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Clapping Palm Coast’s Tony Capela, Santorum on Steroids, Dustin Hoffman on Sex: The Live Wire

| February 13, 2012

A yellow taxi in Havana. Note the surroundings. (Walfrido Lopez Rodriguez)

Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links


Special Forces on Steroid

There will be blood.

From the Times: “As the United States turns increasingly to Special Operations forces to confront developing threats scattered around the world, the nation’s top Special Operations officer, a member of the Navy Seals who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, is seeking new authority to move his forces faster and outside of normal Pentagon deployment channels. The officer, Adm. William H. McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command, is pushing for a larger role for his elite units who have traditionally operated in the dark corners of American foreign policy. The plan would give him more autonomy to position his forces and their war-fighting equipment where intelligence and global events indicate they are most needed. It would also allow the Special Operations forces to expand their presence in regions where they have not operated in large numbers for the past decade, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. […] The military’s regional combatant commanders have feared a decrease of their authority, and some ambassadors in crisis zones have voiced concerns that commandos may carry out missions that are perceived to tread on a host country’s sovereignty, like the rift in ties with Pakistan after the Bin Laden raid. […] Admiral McRaven wants the authority to quickly move his units to potential hot spots without going through the standard Pentagon process governing overseas deployments. Historically, the deployment of American forces overseas began with a request from a global combatant commander that was processed through the military’s Joint Staff and placed before the defense secretary for approval, in a cautious and deliberate process. […] Admiral McRaven’s plans have raised concerns even within the Special Operations community. Two Pentagon consultants said they have spoken with senior Special Operations officers who worry about their troops being stretched too thin. They are also concerned that Special Operations forces — still less than 2 percent of the entire military — will become so much the “go to” force of choice that they are asked to carry out missions beyond their capacity.” The full story.

Inside the Special Forces:

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Rick Santorum on Steroids

Final flavor of the month

From Politico: “Rick Santorum’s campaign is eyeing a pair of swiftly approaching Midwestern primary states as its best — and perhaps only — opportunity to deal a mortal blow to Mitt Romney and permanently transform the Republican presidential race into a one-on-one duel to the finish. Nearly a week after upsetting Romney in the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses and the Missouri primary, both Santorum and his aides say they remain focused on a state-by-state, delegate-by-delegate grind toward the GOP nomination. With Santorum looking increasingly like the last down-the-line conservative standing in the 2012 field, his team sees plentiful opportunities to harvest delegates over the next month in states such as North Dakota, Oklahoma and Kansas — inexpensive political arenas that lean strongly to the right. […] The privately held hope in the Santorum camp is that beating Romney in his native state of Michigan or in the ultimate general election battleground of Ohio would discredit, on a grand scale, the on-and-off Republican front-runner and make the other candidates in the race irrelevant in the remaining contests. […] Santorum himself went a bit further in a Fox News interview last week, saying he believed he could beat Romney in Michigan, though Romney won the state in 2008 and grew up there when his father, George Romney, was governor. And even as they work to lay the foundation for a longer struggle against Romney, Santorum’s team has already taken tentative steps toward a more aggressive posture in Michigan and Ohio.” The full story.

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Return of the Culture Wars

Remember him?

Gary Younge in the Guardian: “At present, no more than 3% of the country ranks abortion or family values/morals as a priority – that’s within the margin of error of zero. Even in conservative South Carolina, only 8% said abortion was the biggest issue for them. But the emergence of these issues does throw red meat to a Republican base that has, so far, been uninspired by the actual candidates, and it shifts the conversation during this relative lull (with just one caucus and no debates for a couple of weeks). It would be too crude to suggest that this is why Santorum won big last Tuesday. He does well in caucuses, where turnout is lower and people have to be more motivated, seems to hold a particular appeal in the midwest and, in any case, won by too wide a margin in too many places to attribute his victory to any single cause. But it would be naïve to suggest it’s irrelevant. It can only help Santorum; can only hurt Gingrich and Romney, since it offers the opportunity to emboss characterisations of the former as a philanderer and the latter as a flip-flopper in the public imagination. What does it change? Ultimately, in the Republican primaries, little. Romney is still most likely to win. But the process may be even more painful for him than it already was. At present, he has the worst of both worlds: all the downsides of being a frontrunner without being able to stay out in front. In the general election, if events of the last week became a long-term trend, it could matter a great deal. Not only will Romney be a thoroughly battered nominee of a party that would clearly nominate anyone else if it could, but the weaker he is, come the nomination, the more sops he has to throw to the base in terms of rhetoric, policy and vice-presidential pick – thereby alienating independents and moderates. A shift of focus from the economy to social issues would also mitigate the primary basis on which he has framed his candidacy – who needs a turnaround man when things are on the upturn?” The full bit.

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The Internet, 1969

A great look at how the Internet was imagined before it had a name.

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Clapping Palm Coast’s Tony Capela

A Capela crew at work.

The News-Journal finally made good on a story it’d been working on since fall, about Palm Coast Street Superintendent Antonio “Tony” Capela and the criticism he faced from former employees. “Former employees who have resigned or filed a complaint against the city say that humiliation, intimidation and screaming were all part of the management style of the head of Palm Coast’s Streets Division, who has been praised by city administrators for turning the department around with “tough love.” The former employees say Street Superintendent Antonio “Tony” Capela’s “tough love” crossed the line into the degradation of workers, treatment they say continued even after a city inquiry last year advised Capela to “temper his temper and communicate calmly with his staff.” Several former employees who left the city, including a supervisor who worked under Capela, wrote in their exit interviews that Capela was “a bully” and that most department employees had been “assaulted verbally” by Capela. Capela and city officials take a different view. In a recent interview with The News-Journal, City Manager Jim Landon said Capela’s leadership is just what was needed in a department that was a “joke” when he took over six years ago and is “highly-respected” today, doing good work and saving taxpayers money. Capela and others say he had to change a culture at the streets department. Workers partook of weekly Friday afternoon barbecues on city time, said Renee Shevlin, public works chief operator and Capela’s right-hand person. They even spent some Friday afternoons hitting golf balls into the woods, Shevlin said. […] Capela said he does not believe he has a temper. […] One dismissed worker filed a complaint against the city with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. The complaint was dismissed in August, but Terry Geigert, a streets maintenance worker, appealed. However, she withdrew her appeal last week just before the hearing. The case brings to an end a year of turmoil for a department that saw a number of departures. […] “My direction to Tony was I need more of the private sector culture and mentality making sure crews are working the full day, getting the job done, raising the bar with the quality,” Landon said. “I gave Tony the green light to put the right people in the right job.” […] However, the problems continued, according to exit interviews. “Public works is a hostile work environment. I was targeted 2 years ago. (Zeroed out) by Tony Capela,” wrote Kirk Woods, an equipment operator, in his exit interview dated July 29, 2011. “Mr. Capela’s management style is that of a bully,” Sandra Bolser, a staff assistant, wrote in her exit interview. Bolser, who had worked at the city since November 2004, resigned and left the city on Aug. 17, 2011.”

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Obama’s Dangerous Iran Gambit

This nuclear site at Bushehr looks like an open target; a new site near Qum is underground and heavily fortified. (Digital Globe-Reuters-Landov)

From the Daily Beast: “For Obama, grappling with Iran policy is like playing a particularly high-stakes match of three-dimensional chess. The game requires the president to achieve several goals: keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the mullahs, prevent the oil-based global economy from tipping into the abyss, and manage the wild card that is Israel. He would also like to get reelected this year. Achieving one goal can undermine another. Obama’s advisers most concerned about the economy, for instance, have been at odds with allies in Congress most focused on preventing Iran from going nuclear. […] It’s hardly surprising, then, that the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency was recently in Washington for top-level meetings on Iran. According to an American official who was involved, Tamir Pardo wanted to take the pulse of the Obama administration and determine what the consequences would be if Israel bombed Iranian nuclear sites over American objections. Pardo raised many questions, according to this source: “What is our posture on Iran? Are we ready to bomb? Would we [do so later]? What does it mean if [Israel] does it anyway?” As it is, Israel has stopped sharing a significant amount of information with Washington regarding its own military preparations. […] The American intelligence and security establishment had worries of its own about Iran—and about Obama. The generals and spies fretted that the new president might put an end to an elaborate shadow war they had been waging. The Bush administration, together with Israeli counterparts, had engaged in a supersecret campaign to set back Iran’s nuclear development. The program involved what are known in the spy world as “delaying actions” or “foiling operations.” Agents posing as black-market vendors would sell to Iranian buyers nuclear-use items designed to fail under high stress, or items with tracking devices to reveal the locations of secret labs. Software engineers worked to develop sophisticated cyber-warfare programs that could penetrate the computers in Iran’s nuclear plants and cause harm to vital equipment like centrifuges. The spies didn’t want any of that put on hold, and the CIA was particularly worried that Iranian assets they’d worked so hard to cultivate would fade away. […] Israeli officials now insist that Obama has undergone what they regard as a positive evolution in his views on Iran. “The rhetoric from the United States today is different from what it was a year ago,” says an Israeli in Netanyahu’s inner circle. “Today, when you listen to Obama … you get the feeling the Americans are ready to attack if worse comes to worst.” […] Critics might say this is an example of Obama “leading from behind.” What his record shows more clearly, however, is that he is willing to come at the Iran problem from every possible angle: from behind, from the sides, overtly, covertly, diplomatically, and economically. That record also suggests that if a war is in the offing—perhaps ignited by an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations, with or without American approval—Obama will continue to pursue policies that are multifaceted, restrained, and, if possible, short of full-scale conflagration.” The full report.

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Dustin Hoffman Talks Sex

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Final shot: Michelle Obama and Perry the Platypus at Disney last week.


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22 Responses for “Clapping Palm Coast’s Tony Capela, Santorum on Steroids, Dustin Hoffman on Sex: The Live Wire”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have no problem with the DNJ following up on stories about Mr. Capela, and his work ethic, but let’s close the door and get back to work. Generally, when someone comes into a Governmental work environment, from a private work environment, you run into a number of existing employees, who have never had feedback or expectations placed upon them. They react as if, working at their own pace is acceptable. In this case, Mr. Capela, inherited a hostile work environment, and was asked to improve. There normally is “fallout”, when requests for improvement are made. What I do not understand, is why Mr. Landon is giving orders to Mr. Capela, when Mr. Adams is his direct boss?.

    • Begonia says:

      Inherited a hostile environment? Maybe you’d like to read that again.

      There are laws in this country and good leadership is not affiliated with how loud you can scream, how abusive you can get. Most of us know this is not professional, not even close. The fact that the City Manager condones it and encourages it is not surprising.

      What we have here is a severely disfunctional city government.

  2. Rick says:

    This can be summed up with the statment “two wrongs don’t make a right”. If the department was operating that way, it was wrong. If Mr. Capela treated his employees in that regard, it was wrong. A true professional could have turned around the department without the need to resort to such tactics.

  3. says:

    i agree with you rick two wrongs do not make a right capela has nothing up stairs as far as communication skills its all in the big mouth. our intelligent city manager agrees to degradation of a person to get a job done, this is not a plantation to the both of you. the employees are human beings and should be treated as such. i think . the next time the city manager wants a pay raise tell him you should be lucky you have a job and get back to work. i will pay the extra taxes to support a union. the reason i make this statement is i have heard that city employees are frequently told “you should be lucky to have a job”. if capela was so good, he would have turned the department around with respect to all under his supervision, however he believes along with landon that humiliating, degrading is the way to go. basically capela has told us in his comments that is the way he handles people. i did not work up to my potential until i had a manager who came in and treated all of my fellow co-workers and myself with respect and we became the best department in the building with everyone wanting to work with us. we came in happy and left happy, wow what a way to go to work. in an economy like we have no, most employees “eat crap” because there are no jobs. this is sad. capela you should be proud of yourself, oh and landon you too.

  4. Christie 2012 says:

    How Silly has this Story become. Maybe it’s time for the City Council do something!!!! 27 city employees leave in a 3 month period and many say the same thing in their exit interview about Mr Capela being a bully. What a black eye this whole thing gives the city. But then again, this is Palm Coast Government.

    • john davis says:

      Christie, I agree with you. Where is our City Coucil? They need to do something. Do they not read the newspaper. They need to ferify that Public Works is a hostile work place. All they need to do is ask the employees past and present like you said Christie the exit interveiw tell the real reason why so many people have quit. It;s pretty clear with all the newspaper articles and various bloggs. Capela is subjecting city employees to constant abuse. When one person says something well you can choose to disregard it but; when you got all those x employees talking in the newspaper plus all the exit interveiws. Theres your truth. Shame on you Mr Landon for condoning this behavior. Wendy Cullen (hr mgr) shame on you for not protecting the employees. “Cullen also said she would not “debate” claims that she FAILED to respond to employees complaints about Capela”
      Well at least you have publicly admitted that you FAILED to do your job. Not that it would make it any better to the former employees who fell victim to Capela.

  5. Sunny Side Up says:

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…it must be a duck. How can so many be saying the same about Tony for it not to be true? Isn’t Landon a bully himself? Tony needs to remember these people may be his neighbors long after his position at the city ends. Those on top kick butt to get to the top, but have to kiss it on the way down. Reminds me of Oel Wingo.

  6. kenan Dickson says:

    After reading the article in Sundays News Journal titled “Palm Coast City Boss earns praise, and complaints” I can’t help not commenting on Tony’s Capela’s and Renee Shevelen’s quotes. “Workers partook of weekly Friday afternoon barbecues on city time”. Not true. On holidays or special occasions Public Works did have a barbecue and would invite other departments to participate. Not on a weekly or monthly bases like Capela and Shevelen had stated. “City workers hitting golf balls while at work.” This was something that the old management was involved in. It had nothing to do with the average worker who went out everyday and did an honest days work. Mr Capela is trying to justify his bad behavior and the City Manager is condoning it for the sake of getting the job done. Management at that time was a joke, but don’t pass it on to the average worker who hasn’t had raises in three years. Lets put the blame where it really belongs on upper management. So now Mr Landon you are telling everyone that works for the Public Works Department that it’s OK and Capela can go on and continue mistreating workers with his verbal assaults. As Capela once said be happy you have a job because there are a lot of people out there waiting to take yours. Well Mr Capela there are a lot of people out there looking for work especially with the high unemployment in Flagler County. But this doesn’t give you or anyone else a reason to mistreat your employees with constant threats or harassment in the work place because you know they have no where else to go. Remember Mr Capela you can be replaced with someone with more construction knowledge then you who knows how to treat people with respect and dignity. Possibly someone who may do the job for less pay. Shame on you Mr Landon for allowing this behavior to continue. You were aware of it and did nothing to stop it. Mr Capela you use the words “Tuff Love” Does that equate to humiliation and intimidation in the work place. Your quote which you have said more then once. “I don’t give a dam about you or your families.” Maybe the city needs to make changes again to bring back dignity in the work place and give us someone who cares.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What does the Us Department of Labor say about all of this? Do all the victims stay in contact and have they spoke as one voice to an Employment Attorney?

  8. Christie 2012 says:

    Sunny side up: Funny you mention Oel Wingo in your post. Ms Wingo worked very hard on getting Mr Capela to become the Public Works Director for Holly Hill after firing the one who was there.

  9. Karen says:

    I don’t get it. The News Journal reports that Wendy Cullen the Human Resources Director did an investigation. According to Wendy’s “provisional investigative findings.”
    “Mr Capela would yell and swear at his subordinates. Mr Capela must temper his temper and communicate calmly with his staff if he can alter his communication style to one that is less aggressive and demeaning.” So there is no burden of proof that Capela was a bully. The City’s own investigation so states. The question is: Is he still a bully? The Newpaper states the investigation was done in May 2011. Yet in the paper the exit interviews are all dated after the investigation. I have never worked in city government. However I must say it sounds really messed up. Time to clean house!

    • Begonia says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more! But then, we are still waiting for the investigation of the Sheriff to conclude, something that is not likely anytime soon since he is now refusing to submit his phone records.

      Somebody needs to clean house in this town.

  10. kid rock says:

    there are several “tony capelas” at utilities too! Bullying, intimidating, humiliating is the norm! No protection for employees, time for a union!

  11. BJ says:

    It isn’t just Palm Coast either. Bunnell has its share too. It probably stems from a lack of working professionals and good ole boy mentality in the Flagler County area.

    • Begonia says:

      Our City Manager knows better. He is paid to know better. There is nothing “good ol boy” about this.

      • Karen says:

        Begonia I agree the City Manager does know better. Funny you mention paid to know. I remember reading that Landon is grossly over paid he makes $230,000.00. a year

        • Begonia says:

          My remark was intentional. We are almost a totally disfunctional city in many areas, and we have one of the most overpaid city managers in the entire country.

          Things are not going to get better around here until he is gone and the council realizes they are paid to do more than just show up. Everybody keeps reelecting them. Nothing gonna change there.

          We have a dysfuntional government here, which is also intentional, and as long as we do, we will continue to be a dysfunctional town.

          27 people in the same dept quit their jobs and the two people responsible for it are sittin in tall cotton.

  12. says:

    time for unions, this crap would not exist if there was one. in was in one for 30 years and it served us well .

  13. Begonia says:

    Unfortunately, with unions you also cannot fire the no-loads. These 27 employees need to look for a lawyer.

    I’ll bet the city would dump this guy quick if that happened. They can’t afford the lawsuit.

  14. palm coast is home says:

    I work there and agree with parts of this discussion but not all. Most of all, did 27 employees leave Tony Capella’s department? Wow! Over how long a time frame?

    Also, I think that if Ms Cullen did an investigation and they told Mr. Capela to straighten up and they gave him another chance, how can we know if the reports of bad behavior were before or after he got in trouble, if he did get in trouble, which, if you read between the lines, it sounds like he did.

  15. johnc says:

    Nothing new here, here you have Mr. Capell who probably never went to college to become a Supervisor based on his construction background. Having worked in construction in this city and the way our foreman act towards employees is no different. I know one thing they all have in common is that they never took mgt. classes. Manage thru fear is old school, there is no need for it, it doesn’t work. I have over 20 years of rest. mgt experience behind me. I graduated with a 4 year degree, and one thing I learned over the years that works best is to, respect your employees, treat them the way you want to be treated, work beside your employees, show them your not afraid to get your hands dirty, be firm but also be fair.
    I had to leave rest mgt. over health issues, went into construction and what an eye opener it was. Foreman yell and screen belittle you and make you feel useless not fun. What do I do? I laugh it off. They have no answer for that a bunch of guys that act like 5th graders at recess!!! Mr. Capella had to get rid of dead wood but should have used the system, paper trails, disiplinary actions, paper trails, but being a right to work state employees have no power. Its a shame because that jerk of a city mgr. Landoumb knows the rules and uses it to his advantage. That is why I am out of here, I will be starting a new career back up North with a strong union behind me, a great starting salary, great benefits, and no more living in the fuedal society of Flager County where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer, oh there is no middle class left in Flagler County. Working for a local company for 5 years and no raise?
    The city employees left in the street dept. I feel sorry for you because Mr. Capela is not going to change not with Landoumb and Mayor Numb behind him. Definitely the new version of the 3 Stooges!!!

  16. Christie 2012 says:

    All 27 people who left during the 3 month time frame where not all from Public Works. This number was quoted from a story in October by the Observer. The story also said that 37 employees left the city between the month March through September. Approx 10% of the work force I would think.
    The article blamed the losses on a heavy work load because of budget cuts.The article did not speak of all the internal problems that were happening during the same time.

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