Jane Gentile-Youd is an independent–no-party affiliation–candidate for Flagler County Commission, District 4, facing Republican Leann Pennington in the Nov. 8 general election.
All registered Flagler County voters may cast a ballot in the race, regardless of party affiliation or residency location.
Two seats were up this year on the County Commission. In District 2, Republican Greg Hansen won reelection in an open primary, defeating Janet McDonald and Denise Calderwood. Pennington defeated incumbent Joe Mullins in the Republican primary, and now faces the independent Gentile-Youd.
Flagler County Commission members serve four years. They’re paid $59,637 a year, a salary set by the state, not by the local commission.
FlaglerLive submitted identical questions to all candidates, with the understanding that additional questions might be tailored to candidates individually and some follow-up questions may be asked, with all exchanges on the record. The Live Interview’s aim is to elicit as much candor and transparency as possible. We have asked candidates to refrain from making campaign speeches or make lists of accomplishments. We have also asked candidates to reasonably document any claim or accusation. Answers are lightly edited for clarity, relevance and, where possible, accuracy. If a candidate does not answer a question or appears to be evading a question, that’s noted.
But it’s ultimately up to the reader to judge the quality and sincerity of a candidate’s answers.
|To vote: see a sample ballot here. Early voting is between October 24 and November 5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at four sites in the county, listed here. You may vote early at any of the four sites regardless of your precinct location. To vote by mail, request your mail-in ballot here. Because of the Legislature's new law, restricting voting convenience, drop boxes are available, but only to a limited degree. The ballot drop box at the Elections Office will be monitored by a staff member beginning 60 days prior to the election, through Election Day. This drop box will no longer be available after office hours or on weekends, except during the early voting period. Other drop boxes will be available at early voting locations, but only during the days of early voting, and only during voting hours. Mail ballots must be received in the Elections Office by 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. If returning your ballot by mail, please allow at least ten days for delivery. A postmark does not extend this deadline. You may track your ballot here. All other election-procedure related inquiries can be answered at the Elections Office's website.|
The Questions in Summary: Quick Links
- Method and philosophy
- Critical issues
- Needs and wants
- School concurrency
- Environmental protection
- Heidi Petito
- Public transportation
- Sheriff’s budget
- Background check
Place and Date of Birth: New York City, November 29, 1943.
Current job: Realtor/Designated broker.
Party Affiliation: Non-Party (NPA) Independent.
Net Worth: See Gentile-Youd’s disclosures here and here.
Website and Social Media:
1. What makes you qualified to be a county commissioner? If you’re an incumbent, what examples illustrate how you yourself, as opposed to the board collectively, made a difference in enacting your vision in your previous years on the board? If you’re a challenger, what have you done to prepare, so that you’re ready from day one?
My immersing myself and involving my efforts to make my new home as beautiful and as honest as can be since a month after moving moving here in April 2002. First accomplishment was convincing the then county commission to use a $200,000 Florida Department of Transportation grant to clean up and beautify the approach, the on ramp and the bridge at southernmost I-95 entrance to Flagler County. Result: palm trees up and down the bridge, hedges in the triangles in the approaches, money from FDOT to the county to maintain the area, installation of guard rails and reflectors on the once very dangerous bridge.
Initiated a successful opposition a potential possibility of a 24/7 marijuana dispensary adjacent to Plantation in 2017; actively participated in a the successful attempt to stop the rezoning of 202 acres in Eagle Lakes for over 800 mobile homes in 2018 ( developers now trying for chicken coop housing on same land). Did my homework and lobbied, always in person, against the original county purchase of Plantation Bay Water by the county in 2013 for more than double its appraised value. Objected in person, as a taxpayer as well as an over-30 year experienced licensed real estate broker and Realtor (who knows values) to the insane purchase of the old Memorial Hospital the same year due to the failure of the county to have an invasive inspection done and proper Flagler County appraisals done prior to purchase based on a ‘flashlight’ lunchtime inspection by commissioners of this building in absence of electric and water.
Years later the Sheriff refused to let his staff remain in the building over health issues and the county has lost millions of dollars. I objected to the purchase of the Sears building in person, after my homework revealed that the option contract was sloppily converted to a Sales and Purchase contract with most of the necessary real estate caveats not in place, as well as the fact that a ‘non invasive’ inspection was ordered by the county from Universal Sciences rather than an invasive inspection, which would have revealed building defects not visible by the naked eye….County purchased this piece of crap and later sued the realtor as well as their own inspection company. County lost well over a million on this blunder.
I objected to the purchase of the pre-fab barn out west for a fire station because the barn not only did not have electricity, but the foundation was determined to not be strong enough to hold a fire truck filled with water! The barn is now used to store county public works equipment. I have written over the years many e-mails to Governor, Senator and House reps year after year supporting Flagler County home rule in prohibiting vacation rentals without county control and in violation of local zoning ordinances.
One of my biggest frustrations has been my failure to convince the commissioners, many times since 2013, to reinstate the 24/7 emergency helicopter service. The county has just about doubled in population since 2013 – now swelling at close to 120,000 and we have our one and only helicopter which was purchased used in 1998 which does not operate after 8PM. With the tremendous increase in traffic injuries and fatalities this is inexcusable. (Editor’s note: Flagler county acquiring its helicopter in 2002, not 1998. The helicopter was manufactured in 1998.)
I have also addressed the need for a trauma unit in Flagler County but Advent Health keeps coming up with excuses that we don’t meet the criteria. I recently helped a group in Palm Coast, on my own, to organize, to give them lawsuits to use to help them prevent a 23 acre huge storage facility from being built across from their homes worth up to $1 million. I shared my own successful experience and Appellate court ruling in favor of citizens ( not planning boards) being experts – they did their homework, found a lawyer who filed their pending lawsuit. Palm Coast unsuccessfully tried to get the law suit dismissed ( I wish them luck). I am currently, for the second time trying to stop overdevelopment on Old Kings Road opposite Sugar Mill, Halifax and adjacent to the decent lot sized single family homes in Eagle Lakes.
The Captains Barbeque fiasco is another one of my on-going efforts which has cost the county over $ 50,000 in litigation. I fought, in person, the outrageous $500 a month lease with no percentage of profits to the county; the original vote to allow this private business to build a larger building on county land we own ( so they could get a hard liquor license which requires seating for 150 people): The building has not, and legally cannot be built with private dollars; the lease continues to allow the owners to become multi millionaires at the taxpayers expense. I am also currently trying to force the commission to opening their eyes and ask the court permission once and for all to demolish the Old Dixie Hotel which is not only an unsafe structure, it has cost us over $30,000 in outside legal fees, untold sheriff’s operation costs for sending deputies constantly to do ‘security checks’, for the depreciation to the surrounding property value in addition to the negative on the health safety and welfare of the entire neighboring community in addition to the current owners giving the county permission in May 2021 to tear it down if all permits were not in place by August 21, 2021.
In closing if my efforts in all of the above issues had been successful I believe we would have save more than $25 million of taxpayers money not including legal fees. I have been preparing to be a commissioner for over 20 years and believe I am ready will be even more ready from day one to work with staff and try to learn something new every single day to benefit everyone in Flagler County.
Flagler County Commission
Jane Gentile-Youd (NPA)
Leann Pennington (R)
Palm Coast City Council
Alan Lowe, District 2
Theresa Carli Pontieri, District 2
Fernando Melendez, District 4
Cathy Heighter, District 4
Flagler County Voters Will Vote on Whether to Retain 11 Judges
Will Furry Chooses Sleaze. Again.
2. Tell us who you are as a person—what human qualities and shortcomings you’ll bring (or have brought) to the board, what your temperament is like: if you’re an incumbent, what do you consider may have been a mistake or a misjudgment on your part in your official capacity—something you’d do over, differently–in your last term? If you’re a challenger, apply the question to your work or civic involvement in recent years. Who do you admire most in office today among elected officials in Flagler County—the person you’d consider a model of leadership? Who in the world at large (beyond Flagler), and among the living, do you consider a role model of political or intellectual leadership?
As a person I am very passionate about honesty, integrity and sincerity in others as I demand those traits of myself. Those are my best qualities I offer in addition to making sure I do my homework on every issue before opening my mouth or keyboard to make sure I speak the truth as well as do not waste the valuable time of others by just speaking from the hip. My shortcomings ( unfortunately) are well known – when I get angry it is always for a valid reason and I am working very hard on counting to 10 before screaming instead of talking calmly, which I am managing to do now. I don’t really admire any of the elected officials in Flagler County; I do respect Commissioner Dave Sullivan, who respects me as a person, and Andy Dance, who does not rubber stamp all issues. There is no one I consider a model of leadership. There is no one beyond Flagler County whom I consider a role model of leadership – the closest people I can relate to are Flagler Beach Commissioner Eric Cooley, Mayor Suzie Johnston and St. John County Candidate for House Rep Adam Morley. They all show passion and love for wanting our world to be a better place to live. There is nobody in State or National office whom I really admire at all these days.
You mention your anger, which has been on display in your speaking segments before the County Commission and in countless emails you have sent county officials–often because you do shoot from the hip, or because your interpretation of issues has not caught up to facts as they are. Your opinion of individuals can turn on a dime, going from admiration to demolition. You recoil at the slightest criticism, then go on the attack. The commission over the past four years has not been a model of decorum or leadership. How is your unpredictable temper going to improve matters?
I am unable to provide an intelligent answer, as requested, to allegations which are not specified, other than communications between Commissioners Sullivan, Dance and Hansen and I are civil and respectful at all times regarding matters discussed.
3. How do you describe your governing method and philosophy: how do you (or will you) prepare for each council meeting and workshop, what is your analytical method, issue by issue, and what drives your decision-making? What role do politics, ideology or immovable principles have in your decision-making approach?
My governing method and philosophy: I will prepare for each meeting and workshop as far in advance as possible. I want to insist that there is a minimum of six days not just two or three days for agendas and back-ups to be posted, as currently, and will object to any two-day or last minute agendas. I will analyze each issue based on proven need and proof of most practical (not always cheapest) cost and terms. Politics have no place whatsoever in local issues. My immovable principles are legality of decision, necessity of decision, cost of decision and not based on my personal or emotional feelings.
“Politics have no place whatsoever in local issues.” Candidates often say this, but the reality is that a governing board like the County Commission is by definition political, and commissioners’ process is nothing if not political. Can you explain or clarify what you mean when you say politics have no place in local issues?
Charter municipalities are all non-partisan because local issues have no party. Very simply – county issues include tourist dollars, library dollars, first responders dollars, building and zoning dollars, administration costs. Not even the salaries of commissioners in non-charter counties are locally decided! Party preferences have no place in local governments because local governments cannot enact party legislation such as abortion, student loans, foreign aid, social security increases, immigration policies, income tax rules.
Many current issues are critical to me but the most blatant. Number 1: is the overwhelming, almost frightening 100 percent approval of zoning variances, exceptions, almost laissez-faire issuance of building permits, plat revisions without any proper or adequate infrastructure studies being done neither by the applicants nor by county Growth Management. Example: 4 years ago our Growth Management Director actually said ( either March or April 2018) “Trailers (on rented land) are ‘ good for growth’ in Flagler County. I would try for a minimum six month moratorium until all zoning codes revisited and revised – application procedures, site plan submissions, plat approval process and most importantly, proof that sufficient municipal services are be in place – including school sufficiency, fire and police emergency services, hospital bed availability ( Advent on SR100 has 99 beds), parks and recreation, water availability, preservation of green space, cultural event funding and road construction – both county and state.
Number 2: is a snowball effect this runaway development has on the School System and how it is affecting our future generation. A developer wants to build housing has to pay 100 percent up front or don’t build. Placing portables on school campuses are an inexcusable demoralizing disgrace to the students as well as teachers.
Number 3: Increasing FireFlight, the emergency helicopter, to a minimum 14 hours a day from 6 a.m. to midnight from the current 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. And we need another helicopter desperately. I have met with the Chief Pilot who confirmed to me that our current rescue helicopter was purchased used and that is not sufficient. Considering our population of about 50 percent what it is now we had our helicopter operating 24/7. There should be enough revenue between the county, Palm Coast, Bunnell, Flagler Beach, Beverly Beach to support extra staff to man 14 hour a day service. (In addition to this I would push for a Trauma Center but I doubt I would succeed. There are many more issues critical to me but the above to me are the most important to the current life for the majority of residents.)
To suggest that all the development steps you describe are being approved without proper study or concurrence seems simplistic: epic-length technical review committee meetings and back-up materials, planning board meetings and hearings before the County Commission suggest it’s not that black and white, and your reference to 100 percent approval seems anecdotal, not factual. Do you have evidence to the contrary? Regarding your second point, have you changed your mind In light of the new joint agreement between local governments and the school district on ensuring proper planning and school construction ahead of development? Is it ever reasonable to ask a developer, whatever its size, to pay its impact fees or mitigation fees up front, considering that all small developments of 10 or fewer houses are exempt of such up-front dues anyway (are you not concerned about smaller builders locally who may not have the cash flow of a big builder?), and that all developers pay their impact fees sooner or later? In your third point, you suggest paying for the extra hours of the emergency helicopter with contributions from other cities, but that’s a misunderstanding of financial responsibilities: the helicopter is a county responsibility. So with what county funds will you pay for the addition to what is already a $360,000 budget?
I never said “all development steps.” I clearly specified “zoning changes, variances and special exceptions.” Such items although they go before the planning board and county commission are 90 percent voted “Approved” and rarely are any questions asked. The presentations are made by county staff rather than the applicant themselves. The applicant is sometimes asked if they wish to comment. I have never seen in any municipality the government staff speaking on behalf of an applicant for a zoning changes, variances and special exceptions and I sat on a zoning board in Miami-Dade County. Your opinion of simplistic is not my opinion of simplistic. My “100 percent comment” was strictly with relation to school board issues and not zoning issues. I believe developers yes should pay impact fees up front. Nobody forces anyone to build big or small. There are no guarantees of profit in this world in any investment nor do entitlements exist to profit from any investment.
5. Candidates and commissioners hear the phrase “needs, not wants” from many constituents, usually as a criticism of some specific proposal to spend money on a project the speaker considers a “want.” Please give two or three examples of what you consider “needs” and how you would address them as a commissioner, and two or three examples of “wants” that you believe are important enough to justify the required spending.
Three examples of needs: Put immediate brakes on all zoning changes, variances, exceptions by imposing minimum six months moratorium. The county needs to stop granting irresponsible permission to developers’ wishes to increase our density without all necessary needs addressed. Another NEED is to stop the almost ( my opinion) blackmail power of the county commission to decide how the school board is going to be funded for the future. My proposal would be a 100 percent commission vote not just a majority to have a final say so ; if that fails then we need to resort to the state or mandatory arbitration. My wants: Beautiful roads, full of flowers; no more zero lot line homes; no parking in the grass of residential homes; an ordinance imposing a major fine on boom box drivers whose decibels shake nearby vehicles.
The moratorium you are proposing is close to equating to a development moratorium, in a county where the housing supply is critically low, the media price of a house is $400,000, and the economy may be teetering on recession. How is a moratorium in any form fair to potential home buyers and to builders, particularly since, absent evidence, you are basing the need for a moratorium on anecdotal evidence of unregulated growth?
My desire for a six-month moratorium has nothing to do with stopping construction or withholding building permits, inspections, etc. for property already zoned and platted for development. It would be STRICTLY for zoning changes, variances and special exceptions. I don’t want to see irresponsible special exceptions for storage sheds, for instance, where the land is currently zoned for neighborhood shopping! Back in 2018 there was an attempt to rezone land adjacent to Eagle Lakes for a Trailer Park on rented land which was beyond absurd and in no way corresponding to any master plan or land use plan. Over 10 years ago land abutting single family homes in Plantation Bay was granted a ‘variance’ and the outdated C-2 zoning [that is, for general commercial] allowing a storage facility to abut homes. You bet I want this to stop and I want notices to property owner within 1,000 feet notified. I also hope that the plan to revise the 40 year outdated C-2 zoning be totally revised .
6. Commissioners like to say they won’t raise taxes or will keep taxes, or at least tax rates, flat. How do you define a tax increase—as keeping the rate the same or as exceeding the rollback rate? Adopting your definition of an increase, are you against property tax increases? What three specific line items would you cut from this year’s proposed budget to keep the property tax where you’d want it?
Taxes: I am not generically opposed to tax increases. However, you bet, based on the irresponsible wasteful spending by the County Commission I am against a tax increases specifically on homestead properties. Three specific items I would cut from this year’s budget: a) County Attorney Budget of $915,000. Attorney should be paid no more than County Administrator and have a total budget of maximum $400,000 including staff and all court costs. The Sheriff’s budget of is not based on crime we have in Flagler County. A $7 million budget increase in three years cannot be justified. $ 30 million tops, not $35 million, and more dollar for dollar reports are necessary c) County Administration and County Commission Benefits and Expenditures including Travel are unjustified in my opinion. $62,000 worth of ‘benefits to county commissioners?
Regarding what you refer to as tax increases on homesteaded properties: you paid $3,758 in total taxes on the property you own in Plantation Bay in 2010, of which $1,305 was for the county’s general fund (which pays for FireFlight, among other items). You paid $3,376 in total taxes last year, a 10 percent decrease compared to 2010. That’s before taking account of inflation. If your total taxes had merely kept up with inflation, your taxes would have been $5,136, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator. In essence, you’re paying 34 percent less in taxes, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than you did in 2010. Even when calculating the increase in county taxes you paid in 2021 compared to 2010 ($1,722, up from $1,305), your county taxes have barely kept up with inflation, and you’re actually ahead by a few dollars. Shouldn’t candidates for public office correct the record on taxes rather than amplify misconceptions, as you seem to be doing? A $5 million cut from the sheriff’s budget would imply substantial reductions in the number of deputies. If not, what would you cut?
I am against subjectively raising the residential homestead tax assessments and relying on homestead properties for 80.5 percent of the entire current 2022 County Tax Base for example. I do not think it is fair that all other tax bases combined account for less than 20 percent of the total revenue. Example: Commercially zoned 2251 South Old Dixie Highway, hotel/restaurant on 6.38 acres paid a total of $4,347 in 2021 taxes. That is only $971 more for over 6 acres of commercially developed land than the taxes on our homesteaded single family home which is less than 1 acre. The fact that the hotel and restaurant are in disrepair does not negate their existence and size (there are active permits to restore). I am in no way criticizing our property appraiser. He is using guidelines and doing his job. The Sheriff is getting an unprecedented $36,622,750, compared to $18,000,000 in 2016. As Commissioner Andy Dance stated, it is the Sheriff’s job, not the county’s, as to how to slice his cake. Furthermore I did not speak my opinion at any of the budget workshops or public hearings but you have proof of all the things he himself wants instead of paying deputies, i.e. new Boston Whaler boat with two big expensive outboard motors (for the lakes and intercoastal); a new $400,000 command center he wants; he costs us bundles in addition to his budget since ad valorem dollars maintain his boats, his cars, his buildings (which we own and pay for and don’t come out of his budget). He has funding, as Commissioner Dance clearly told him on September 7, 2022: “He has the ability to pay his people first.”
7. The County Commission has signaled some readiness to scrap the school-concurrency standard that has prevailed for many years—the requirement that development proceed only when there is sufficient capacity in schools to seat students. The commission also appears ready to change the timing on when developers pay impact fees: not up front (as the school district prefers, for planning purposes), but more in a pay-as-you-go approach. Where do you stand on school concurrency, and were you supportive of the commission rolling back the district’s initial ask for a doubling of school impact fees?
Concurrency has to be 100 percent from date of application. No problem which adding a caveat that if county and school board actual statistics prove that upon completion and Certificate of Occupancy of the homes that the basis of the original fees was too high the developers can apply for a refund of the difference, less staff costs. Aren’t portables enough proof why we cannot afford to abandon the current concurrency standard.
Note: the county, the school board and cities have resolved the issue since the question was first posed, though a follow-up question above addresses the resolution, and Gentile-Youd’s response.
8. Evaluate the county’s long-term plan to save its beaches. It signed on to a $100 million beach renourishment plan for just 2.6 miles of beach just in Flagler Beach. The cost is expected to increase by the tens of millions of dollars, with half that cost over the next four or five decades the county’s responsibility. It is now demonstrably certain that sea levels are rising, and Flagler’s revenue sources for additional beach protection are tapped out. How do you propose to pay for the next repairs should a hurricane like Matthew or even a strong storm with damaging surges strike during your tenure? How is beach protection not a losing battle?
Most unfortunately I believe the current plan to save our beaches is a losing battle that we are unfairly saddling our future generations with. I firmly believe that all involved governmental agencies need to start researching , nationwide and worldwide alternative possibilities. Combine global warming – which is not a Republican nor Democrat issue – it is real with the putting good money after bad. Taking a deep breath if we have another hurricane it should not be the county taxpayers at large to pay to repair any of the damages other than those inflicted upon government property such as the Flagler Beach Pier and Boardwalk. All road repairs on A-1A should be borne 100 percent by FDOT.
In fact, all road repairs to A1A have been borne by FDOT every time it’s been damaged, whether it’s been Hurricane Floyd or Hurricanes Matthew and Irma more recently–and Hurricane Ian this month. But the cost of maintaining the beaches is another story. Even the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project in Flagler Beach requires a 35 percent local match. Now that Hurricane Ian has carved out what was left of the dunes, the county must come up with a more certain funding source, including from its own coffers, to ensure that beaches can be rebuilt. Are you still opposed to any local money being part of the equation? If so, how realistic is such an approach, if it could also mean pre-empting state and federal contributions?
Your own article posted October 16th, 2022 clearly states: “The county is not only looking for money, but also looking to reduce or eliminate requirements that any state grant be matched locally by up to 50 percent: the county simply could not afford it, al-Khatib said. The matching requirements for federal dollars are smaller.” Our expert county engineer Faith Al-Khatib gave a better answer than I could to this question.
Other than a moratorium, which you address in earlier questions, what do you propose to do about this?
The county is failing in the preservation of the environment. Tree preservation ordinances are tossed in the trash in front of our eyes. The turtles, the animals are losing their natural habitats and we humans are losing our beloved Flagler County as we came and settled here for. 100 percent failure in my opinion at this time.
I thought the world of Heidi Petito as Director of General Services. She went above board to handle issues at Plantation Bay Water; the parks etc she got an A++++. Sad to say as Administrator she does not have my admiration. She has made false presentations to the County Commission about the derelict dangerous Old Dixie Motel and makes feeble incorrect statement about the litigation to me who has the entire court docket on my computer; she went so far as to try to defend a non existent permit extension not knowing I have proof of the permit expiration on July 6 not August 8; she knew very well she was incorrect but took a chance that I didn’t do my homework. She piles the consent agenda with issues which should he decided by the commissioners, such as costly 5 year FDOT programs, and is supporting increasing Administrative costs on the proposed 2022-2023 budget which in my opinion is inexcusable. I am sorry in retrospect that Jerry Cameron, whose original intention was to hire Jorge Salinas as Chief Administrator and Heidi as Assistant changed his mind. Heidi even made a statement to me that if I ever filed a suit against the county for failing to ask the court to demolish the hotel that the Sheriff would NEVER appear as a witness. I had to inform her that when anyone is issued a subpoena they must appear ( Sheriff has confirmed to me that he would appear). She was great in General Services but I am sad and sorry to say , based on her totally incorrect responses to my requests that I do not approve of her as Administrator; it appears she is way above her head.
Gentile-Youd added this postscript to an answer she had initially provided before the primary:
Although Heidi Petito has made false presentations to the County Commission regarding the Old Dixie Hotel I do not believe she had time to do her own research but relied on others who fed her with what they wanted her to say and she is afraid to state anything that might be considered a “legal opinion.” She is trying and I must give her credit for her efforts. I do however stand my my firm objections to piling issues on the Consent Agenda.
11. With the county’s population exceeding 120,000, where do you stand on the county and its three major cities devising a collaborative public, surface, fixed-route transportation system that goes beyond the county’s current limited operation? How would such a system be paid for?
Our transportation system is worse than the ‘por puestos’ in Caracas Venezuela (also known as the jitney system). It is shameful that we do not have a system which does not require a person to call days, weeks in advance for a pick up. I would support a county wide effort , and ask for experienced volunteers to help us out of this disgraceful excuse of current transportation. I do not know off the top of my head how to pay but we can start with a few million dollars that need to be sliced from the current tentative budget – some of my ideas expressed above.
“A few million dollars that can be sliced from the current budget.” Other than the half-million cut from the county attorney’s budget, which you present without explaining how the county’s legal burdens would be handled with such a cut, can you give us specific examples of line items you’d eliminate to underwrite the transportation system? How would volunteers be used to run it? What volunteers?
Gentile-Youd did not answer the question, providing instead a long indictment of the county attorney, before turning to transportation:
I clearly said I do not know off the top of my head to get volunteers but I am infuriated that since I originally answered this question before the primary, $600,000 was cut from the current budget in addition to other cuts to give the Sheriff the additional $700,000 he demanded for a total $36,622,750.
12. The sheriff’s budget plus the capital budget have risen rapidly, with the continuing addition of deputies, the new operations center, and other substantial capital additions such as a new mobile command center and a boat. The budget proposal requests another expansion this year. In light of persistently low crime rates, where do you place the point at which expansions in budgets and ranks outweigh the benefits, or become more burdensome on the county’s overall budget than necessary? Is there such a thing as overfunding police?
Sheriff should have a budget of $30 million tops. I have addressed this insane waste in my budget comments. A seven million dollar increase in 3 years with a low crime rate is in my opinion stealing taxpayers money. His staff will not see a dime – they will still work from their cars for the most part. Sheriff wants a Taj Mahal while we have a 40 year old helicopter for emergencies 8 hours a day. Not only do we have a low crime rate – it would be even lower if marijuana were legalized (his Green Roof In might wind up being a future abandoned motel.)
Note: Gentile-Youd’s statements on the sheriff’s budget in candidate forums have resulted in a skirmish between Gentile-Youd and the sheriff, with the latter issuing a rebuttal to her claims at forums, and Gentile-Youd releasing her own response to the sheriff. While those statements were not provided in any way as part of this interview, they are presented here in their original format, for readers’ information. The sheriff’s statement is here. Gentile-Youd’s statement is here.
13. Have you ever been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor anywhere in Flagler, Florida or the United States (other than a speeding ticket), or faced a civil action other than a divorce, but including bankruptcies, or faced any investigative or disciplinary action through a professional board such as the bar or a medical board? If so, please explain, including cases where charges or claims did not lead to conviction or disciplinary action.
My reply is No to all questions with the exception of Mori Hosseini suing us to try to take out house away from us in 2003 because we refused his final offer to move away. We settled at no expense to us other than a few hundred to our wonderful attorney.
You acknowledged having a sealed record in Flagler County, “going back to 1986,” which suggests that you have faced a charge previously. (You also claim, falsely, that Staly is “abusing his power,” as if to suggest he leaked the information. He is not the source of our information. You confirmed the information.) So in fact you appear to have been charged, but choose to say you have not. You quoted a website in an email to FlaglerLive saying that “If your records are sealed or expunged, you are not required in many cases to disclose the arrest.” That’s not in dispute if this were between you and your employer (in most cases, anyway, as in some cases you still have to disclose), if you were applying for a job. But you are running for a County Commission seat. Does the public not have a right to know your past, sealed or not, and to hear your explanations, especially if it relates to your conduct, your temperament and your capability to be transparent and accountable in a public responsibility? If not, why not? If yes, what does that sealed case pertain to, are there other such sealed or expunged cases in your past, what and where are they?
My sealed record was in Miami-Dade County in 1986. I never set foot in Flagler County until 2002. I am giving up my rights afforded me by F.S. 943.0585 and .059 and voluntarily answering this question: This was a false arrest for DUI with the arresting officer falsifying the time of the test recording (said test was taken at 9:15 p.m. when it was taken at 8:15 p.m.) in addition to having a reading of below .03, having had one bloody Mary. [The legal limit in Florida for drivers is 0.08.] I was fumbling with the lights on a just rented vehicle on N.W. 36th Street in Miaimi-Dade in front of Victoria Station restaurant, when I was pulled over, my purse and car taken away from me; both given to my friend who was told to drive away with my car. Both actions were determined to be also illegal: purse should have been taken with me and car should have been impounded for me to take when released. I was taken to the station with no possessions or ID and left in a locked car with the engine running for several minutes. The case was immediately dropped by the City of Virginia Gardens and the city’s insurance agent voluntarily offered me the maximum civil settlement they were able to without having to go through state procedures within days of this horror. I did not need to retain an attorney for this settlement.