In a nearly six-hour meeting rich in surprises and reversals, add Palm Coast City Council member Victor Barbosa’s decision to drop out of his run for the Flagler County Commission and seek to keep his seat on the council instead.
They are among the most controversial elected Republicans in a county not lacking for them: Palm Coast City Council member Victor Barbosa and County Commissioner Joe Mullins. Now Barbosa, in a surprise, will challenge Mullins in the Republican primary for District 4 on the County Commission. Barbosa had originally filed to run against County Commissioner Greg Hansen in District 2.
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.
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.
Ed Danko and Victor Barbosa since their election have turned the Palm Coast council into an embarrassment. The two are vying for a third vote in Alan Lowe and the mayor’s seat. That potential majority risks turning the city into a mirror of the toxic trio.
Palm Coast City Council member Victor Barbosa may be a fugitive from justice in Costa Rica, where he has been “considered armed and dangerous on the charge of Kidnapping,” according to Flagler County Sheriff Chief Dan Engert, who has requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate the matter.
In a preview of the sort of council to come if Ed Danko gets Alan Lowe elected mayor and aligns with Victor Barbosa, as Danko has continuously suggested, Tuesday’s Palm Coast council meeting was a rank display of the politics of destruction, of an elected official lashing out publicly and brutally against his own colleagues and the only two people on the council who report to him while distracting from a still-active internal investigation against him.
After Palm Coast City Council member Victor Barbosa posted pictures and a video of a Seminole Woods property Barbosa considered unseemly, the property owner wrote the council to complain of Barbosa’s “abusive, conniving, and hypocritical” tactics.
What happened on Tuesday at the Palm Coast City Council is indefensible and dangerous. But it’s nothing new. We’ve simply not been paying attention to a perilous degradation of public discourse and behavior. We are slowly becoming a crueler community debased by primitive instincts, because no one in charge, or too few people in charge, are standing up and saying enough.
City Manager Matt Morton’s past year saw some of the city’s most challenging times during the pandemic, and some of its greatest successes, with the landing of two university campuses and the return of the city’s largest manufacturing company, with 300 to 400 jobs.