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Laziness and ignorance lead to cult of incompetence

Cartoon by Jake Fuller

OPINION

BY LEN CABRERA

I have said for years that in order to vote in federal elections, people should have to fill out a tax form by hand. After watching the City of Gainesville and Alachua County become worse in every observable metric over the last six years, I think similar criteria should apply to local elections. In order to vote in a local election, people should have to watch at least one city or county commission meeting so that they’re forced to see the level of incompetence they’ve put in office in the past.

These meetings drone on for hours as if all OSHA and human resources regulations that bind private employers do not apply to the abuse the commissioners inflict on their employees. The seemingly endless prattle wasted on procedure and formality is used to lull people to sleep before slipping in the extremist policies that have been destroying our community.

The idiocy that spews from the commissioners might as well come from a progressive jargon generator. Their statements come across as the type of parody you would see in a Saturday Night Live skit or the Babylon Bee.

The Gainesville City Commission’s decision to put free menstrual products in all city-owned restrooms is just the latest in a long line of ridiculous decisions; if you look at the comments from the commissioners, you’ll quickly see their misconception of the role of local government and just how little they think of our ability to take care of ourselves without their benevolent guidance and micromanaging.

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They can barely provide the core services of a local municipality: roads are crumbling, police are woefully understaffed, crime is rising, panhandlers are at every intersection, and fire assessment and utility rates are ever-increasing. Yet these commissioners think they can and should do more, despite a long record of failure. The Gainesville City Commissioners are micro-managing (and plundering) GRU; their devotion to political ideology and lack of business experience is likely to bankrupt the utility. Based on their track record, the dispensers for menstrual products are more likely to be broken or empty than functional.

Recently, County Commissioner Anna Prizzia signaled her intention to spend County funds on a literacy program; maybe that was a tacit admission that the Alachua County School Board is just as incompetent as the rest of local government. Looking at the slides from the presentation used to justify the menstrual products program, it appears we need some mathematical literacy, too, since they calculate that if there are 36 tampons in a box that costs $13, that comes to $2 per tampon.

A brief list of other actions of our local politicians: the biomass plant debacle; soaring housing costs while they push policies for “affordable housing” and eliminate single-family zoning; box-like monstrosities along University Avenue and 13th Street; government-funded (i.e., controlled) broadband internet access; coddling and encouraging homeless drug addicts; diverting police funding to youth programs; a revolving-door policy for repeat violent offenders; repealing the open container law, which has led to late-night roving parties; eliminating plastic straws and utensils; and requiring restaurants to enter into contracts for food waste disposal. The financial affairs of the City are so bad that their audited financial statements are late, and they recently admitted that “material weaknesses” went uncorrected four years in a row. And let’s not forget their “Captain Quarantine” campaign, COVID-19 vaccination mandates for City employees, and dumping mulch in a skate park for “safety.” There’s also the explosion of “public-private” partnerships that really just serve to funnel tax dollars to less transparent, less accountable organizations and shield the politicians with excuses when things don’t improve. (Those might explain how $0.36 tampons turn into $2 tampons.)

They get away with this stuff because voters don’t bother to pay attention to the crazy that comes out of the mouths of these politicians. Some are likely seduced by the nice-sounding words about care and concern for the helpless in our community. If you’re one of these, please realize that voting is done on secret ballot, so no one sees your virtue signaling. If you want people to think you care, just wear a ribbon… or better yet, actually donate your own time or money to help the less fortunate. Don’t just vote for politicians who claim they’ll do it for you.

As economist Walter E. Williams said, “The act of reaching into one’s own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else’s pocket is despicable.”

Sadly, the best-case scenario is that our local government is simply incompetent. More likely, it’s an intentional “managed decline” (or destruction). Why else would Mayor Poe push the Gainesville City Commission to get as much done as possible while they have the current commission of like-minded zealots?

Voters need to rise above their laziness and ignorance and avoid the inclination to vote for the familiar candidates, based on advice from the same people who told you to vote for the current commissioners. Get informed about the radical positions of the incumbents and their friends (or former campaign managers) who are running for office. Don’t rely on old maxims about party dominance or even party platforms. That led to ridiculously low independent voter turnout in September. If every voter would take the time to see these politicians in action during a commission meeting, there’s no way any of them would get reelected. That’s when Gainesville and Alachua County will start improving.

  • Nice points Len.

    I also think a qualification to vote is having more common sense than a peanut.

    Being a resident, (permanent), is another factor that should be mandated – not a transient resident.

    Too often in Alachua County the decisions that affect the residents are made by people who have neither the understanding or feel the financial impact of the decisions being made by our idiot leaders. Call it what you will, government dependence or dependence on mommy and daddy’s credit cards, they rarely feel the full impact that taxpaying residents feel.

    With recent decisions, the knuckleheads will see the effects of their votes in their neighborhoods. Hope they like it.

    • What you desire is admirable, but the Democrats kicked the legs out of than years ago. If you’re a citizen, you are entitled and encouraged to vote, assuming you aren’t restricted by criminal actions. Poll taxes and literacy tests were banned a long time ago, so it up to the voter to vote only on what they are knowledgeable about.

      • And therein lies the problem. People are voting for something they know nothing about.

        Perhaps they shouldn’t vote.

  • alachua county and gainesville will never change because of the petrie dish of anti-western / pro communist thought and the people who work there called the univ of florida!

    • Johnny has been rejected all 6 times he has applied for a job at UF. Go watch more daytime TV and ask mom when dinner is ready this evening.

  • This is extremely on-point & well stated! I worked for (never personally supported or respected) poe/city commission & couldn’t leave the city quick enough. I earned my 20 years as a proud public servant & left as soon as possible. I was disgusted by their priorities for my hometown, which I & many fellow city employees used to be honored to work for. It’s disheartening to watch this beautiful town I call home turn into trash. I am, for the first time in my life, looking to move elsewhere.

    • In response your not alone as many of the Satellites Cities in
      the County show exponential growth from fleeing G’ville residents. It’s not uncommon to hear we couldn’t leave fast enough. Beautiful city wrecked by the go “Woke Go Broke” circus performers.
      Single Member Districts
      a much needed change!

  • The box-like monstrosities… the so-called multi-use buildings… ever notice how all (or almost all) of the ground floor retail units are unrented? That’s the big lie to the public… that those spaces will be rented and occupied with businesses when everyone (the contractors, the city commissioners) knows that they won’t ever be rented because they have no real parking spaces. Businesses need normal parking lots unless you’re talking about a big city like Atlanta where walk-up businesses can survive. Nobody wants to drive around a creepy parking garage, find a spot, and walk to the business. We used to have many actual important businesses where The Standard is now. Now there is Bento #3 and not much else. Miami Grill, MOD Pizza, and several other places tried it there and closed. The promise (lie) of useful retail space is made to convince the public to go along with the proposed monstrosities, although I guess that wouldn’t even be a concern with the current “I do what I want!” commission (South Park reference).

    • Yep, they ran off several long time successful businesses building it, with one being overtly ignored by the city while they made loud cries for help. The folks eventually lost everything and was left bankrupt after running a successful business in our town for many years. Thanks Gainesville Shltty Commission!

    • You forgot to mention the no taxes for the next 75 years on the Standard Property to the City! A losing bad deal with two winks and the secret handshake!

  • Thank you Colonel for always shedding light on the incompetent people that manage our city.

  • Great letter, spot on…if you want people to think that you care, just wear a mask is their mentality. I’m surprised they don’t dispense the masks with the feminine products in the bathrooms…another stupid liberal idea. These people are fascist commie control freaks…it’s a mental disorder and that’s the why it is. Why are they dispensing tampons in the male bathrooms again, isn’t that a personal responsibility? Shouldn’t they fix the pot holes in the roads first? They have their priorities mixed up.

    • Pot holes and Parks and Recreation facilities (bathrooms) are two separate spending departments/funding accounts. You can’t really complain about them spending in one and talking about another department, as each department has their own budgets to use.

      As for the potholes, call you local city hall and put in a work order request for them to fix the potholes you notice. Everyone has to do their part. Its our job as citizens to put the work orders in front of them that they don’t get from upper management.

    • Too true and it trickles down to local media as well. If you observe social media, Tiktok for example has cultivated a new mindset in younger people in the United States to be less analytical and more aggressive. The social media system and news system has completely destroyed any chances of being believable anymore as they are considered “entertainment media” nowadays.

      I worked deep within the industry for years and I can first handedly say that there are sounds, images, and words that get pushed in media to seed plant and desensitize the general public for better navigational control of the general public’s lives. .

  • Laziness and ignorance isn’t the problem, and we don’t need to sit through 2 hours of boring meetings to know that our leadership is broken. The problem is this is no longer a “democracy”, it’s a “bureaucracy”: our elected officials are handed a budget and have about 1% say in how it’s developed or carried out, and bureaucrats steer them instead to these silly “fringe power plays” to make them feel important. Reducing the size of the bureaucracy and its power when it is in full control is a problem voters can’t solve without help.

    The ONLY way I can see this solved is if our Party system gets serious about identifying a few specific actions EACH of our elected officials can take to reduce bureaucracy, then require primary candidates to sign a statement promising to take those actions to get Party endorsement. Then the Party runs its primary campaign as a SLATE of candidates rather than as individuals.

    Care should be taken to ensure the Party base is on board with those 3 actions for each elected office, which means some sort of survey system independent of our current biased polling companies should be set up. I have tried to tackle this problem with the new Putnam REC website, putnamrepublicans.org/survey/. Review it and see what you think!

    • Take the issue to a State level. Prepare a citizen repot, submit it to your Senate / Advocates for the area. Just like at a retail job, if the assistant manager isn’t doing their job after brining the issues to the surface, you take it to the manager, if the manager doesn’t fix the issue, you take it to the GM.

      If you just dance around at the same people causing the issue, all you are doing is giving them free entertainment while they process with what you are against.

  • What’s the alternative, vote for Republican fascists? Hell no! They’ll only make things 100 times worse

    • Please provide ONE EXAMPLE of something that Republicans could do to make things worse than they are now?

      Debate the facts instead of making false narratives and stereotypes.

    • I have never understood the left and right wing agendas. I’d prefer to just go in, understand the situation, access the location/environment/needs, and design multiple plans that can cater to the greater good of our society. When you hop into government, self-benefit should be the furthest thing in your mind as a goal, its about making the world/location better for commerce, residents, visitors, and infrastructure. I see far to many times on both sides of this political game, that people boast their good deeds but disregard the damages done to make the good deed.

  • Unless they are a full time resident of AC County, or Gainesville city, NO student or faculty should vote in local elections, GNV city or AC County. If they are not a FL resident, they should NOT be allowed to vote for any FL elections!

    NOTHING WILL CHANGE unless full time residents unite to take back control of their county and city (GNV) governments! Good people need to run for office and replace the posers on the AC BOCC and GNV CC! Independent Voters: you need to get off your backside and VOTE against Ward, Cornell, Wheeler, Alford! Vote against the 1/2 cent referendum on gas and safety! VOTE FOR Single District Representation!!!!!

    VOTE AGAINST AC Commissioners who avoided paying their lawful property taxes! It was not a “simple misunderstanding” or “unfortunate mistake”! They lied and Cornell swore to it!

    • volunteer to poll watch or paid election worker and report anything that is interfering with voting, ie drop box ballots, checking in voters without registration, id, or citizenship! call sheriff if they at precinct do not respond correctly.

  • I propose an emergency ammendment to the County Charter (can’t wait until 2030). All commissioners must have a 790+ credit score to qualify and maintain a 750+ FICO score throughout their term.
    Too many commissioners with 520 FICO scores are making policy that affects my family’s bottom line. We need this to weed the shiftless troublemakers out of our government.

    • That is nice to think about, however, it wouldn’t work. It doesn’t matter what your credit score is if you have other vested interests and if you had a high credit score, that could mean a few things both on the positive and negative side of life. A pro would be that the person might carry a better level of intellect when it comes to liquid assets, funding, etc, since a higher score would mean that they could potentially have more fiscal responsibility and understanding. On the other hand, a high score could be from dealings that they have benefitted personally using the county as a tool for that personal gain. With any type of preposition, you totally have to play devils advocate and outweigh the benefits and potential issues.

    • Good luck on getting anything of substance during charter review. I’m grateful for Rep Clemons getting single member districts on the ballot.

  • You have forgotten about the transgender people that might use either bathroom while in transition. You also neglected to see that perhaps a boyfriend would grab a feminine product for their girlfriend and if they are struggling financially or needed one in the moment, this is very convenient. Being that Gainesville is mostly college bodies, this would most likely be the case. Sadly, the commission failed to dive into scenarios to justify the reasoning in order to assist the general public in understanding why the decision was made.

      • “Nice Try”?

        I am not trying anything.
        I am pointing out the this article is very bias and leaves out talking points and information. Because of being bias, it makes people form a one-sided idea of the topic/issue.

  • The biggest (huge) descent began the very day Lauren Poe stepped in as Mayor. He already had his long list of radical liberal ideas: Vision Zero (no traffic deaths – don’t fix or increase roads, scarce parking, and plenty of gov transportation – via heavy tax to all); “affordable” housing (radical zoning changes to multi family and percentage of low cost subsidized requirement in all new construction); public fund bonanza (new taxes via sales tax, gas tax, fees, fire assessment, GRU transfer, etc for annual city gov budget to spend as they please); and finally his cloak of all colors (declare past Gainesville governments as totally racist requiring city code to be rewritten wherever they desire finally ridding the city of Jim Crowe and links to the Confederacy). There you have it. Picking up willing to carry the water candidates like Adrian Hayes, Harvey Ward, and other later abandoned sycophants helped move this city into the largest cess pool in Florida in 8 short years.

    • Poe wanted to drive out the start-up crowd because they were bright enough to see him for the delusional failed loser that he is.

      • I don’t know who the biggest LOSER is: Fatty Po Boy, ignorant Oaf Ward, or Lying Hyphen-Hayes (minority wannabe!)

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