On June 29, Alan Lowe, one of six candidates for Palm Coast Mayor in the July 27 special election, posted a 60-second campaign message on his Facebook page. The video bears fact-checking as an example of Lowe’s tenuous relationship with facts or truth, because in 168 words, Lowe manages to fit in at least three falsehoods, make four misleading or deceptive statements and violate the state’s campaign rules twice.
Lowe is running in a field of six candidates. One of them can be as hard to follow as the last 30 pages of “Ulysses,” a couple of others tend to speak in technocratic generalities, and none, Lowe included, have the sort of prior government experience they can fall back on to project a commanding grasp of the job ahead. But if all six are sincere–and I have no doubt Lowe is as well–only Lowe makes explicitly false statements, misleading claims, and ideologically-driven pitches that have little to no connection to Palm Coast governance.
Lowe’s difficulties with facts were apparent in his run for the mayorship last year, when a commercial he ran on WNZF drew a cease-and-desist letter against the station to keep it from running it again, as it was making maliciously false accusations–maliciously so, because the accusations had been proven false, but were still repeated by Lowe. (His campaign Svengali, Ed Danko, echoed the accusations again at a Palm Coast City Council meeting Tuesday, dissimulating his allegation behind the claim that he’d spoken with a “senior” law enforcement official whose identity, title, agency or existence he would not disclose.)
Lowe’s campaign videos are numerous. For example, Lowe also issued a video 97 seconds long in early June about a meeting he had with John Walsh, the Palm Coast Observer publisher, who, Lowe claims, told him to drop out of the race. Even that video’s story is incomplete: according to Danko, Lowe’s own campaign adviser-manager, Walsh “spoke to Alan and told Alan to drop out of the race and if he dropped out of the race he [Walsh] would support Alan for City Council” in the next cycle. (Walsh, who makes no secret of candidates he supports financially and with the weight of the Observer behind them–he is supporting David Alfin–nevertheless denied he told Lowe to drop out of the mayoral race. Walsh did so in a huffy email that brooked no further comment.)
Lowe in that video repeats outright falsehoods, such as describing Alfin as a “lifelong Democrat” (our own databases going back seven years show him to have been a Republican throughout in Flagler, well before any campaign for office) “who is actively pandering to the left-wing liberal Democrat party,” which barely exists in Flagler. Lowe, who claims to support local business, then goes on to denigrate the newspaper and its numerous local advertisers as “fake news,” an odd accusation from a candidate inclined to fictions. He then theatrically pitches the newspaper like garbage–littering on a Palm Coast street: he was standing in front of the newspaper’s plaza–a trashing gesture that presumably applies to Lowe’s opinion of the tens of thousands of Observer readers, voters and advertisers.
Here’s a line-by-line fact-checking analysis of the June 29 video. Lowe’s words appear in italics.
I’m Alan Lowe, candidate for Palm Coast mayor. I’m the only real conservative Trump Republican running for mayor.
This is misleading. The claim about being “the only real conservative” is a baseless assumption other candidates would dispute. More gravely: Lowe breaks the law. The mayor and city council positions are non-partisan, the mayoral race is non-partisan. The local parties, voters and indeed candidates often ignore the fact, but candidates are bound by law. In their campaigning messages–not just their paid commercials–they’re prohibited from referring to their party affiliation.
The law is explicit: “‘Nonpartisan office’ means an office for which a candidate is prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for election or retention in office based on party affiliation.” The only exception is when an advertisement or a message refers to a candidate’s “partisan-related experience,” as when, for example, Candidate A workled for this or that Republican or Democratic administration. Lowe has no such experience, and in the pitch makes no such claims, other than to state his Trump-Republican bonafides–which is illegal: “A candidate for nonpartisan office is prohibited from campaigning based on party affiliation.”
Flagler County’s elections supervisor provides easy to use booklets to every candidate outlining all do’s and don’ts of the campaign. The 91-page booklet is written in “Idiot’s Guide”-style language, leaving little to no room for misinterpretation, assuming it is read. The prohibition Lowe violated is explained on page 39, with a hyperlinked reference to the law itself.
Lowe also appears to have violated the law by using City Hall’s actual chambers as a prop for a campaign commercial on May 24, when he announced his run for mayor.
The others in this race are all woke liberal progressives.
This is either misleading or outright false, depending on whom the terms apply in the field. The terms “liberal progressives” barely apply to Doug Courtney, an old-style Democratic liberal. They do not apply to Cornelia Manfre, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat who could easily be mistaken for a pre-Trump (and pre-Gingrich) Republican. To call Kathy Austrino or David Alfin liberal progressives may be wishful thinking among some voters desperate for more centrist or leftist choices, but it is false.
Lowe, in intonation and pitch, spits the word “woke” as a slur, as it’s being used on right-wing talk shows or social media. Dictionary.com defines the slang term “woke” as “having or marked by an active awareness of systemic injustices and prejudices, especially those related to civil and human rights.” The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “alert to injustice in society, especially racism.” Based on their responses in their FlaglerLive interviews, each of the five candidates would fit the definition (Lowe refused to participate). Which raises a valid question: why, by those definitions, would any candidate find “woke” a pejorative term? Lowe does not answer questions.
I’m the only candidate who has pledged not to raise your property taxes.
This is misleading and deceitful. It falsely implies that other candidates have somehow pledged to raise taxes. None of them has, and most consider raising taxes a last resort. Lowe’s “pledge” also doesn’t tell the whole story. Lowe can thank the Biden rescue plan for helping him stick to his pledge this year, as stimulus money is enriching local government coffers more than necessary, along with a surge in local construction. The next two years may not be as luxurious. By then the pledge may be irresponsible, as property taxes, already on the lower side of average for a city of Palm Coast’s size, are the pressure valve of local revenue when less stable revenue sources, such as sales and other use taxes, fall in economic slowdowns. Lowe’s pledge also means that he’d be willing to let city services fail if the choice is between setting the tax rate where it needs to be or rolling it back arbitrarily.
And I’m the only candidate who will put a stop to the endless wasteful spending at City Hall. On day one, I will revoke the ludicrous $30 million pickleball court fiasco.
This is false. There is no “$30 million pickleball court” project. The city council in May approved a $5.75 million expansion of the tennis center off Belle Terre Parkway in what was projected as the first phase of the expansion. But the only $30 million figure associated with the plan is Lowe’s own, when he claimed, on an outlandish claim, that watering the courts would spike costs near those levels. It is also not in Lowe’s power alone to revoke a contracted project. If he is elected, there may be a majority of three votes to abort the contract, but the city might then face lawsuits from contractors who’ve already been awarded the project, running up a different set of costs for the city, at taxpayers’ expense.
… and no other future city manager will ever quit after less than two years on the job, and walk away with a $47,000 golden parachute on my watch.
This is false in part and misleading in part. Lowe is referring to former City Manager Matt Morton’s final paycheck from the city, which totaled $47,141. But over $14,000 of that was the regular salary for his final weeks with the city. The rest was accrued sick and vacation days, which were owed to him as they are to public employees who leave a job without having used them up, though different agencies convert those days differently. State employees, for example, can cash in up to 12 weeks of unused sick leave, but must have at least 10 years on the job. Executive-level employees typically have higher allowances, especially managers, whose tenures are notoriously brief and at the mercy of political winds. It was no golden parachute: Morton, who had moved his family from Washington State, received no severance. (His predecessor cashed in on a nearly quarter-million dollar severance.)
Not one of the other candidates running for mayor has ever attended a single Flagler Trump Club meeting. And I should know. I’m on the Trump Club’s board of directors.
That may be accurate. But it is also true of well over 99 percent of the Palm Coast population. Attending a Trump Club meeting is not a measure of civic involvement, it has little to do with Palm Coast government and the running of the city, and its second mention in the Lowe campaign message echoes the earlier violation of campaign laws.
Lowe posted his video under the tagline, “The Games They Play.”
If Alfin truly wanted to pander to the Liberals in town, he would not have skipped his commitment to speak at Flagler County Pride last month.
He could have gained a lot of votes that are now going to be split across Manfre, Courtney and too-disappointed-with-the choices-to-vote. I still haven’t decided which category I am in.
I know one thing, Lowe -or any of his cronies- will NEVER get my vote.
The choices are Alfin or Manfre. “Too-disappointed-to-vote” is a vote for Lowe. Special elections have notoriously low voter turnout, which plays right in to Lowe’s hands. Good news is, he’s screwing it up. But if people actually turned out to vote, Lowe would lose. Vote people!!!!
If you don’t vote remember this—Lowe will win!! Please vote
I commented on one of his posts on facebook explaining how hypocritical he is for giving up his citizenship to get out of paying taxes he owed at the age of 30 then expects us to pay his salary with out taxes. He deleted my comment and blocked me from posting on his page. He cant handle is own bad press. He apparently doenst support free speech unless it’s his. How can I trust a person who had never did or wanted to vote his entire adult life until he decides to register a few years before he decides to run for office. Now all I see is him trying to exploit the popularity of Trump in the area to his benefit and spreading falsehoods against his competition. I seriously sick of the slanderous ads. Hes a strange guy and not someone I feel is qualified to hold office in this county.
I agree 100% with T.! Thank you for posting. I only hope Palm Coast residents either read FlaglerLive or do their research before voting. The residents of Palm Coast deserve better than Lowe and his flock.
Gina Weiss says
I just heard a commercial come on about Alfin and he also said that he will not raise taxes.
That’s what they all say
Yea and if you believe that, I have a beach front property in Arizona I would like to sell you. LOL.
Grandma and TR:: My point is that Lowe is not the one and only who stated that he will not raise taxes, Alfin did also in his millions of dollar campaign ads out against Lowe by his power PACS. Somebody desperately wants Alfin to win. I wonder who?
Send a message to Mr. Lowe – vote for one of his opponents. We saw what a fact-less President can do; we should not burden the residents of Palm Coast with a Mayor like that.
We need a bi-partisan, civil, truthful, honest, citizen-oriented Board
We should not expect anything less from Alan Danklowe. In fact the way he’s acting now, help us if he actually gets elected.
The dude says
If you need any further proof of the fact that Mr. Lowe will be nothing more than a puppet for our short statured, small minded and tiny handed city councilman (and I use the term “man” loosely here…), look no further than Danko’s own comments at this week’s council meeting… where he threatens to “fire” the city’s interim manager and attorney if Mr. Lowe is elected.
Lowe doesn’t change his underwear or leave his house without Danko’s permission.
He is and always will be the Gilligan to Danko’s Captain.
Mike Cocchiola says
Lowe is as unqualified to chair the PC city council as, well, his personal god, Trump. He has no discernable municipal leadership skills or understanding of how this city actually works. He has no apparent love or appreciation for this city. His only plan seems to be to help Ed Danko blow up the city government, burn the city’s charter and governing rules and regulations, and bring chaos to what has been a relatively peaceful and well-kept city.
Do not let this happen, Palm Coasters! Do not let the disrupters and destroyers ruin our beautiful city.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Why is it that Mr Lowe is the only candidate singled out? Why because he’s winning the race. The powers that be are affraid that Mr Lowe just might fix all this crap, engulfing City Hall. New blood is the key here. We need a change from the mundane nonesense at council meetings. And in reality, if he doesnt do a good job, vote him out. He cant be worse than Ms Holland.
So tired of this says
Perhaps because he is the one spewing lies? Perhaps because of his background and his lack of expertise? What “crap” needs to be fixed? Be specific, cite facts.
We already have too many amateurs running the city council and county commission, Lowe needs to get a real job.
Sorry, not who I want to run the City of Palm Coast. When are politicians going to start telling the truth?
Just My Thoughts says
The Trump button he is wearing in this photo told me right there I am not voting for him. He also must be a fan of Joe Mullins, wake up people and be wise who you vote for.
Curious. Has anyone ever asked Lowe about the Big Lie? Does he believe the election was stolen from his idol Drumpf? How about QAnon? Does he believe that crap?
Pierre Tristam says
He won’t answer the questions. I asked his manager-adviser Danko the question. He found every cardinal point to evade a straight answer though I asked from every cardinal point–“I don’t even go down that path because it’s pointless,” “we put that behind us but we can’t change it,” “obviously I believe in our system,” and finally, the answer that should tell you everything you need to know: “I can’t tell you if the election was stolen or not because I wasn’t in every precinct.” If this is how Danko, the vice president and spokesman of the Trump Club Lowe belongs to, put it, it’s not a leap to think that when club members gather for their oaths of fealty to their lord, they do so in the name of the big lie. Then there’s this from their ally Victor.
Thank you for replying to my question, Pierre. I am 18 months in PC and it’s a breath of fresh air to know that there is a place to go for serious, thoughtful journalism. Please keep up the good work!
Very good article Pierre but if you are going to critic this guy’s statements then do it for all. Wasn’t it our current VP when asked about lies she said duding her campaign that said “well that was said during a campaign , you say a lot of things during a campaign” or something like that.
Pierre Tristam says
Thanks Frederick, but as to your larger point: I’m not falling for the equivalency trap. To pretend to offer up supposed miscreance by other candidates simply in the name of “balance” is irresponsible, manufacturing a false balance that places the serial lies of one candidate on the same plane as the occasional missteps of others. It’s like equating willful deception with a typo (or comparing Lowe’s abjuring his citizenship to a candidate not voting in several elections–oh, wait: that’s what Lowe did most of his life until he was a candidate), or like comparing Harris with this. I don’t do that sort of disservice. If there is equivalent reporting to be done on other candidates (the way it was done on Holland, when her campaign produced that clearly racist ad last year), it will be done. But let’s not go down the road of false balance. We have Fox and that onanist network for that.
Lowe will be a cancer to Palm Coasts future if elected
You got that right. No sovcit should ever be elected to any position in any government. The very notion of being elected is contrary to the sovcit ideology.
Michael Cohen, III says
Is a law a law if there are no actual consequences for violating that law? Otherwise, it is just a wishful recommendation.
Been There says
The fact that John Walsh is backing Alfin and also endorsed Mullins, Holland and O’Brien is reason enough to NOT vote for Alfin. If the Observer endorses a candidate then there is an agenda that has nothing to do with what is best for the city or the county.
This guy is a total Greenhorn. A Political hack A puppet who won’t be able to find City Hall with a map.I would love to attend a Public Q n A with Lowe answering questions from fellow Residents, Constituents. I believe it would be enlightening to say the least
James M. Mejuto says
WOW ! This guy, Lowe is such a trump-danko-mullins-Barbosa loving S.O.B. making it a top priority
to defeat these lowlifes.
I regret that FlaglerLive.com is not the vehicle to convince the voters, simply because it does
not have the range to alert the community.
Dem0crat & Independents must be convinced these radical, outside-of-the-Republican party
activists do not reflect our community’s needs . . . They are outliers who have no
real attachment to our community.
The only way these creeps can win is when the voters choose to stay at home.
James M. Mejuto
There are three real estate people running. That leaves them out. The nun: No way. That leaves Courtney and Lowe.
Diana L says
Lowe’s fiancé is a realtor.
Sovereign citizens have one unique feature, they all lie. They live in alternate worlds and expect other people to accept that alternate reality and expect the courts to pander to their delusions. Lowe is a sovereign citizen, he tried to denounce his citizenship and declare himself exempt from the laws of our country and state. He shouldn’t be elected to anything.
If they only counted how many “Violations of Law, Falsehoods, Misleading or Deceptive Statements” Trump’s campaign and interviews had…
Pierre Tristam says
They have: 30,573 in four years. But Lowe’s hero Trump lied a little less than once an hour (significantly more when awake). Lowe managed the feat in 60 seconds, which would work out to 5.2 million lies or misleading statements in a four-year term. Fortunately for Palm Coast and the rest of us fact-checkers, the mayoral term is slightly abbreviated, should he get elected.