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Creekside Festival Slyness: How the Chamber Discriminates Against Non-Party Candidates

| September 19, 2011

They can have a booth. So can Republicans. Independents can't, by order of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce. So far, the county commission is allowing the exclusion, though it's taking place on public ground.
(© FlaglerLive)

See a Monday update at the foot of the article.

The Flagler County Commission is trying to arbitrate what has all the appearances of sneaky politicking on public grounds by the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce at the upcoming Creekside Festival on Oct. 8 and 9. The commission punted on Monday evening, opting to wait before making a decision even as two of its members declared themselves very uncomfortable with what the chamber calls “policy,” and what two political candidates are calling outright discrimination in favor of the chamber’s own favored candidate.

The Creekside Festival at the Princess Place Preserve drew some 17,000 people last year. It’s a great place to see and be seen, particularly by politicians. The festival did wonders for Milissa Holland’s name recognition when she first ran for the county commission and worked hard to differentiate herself from her father, Jim, who’d been a Palm Coast city councilman. She had a booth at the festival.

The festival is run by the chamber. The county is intimately involved. It helps plan the event and coordinates its logistics. The county collects rental fees. It also collects 25 percent of festival revenue, which includes a per-car entry fee ($3 last year) and revenue from vendor sales and the rental of booths to dozens of organizations or merchants. The money helps supplement Princess Place’s budget.

The Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the Tea Party will each have a booth at the festival.

Dennis Cross and Bill McGuire are running in the Palm Coast city election set for Nov. 8. It’s a non-partisan election. They’re running under the No Party Affiliation banner, or NPA. (Independents are the fastest-growing voting registrants of the past dozen years or so.) They each applied for a booth and were ready to pay the fee.

Doug Baxter, the chamber president, told them they couldn’t have a booth.

They could visit the festival. They could sit under one of the other parties’ tents. They could walk around and talk to people. But they could not distribute literature, as political candidates like to do.

McGuire is running against Holsey Moorman for the District 1 seat. Moorman is a Democrat whose volunteers have used Democratic Party booths at other events to campaign for him. Cross is running against Jason DeLorenzo for the District 3 seat. DeLorenzo is a also Democrat whose volunteers have done the same.

One more thing. DeLorenzo is married to Rebecca DeLorenzo, one of his most hard-working volunteers—and the vice president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce.

To Cross, whose candidacy was already almost railroaded once by Palm Coast’s redistricting process, and McGuire, think something stinks at the Creekside Festival: that the chamber is using its muscle and thinly veiled claim to be unaffiliated with any candidates to push at least one candidate in particular, if not two. Cross and McGuire took their case to the Flagler County Commission Tuesday evening (McGuire, who’s in St. Louis, did so by way of his campaign manager, John Ruffalo).

“The Chamber of Commerce staff has a right to support any candidate they want. They do not have a right to deny me an equal opportunity to meet voters and listen to their concerns,” Cross told the commission. “The policy must be for all or none.”

Dennis Cross, left, and Jason DeLorenzo. (© FlaglerLive)

Ruffalo, speaking for McGuire, noted—as did Cross—the dismal showing at the polls in last week’s mayoral election in Palm Coast, when less than 11 percent of registered voters cast a ballot—the worst turnout in Palm Coast’s dozen-year history. “You elected Commissioners especially know that enabling registered voters to personally meet and chat with candidates is a great way to substantially increase voter turnout,” Ruffalo said. Clearly Palm Coast has a non-partisan government so voters will be encouraged to forget political parties and vote for the candidates they deem best suited to represent them. Bill and Dennis will equally represent all independent, republican and democrat residents. In fact Bill McGuire’s campaign stresses that before voting, he always will ask “How is that best for all our residents.” (See the Ruffalo-McGuire statement in full below.)

McGuire didn’t buy the argument, put forth by Baxter, that space was limited in a 1,450-acre spread, or that the county had no say in the matter. “By more-than-coincidence, getting away with this insult to all local residents, including Chamber members, this “unwritten Chamber law” will substantially benefit the candidate husband of the Executive Vice President of the Flagler Chamber of Commerce.”

Then it was Baxter’s turn. “The Creekside festival is a festival for families, for arts and crafts, and not for politicians. We have allowed the three—the tea party, the Democrats and the Republicans because they are non-profit organizations to have a booth out there. We do have limited space based on electricity and requirements of bathrooms out there. We are trying not to make the Creekside Festival a campaign venue.” He added: “We do not want to get in a situation where people are saying things about the Chamber that are untrue.”

But the chamber’s own application of its policy invites questions. Last year, it was difficult to make it into the festival grounds, or look around the festival, without seeing signs shilling for the defeat of Amendment 4, the so-called “hometown democracy” amendment that would have made it more difficult for local developers to win major land-use changes—and that the chamber opposed. The school board also had a booth to push its own tax-renewal initiative, as did the political parties.

Peterson’s claim that the county cannot get in the way of a private organization’s policies also raises questions by way of Peterson’s own qualifiers. The county cannot get in the way, Peterson said, as long as those policies “conform to all the county rules and regulations and don’t violate any other rules that might be state or federally required.” County rules forbid discrimination. And the federal rule in effect on public grounds in this case is the First Amendment, which has no greater application than in relation to political speech: when it is granted to some according to a certain standard—whether by booth, by tent or by megaphone—is cannot in any way be denied to others. If policies are written to that effect, the policies are in violation of the amendment.

McLaughlin made the point. “I’m a little uneasy with restricting political speech,” he said. “This is not like a church group rents Wadsworth Park and there’s an expectation that it’ll be limited to that church group. It’s not necessarily a public event, so they can go in, they can have prayer, they can have whatever symbols they need and they can do their thing. Now this event, on the other hand, is an event that the chamber in essence is renting Princess Place, but they are inviting the public to their event. It’s an open, public event. Am I right so far? Ok.” After a brief exchange clarifying the county’s involvement and cash take from the event, he added: “So here’s the rub. We’re getting a little something off that. We’re inviting the public. […] I’m a little uneasy with saying, you can all come but you can’t say whatever you want to say, and I’m a little uneasy about that.”

Commissioners Revels and Holland pointed out that the chamber’s policy is also contradictory. Baxter claims not to want families accosted by political campaigners. But denying candidates a booth of their own essentially forces them to walk the park, accosting others (albeit without literature, making verbal buttonholing even more likely) instead of having them sit in a booth, letting people come to them.

“So why don’t you create the ability to have one more booth that’s NPA?” Revels said, using the acronym for non-party affiliation. “And anybody can go there that wants to.”

“I’ve discussed it with staff,” Baxter said, “I’ve discussed it with the chairman of the board, and none of us want to do that.”

“I’m not comfortable with that. I don’t know that we can do that,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin and Holland supported Revels’ idea of having a non-party affiliation booth in the mix, but the commission, with Peterson on the others side and Commissioner George Hanns not making it clear where he stood, decided to delay a decision, essentially letting the chamber know that a majority of its members are uncomfortable with matters as they stand, and giving the chamber an opening to compromise.

Sept. 20 Update: Palm Coast City Council member Mary DiStefano this morning asked the council to send a letter to Doug Baxter and the Chamber of Commerce requesting that a non-party booth be added to the mix at the Creekside Festival. DiStefano spoke in strong terms against the prohibition in place preventing non-partisan candidates from having their own booth.

DeLorenzo on Monday said he had no objections to Cross and McGuire campaigning in any capacity at the festival, though he himself would be there not as a campaigner, but on the clock for the Home Builders Association, which is hosting another Green Expo at Creekside, as it did last year. “I understand where the policy was born out of because of the extraordinary number of candidates in 2008,” DeLorenzo said of the chamber’s policy on campaigners, “and I don’t think it went further than that. I don’t know why they would have even needed to think about it.” DeLorenzo conceded that the enactment of the same policy, in light of this year’s circumstances, may have lacked foresight.

John Ruffalo is the campaign manager for Bill McGuire, a candidate for District 1 in the Palm Coast City Council election on Nov. 8. McGuire is running against Holsey Moorman. The election is non-partisan. McGuire was in St. Louis Monday evening. Ruffalo delivered the following remarks to the Flagler County Commission. The remarks are unedited.

I am John Ruffalo from Palm Coast. I’m also Bill McGuire’s campaign manager. Since Bill had to be up north this week, I’m representing him.

We all know voter turnout for Palm Coast’s mayoral election was awful. You elected Commissioners especially know that enabling registered voters to personally meet and chat with candidates is a great way to substantially increase voter turnout.

Creekside Festival at our Princess Place will be held just weeks before non-partisan early voting starts for two of Palm Coast’s Council positions. So non-partisan candidates Dennis Cross and Bill McGuire did the obvious and paid to jointly rent a booth space where they plan to meet-and-greet Palm Coast residents as non-partisan candidates. Each will occupy half of the space, but will share a banner with words like: Meet Non-Partisan City Council Candidates.

Bill McGuire, left, and Holsey Moorman. (© FlaglerLive)

Clearly Palm Coast has a non-partisan government so voters will be encouraged to forget political parties and vote for the candidates they deem best suited to represent them. Bill and Dennis will equally represent all independent, republican and democrat residents. In fact Bill McGuire’s campaign stresses that before voting, he always will ask “How is that best for ALL our residents.”

Palm Coast became a City before Creekside Festival was started. So it should be no surprise to Chamber officers that City of Palm Coast candidates run for election as non-partisan.

How then is it logical that Chamber officers now claim they have an un-written law that non-partisan candidates for a non-partisan Palm Coast election are not welcome to meet potential voters – – unless they proclaim allegiance to a political party? With 1,450 acres there certainly is space for one or a dozen more booths.

The Chamber’s intent has to be to hurt Palm Coast’s non-partisan election format, at the same time it works to reduce voter turn-out to a non-partisan election.
Bill McGuire strongly asks: How is that best for ALL our citizens?

By more-than-coincidence, getting away with this insult to all local residents, including Chamber members, this “unwritten Chamber law” will substantially benefit the candidate husband of the Executive Vice President of the Flagler Chamber of Commerce.

Commissioners, you rented Princess Place to the Chamber evidently without approving all the rules they might selectively insist on. Please at least express your individual feelings about “How is that BEST for all of our citizens?” Thank you.

That was from Bill McGuire. Personally speaking, in football terms, what the Chamber of Commerce is doing is known as home cookin’. Thank you.

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76 Responses for “Creekside Festival Slyness: How the Chamber Discriminates Against Non-Party Candidates”

  1. Justice for All says:

    Don’t forget he Chamber wanted our tax dollars for economic development. So they could spend my hard earned dollars on………themselves? And they wonder why no one trusts them. Give the guys the booths & may the best candidates win.

  2. Ralph says:

    Can you descriminate in a public facility? I thought we’d made that against the law? Does the Chamber receive any public funding?

    There is only one solution here…..give them a booth or don’t allow ANY political entities whatsoever. And how is the Tea Party considered to be a political party when an officially state recognized NPA candidate is not?

    What are the Tea Party, the Democrat party and the Republican party doing at an art and music festival?

    Maybe these guys could paint or play an instrument in their booth?

    Looks like dirty politics to me.

  3. kmedley says:

    “So why don’t you create the ability to have one more booth that’s NPA?” Revels said, using the acronym for non-party affiliation. “And anybody can go there that wants to.”

    This is the solution that makes the most sense and I would be leary of any group, especially a Chamber of Commerce, that declares this is a solution they do not want to do.

  4. Holding Hands says:

    Baxter, Rebecca DeLorenzo and the commissioners who support such discrimination need to go. Baxter isn’t going to turn visitors away for lack of space or limitations of restrooms, so he shouldn’t turn away Cross or McGuire! What’s good enough for Democrats, Republicans and Tea Party people should be good enough for the others too! What would Jason DeLorenzo be without the chamber? Hmmmmm

  5. palmcoaster says:

    Sure coming from this County Chamber and Dough Baxter at the head, does not surprise me at all. Is the exclusive local elite circle at work, to benefit themselves. Why this county gives the use of that public land location to the biggest outsourcing entity in this county to run a festival and discriminate at the same time?
    Baxter excuses for his intentional bias attitude is as inexcusable and tyrannical as commissioner Peterson alleged reason of none interference with the FCCOU “private business”. Not so private Mr Peterson, as the event is held in our land, public land, the people’s land and the profit also benefits the county and you, George Hans and the other commissioners were elected to represent us, in this county and not this always discriminating private entity and undeserving named FCCO(U)C..
    Thanks to the public clamor against unfair redistricting, is why Mr.Cross is on the ballot now. Maybe we should demand that Baxter and his relatives be ousted from this Chamber along with VP DeLorenzo’s wife over outrageous “political campaign conflict of interest”. Enough is enough. Who gives …..about the opinion of your chairman of the board Baxter? Enough of you all running this county and Palm Coast.
    If you want to discriminate do it in your private, not our public land.This is not the first time this discrimination takes place, has been done before against some community organizations that were not in the elite circle or could not afford to pay a booth as then their volunteers were not allowed to handle literature in the event. A real shame.
    These are also some of the consequences of a 5% election result.

  6. Will says:

    Here’s a thought…

    If there’s a tent and a banner for people to meet the non-partisan candidates, then all four non-partisan candidates would have a right to be there, wouldn’t they?

    That means that Mr. Cross, Mr. DeLorenzo, Mr. Moorman and Mr. McGuire could all solicit votes together.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but that’s one possible outcome.

  7. Walter Mahler says:

    Don’t we hear enough from political parties and candidates every day? Perhaps low voter turnout is a sign of burnout from the non-stop politicking in this country. Ban all political participation and make the Creekside Festival a music and craft event for families to enjoy. I guarantee it won’t hurt (may even help) attendance. The only people who go solely to support the political booths are the politicians and party members.

  8. palmcoaster says:

    Here you have some of the recent past local leaders revered in all our circle of elite events including, F.C Chamber, F.C. Professional Women and any other fundraising’s in Hammock Dunes, Ginn’s Resorts, Grand Haven, Hilton GI and many other plush gatherings. I had the audacity to speak about my concerns regarding the behavior of this woman while she was at the Life Center and I was unceremoniously rebuffed by some of the local elite reassuring me, she was being unfairly witch hunted. The cookie jar probably was that deep. When our honest citizens, will be allowed or elected to become members of our local and influential organizations to avoid these frauds?. FCCO (U)C, TDC, School Board, P.C Council and County Commission need some good sanitation for change.

  9. Chamber Member says:

    If the county gets a percentage of the funds recieved at Creekside and allows a leasee to discrimination at the event, then the county could be in violation of the law.

    As far as Mr. Baxter’s comments about the Chamber’s “rules” that allow this type of discrimination. He should be looking for a new job.

    Now that the county is aware that this type of discrimination is taking place, the county should terminate the lease for Creekside with the Chamber, and forbid the Flagler County Chamber from ever leasing public lands again.

    I’m not for or against any candidate……I just want all candidates to have the same playing field.

  10. Tea Party Supporter says:

    To Will: That would work except the Democrats have already shown that Delorenzo and Moorman are their candidates. Evidently the Republicans and Tea Party are asleep at the wheel and don’t care (except for Tom Lawrence who has chosen sides).

  11. Sarah White says:

    Amen Mr. Mahler!! I go to the festival for music, food, arts and crafts, food and family, NOT politicians!!

    And to palmcoaster, your usual ramblings DO NOT apply regarding discrrimination or Delorenzo as it is my unerstanding these policies have been in place for several years. Stop complaining, get involved and get a life palmcoaster!

    I hope the Chamber doesn’t change the policy!

  12. Robert says:

    Alan Peterson is either out to lunch or in league with the chamber of commerce.

    It could be both.

    Based on some of his previous positions I have no doubt he is out to lunch.

  13. Ron says:

    I completely agree with Ralph’s post above. If the so-called Tea Party can have a booth there (not being a bona fide political party), then the NPA’s should be allowed to have a booth as well.


  14. Layla says:

    Is it true that all the people in the article have campaigned at the festival? If so, shame on our chamber and shame on our commissioners.

    For those of you who don’t vote, who don’t like to get involved…it is natural that the Chamber and the Commission work closely together for the betterment of a community. This one, however, controls every tax dollar and politician in this town.

    But more shame to the people for not voting, for not caring about this crap.

    And that is what it is, Mr. Baxter and Mr. Peter, CRAP. And it is knee deep around here and getting deeper.

    Good opinions here today.

  15. Kip Durocher says:

    Here are the emails for the “Gang of Five” sent them a note of what you think.
    How does Doug Baxter’s interpertation of the United States Constitution sit with you. ; ; ;

    Once you are finished file a complaint with the United States Attorney in Jacksonville.
    Third party canditates who will force compromise are about the only hope left for a
    functioning government.

  16. palmcoaster says:

    @Sarah W. don’t waste your time trying to silence me or anyone else here. I am very aware and also try to be involved and the facts and links I post here prove it! This FCCO(U)O with individuals like you sure persist for success in its shameful agenda. What happens, the reality I document here affects your personal special interest so much? If this chamber had in place always this policy while using our public lands then should be further investigated and all those negatively affected, mostly hard working volunteers of community organizations and probably some past political candidates too overwhelmed to complain ( not elite like yourself), then should be compensated for being denied their rights via illegal abuse of power and federal and state laws violations. This time was given a head line here and we are all learning what is really cooking. Lets see which side of the law you stand on with your wish, after the county commission will make the last move.
    @ Chamber Member my appreciation for his stand on what is fair.

  17. Dudley Doright says:

    The Chamber needs to do the “Right Thing” and allow the NPA a booth. The Creekside festival should not be a time for political positioning. Let us not spoil a good time by getting wrapped around the axel on this. Either the NPA is allowed or none of them DEM or REP should be allowed. Personnaly, I’d like to see none of them at this event! I’m attending for the music, food and friendship. I don’t want to listen to these wannbe politicians spout their BS and spoil my good time. That said, if we have to have them at the event then all should be allowed. Doug, do the “Right Thing”!

  18. ART WOOSLEY says:

    Baxter, and others in his gang at the chamber, have little to NO scruples, what’s new about that ?


    When the Florida Hometown Democracy (Amendment # 4) issue was on the ballot, to place the density of large housing developments in the hands of the people, the dirt road going into the Creekside grounds had Vote NO signs, on both sides of it, every 100′ ALL the way in from the main road. ( many hundreds of dollars in sign age )

    When five people showed up at the same fair, supporting Amendment # 4 with Vote YES handouts, they were quickly asked by Baxter an his co hearts to leave the area, or to discontinue what they were doing immediately.

    Disgusting, in your face show from special interest players. .

  19. Aninterestedvoter says:

    To Sarah White:

    Ramblings? I do not believe it is Mr. DeLorenzo who is being descriminated against here. How very disrespectful of you and the other members of your chamber.

  20. Nick D says:


    Anyone who has read my Facebook posts or comments I have left on Flaglerlive, knows that I will call out any elected representative and public or private organizations for things I personally see are wrong; to include the Flagler Chamber of Commerce.

    So with that, let’s get a few things straight…shall we.

    First, and most importantly, I feel attacking Rebecca DeLorenzo for being Jason DeLorenzo’s most hard-working volunteer is OUT OF LINE. Should anyone of us have a family member (let alone a spouse) running for any kind of public office (or job) I would expect the support to be the same. Also, having attended several functions (both public and Chamber sponsored) I have never once heard or witnessed Mrs. DeLorenzo use her position as Executive Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce to further her husband’s campaign. Because had she, I would have been the first to call it out. Before one questions her integrity we should look at our own as she has never given any reason to question hers. Let’s keep our personal feelings out of it and focus on the views of all the candidates and what they can do to make our community a better place for all.

    Secondly, the Flagler Chamber of Commerce is a private organization and in my opinion has the right to deny anyone a booth at a Chamber sponsored event. In my opinion it’s no different than renting a pavilion within a public park for a party and telling someone; “you can not come.” Now, in my opinion, Commissioner Peterson needs to be voted out of office next election, not because I feel he is a bad person, but because I do not agree with some (or the majority) of his views for the county. However, I have to agree with his comment; “the county cannot get in the way of a private organization’s policies” (as long as they do not counter any criminal laws).

    Thirdly, the Flagler Chamber has the right to represent its member’s ideals in the form of advocating their views on such things as; Amendment 4, taxes, and any other Chamber Board approved initiatives. It’s for the membership of the Chamber and its Board of Directors to decide what those initiatives should be, not the general public or the Flagler County Commissioners.

    Fourthly, this idea that these city elections are non-partisan elections is asinine; we all should know better then to believe that. Just because a candidate says they are running as a no party affiliation candidate, does not mean they are not affiliated with one party or another. Holsey Moorman – Democrat, Jason DeLorenzo – Democrat, Charlie Ericksen Jr. – Republican, Joe Cunnan – Republican, John Netts – Republican (but in my opinion a Democrat in Republican clothing), Dennis Cross – Independent, Bill McGuire – Independent (yes you can register as an Independent, it’s an actual party). So please don’t tell me that this race is non partisan; those are just words in our city charter. Also, to you that feel that the Tea Party should not have a voice please take a look at the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections webpage. They are registered as a political group and should have the same rights as the rest. Let me make one thing clear on that point; I do not contribute to or endorse the Tea party…they are not my “cup of Tea” to be honest.

    Finally, it’s my understanding that the Chamber will not be infringing on the candidates freedom of speech by not allowing them to wear campaign material; such as t-shirts, buttons, etc… However, with the Creekside Festival being an arts and crafts festival there should be no political involvement; other then the candidates exercising their right to free speech by wearing campaign material and talking to the public about their views.

    Let’s keep our eyes on the ball here folks. Our city and county are hurting and we do not need this B.S. with so many of our residents suffering with unemployment at 15%.

  21. Aninterestedvoter says:

    Nick D.

    You must feel better now…

    I cannot quibble with your right to have an opinion, though you certainly have passed judgement on a number of organizations here.

    Let’s get back to the issue, shall we? Nobody is accusing or descriminating against Rebecca DeLorenco. NOBODY.

    The chamber needs to make a decision on this. Either give these guys the tent or remove anything remotely political from this area.

    IT IS A PUBLIC PARK, is it not? WHAT is the problem here?

  22. palmcoaster says:

    @Nick D; you need to tell your bosses at the Chamber to stay out of illegally manipulating our local politics on their favor. This time we are all for sure, keeping our eyes on “the ball of crap that hit the fan”. No need for you to instruct us to do just that.
    As a tax payer I do not want my public land to be further leased to this semi-private organization to use it as a tool of political discrimination funded and orchestrated by special interest.
    If we follow your advise and let Doug Baxter and buddies do as they please that will help anyway to reduce the 15% unemployment in this county as per your view?

  23. Nick D says:

    Let me first address palmcoaster. I do not, nor have I ever worked for the Flagler Chamber of Commerce. If you would like to know my employment background please take a look at my webpage; . Before you make accusations like that I would suggest you get your facts straight. You are also free to check out my facebook as well; . I have no problem with people knowing who I am or what I do. Unlike some people who have to hide behind made up names on here in order to state incorrect information. My name is Nickolas Davis. You have the wrong Nick my friend.

    Aninterstedvoter – As for it being a public park…you are right. However, part of the revenue made is given to the county as way or renting the facilities. The county also makes money off the parking for the event. They county is making money on the festival not losing tax dollars. And if you read my comments above I stated that it should NOT be a political event and I do not feel that ANY political group should have a tent. I have called out the Chamber on several things before (this being one of them) and will do so again should I see the need. Also, the article above states;
    “One more thing. DeLorenzo is married to Rebecca DeLorenzo, one of his most hard-working volunteers—and the vice president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce.” And also states; “By more-than-coincidence, getting away with this insult to all local residents, including Chamber members, this “unwritten Chamber law” will substantially benefit the candidate husband of the Executive Vice President of the Flagler Chamber of Commerce.”

  24. Andy says:

    Creekside is a time for fun and relaxation.. I think the chamber should say no to political entrie, this is not a politically charged event. We will be there to support the event with our kids. If you dont like what is transpiring, then go to another event. This is a private organization, they will do what is best for them.

  25. Linda Morgan says:

    Is Barbara Revels the only commissioner with common sense?

  26. Lin says:

    Public/Private Partnerships are too complicated and leave too much room for maneuvering behind the scenes. I think we all know now how the Chamber is furthering its goals. Slyness is a great word.

    It is so simple in my opinion — it is a County park and the County is involved — not strictly a private Cof C function so either all interested parties are invited or none of them. I personally don’t mind every candidate wearing buttons and talking to whoever wants to talk to them. Doesn’t interfere with music, arts & crafts, etc.

    I just hope we get a better turnout than for Mayor — these local elections matter.

  27. palmcoaster says:

    @Nick D. My reference to “your Chamber bosses” did not practically mean that you are on their payroll but no other than you seem to support their erroneous policies as per your words here. Fans call their bosses their favorite sports or show stars (the Boss Bruce Springsteen) at times, as an example, and do not mean they are on their payroll.
    Regarding disclosing one’s identity that is your choice, many of us know better here that specially owning a business witch hunting is alive an well and can be damaging. You’ll get to know me well as soon as I retire, can’t wait, promise. Also the cleaver comment above by Aninterestedvoter stating the realistic paragraph about DeLorenzo’s wife occupation and her employers support for her husbands political campaign is nothing else than a realistic fact! Do you want to silence that too?

  28. Kip Durocher says:

    @Nick D

    All that advanced “cop” training must have not taught you a thing about the laws of the State of Florida
    and The United States of America.
    If you have never heard of them I suggest you do some research on the “Jim Crow” laws.
    All that volunteer work at the CofC must have checkered your already tunnel vision.
    It is clearly a violation of state and federal law for the Fagler County Board of Commissioners to be
    involved with any organization that discriminates against any person, group, or body to be in a
    county tax funded park. The fact that they have aimed their arrows at the arean of politics makes the matter that much more heinous.
    Both the CofC and the commissioners have clearly violated state and federal criminal statutes and a simple
    “my bad” will not suffice. Court scantions are in order.

  29. Justice for All says:

    The DeLorenzos put themselves in this position. They had a choice not to do so. I’d suggest that she resign her position to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, but the real conflict is having the representative of the Homebuilders Association sitting on Council. How can this person say he can fairly represent the residents of Palm Coast?

  30. Chamber Member says:

    Flagler County Board of Commisioners….The Voters are watching!
    Do the respectable thing and require that anyone, including the Chamber of Commerce, (when using Flagler County public lands) to allow unincumbered access to all persons, political or not.
    It’s the right of every American.

  31. Nick D says:

    @palmcoaster – Then you have my apologies as I misunderstood a few parts of your comment; “you need to tell your bosses” was a bit confusing to me as I tend to take things more literal. And I guess I have never heard that used in that context before as I’m not sure I could just walk up and tell a “boss” like Bruse Springsteen anything; to use your analogy.

    As for me supporting the Chamber policies I would have to say I do support some, but not all. I have come out against several things the Chamber has done in the past. I have also made several posts and you and I have commented back and forth before about Chamber issues; and have agreed. Not sure you remember but I would encourage you to go back and look at the article (and comments) pertaining to Enterprise Flagler and economic development. I have also criticized the Chamber of being involved in publishing. However, my point is to the fact that the Chamber is a private organization that also has rights. And in my opinion that right should include denying access to one of its events. They are paying rent to use the facilities and should have that right. Now I do not agree that the Chamber is letting any political party to obtain a booth. This is supposedly and arts and crafts festival for families to come and enjoy. However, they can not stop free speech of the candidates and they are not. The Chamber is allowing all of the candidates to attend the event and wear campaign material as well as talk to the public about their views for our community. The very first thing the Chamber should do is refund any fees to any type political organizations and call it a day. Because as I said in my original comment; “there should be no political involvement.”

    With that being said and you being a business owner. The County Commission and the general public have no place and no right to tell you who you can serve (I use that term not knowing what business you are in). You should also, as a business owner, have the right to refuse and deny serves to anyone and for any reason. It would be a loss of business to you but then again, your decision and right as a private organization to do so. Just as the Chamber should be allowed as they have rented the space, for their use, to deny anyone for any reason; their decision and right as a private organization. And if they lose members because of it…well…that was their decision. If they lose money on the festival because they exercised their rights…well…that was their decision.

    Everyone says…”well, what’s good for one political party or individual is good for all”…and I AGREE…but what is good for one private organization (to support or deny) is good for another private organization. I find it funny that people are all about their own rights but are also the first to try and deny someone else rights because they don’t like what they are doing.

    Now when it comes to the DeLorenzo’s let me first say; I’m not a support of Mr. DeLorenzo’s. However, I have attend several public and chamber functions and would have been one of the first screaming WRONG DOING had Mrs. DeLorenzo ever used her office to further her husbands campaign. I have also yet to hear anything or read any statement from the Chamber about their support or endorsement of Jason DeLorenzo for City Council; if you have such documentation or FACTS as you like to call it, please show me. Because if you have proof of that; please give it to me and you can remain anonymous and I will SCREAM LIKE HELL of the wrong doing by the Chamber. However to my knowledge the Chamber has not endorsed ANY candidate for office, let alone Mr. DeLorenzo. I would also like to know where I said anything should be silenced? I’m not the silent kind of guy…I would point anything out that I have facts to support.

    @ Kip Durocher – I love the way right out of the gate you try and attack me personally for my opinions. Good thing I have thicker skin the most people making comments on here. And I never said what the chamber was doing was right with allowing political parties at an art and craft festival. Remember, no individual candidate is or has been allowed to have a tent/booth; only attend and walk around. As a matter of fact I have repeatedly said that they should not allow ANY of them.

  32. Aninterestedvoter says:

    Wow, now look how far afield we have come and still no decisions from our esteemed County Supervisors, one who had her own booth at Creekside.

    Surely the DeLorenzos should have known there might be questions about the possible conflict of interest? He is, after all, a lobbyist for the builders and she is #2 at the Chamber. There are remedies for all of this without fist fights or verbal abuse. But to attack those pointing out these conflicts out is stupid. You are not going to shut them up. They have the right to object. It is, afterall, their park.

    To Nick, I would say check out the cars parked at the chamber any given day and tell me who they are supporting or not supporting. It is quite obvious.

    And finally, to the Commissioners: As long as the chamber is using public lands, the public have the right to be irritated about this descrimination. It is not legal.

    So I offer 3 possible solutions: 1. Don’t rent Princess Place to them; move the venue; 2. Allow a NPA tent for the candidates, or 3. Refund the monies of all political organizations attending.

    What is so damned difficult about that?

  33. Bob says:

    Nick D. I agree with palmcoaster about your Chamber bosses. On your own website you brag about your Chamber affiliations. The Chamber has been running the local politicicians in PC and FC for to long. How about local governement “of the people,for the people, and by the people” for a change. Try it you might like it.

  34. palmcoaster says:

    @Nick D apology taken…By the way you never called your wife, even once, “the boss” or maybe she called you?
    I think you are still mistaken here in your last paragraph..”Remember, no individual candidate is or has been allowed to have a tent/booth; only attend and walk around.” You are totally wrong if you believe that. Call the Chamber for clarification and find out. I attended several Creek Side festivals and if elections were around could be seeing political parties and candidates on their booths as well as plenty of FCCOC paid signs against Amendment 4 as well tha one time, while the oppositions one’s were denied. Clearly Pierre is stating the fact that each party and new T Party have a booth for this festival. My private business is totally differentiated from the private local Chamber business because they are given and sustain employees with TDC monies, outsource media, visual and printed that is forcibly paid with public monies when you see county and or cities logos on that media and means that they paid with public funds. Also to the tune of over 800,000 from TDC aka 4% tourist bed tax.
    My private enterprise do not get handed that type of dough as we do not have to pay the high salaries that all their elite bureaucracy devours. We don’t need or expect to be handed cookies from the tax payers jar, as we are tax payers first and business owners second. My toast to the 800 or so members that fund the jobs for Baxter, his relatives and DeLorenzo. Sincere appreciation to council lady DiStefano for the good try this time..Is so rewarding when we see one of our elected doing us justice.

  35. Nick D says:

    @ Aninterestedvoter – The last time I checked putting a sign on the side of ones vehicle does not mean the company they are parked in front of supports that candidate. If this would be true I guess I need to ask Target who they supported in the last presidential election as several of their employees have both Obama and McCain bumper stickers. Also the parking lot you are referring to is a public parking lot as it belongs to several businesses that rent space within that building. The Center for Business Excellence has an office in the building; do you know how many people (unemployed) visit that office daily? Hell, I did not support Obama in the last election but I have friends that park their cars in my drive way that have Obama stickers…does not mean I voted for him.

    I guess I also don’t see where the discrimination is coming in? ALL THE CANDIDATS are WELCOME to attend the event. However, none of them are individually allowed to have a booth/tent? How is it difficult to understand that?

    Yes, the Chamber should refund any fees paid by the Democrat, Republican, and Tea Party as I can not see why they need to have a booth at an arts and crafts festival.

    @ Bob – I do not “brag” about my Chamber affiliations. I only list them as an organization that I have volunteered for; as anyone may list such information on a resume. Having been unemployed for two years now, I tried to find some volunteer work to become involved in the community; one of which was the Creekside Festival last year. I don’t call it bragging…I call it listing information. As far as the Chamber running local politics for a long time I would not know; I’ve only lived here since 2005 and have only volunteered there in the last year. I can only go off the facts I have in front of me. I like facts and have yet to have anyone send me any that give ms proof that what I’m saying is wrong.

    @palmcoaster – I will most defiantly call the Chamber and ask for the information pertaining to other candidates in the past that have had individual booths. As along as you call and get the financial information that will show the money TDC receives is use for the TDC and not the Chamber. The TDC rents space from the Chamber (this means they pay to be there, just as the Center for Business Excellence does.

    Also, where you able to find any statements authorized by the Chamber Board of Directors that endorse a political candidate for office? I would really be interested in any poof that they have endorsed individual candidates such as Jason DeLorenzo.

    I find it absolutely amazing that I have received more flack for standing up for my opinion on the Chambers stance on this issue then I have when I actually criticized the Chamber in the past on this very webpage.

  36. Lin says:

    Re Sept 20 update —
    Might the problem be that Jason DeLorenzo will be at the Festival representing HOMEBUILDERS and
    the rest of the candidates want to be there for THEIR CANDIDACY TO REPRESENT THE CITIZENS OF PC? Someone might notice which booth the Candidates inhabit

    And there is a difference in the C of C in its own interest inviting who they please to a private event — and another entirely when using County property and the County collecting money and involved in planning. I hope the County Coms get smart.

  37. palmcoaster says:

    Dear Nick D I am so rewarded that we can talk to each other now in a civilized manner and exchange facts and thoughts, as well as you agreeing to call the Chamber for real fact finding. We may, here and there get confused by deceiving statements or media distorted news…but if we spend the time (not easy to come by) doing some research, sooner or later the truth comes out. Regarding TDC and “the grants” they give to the chamber via Peggy Hiser. I can tell you the following..Hiser was a Chamber employee more or less an event coordinator for sometime years ago. Then bright Baxter came up with the idea of having her salary paid by “tax payers monies” exactly TDC 4% bed tax hospitality tax to the tune now of over 800,000, that includes the expensive blabber media bs, high paid consultants, networking advertising w/no success, Internet web sites TV and printing all outsource out of this county to attract tourism… no detail exactly about who gets the dough. Then of course about the same time DeLorenzo out of a failed family enterprise business landed the event coordinator job (came in very handy).About the same time as Baxter daughter landed some “paid chores” too as one more Cutie added to the largest administrative team I ever saw in this chamber ever.. Conveniently now DeLorenzo has been upgraded to some kind of VP. In few words you make good friends with some of the very detrimental big developers around here and you’ll go places. I am more than sure that TDC do not rent space from the chamber just because plush figurine Peggy Hiser paid by the TDC grant has her desk and plenty of TDC paid assistants there. TDC operates out of the County Commission Chambers where they hold their meetings as well. Who is spreading this thing about TDC renting space from the Chamber… Baxter? As is the second time I hear this. Please also corroborate it for yourself. If you question them too much may fall out of grace, specially with Land Down Under Baxter .I also thought was a good guy from the start and boy, was I heading for the wall. I been here in business and involved with our community organizations and talking to our residents since 1991. My friends been here even longer than that. So I know a bit about what is cooking…unfortunatly.The local cow called tax payers revenue has many well connected feeding from its milk. Should be investigated.

  38. Aninterestedvoter says:

    Nick, Melissa Holland had a booth at Creekside. Did you read the article? So much for their “rules”.

    As to all the magnetic DeLorenzo signs on the cars in the chamber’s lot, that was not what this discussion is about.. That’s fine. That is not at issue here. They are free to support whom they wish.

    Your site shows a lot of chamber activity. You are very defensive about this and there is no need to be. Reread your posts. You’re the one dishing out the flack.

    All I want to know is how they are going to resolve this. How about a tent for ALL the candidates? One tent? Would it kill anybody? If the answer is yes, then remove the other 3 entities and let’s move on.

  39. Ralph says:

    Nick, you are beginning to sound like either Baxter or Peterson. Which is it?

    My vote is on Peterson.

  40. Aninterestdvoter says:

    Did you read the article before you began lecturing, Nick? No need to be so defensive and attack those posting here. Your arguments indicate much more than a passing interest in the chamber. You’ve written pages here.

    I just want to know if the Commissioners realize they are in violation of the law and what they are going to do about it.

    My suggestion? One NPA tent for all 4 candidates. DeLorenzo will have to decide who he wants to represent. But the other 3 should not be penalized for that.

    Otherwise, move it to a private location and it’s nobody’s business what you do. Nobody cares who the chamber are endorsing. That is not the issue here.

  41. Nick D says:

    Aninterestdvoter – I guess I don’t see where I have attacked anyone. I have done nothing but give my opinion on what I feel should happen and/or has happen in this issue. My interest in the chamber actually began when I was looking for volunteer work as I have been unemployed for two years. I was looking for a way to be involved within the community while I looked for employment. And what better way to do that then to volunteer for an organization that has businesses and companies as a members?

    Once I have confirmation from the chamber on three things (which I have already asked for) I may have a different opinion on the issue of past candidates having had booths at the festival. My first question was – has any individual candidate in the past been given a booth and if so when? Second – When did the chamber make the policy that no individual candidates are not allowed to do so? Thirdly – why was the policy changed?

    I also am not the one that brought up the chamber endorsing someone. I actually responded to a comment made and asked of anyone had proof of a statement put out by their board of directors making such an endorsement (which no one has yet to do). You are the one that then stated; “To Nick, I would say check out the cars parked at the chamber any given day and tell me who they are supporting or not supporting. It is quite obvious.” In which I did nothing more then respond with my opinion.

    I guess I don’t call what I have done here as lecturing. I have never said in anyone of my comments that ‘this is what you should do or believe’ and I have never told anyone that they are wrong. We all have our own opinions. I have also never once called anyone names on here…however, I have been accused of being Dough Baxter Jr. (which him and I have several disagreements on issues), Allen Peterson (whom I think needs to be voted out of office and I have stated that), my education has been attacked, as well as my wanting to volunteer in community events to better myself and possibly find a job.

    This is the first issue on flaglerlive I have actually taken the side of the chamber. Most other issues on flaglerlive, pertaining to the chamber, I have come out in part or whole against actions being taken by the chamber. I actually feel that the Flagler Chamber is structured wrong. I have told Doug Baxter this to his face. I’m not a shy person.

    And lastly, your right; these are not the issues here. So please go back and read all the comments and see that my original comment fallows the article written and posted here. All my other comments and opinions are in response to comments made to me.

    And by the way it’s very easy to sit and write pages when your unemployed (hahaha). Might be what gets me into trouble…idle hands. It’s just too easy to read news all day while searching for jobs on the net since there does not seem to be any jobs in Flagler County. But that’s another issue for another day and article.

    @palmcoaster – I thank you for all the information you have given me. You have given me a lot of research and fact checking to do. I’m sure we will talk again.

  42. Ralph says:

    Palmcoaster, you need to run for mayor.

    Nick, we’ll appoint you head of the chamber.

  43. Sarah White says:

    @ Nick D..

    You have NOT attacked anyone and I appreciate your honest opinions!! I too have taken issue on some things the Chamber, BOCC and City of Palm Coast officials have done but I would never attack people personally as palmcoaster ALWAYS does!. Now you are in palmcoaster’s line of fire. Palmcoaster has even attacked Doug Baxters daughter. Shame on palmcoaster. It’s one thing to disagree with their policies that are put in place by their Board of Directors, it’s another thing entirely to slander people. Nick, palmcoaster will never agree with you as he/she is a very unhappy human being that takes pleasure in bad mouthing others, rather than getting involved and stating FACTS! palmcoaster even discriminates against Baxter because he wasn’t born in this country. I hope he/she doesn’t treat all who are immigrants to this great country that way because that is just being a racist!


    Please, please, please get your facts straight before you continue your hateful, confusing, unfounded ramblings! Thank you

  44. Jerry Crowley says:

    There are a lot of Shepherd and Wolf stories and this reminds me of one in reading about Abraham Lincoln, “The Shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as a destroyer of liberty” and the story goes on where the two bicker over their rights the shepherd for the wool and the other for self preservation and what is being forgotten is the sheep. The sheep in this case are the voters of Palm Coast being able to see and hear all the candidates under their chosen venue for the upcoming Palm Coast city election.

  45. Sean O'Brien says:


    Thank you for being so elloquent. You are 100% correct about palmcoaster. It’s a shame that he/she has to hide behind a pseudonym in order to slander others.

  46. palmcoaster says:

    Sarah…since when informing all here that Mr. Baxter daughter was hired to work for the Chamber means an attack. Is a fact and you know it, unless she no longer does…
    Since when mentioning the land of origin of a resident or citizen is racism? Are foreign born Americans to be a shame of it? Or everytime someone ask someone else “were are your from? is consider an insult.
    Then our government is racist every time we have to fill in the block about… Place of Birth. No, because like you said this is a great country as much as Australia is, so please be part of its greatness.
    My facts are straight ..and that is why the bare truth, ruffle some feathers. Sure you wish this editorial would have never come up here. Keep them ignorant and conquer.

  47. palmcoaster says:

    Are you the same Sean O’Brien of the past blog below, trying to bash me here? A partisan foul mouth defending the Chamber no matter what… of course! I love the well deserved reply you got back then.

    Sean O’Brien says:
    October 25, 2010 at 2:32 am
    A few things:
    1. How dare you label me as part of the “…mobs of gray…”! I’m only 24 years-young, sir! Republican? Hell yes. Greedy? Down, right. Self-centered? Occasionally. Old? F*%# you!!
    2. As a YOUNG Republican, I would like to take this opportunity to personally invite you (and anyone lucky enough to read this post) to the next meeting of the Flagler County Young Republicans Club at High Jacker’s this Thursday, October 28th, at 6:00pm. While our group is under a political charter, we sincerely strive to be a community organization. I’d like you to come be a witness to our fine young group and meet each of us on a personal level. As hard working, politically aware individuals, we really do have something productive to add to society. I promise!
    3. I’d rather be a Republican and a ruling class “American Arab” than a Democrat and a terrorist. “But like Palestinians, Democrats are brilliant at…blowing themselves up.” Yikes.
    czossima says:
    October 25, 2010 at 8:50 am
    Sean O’Potty-mouth,
    The cooks at High Jacker’s might not agree with your stench. You might want to take some Rolaids for after you eat, you may need them. Caveat Emptor

    Copied from this editorial comments:

  48. IntheKnow says:

    @Palmcoaster: Just to clarify some facts. The TDC which includes Peggy Heiser and two administrative staff DO NOT OPERATE out of the County Commission Chambers (Govt. Svcs. Bldg.) where they hold their meetings. They are housed in the same offices as the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce located at 20 Airport Road, Suite C. And they do in fact pay rent for the office spaces occupied by the whopping staff of three TDC employees. You can check for yourself to verify, but I think you don’t have the chutzpah to do so.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      InTheKnow, the TDC partly operates out of the government services building. The board secretary, the TDC’s finances and the TDC’s attorney (who happens to be the county attorney) are all operating out of the GSB. Those staffers put in quite a few hours on the TDC’s account. To call it a staff of three is misleading.

  49. fanofpalmcoaster says:

    Sarah, just a hint….you are on the verge of revealing your true identity…. The chamber are well represented here in the comments, possibly the majority…

    It is not that difficult to figure out who’s who. One thing is for certain, your dander is up…..perhaps an inkling of why you are often criticized? Try keeping it within the law and I suspect that will disappear.

    Calm down, people. You are neighbors.

    If people in Palm Coast spent as much effort voting as they do posting and fighting here, I don’t think we’d have a chamber trying to pull this stunt in the first place, nor county reps not doing their jobs and allowing a policy which is AGAINST THE LAW in a public park.

  50. Roger says:

    I laugh when I read this because the information is so skewed. It is a shame really. Not a single candidate from any party has a booth at the Creekside Festival. The fact of the matter is that the Democratic Party, The Tea party and the Republican Party are all three non-profit organizations that rented booth space just like any other non-profit organizations, the term Non Party Affiliation is a growingly popular choice for candidates but is not an organized non profit entity. If it was, they too would have been most likely able to rent booth space. If volunteers at those booths want to wear a t-shirt in support of a particular candidate they would most likely be more than welcome to do so, they rented the booth and it is their decision. The Chamber or the County are not responsible, or obligated, in any capacity for changing a policy that has been around since 2008 in order to meet “special” circumstances of two candidates that want to have a booth and campaign at the Creekside Festival. The reason that candidates and many for profit business’s are not allowed to rent space is to keep the event fun for families to come attend. What happens in an election year when we have dozens of candidates running between the federal, state and local races? Who would even want to come to the Creekside Festival at that point?

    [Correction: the political parties and the tea party do not have IRS-designated non-profit, 501-c-3 status.FL]

  51. IntheKnow says:

    @Flaglerlive: The staffers you referred to are not considered part of the TDC’s payroll so I think my statement is quite accurate.

  52. palmcoaster says:

    To InTheKnow. That is what I said the Hiser and her assistants (I lost the count how many) work out of the Flagler Chamber location and the TDC operates out of the County Administration Building. Now is new to me as here now we learn something new every day…that TDC pays rent to Chamber for Hiser’s and assistants space? Well well..they really rounded it up, very cleaver if true. Is the rent outside de block grant of over 800,000/year now or included? I may have the courage (not the chutzpah as you name it, to encourage our residents tax payers to look further inside the underlines of Who controls Who here, for the benefit of the very few and paid by all of us..

  53. Chamber Member says:

    We’ve gone way off topic…….Should the County control what happens at Creekside when it comes to who can exercise thier political rights, or should the Chamber? Is it a freedom of speech issue or not?
    Is it discrimination or not?

  54. FanofInTheKnow says:

    @Palmcoaster: You are wrong below is an excerpt from your comment above at September 20, 2011 at 9:05 pm and you stated:

    I am more than sure that TDC do not rent space from the chamber just because plush figurine Peggy Hiser paid by the TDC grant has her desk and plenty of TDC paid assistants there. TDC operates out of the County Commission Chambers where they hold their meetings as well. Who is spreading this thing about TDC renting space from the Chamber… Baxter? As is the second time I hear this. Please also corroborate it for yourself. If you question them too much may fall out of grace, specially with Land Down Under Baxter .

    Plenty of staff? Three people including Heiser, not exactly a large staff and the folks (i.e. board secretary, county attorney, et al) Flaglerlive referred to are not on the TDC payroll, you can look on the Flagler County website for the TDC budget to check the facts. Taxpayers don’t pay for TDC payroll, that 4% bed tax charged to visitors who stay at local lodging fund the TDC budget which you erroneously call a ‘block grant’. Their budget is there for all to see, it’s transparent.

  55. Sarah White says:


    Reveal my identifty? I am a hard working, single mother of small children just trying to keep my head above water. I am just insulted by the constant bashing of people in this community. We ARE neighbors but behave like enemies. And the comment “Try keeping it within the law and I suspect that will disappear” doesn’t even make sense to me. I just believe if people are going to try to sound half way intelligent and offer informed opinions they really should get their facts straight and stick to the issues, NOT slander anyone!


    Your facts are so off it amazes me. And you said, “About the same time as Baxter daughter landed some “paid chores” too as one more Cutie added”. That’s NOT “informing all here that Mr. Baxter daughter was hired to work for the Chamber”. Nice. And your statement about ousting “VP DeLorenzo’s wife over outrageous “political campaign conflict of interest”, seriously? Because her husband wants to make a difference and run for office? Who else would you exclude from running for political office? Perhaps the wife or husband of a school teacher running for a school board position? Or the husband or wife of a police officer running for sherriff? And I’m sure when you said “Land Down Under Baxter” you weren’t being unkind.

    I do apologize to the other readers, I shouldn’t let ignorance upset me so…..I will NO LONGER comment on the unfounded opinons of the same few people that post on this blog site. .

  56. Ed Caroe says:

    This annual event is held just weeks before early voting starts. Local voter turn-out stinks. Anything that can be done to educate residents so they are more likely to vote is a great thing. Creekside is an obvious venue. Mr. Baxter loudly proclaimed nobody visits the DEM & REP booths; that’s blatantly not true. (I’m sure it will be ditto for the Tea Party tent.) I’ve worked the REP booth and personally signed up maybe 50 new voters – who then were free to vote any way they wanted. I’ve also sat in the DEM booth to chat with friends (like DEM leaders Dan Parham and Doug Courtney) and witnessed the attention their DEM booth received.

    Back in 2004, Palm Coast’s overdo-to-leave City Manager convinced Council members (except Jon Netts) they needed a new $22-million city hall. They promoted it with $90-thousand of taxpayer funds. I started a Political Action Committee of REP, DEM and independent residents. We collected $3,240 – much from City staffers. With our united effort, over 82% of referendum votes were against that waste of taxpayer funds. Perhaps more important, even adamant REPs and adamant DEMs found that by focusing on a local issue, they really like each other. As an example, Dan Parham is local head of the DEMs; I’m a REP; our skin colors are different. We meet regularly and only discuss all important local matters, which have zero to do with national stuff. I’m proud to call him a friend. Many of us became life-long friends. That’s what this fight with Chamber is all about.

    Those REP and DEM booths should focus on national matters. Almost all local elected and candidates truly want to serve ALL local residents with no consideration of political party, skin color, etc. Therefore they don’t want to be pigeon-holed by “party”. I insist that both Barbara Revels and Milissa Holland think locally like “centrist REPs, although still in the closet” due to old family beliefs. Barbara is up for re-election in 2012, which likely will be a year when REPs prevail in national elections. (Just my opinion.) Possibly she will face a less suitable registered REP opponent. Voters should be urged to learn about each local candidate and vote for those whose local accomplishments and local visions best match their own. (Of course Palm Coast candidates run non-partisan, so that applies even more so. That’s why Bill McGuire and Denis Cross deserve support in this 2011 mess.)

    Further, I urge that a “candidate row” of booth spaces be planned starting in 2012. They need to be sufficiently far away from arts & crafts and loud music that local folks who care to meet and greet candidates feel encouraged to learn and then vote. [Alan Peterson was serving as Chair this past Tuesday at the Commission meeting, so by Robert’s Rules he was mandated to stay neutral and let his colleagues express their thoughts. That’s the job of a Chair.] I strongly agree with Alan Peterson’s rough ideas expressed since Tuesday that starting in 2012, which ever organization is selected as lead partner to put on Creekside Festival with Flagler County (I lean toward FL Ag Museum), rules to apply must all be submitted in writing to Commission as part of the proposal. Commission must reserve the right to modify any rules submitted, as well as to reject the Chamber’s or any other proposal. Present old guidelines which Peterson properly researched with our county attorney were prepped by Hutch King, Jr, Blair Kanbar and Jim Darby – now long gone from the Commission. In fairness, there have been so many changes needed, that some have been overlooked. Bottom line, Mr. Baxter & crew’s arrogance that caused this disgraceful action will long tarnish a fine organization.

    Residents need all possible motivation to get educated on candidates and issues and then get out to vote. Personally meeting candidates, away from other Creekside stuff, should be encouraged. It undoubtedly will bring out residents not focused on arts and crafts. Baxter’s claim that this will hurt Creekside Festival is self-serving arrogance. Candidate Bill McGuire’s often asked question: “How does that best serve our residents?’ is right-on. He’ll be a great replacement for his opponent who has voted the way City Manager Jim Landon has told him to for about four years.

  57. palmcoaster says:

    @Fanof InTheKnow The only thing I may be wrong, as news to me, is that TDC pays rent for the space used by Hiser and assistants in the FCCOC building. Regarding the TDC staff that works out of the County Administration Building, Flagler Live never said were in the TDC payroll. Looks like you do not read the TDC news or meeting agendas when TDC approves the “block grant, give away or budget or whatever you want to name it now, that is assigned to former FCCOC employee Peggy Hiser and assistants and approved every year”, remember she wanted an increase this year and was denied by BOCC after we all opposed it? Your “TDC is not funded by taxpayers monies”… and the “4% bed tax” paid by visitors is what…? Have you ever had your relatives stay in our hospitality places or paid for a wedding or gathering there and the guest stayed the weekend a week? As you say Hiser and her staff of two with 800,000 plus a year just to try and attract visitors to Flagler county hotels while we have here a Mr. Murphy hotel owner, always ranting that his business never gets one cent of support from the contributed 4% bed tax from visitors. Because all hospitality business have to collect it but only the elite one’s gets the benefits.
    This local Chamber of Commerce is a pathetic joke always raising money, not to help its members, but to maintain the beurocratic high paid staff and correctly as Mr. Ed Caroe says above, Doug Baxter is an arrogant self serving President that tarnish the organization with his bias actions. I would like to see published and account of how many scholarships funds have they contributed with their fund raises as portrayed on their events.
    @Sarah White now, you probably will get in Mr. Caroe’s case also, for telling it like it is?
    Yes please don’t let “your ignorance” display, turn readers against you here and make you upset. I agree, reality is shocking sometimes.
    The local Chamber of Commerce as others mention above and we all know, turned into the biggest manipulating political and government lobbyist that seats and unseats candidates as they please in our county and cities and against the best interest of us, the local tax payers and the small business owners.
    They do it with self serving arrogance and the results are for all to see.

  58. palmcoaster says:

    Regarding Mr. Roger new excuse since “whoever in 2008 ruled that only “non profit” organizations” could have a booth on our public park, my answer to that is that the rule should be done away at once by BOCC or the lease of our public land for this and other events, to the Chamber should be canceled immediately.

  59. Ralph says:

    As some what recent resident to palm coast, I heard almost nothing about the election. I don’t take the News Journal, it is too expensive for me. Get most of my local news off the internet, or tv.

    I know people who didn’t know there was an election. I don’t know anything about this festival you are fighting over. This entire article and conversation puzzles me. Where the hell are the grownups?

    Don’t know the politics of this, don’t care to know the ugly politics of this. But if you are trying to inform people and better your community, I dont understand why this is such a controversial issue. Tell me where I can go talk to these people and I’ll go. Look at the fighting here. Looks like a damned gossup rag. Geezus…

  60. TeaPartySupporter says:

    Nick D, I’m sure that your investigation will reveal the Chamber leadership is smart enough to not “officially” endorse any candidate in PC elections. They are much to cleaver to be that overt, but check with past Chamber officials Tom Lawrence and Jim O’Connell who now purport to be Tea Party leaders to find out where the “powers that be” allegiances lie. Mr. DeLorenzo will be busy working in his lobbyist jobs so the Chamber cannot allow the other candidates visibility at Creekside.

  61. FlaglerLive says:

    IntheKnow, your comment clarifying TDC staffing has not been blocked (see above) and you’d have received the courtesy of an email explaining what may have been blocked if you didn’t use a bogus email address in addition to a bogus name.

  62. Sarah White says:


    Thank you for your insightful, intellengent summary of the situation!!! It is so refreshing!


    Thank you for your excellent observations of this “debate”.

  63. palmcoaster says:

    BOCC from now on, should engage the volunteers and staff of the Agricultural Museum and the Princess Place Preserve to organize and manage the Creek Side Festival. We are still waiting for BOCC stand on this issue. These dedicated volunteers and the staff of the Agricultural Museum are the best professionals to manage this successful event and will further benefit from the additional revenue percentage that Chamber keeps now. If they need additional help I know that the staff and volunteers from the Flagler Beach Museum and also the Palm Coast Historical Society will be delighted to give a helping hand for beneficial exposure and maybe free booth for the help.
    Mr. Caroe suggestion that each running candidate from any political party or affiliation on any election should have a designated same area location for booths and away from the music, art displays, food stands etc. is correct. .Also all amendments to be voted by referendum pro/ con should have equal right to display signs and/or literature, on the event. If one allowed , all should as well, as the site is public land.

  64. Ralph says:

    Sarah, what I meant was I think your candidates should have their booth. It is the only time some of us will see them.

    Two guys in a booth are a threat to so many people? Puzzling to me.

  65. palmcoaster says:

    @Ralph…this is why we the citizens oppose the use of our public land as discrimination tool by this local Chamber (FCCOC). Their decision will favor their only one candidate DeLorenzo. BOCC needs to cancel the lease of our public land for this private business organization and give it instead to the Agricultural Museum, Princess Place, Flagler Beach Museum and Palm Coast Historical Society staff and volunteers to organize and manage. This event held until now, by the Chamber from the start has been utilized as tool to covertly support who ever they wanted to seat in office or any referendum they wanted to pass just few weeks short of any election. BOCC mute is very intimly and we need their in mediate vote against this FCCOC bias stand.
    Specially you a new comer that we welcome, should be aware that these commissioners just have voted to raise our taxes and this year a house appraised at 125,000 if homesteaded with this increase instead of paying $415 will pay $466. $49 more for the county alone. My house will pay 2 1/2 times more than that, given the appraisers value. How many residents with children we have living of an unemployment check of maybe about $1,000/month? How many retirees with even less than that have to get by?
    Meanwhile county decides all alone to waste even more money on superfluous non working Economic Development as citizen Toby Tobin Observer Contributing Writer correctly describe it 9/22/2011 the so much rumored arrival of a Cotsco in this county is (as reliable) as local politician’s promises to do something about economic development. Really sad to see how recently elected commissioner Nate McLaughlin as been already snatched by the powers that be. BOCC already hired Rawls, County Manager Coffey’s friend for a salary of between 64,000 to over 97,000 for one year and a total budget of $400,000 plus at least, to bring the same blunders we seeing so far. Before this $400,000 were shared between PC and County now is footed by county alone. One way or the other BOCC stick it to us same useless organization called before Enterprise Flagler with a different name now but still in our pockets. One more reason for our homes tax increases. Maybe some of the above will move you and the other residents to come out and vote?

  66. Ralph says:

    Oh I vote. And it likely will not be for this delorenzo fellow. I don’t like dirty politics. This is the first place I’ve lived where elections are so quiet. And this one looks rigged.

    From what I am reading here, I am guessing that is intentional?

    You invite the political parties but not the candidates? Not hard to see what’s up.

  67. Nick D says:

    I need to correct some information that I stated in my original post here. In my very first post I stated; “Dennis Cross – Independent, Bill McGuire – Independent (yes you can register as an Independent, it’s an actual party).” I was wrong; they are both Republicans.

    Mr. Dennis Cross

    Mr. William (Bill) McGuire

  68. Nick D says:

    Sorry, I just check my links and realized that it will not allow you to click on it and take you right to their information.

    Should you feel the need to check my facts you will need to go to and type in their names on your own; my apologies.

  69. Ralph says:

    Thanks for the info, Nick, and for the information on the candidates.

    Judging from that website you listed, it is hard for me to believe you have just a passing interest in this election.

  70. Layla says:

    [Correction: the political parties and the tea party do not have IRS-designated non-profit, 501-c-3 status.FL]

    Thank you for that clarification, Flagler Live. I don’t know if anybody saw it, but I did.

    Now what is the chambers excuse? This would be funny if it werent so tragic.

  71. Andy says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the republican and democratic clubs in the county fall under their national 501c7 designation (not a 501c3). The Tea Party falls under the national designation as well.

  72. Citizen says:

    What designation do delorenzo and his 20+ builders booths fall under?

    Your arguments don’t make any sense. That is why you are being attacked. Why not call it the festival of builders?

    Quite frankly, I have serious objections to my tax money going to highlight (and pay for) this man’s attendance at this festival as well.

    We are talking about the appearance of something amiss here. Instead of opening it up, this chamber AND COMMISSIONERS are digging in, daring somebody to challenge them.

    In the end, I think you will find it caused you a great deal of harm. ALL of you involved in this decision. And you brought it upon yourselves. This is not a private event.

    It IS a VERY PUBLIC EVENT ON PUBLIC LANDS maintained by the taxpayers. Dirt swept under the rug is still dirt.

  73. palmcoaster says:

    Creekside festival takes place October 8, and BOCC will discuse it October 3? Who are these commissioners kidding? They should have cancel this event as soon as this Chamber barons made their desition. Do they think we are all morons here?

  74. Nick D says:

    Ralph – I would hope that any resident would not take a “just passing interest” in any election. I’m very engaged in any election that directly affects the community I live in. And judging by the last voter turnout I’m only one of a very few that take an interest in who is going to represent me. FYI – I’m also a Republican.

    Layla – You are right, the local political party “clubs” are not designated as 501c3’s. But this does not mean they are not non-profit organizations. Andy is also correct that the party “clubs” are 501c7’s. And under the Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. – 501(c)) there are 28 types of non-profit organization designations. The designation of 501c7 is used for Social and recreational clubs;

    People seem to be forgetting that it’s not the actual political “parties” that are being given booths; it’s their “clubs” (which are non-profit organizations). There is a Republican Club (which you can join for $25 a year) and a Democratic Club (I’m not sure of their membership dues are) and these are the two entities that have been given booths. This is so they may promote and try to obtain more “members for their clubs” not register someone to their particular party (which I’m sure they would be happy to do also if you ask). But it’s not (or should not be) their primary focus at the festival.

  75. The American says:

    This is in response to Nick D……Creekside is owned by the TAX PAYERS and the CONSTITUTIONS 1st
    AMENDMENT applies anywhere. It is shameful that the Board of County Commissioners, their attorney, Al Hadeed, The Tea Party head, Tom Lawrence, and the Chamber of Commerce do not realize this. They should read their Constitution. People go on the Internet and read all about AGENDA 21, this has come to Flagler County and the Chamber and the county are pushing for ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT? Do you all like the freedom you enjoy, well if you do not get off your couches and do something you will not have your freedom.

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