Florida Today, The Silent Partner

All that is Necessary... [for evil to prosper is for good men to say nothing: George Santayana]

Many decry the ‘negative’ campaigns being waged in various races, yet few stop to ponder why such information has become even more voluminous (not more vicious) than prior years.

The abdication by the press to even perform rudimentary fact checking has left the burden of getting out information to the candidates.

The Press has become the Silent Partner to campaigns of lies, deception, exaggeration, and looting by saying and doing – nothing.

The Press has become the Silent Partner of those in office with various problems in contracting, open records, and deliberate obfuscation of truth in deed and spending by saying and doing – nothing.

Let’s see some examples where ordinarily the Press would exercise their first amendment rights and report the facts:

  • Mitch Needelman spent $16,000 of Clerk’s Office funds to print 10,000 copies of this ‘annual report’. It is simply a ‘Go Mitch, Go Mitch’, rah rah magazine. The $25,000 of taxpayer funds spent on a 2011 annual report seven months after the fact and delivered a week before the election. Florida Today coverage: Zero.

  • (Editor's Note: Due to copyright issues, the cartoon must be left off, but it was included in the article. Apologies.) The Bitter Quitter Cartoon is sent from a spoof address with no disclaimer to make you think someone you know sent it to you. I actually think it is one of the funnier campaign violations they’ve done. By the way, I never did DROP and had a 403b plan, similar to a 401k, and contrary to anonymous blogger assertions, nothing more is ever added to the 403b if I return. Investigation of another blatant campaign violation : Zero.

  • I have literally spoon fed the Blueware issue to the Florida Today. Rather than check facts on their own and write an independent story, we just get what Scott said and what Mitch said. Had the newspaper shown the inclination they would have pointed out the facts through investigation and interview. Inclination: Zero.

  • On an $8.5 million contract, one million of which has already been paid, Blueware has NO performance bond. Florida Today coverage of the unbounded risk to the taxpayer – Zero.

  • The unqualified Blueware bidder at $8.5 million was awarded over the qualified Fidelity bidder at $2.9 million. How about some contract analysis and review of the bid documents, including score sheets by Florida Today – Zero.

  • I have sent them video of Needelman claiming on May 24th three firms responded and the Clerk had yet to pick one for negotiations. I sent them a May 23rd receipt for a $500,000 payment to Blueware. Coverage by Florida Today of this blatant May 24th lie – Zero.

  • David Doty of Fidelity has offered to talk freely of the bids. Number of calls to Mr. Doty by Florida Today – Zero.

  • Looking at the above issues, as well as four months secretive electronic funds transfers to Blueware not invoiced and later placed in the clerk’s financial system July 9th, number of detailed questions to Clerk Needelman – Zero.

  • The Florida Today called my public records lawsuit a ‘spat’. While these same documents would have helped the newspaper write a really good piece of investigative journalism, number of public record requests by Florida Today to Brevard Clerk of Courts – Zero.

  • Florida Today talks all the time about being a watchdog defender of public records laws. Number of editorials by Florida Today chastising Needelman for sandbagging public records – Zero.

Here’s an extra piece from the Needelman website. This is the real quote from the article. You may see how it was selectively cropped to fit their need. Ford quit for 30 days to collect DROP money. My leaving was real and timed in February to allow for a full election cycle in 2010. I was never in DROP.

"If you are an elected official and you resign your position, then you should resign your position," said County Clerk Scott Ellis. "Then, you should be replaced by the Governor. You should not be allowed to resign your position and come back at a later date."
Ford is using a program called DROP. He will get a lump sum check of $337,192. He will also get a retirement check of $6,892 a month. That is in addition to the $139,000 dollar annual salary for his office.

Speaking of money, the Needelman campaign had about $7,000 on hand a few weeks ago. No television buys had been reported. Where is the money coming from for the television advertising and when was it paid?

Here’s a letter I sent [to FL Tody] which was not published:

“Judge: Needelman met majority of Ellis' public record requests” is grossly misleading. When the public records lawsuit was filed on June 27th no Blueware documents had been produced and requests for documents stretched back months. No flood of requests, just the same requests repeatedly – what was being paid Blueware on what authority? The majority of documents were found July 9th when the Clerk finally uploaded invoices and contracts with Bluegem dating from March through June.

Rather than comment on who is a pathological liar, the statement the "$500,000 wire transfer was “a deposit in good faith to continue negotiations” is backed by nothing. The transfer states "INITIAL PAYMENT ON SIGNING". A 'deposit' would have gone to escrow, this did not. The money was wired directly to Blueware May 23rd.

The Clerk continues to suppress the Krasny-Dettmer evaluation of the BlueGem contract concluded May 21st. The evaluation and $500,000 transfer labeled "Initial payment on signing" validate something was signed May 23rd.

The lesson for public officials is they can suppress public records with impunity until the requestor is forced to file suit, and only then need they dribble out records during the time it takes to get a hearing.

On a lighter note, I did drop by the office and saw some changes coming: The Executive/Campaign Team is Redecorating the Office.



Paid political advertisement, paid for approved by Scott Ellis, Republican candidate for Clerk of Court

This is a paid political electioneering communication. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927

This is a paid political advertisement. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927

This is a paid political advertisement. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927. No political candidate approved this advertisement.

This is a paid political disclaimer CYA. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927

For the idiots out there who will make a fuss because they're too stupid to think it through: This is a paid political advertisement. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney, 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927. No Party Affiliation, Phantom Candidate for a Phantom (Does Not Exist: created by obamination's administration: not reality) District in Florida Near You! Now bite me. Morons.

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