David Alfin was sworn-in as Palm Coast’s fourth mayor this evening in a simple ceremony and a well-attended meeting in which he made a point of defining his tenure as a service to residents, but also as a mission to bring civility and consensus to a sharply divided council. There was pointed symbolism and a few pointed remarks during the meeting.
Palm Coast City Council
Victor Barbosa, the Palm Coast City Council member, announced in a terse Facebook post: “3 day in the hospital fighting covid and pneumonia.” Two days before his hospitalization he was at an election-night party for Alan Lowe where someone described him as “pretty wore out,” and where no one was masked.
The big lies lost. But Palm Coast isn’t out of the woods. Alan Lowe may have been rejected by 73 percent of the electorate, but David Alfin’s 36 percent win, with less than 10 percent of the actual electorate, is hardly a rousing victory for a campaign that won more by default than acclamation, with incendiaries like Ed Danko and Victor Barbosa still on the council.
The Palm Coast Canvassing Board had a quiet and uneventful session today, poring over 81 ballots that had to be judged valid or not. The absence of Alan Lowe partisans suggests their vague claims of a contestable election was nothing more than that.
While the Flagler Health Department and AdventHealth Palm Coast are overrun with Covid cases and in-patients, local governments have gone silent, indifferent to the worst wave of the pandemic yet, making a mockery of their claim of a “partnership” with the Health Department or the hospital and amplifying community apathy that multiplies infections.
A 15-month drumbeat of sound and fury over allegations of corruption, cover-ups, cabals and criminal acts, a drumbeat that influenced two elections, a city manager’s career and the mayor’s own, among others, tarnishing the reputation of a leading private company in the county, came down to a minor rebuke over an email misuse Holland long ago acknowledged and apologized for. Nothing else.
Realtor David Alfin was elected Palm Coast’s fourth mayor this evening in a relatively strong win over five other candidates. Fellow-Realtor Cornelia Manfre and Alan Lowe were trading places for second. Alfin’s victory paired with Manfre’s showing is a decisive repudiation of scorched-earth politics represented by Alan Lowe and Council member Ed danko, who’d made his political fortune synonymous with Lowe’s campaign.
Filtering issues had hampered the initial opening of the $5.1 million pad. In mid-June, what appeared to be electrical issues later traced to a software problem developed, forcing the pad to close for a few days. There’s been other issues. The pad closed again today as cracks were detected in the soft padding.
Credit ratings play a key role in a local government’s ability to secure lower interest loans, or to refinance existing loans accordingly. They also signal a level of financial soundness that can sometimes get lost in the din of political rhetoric and misinformation about “debt,” especially in Palm Coast.
Palm Coast Mayor Eddie Branquinho’s sarcasm can be difficult to detect behind a Portuguese accent. When he used it today to ridicule a fellow-council member’s bogus claims, opponents took it as an opportunity to deflect from the lie and attack Branquinho instead.