—and a county commission candidate in his own right—to beat those drums, and play Kimberle Weeks like a puppet. Those candidates of course have every right to say what they please and invent what they like. It’s what they do best, because they tend to be thin on substance and big on demagoguery. But that doesn’t mean we have to mute our own intelligence, otherwise we’re just as complicit in the cynical manipulation of a non-issue.

Palm Coast does have a recurring problem with its elections. This alleged controversy isn’t it. Palm Coast’s problem is that 90 percent of its electorate doesn’t give a damn about voting in municipal elections. This year was supposed to be different. It certainly has been, but for all the wrong reasons. Let’s hope Kimberley Weeks looks past Ronald Reagan’s guerillas to what really matters in these elections: getting voters to the polls, and letting their ballots do the talking.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here. A version of this piece was broadcast on WNZF.

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17 Responses for “Palm Coast Voters Lose Again: The City Of Low Turnout Gets a Spoiled Election”

  1. 166 says:

    The problem with you and Mrs Weeks is that you don’t have the same ethics and quality standards as Mrs Weeks does and it is important to her that all details are right, not just some of them. One thing about it she conducts good elections that we can have confidence in. We need a supervisor who beleives in doing her job, and doing all of it right. No sloppy elections when it come to Weeks and I appreciate that.

  2. KMedley says:

    Bravo! Bravo!

    Voters Beware! The group known as the Ronald Reagan Republican Assembly of Flagler, or the RRR, in my opinion, is controlled by a vile and vicious core group to the point that not only would Ronald Reagan not be welcomed; he would do well to avoid the jelly beans.

    While it is easy to see the strings of the puppet being pulled, the puppet has her own views, voiced in a most vociferous manner, and this particular marriage benefits Weeks and the “guerillas”.

    This entire process, and the obvious coordination between Weeks and the Recall, Recite, and Regurgitate Club, is a scene wherein Weeks has exalted herself to the Great and Powerful Oz, complete with a group of men behind the curtain, pulling levers for the fire and smoke show, all in an effort to project a larger than life distorted image with the specific intent to confuse and scare the voters.

    But let’s not forget, the voters are Weeks’ number one priority, right?

  3. Just a thought says:

    Maybe your best commentary yet. Let us hope the Supervisor of Elections gets the message when it’s her turn for reelection. Unfortunately she will again find a way to disenfranchise many voters and a poor turnout will only help her reelection.

  4. lsmith says:

    Well said. People need to get out and vote regardless of this fiasco.

  5. Brad says:

    Well said and so true.

  6. Teddy says:

    Under the thinnest of pretense, all this will result in a much, much lower voter turnout, thus ensuring a very, very unpopular municipal government will remain in power.

    There is no real conflict here, only a mutually beneficial and contrived disagreement.

    Wake up people.

  7. Steve Wolfe says:

    Weeks follows the law, and she found reason to question the city council of Palm Coast. Imagine that—finding fault in something the city council does in Palm Coast. Hmm…

    Funny how one woman, with the law squarely on her side, was able to fend off SEVEN (count ’em—7) men, including two of the smartest guys (judging by their 6 figure salaries) in the entire County. She won this stalemate because she was right, and the only option the seven guys had against Weeks was to run out the clock in an attempt to pressure her to allow them to continue hiding the reason they would not ask for an opinion from the AG of Florida. But it’s over, and I think that the assessment that Palm Coast’s citizens are LESS likely to turn out to vote (let’s place a bet, you and I, right now) is absurd, because as you contrarily pointed out, Pierre, nobody gives a damn already. But the truth of the matter is that Palm Coast is fed up with red light cameras, as well as the arrogance of this city council in moving forward with the city hall venture after citizens came out squarely against it, increases in the water bills, millions taken from the utility fund for a “vertical” WalMart that somehow remains horizontal, and the inability of this council to bring or retain business to Palm Coast so the tax base can expand enough to help pay for all the council’s over spending when those bills come due.

    I think that should be enough for the Reagan Assembly to run on for one election. And I think the Reagan Assembly won’t have much more to say about the SOE issue since Kimberle Weeks is not up for election. She did her job, end of story. If only the Palm Coast city council were as effective at their jobs as Kimberle Weeks.

    Pierre, I know that you are as interested in holding this city council to account for its over spending and shady deals as the Reagan Assembly is. I invite you to now redirect the might of your media empire upon those fellas who are doing the real harm to our community. Do not be fooled by those perky palm trees and manicured medians. This city is sick, and we need to employ some powerful antiseptic around here. I hope you are doing well, Pierre. (Seems you are feeling your oats). I look forward to seeing you soon when you pass under the tree where I hang out. Be ready to catch the banana.

  8. Steve Wolfe says:

    It’s time now for the wheels to begin to turn on the big issues here in Palm Coast. Geez, this isn’t as big as if 4 people got killed in a terrorist attack at a Flagler County polling site, and all Weeks would say is, “What difference does it make?”

  9. Concerned Citizen says:

    Now that it’s time to vote, suddenly those who have been playing a part in violating citizen’s constitutional rights need to be heard from the roof tops via Flagler Live. Quite a mystery wrapped up in yet another mystery. Netts and his gang of boys in the council picked this fight with Meeks a long time ago and oh if they could only be “forced” to run the election themselves. Hope your paper can respect and publish other perspectives. Get well soon.

  10. RobinUblind247 says:

    Actually what the problem is with it being that way is you only get a few of the dirt bags out at once , and they did that by design so they will always have someone else in to corrupt the new comers , if they`d of stayed the way they were then all their terms would be able to be voted out at once , they are sneaky and she knows it

  11. Joe says:

    I don’t agree that Weeks is the problem here, it seems like when dealing with Palm Coast you have to keep your guard up because you can never trust them. Do they really listen to the voters anyway? We voted to not build a city hall, and guess what? The reaction to the fake front page about the city deciding to triple red light camera fines was very telling, we actually believed they were capable of doing such a thing. The only vote that these politico’s are going to listen to is the vote to put some new body’s in office. This town needs to get out and VOTE and send the message, elected officials WORK FOR US!!!

  12. confidential says:

    Pierre sometimes we will disagree and this time is one of those.
    Looks to me like you really despise SOE Mrs. Weeks don’t you..? Too bad because she is fighting hard for the sake of fair elections, to upheld the voters rights and avoid to be named in unnecessary and costly lawsuits.
    This is one thing that I really do not understand on you….what is the reason because the ones mentioned by you above and even published thru the local WNZF totally fault our SOE real reasons for her stand ..? maybe because our Constitutional Official SOE re-elected by 60 percent of the electorate is… a woman?
    Hard to believe…

  13. Joe says:

    I don’t agree that SOE Weeks is the problem here, it seems like when dealing with Palm Coast you have to keep your guard up because you can never trust them. Do they really listen to the voters anyway? We voted to not build a city hall, and guess what? The reaction to the fake front page about the city deciding to triple red light camera fines was very telling, we actually believed they were capable of doing such a thing. The only vote that these politico’s are going to listen to is the vote to put some new body’s in office. This town needs to get out and VOTE and send the message, elected officials WORK FOR US!!! I don’t agree that Weeks is the problem here, it seems like when dealing with Palm Coast you have to keep your guard up because you can never trust them. Do they really listen to the voters anyway? We voted to not build a city hall, and guess what? The reaction to the fake front page about the city deciding to triple red light camera fines was very telling, we actually believed they were capable of doing such a thing. The only vote that these politico’s are going to listen to is the vote to put some new body’s in office. This town needs to get out and VOTE and send the message, elected officials WORK FOR US!!!

  14. biker says:

    Wow- Clarity is refreshing

  15. 166 says:

    When it comes to elections all details are important and in this case it is very i portant that the city follow thier charter and the required laws to change their charter otherwise the approved chnage may not be valid and it may be illegal for the supervisor to conduct an election if that was the case. The city simply had no other excuse to not get the formal opinion from the attorney general other than to hide the truth. I commend the supervisor for standing firm to following the rules and dont consider her to be anyones puppet. The city tried to minipulate this whole ordeal and ran to the State to gain support and the supervisor wasn’t moved because she knew she was following the law. I have confidence when I vote knowing I have a honest supervisor in office. Voters don’t vote because of the way the supervispr conducts elections it because of the shady ways business is done by those as the city just like they did us with the city hall.

  16. m&m says:

    As always EGO prevail from the county and city and the citizens that pay their wages get SCREWED.. Everyone should remember this B-S and vote out all incumbents. It’s time to sever our losses and start over..

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