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Return to soap opera politics

Mayor Lauren Poe and Commissioners Adrian Hayes-Santos and David Arreola at Nov. 17 City Commission meeting

OPINION

BY LEN CABRERA

Our political system runs in two modes to distract voters from what actually happens in government: horse race season and soap opera season. Our politicians and their accomplices in the corporate media are like magicians who distract with one hand while doing their tricks with the other.

We just finished horse race season (i.e., elections), where the media focuses almost exclusively on polls without ever actually investigating candidates’ voting records or policy positions. Locally, the focus was mainly on “dark money” and “misleading mailers.”

Now we’re back to soap opera season, where we talk about the gaffes of politicians while avoiding any debates on policy or discussing provisions in upcoming legislation. Our attention is manipulated with headlines and narratives.

We see this nationally with all the talking heads on the right wasting hours laughing at President Biden’s latest issue with the teleprompter, shaking hands with invisible people, or tripping on stairs. While they laugh, Biden is passing his entire legislative agenda, either through multi-thousand-page bills with no debate in Congress or simply deeming it law through executive order, knowing that the courts either won’t stop him or it’ll be too late by the time they get around to it.

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Locally, many of our readers have been complaining about a planned trip to Israel by Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and two City Commissioners, Adrian Hayes-Santos and David Arreola. Poe claims they will be engaging in “citizen diplomacy.” What happened to the Logan Act? Oh, sorry, I forgot that’s a previous narrative to be used against a different political party.

Is the trip a waste of our taxpayer money? Of course. Is it corrupt? Probably. (What does any politician do that isn’t self-serving and/or corrupt?)

The real reason for the trip is the soap opera. While everyone is focused on the trip, few are talking about the radical agenda being voted on by the city commission. They’re about to eliminate all K-9 units from the Gainesville Police Department, approve a controversial large new development on SR 121, and prevent private employers from doing criminal background checks until after they make a job offer (now postponed to a November 29 Special Meeting). And don’t forget new “zero waste” regulations on businesses that prohibit restaurants from providing plastic utensils unless requested, require new recycling bins, and will require restaurants to contract with a company to remove their food waste.

Oh, and they just voted themselves a pay increase; the first and second readings of that ordinance will be just a formality.

If you’re outraged about spending a few thousand dollars on a trip to Israel (the combined travel budgets of the three traveling commissioners amount to $15,000, and about $3,800 of that was previously spent on a trip to Iraq by Poe and Hayes-Santos), you should be even more outraged about significant salary increases that will continue to be paid year after year, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in new spending that appears on most consent agendas of city commission meetings.

Any one of the above issues will have a much greater impact on our day-to-day lives in our local community than the trip to Israel, yet they don’t garner nearly as much attention because they’re not part of the scripted soap opera.

As long as citizens focus on what the politicians and their approved media outlets want them to see and not what’s being done behind the scenes, we’ll continue to be ruled by political activists who push the agendas that we’re not meant to see until it’s too late. The agenda is not hidden, we’re just too distracted by the soap opera to notice.

    • 3 corrupt term limited “Musketeers” without even a decent excuse for wasting thousands of taxpayer $ on a boondoggle in a city with tons of debt it can’t possibly pay and a city that can’t (or won’t) file an acceptable financial statement even 6 months late! An OUTRAGE by Poe, Hayes, and Arreola who are sorry scum! I wouldn’t doubt they don’t want financial statements until they are out of office! Liars and cheats! Scum!!!

  • The writer refers to “accomplices in the corporate media” and “approved media outlets.” What the heck are you talking about?

    • Stop acting like a clueless sheep 🐑 and start paying attention to what is happening.

      The Gainesville Sun is an approved media outlet that blindly supports the progressive agenda of the Gainesville City Commisison irrespective of the financial harm to taxpayers and GRU customers.

      • The Gainesville Sun is dying and no longer relevant. Regardless of what you think, it’s still more objective than Fox News. As it dies, so will a channel of information that at one time served Alachua and surrounding counties.

        • Joe, what does Fox News have to do with local reporting. The Alachua Chronicle is a far more credible news source!
          Besides, the Sun screens out any dissenting questions or comments.
          The core liberal community is vastly out of touch with reality.

          • They have abolished free speech. The moderators are WOKE, they discontinue “sound off and editorial letters. They cant admit they are losers.

          • Captian Shad, what you reference was all determined by the parent owner Gannett Company and were not made at all locally by the Sun and its handful of remaining employees.

    • I second that. The commie masks are a distraction too….Saco should be forced to resign after what she said about Poe…not very civil. Where’s his outrage?

  • There is something seriously wrong with the leadership in Gainesville. A true psychological, behavioral rooted problem in the manner the commission conducts itself both individually and as a group. What happened to having respect, civility and integrity? None appears to exist anymore. Commissioners could care less that their unprofessional attitudes float like a cloud over every issue brought to light. These people should not be commissioners if they cannot personally take control of their behavior, impulse control, anger issues, retaliatory quests, etc.
    A truly out of control group of individuals where a higher authority should step in and make large changes before the city goes broke.

    • YT, the city *is* broke. Hanrahan, Poe and the rest of the biomass crew saw to that. The tidal wave of COVID money from the feds gave the commission a short reprieve but they will waste it, as they always do. They’ve just about killed the golden goose of GRU so its just a matter of time before the whole thing hits a wall.

    • The City of Gainesville and GRU are broke already on Behalf of Poe , Ward and the rest of the commision over the past Biomass years. Why do you think the Battle Auditors local and at the state and cannot produce a financial statement . Its called liberals in denial using and taking other peoples money.

  • Those of us who are paying attention and object to the abuse of power and extreme leftist agenda displayed by these commissioners are outnumbered by the combination of local extended leftists and the stupid, uninformed people who will vote for whoever is listed on the little blue sheet of paper they are handed at their voting precincts.
    I don’t see how we can overcome this in the city of Gainesville… 😞

    • Off topic and irrelevant to this discussion. Be truth told sounds like more conspiracy fiction from Alex Jones. There is no mass murder in Israel taking place from vaccines of any kind.,

  • Unfortunately, it’s a comedy-soap opera. I’m not sure having Ward as as mayor will be much of an improvement. Saco is like a Latina 14-year-old Nellie Oleson but worse. Will she at least apologize publicly? The audience is in suspense. Maybe her Republican parents from Miami will show up at a meeting to reprimand her. That would be straight out of a soap opera. She can tell them to take their Geritol and shut up.

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