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Jim Landon’s Fake News

| March 3, 2017

Who's scripting whom? Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland and City Manager Jim Landon. (© FlaglerLive)

Who’s scripting whom? Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland and City Manager Jim Landon. (© FlaglerLive)

It’s a wonder Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon didn’t just come out and blame local media for disseminating fake news when earlier this week he talked about his screw-up of the proposed city radio infomercial hosted by Mayor Milissa Holland. But he might as well have. The words he used, “misinformation,” “twisted” and reporting “something that wasn’t” were just as offensive for being flatly false. I asked him to back-up his statements with documentation of “misinformation.” Of course he didn’t reply, making his statements baseless and dishonest, the more so since he was presenting the issue in open forum to the city council, from his perch as manager.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive He couldn’t bring himself to refer to FlaglerLive directly, which to his dismay had broken the story of the show he’d kept from the city council for a month. He’s made a point of deriding the website for years, as city council members have told me enough times. It’s a shame to see him embracing the same explicit tactics against media we’re seeing too much of these days, but not surprising. What is disappointing is that his city council let him get away with it.

It is either irony or duplicity that Landon for all his bluster against media did take responsibility, at least to some extent, for failing the council on the radio issue. But every time he did he qualified his apology with one of those squirms that blame others for turning the story into a “negative,” as if his secrecy had absolutely nothing to do with it, or claims that he and his marketing department were doing what they’ve always done, as if launching a weekly radio show featuring the mayor and costing taxpayers $10,000 for 10 months were just as routine as handing out rubber duckies branded with the city’s logo. His lapses in judgment cost him nothing but turn his council members into his cleanup crew. Odd way to repay his bosses for a recent raise.

It didn’t stop there. On Tuesday the city council will vote on whether to go ahead with the half-hour infomercial. The way Landon is describing it now, it’d be ridiculous if the council approves. When Holland first spoke to me about it, she described it as the interesting sort of show she would be very well suited to do: informational about the city, its inner workings, its various departments and the human interest stories behind them, but also discussions of current issues with serious guests involved in policy across governments locally or in Tallahassee.

That’s Holland’s strength. Alone among local elected officials, she combines years of private and public policy experience at state and local levels, she’s bright, she’s tough, and she’s not scripted. Give her room to be Holland on her terms, and she’d do a valuable show. It’d be great radio. And contrary to the lawyerly constraints the city is inventing by misrepresenting the Sunshine law, nothing stops Holland from expressing her opinions on any subject–on the radio, in columns or in any forum. The only constraint is on two-way conversations with members of her council on issues before the council.

If Holland is to do a serious show rather than an infomercial, it should be on her unscripted terms.

The problem when she and I spoke, as I saw it, was not the concept, but the inexplicable dissimulation of it—why neither she nor Landon had brought up the idea to the council at any one of its recently innumerable meetings, since it was first considered. That problem was finally worked out last Tuesday in a workshop. But Landon’s massaging turned the concept into a terrible idea.

He assured the council that the show would be scripted and would essentially be an extension of the endless publicity and PR puff his $400,000 marketing department already churns out all over the place. If Holland doesn’t want to be seen as the administration’s puppet, she should never follow that script. (Reading on the radio this morning from a script straight out of the same marketing department, WNZF General Manager David Ayres claimed hilariously that I’m attempting to “censor” the city’s “right to communicate to its people” and to tell the council “how to vote.” Then he told the council just how to vote if it wanted big ratings. At least he didn’t ask me to let their people go.)

 If Milissa Holland turns into just another talking head to promote city events, then it’d be worse than propaganda. It’d be “prolefeed,” to use Orwell’s word, “meaning the rubbish entertainment and spurious news” pushed on the masses. It’s the sort of fake news Landon may be more comfortable with. But it’d be an insult to the mayor, an insult to the city council, and most of all an insult to whatever audience would bother listening to such tripe. Under those patronizing terms, Holland, for her own self-respect (and ours) should be the first one to vote against it come Tuesday.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

45 Responses for “Jim Landon’s Fake News”

  1. cls says:

    LOL. Please, republicans, do NOT follow the twisted false logic of the Trumpites and his minions. Shame on you if you do. The media is a part of our Constitutional balance of powers. Hitler and Stalin were the ones to quash the media when they came to power and we all know what happened after that. We, the people, will not allow the same thing to happen.
    Landon, you are very overpaid for what you do and you should be a little more humble with regards to taxpayer’s concerns – we pay your salary.

  2. vincent A. Liguori says:

    I concur with the Flagler Live ultimate position-cancel the show! Mr. Landon stated at the meeting that funds for the show would come from the recycle program. How about creating a citizen fund with recycle funds, which would serve to lower the fixed expenses on our water bills?

  3. Mark says:

    I’m flabbergasted. I actually agree with Pierre on this one. It must be getting chilly in hell!

  4. Karen Warren says:

    I’d rather have street lights.

  5. no says:

    Thank you Pierre

  6. palmcoaster says:

    I do not like anything so far since the new Mayor took over. The new Public Works and Community Center millionaire venues too pretentious for a small city that we are and the very few taxpayers to fund it! Mayor and Landon flying too high on Cloud Nine only because is others people “hard earned taxes”.
    Now they want to start their personal propaganda machine…excuse me Mrs Mayor but you need to land!
    Palm Coast only has about 75,000 taxpayers to foot your bills! And my not answered question yet about where we stand with Jacoby purchase of the Centex/Pulte properties including the Palm Harbor Golf Course driving range that is part of the deal, still after about 10 years and that we paid over 5 million to repair the golf course. That driving range to build now Jacoby Villas? How our P.H. Golf Course will survive without a driving range..? The value of well over 500 homes is a stake here if our PHGF is scraped…

  7. Sherry says:

    All the way from Antugua, Guatemala. . . I’ve just got to take a moment to say. . . why is anyone surprised in Jim Landon’s “just shoot the messenger” attitude? Just take a look at his power hungry track record of doing what ever he damned well pleases. . . regardless of what those who pay him. . . way too much money. . . thinks!

    He’s just following his illustrious political leaders in the white house and state house. . . in doing everything they can to unconstitutionally “suppress the free press”. Here we are with our Democratic rights being thrown out the window. . . while our new fascist regime is creating a “new world order”. . . one where honesty and transparency go the way of privacy, and become a distant memory. . . all in the “false” name of protecting us from the daily “boogy men” they dream up!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    All these two want to do, is belly up to the trough and get all the taxpayers dollars they can. Pork barrel politics local yokel local style.

  9. Elizabeth Tremoglie says:

    “It is either irony or duplicity that Landon for all his bluster against media did take responsibility, at least to some extent, for failing the council on the radio issue.” What a line! Pretty much as sums it all up here. All I would like to say is that integrity matters, and if you want results, you are responsible for delivering evidence that your goals are both attainable and subsequently beneficial to not only yourself, your agenda, but to the community at large. I am just not seeing any decisive proof of anything here that makes me say, “yes, let’s keep spending money and other valuable resources”. There are more reading issues here in Flagler. My inclination is to move away from this issue, onto the more pressing issues facing our community. The homeless epidemic. Lack of accessible treatment for those with addiction. Rental rates are through the roof and our food banks are feeding by the thousands each month. A radio show? Really? I think we could focus our energy elsewhere and be much more productive despite opposing views.

  10. RL70 says:

    Damn, which are the lessor of two evils here?

  11. Peter A. Cerreta says:

    Many politicians seem to favor Machiavellian strategies when dealing with the voters in PC. The banner, “people will forget” is justification for driving home personal positions. on controversial issues – like the pay raise for the city manager!
    Now, the idea about an informational radio show – could be something of value. However, the host must be unbiased, very difficult at best when in a live free forum which is best kind of forum. Prerecorded will need editing, yes? Who would do this?
    The Mayor and notable guests will be perceived as “authority”.Therefore their words might carry more weight with listeners.

  12. Toni Lee says:

    Street lights !!!

  13. USA Lover says:

    I think Milissa Holland is a fake mayor.

  14. Wishful thinking says:

    It takes 3 to tango. Any decent radio station should give free public service time and any decent public official should cost their taxpayers above their salary. Shame on all 3 of them

  15. Stephanie says:

    Although there’s probably dozens of more create ways to use the funds generated from recycling programs (begin taking some of the areas in Palm Coast that are food deserts andvturn them into spaces that grow fresh fruits and vegetables, maybe other projects as well using only 1/2 the money. This would put Holland on the radio every other week, necessitating a renegotiation of the aforementioned contract.) don’t you think we should have her discuss expansion of our current recycling program to include more materials that to my knowledge the current program doesn’t accept, like steel, lots of types of papers, cardboards and several types of plastics. If Holland does get the show, she should maybe discuss how interested the City’s citizens may be to this idea capitalizing on empty spaces around town to create food producing gardens. I’m sure the diverse citizenry would appreciate knowing what’s going on, perhaps bi-weekly and in doing so, find out what the population of the City thinks needs to be done or projects they would appreciate seeing implemlemented. Just a thought.

  16. Sara Lockhart says:

    When the scope of services for the garbage contract came up last year I suggested that the contract include purchasing bear proof containers because as development expands, we will have a problem with bears in our garbage. There continues to be evidence of bears throughout the City and I should be able to apply my recycling points towards the purchase of a bear proof container.

    To the best of my knowledge, there wasn’t any public discussion on the suggestion. Thanks, Pierre, for finding out the reason!

  17. BOB says:

    Small town politics.. Some people have a need to be in charge. On both sids. It’s entertaining. FLAGLER LIVE is a GREAT forum for Palm Coast

  18. Big Dog says:

    Get rid of Landon!

  19. Rich H. says:

    No radio show! It will serve no useful purpose except put money in some bodies pocket. Thank you.

  20. Richard Smith says:

    Palm Coast politicians, just one more place where the swamp needs to be drained.

  21. Donna Heiss says:

    Doesn’t Palm Coast have a television station they use to broadcast meetings and the like? What is the need or want for a half hour radio “show”? Something about this rubs me wrong.

    In case the powers to be need reminding, this is a bedroom community. They can call it a city all they like but it doesn’t even scratch that surface. They need a dose of reality and a visit to a real city where “everybody doesn’t know your name’.

    I’ll just watch this one unfold.

  22. John Yankovich says:

    Thanx, Pierre, For once we’re on the same side! Just another example of quid pro quo! What ever happened to politicians being like “Ceaser’s Wife” beyond reproach!!!

  23. Sherry says:

    Good Morning from Guatemala! After reading the very heart breaking report of a child dying and another critically injured. . . why isn’t Palm Coast using those funds to create well lighted side walks? Palm Coast definitely needs a drastic change in leadership!

  24. Layla says:

    Landon has continually pulled fast deals in this community, listened to the uproar, and then moved on his merry way. Now he has an accomplice and stooges on the council who don’t appear to have any common sense. Pierre is absolutely right on this one. But we must do more than gripe and complain, we must vote these people out when they are up for reelection if they continue to place themselves ahead of the needs of the community. Even as children we are taught that if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Instead of one smooth operator at City Hall, now we have two. And as for our local so called conservative radio station, pay for this yourselves as a service to the city.

  25. liberal says:

    How does Landon stay in office and keep getting raises to do less for the community? amazes me

  26. Tim Stanford says:

    Who listens to the radio in their home, are they going to advertise the program in the yellow pages

  27. Florida Voter says:

    It’s unfortunate to see local politics goin the way of our new Federal administration. Landon and Holland are working on steps 2 and 3. He previous steps don’t need to be finished before starting the next step.

    Step 1: erode the public’s confidence in a Free Press
    Step 2: lie about large and small issues so many time that the public will start to believe any information from any source
    Step 3: alienate a segment of the population turning them into “the enemy”
    Step 4: use “the enemy” to remove freedoms and individual dignity
    Step 5: erode the public’s confidence in branches of the government trying to check the administration’s power (“so called judges” anyone?)
    Step 6: decrease oversight of the police / military
    Step 7: appoint Generals to posts traditionally use as civilian checks on military power
    Step 8: greatly increase military budget and power
    Step 9: use the military to start policing the People

    There you have a new totalitarianism regime. Note that our current Federal government is already starting our last step when I the president proposed enforcing some Federal laws (immigration) as a military operation.

  28. Brad West says:

    The encouraging part Flagler Live is that anyone in government today accusing an outlet of spreading “misinformation’ or being “fake” is telling us that’s the outlet we can trust to tell us the truth.

  29. Layla says:

    @ liberal: Two very slick Mayors. He makes more money than his counterparts in Jacksonville and Orlando.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Holland used Landon to get what she wanted because she knows he gets away with anything and everything,. It is not responsible of the council members to keep Landon as City Manager and if they don’t do something about him, they need to be replaced next time they are up for reelection. I can’t help but wonder what the hell people thought they were going to get when they voted Holland in……exactly…..more of the same old. This woman has aspirations of moving on up and going after Renner or DeSantis’ seat and is using our tax dollars to campaign;l she isn’t fooling anyone. Do you honestly think she is happy with her $10 a year salary when she has really never had a job other than being a county commissioner and she made 5 times the rate of pay then??!!!! The radio show needs to be cancelled and council members need to change the Charter to avoid shenanigans like this. Landon needs to GOOOOOOOOOO……..NOW! This man is draining the swamp alright….

  31. Fredrick says:

    I have to agree with Mark, It is a very cold day in hell as I agree with Pierre on this one too. Good reporting Pierre keep up the good work. Flaglerlive is good for this community.

  32. Common Sense says:

    What will it take to get rid of arrogant, overpaid Landon?

  33. Ken Dodge says:

    Vote these people out when they come up for re-election? Check. What to do in the four years ’till then. How about going to the city’s website and filling out the questionnaire. You can write an essay at the end.

  34. woodchuck says:

    Milissa just want’s to make sure HER name gets on the next fire truck.

  35. Maureen A Rodgers says:

    An arrogant Landon?? I just had him at my Neighborhood Watch meeting at my house with neighbors. He was very informative. Gave us updates on various concerns we had. Hey, he deserves his salary. Have you checked out lately how beautiful Palm Coast looks? Belle Terre Parkway landscaping? The new businesses that have to meet the City of Palm Coast criteria (i.e., Race Trac on 100, the new car wash on Cypress Point? ). Taxpayers, property owners — Landon is your guy! He makes sure Palm Coast is #1.

  36. Dave S. says:

    I have listened to Milissa Holland speak on several occasions, both as a candidate and as mayor. I concur with the columnist that she is bright, tough, and not scripted. I enjoy listening to her and I look forward to her radio broadcasts.

    $200 a week for the mayor to communicate directly to the public seems trivial for a city that is approaching a population of 100,000.

    It is hard to fathom why this is even an issue. The author of this piece seems to revel in his ability to create a controversy by making our elected and appointed officials “squirm” in order to create the appearance of dissent and distrust of our government.

    I, for one, don’t buy it.

  37. Sherry says:

    Florida Voter. . . truly excellent points! You are completely correct!

  38. starryidgirl says:

    Does Jim Landon have an employment contract with the city? Under the Sunshine Law is it available for public review?

  39. Richard Smith says:

    Hundreds of thousands of people have become lawless in their protesting with destroying millions of dollars worth of property, severely injuring and killing people. You are correct, they need to be policed by the military as they have no respect for law enforcement anymore. They even burn police cars and throw rocks, etc. through police station windows. You’re damn right! I want the military behind and looking out for MY safety.

  40. palm coast resident says:

    I like Mayor Holland, but remember this. She does not want to serve on local boards, she wants to be in Tallahassee. She left being a county commissioner to run for a state house seat and lost. She got a job as a Tallahassee lobbyist, CHANGE PARTY AFFILIATION and now is back to restart the campaign for a state house job. I am not saying that is a bad thing, but keep it in mind when you read about the taxpayers paying to promote her brand. Especially remember it when the City Manager is helping her promote her brand or any council member for that manner. Council meetings are televised, local news papers cover the meetings and the city sends out newsletter in our city bills, do we really need to spend more of our money so Mayor Holland can tell us what a great job she and the City Manager is doing on a radio station no one listens to except the political motivated? I think not.

  41. just being honest says:

    Get rid of Landon he is over paid and very arrogant, he needs to go.

  42. Sw says:

    Jim Landon is fake

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