It is somehow May already. No county commission meeting today but the Republican Executive Committee, which meets the third Monday of every month, is meeting on May 16th. Can you believe that? The third Monday is May 16th. The calendar just blows my mind sometimes.
Speaking of the county commission however, according to Florida Politics there is a deadline today to accept the last and best offer for Betz farm.
It looks like this is going to go to a developer who's home base is my hometown of Sarasota named Carlos Beruff and there has been some speculation as to what his entrance into Citrus County would mean for the community.
Let's start there but look at it through the lens of respect. How is respect earned? Think of who or what you respect and then retrace your steps to analyze how you got there. I have never met Carlos Beruff but he has been around for so long that when my mother was working for a bank in her 20s she would tell me stories that the manager would let them know before he was walking in and every employee was expected to stand and welcome him as he entered. It's unclear whether this was a request from Carlos himself or a bank manager taking the initiative in a weird sense of client relations but it's likely somewhere in between.
This is respect demanded rather than respect earned. What many people including myself want to see is respect that is earned. The hard part about this is underneath it all is still an aspect of a power struggle. Respect is usually earned through doing something for others. At its core it's about providing value. Carlos provided value to the bank with the amount of business he brought them though the value does not always have to be financial in nature.
There's another way to get respect which is to align your personal beliefs with the valued beliefs of others. This feels a little abstract so let's give it an example. Yesterday the county commission race for district 2 had a new candidate file for election as a non-party affiliated or NPA which would close the primary that matters to Republicans if he qualifies, which is questionable at best right now.
Here's a snippet from the Just Wright Citrus analysis of the candidate entering the race, "He says he’s running to give back to his community, and I love hearing that.
So what I’m about to say has nothing to do with the candidate himself. Seven months from now we may look back with admiration on Grogan’s successful county commission run."
We won't. And honest commentary writers would say as much. But Bobby! You are perpetuating the two party establishment system. No I'm not. The Republicans on the voter rolls are expanding at a much faster rate than the non-party affiliated. I am reasonably analyzing the trends that the public is showing - not voicing my own opinion.
I am in favor of closed primaries. However, to celebrate this entrance into the race as a potential statement against the system is to be disingenuous as to what it really is. This is someone who habitually fails to follow through on any initiative who is drastically in over his head rather than making a calculated play at changing the county dynamics.
Why doesn't Just Wright Citrus say this? Because “the guy wants to give back to the community, and you got to love that.” This value on community service above all else is flat out weird to me as I've said repeatedly through the past. Don't get me wrong, community service is important. We can and should humble ourselves to something bigger than who we are as individuals. But to place so much value on it that a smart commentary writer allows himself to be duped into thinking that this is anything more than an exercise in vanity that has serious ramifications for the outcome of a critical election all because the guy said he wants to give back is a wild case of miss valuing what should be important to us.
How does someone gain respect with you? Is it monetary, kindness, or maybe honesty regardless of its perceived compassion. The latter, even though I'm trying to be more optimistic, is what you will always find here.
Jeff Jeff Jeff Jeffrey. Oh how I normally love your commentary yet every now and again, quite infrequently, I'm reminded why the Concurrent is so needed in this county. Sunday's commentary did just that.
In case you missed it, executive editor of the Chronicle Jeff Bryan made a declaration that as of Sunday the letters to the editor would no longer include pieces on federal issues nor would they include any piece that involves name calling, identifying other letter writers by name, or false information.
If this sounds familiar to you it could be one of two reasons. The first is outgoing publisher Gerry Mulligan made the same announcement last April but shortly after his retirement in June Chronicle reverted back to its previous policy probably as a result of new ownership. The second reason why it might sound familiar to you is because it perfectly describes what the sound off section is.
I wrote a piece on Easter that said commentary is going to have some contradictions, that's the nature of having strong opinions, circumstances change over time. But what the best commentary writers can do, and what would improve our discussion locally, is if those who choose to do this can act a little more self-aware when these contradictions arise.
This is it! This is what I was talking about.
Jeff ends his piece by saying those who fail to follow the rules will go into time out. This phony intellectual high road while simultaneously publishing the anonymous food fight that is the sound off section does not make the chronicle the arbiter of morality and truth but rather nothing more than the school administrator scrolling Facebook as the food fight worsens they're doing nothing more than to collect a check. In case my position on this is unclear I am for encouraging a more respectful tone when discussing public affairs in the county and I am adamantly against contradictory practices that limit attributed voices while allowing the anonymous mob free reign of the conversation. I'm taking a stance on hypocrisy, I'm against it. Maybe one day the Chronicle editorial section will be too.