Update: A lot’s been written about the questionable quality of media coverage this campaign season, but I think this is one of the best pieces I’ve seen so far.
When I woke up last Wednesday morning reality hit me in the face with a cold, dead fish. America elected a vindictive, hateful, tantrum-throwing, orange Twitter-bully as the next President of the United States. Trump’s campaign was all about dog whistles, and the dogs came running. I thought America was better than that. I really did. I have friends and loved ones who voted for Trump. I thought they were better than that, too. That’s what makes it all so depressing. There’s no hiding behind policy because Trump has no meaningful plans or ideas. There’s no pretending it’s about character. Yes, Hillary Clinton is flawed, but Trump is far worse. Pretty sure Clinton has never bragged about grabbing anyone by the “p___y”.
I’m an Independent at heart. I switched my party affiliation to vote against Hillary Clinton in two primaries – 2008 and 2016. But I voted for her in the general election. The idea of a Trump presidency was simply too unthinkable. I’m in full agreement with Ana Navarro, who is one brave, principled Republican. I will follow her on the Tweeter. (I call it that because it annoys my daughter.) Let’s hope that Navarro becomes the future of the Republican party and Trump slides quickly into its past, where he belongs.
Here’s a nice antidote to all the depressing-ness. Let’s hope folks like this edge out the haters. I’ll link to similar stories as I find them. It’s important for morale. Also serves as a great reminder that no matter how bleak things may seem right now, there are plenty of decent people out there who simply will not go along with the hate. More importantly, it serves as a reminder that people in our communities are being targeted simply because of their religion or ethnic background. As the orange one himself would say, “Sad”.
Let’s move on to some good news.
Dennis Ward is the new State Attorney in the Keys. I think he’ll be the tough but fair top cop that the Keys sorely need. Holly Raschein retains her seat. She’s been an effective leader for the Keys and I expect that will continue. (Although I think its time to finally nail down the true impact of the Florida Keys Stewardship Act.) Anitere Flores now represents the Keys in the Florida senate. She proved to be a strong ally last session. So I’m glad to see that.
I know and like Joe Garcia. I think he did a fantastic job representing the Keys in Washington D.C. He’s an extremely smart, hard-working person who figured out how to get it done for his constituents in a very difficult environment. I’m sad that he lost. But I think Carlos Curbelo is equally as qualified, and has also done a great job. Like Navarro, he took a stand against Trump and stuck with it. This is one race where the Keys really couldn’t lose. It’s good news either way.
Now for the not so good news.
Madok won the Clerk of Court race. Disappointing but not unexpected. Madok is a Republican and Keys Republicans have the numbers. Most people aren’t going to pay attention to the nuances of the Clerk of Court race. It’s dull stuff really. Unfortunately, Madok had the help of inaccurate media coverage that allowed him to overstate his qualifications and in the process, understate the potential for a conflict of interest. The wording in the item announcing Madok’s win was crafted very carefully.
He earned an accounting degree with a computer science minor from the University of San Diego and a master’s of business administration degree in finance from the University of Southern California. He became a certified public accountant 25 years ago.
Madok actually did obtain a California certified public accountant (CPA) license in 1988 – 28 years ago to be exact. That’s a true statement. What they don’t say is that Madok’s California CPA license expired in 1990. The other thing they don’t say is that Madok did not hold a CPA license again until 2015, when he obtained one in Florida. This is important because Madok has used the all important CPA license as a shield against concerns that, as Clerk, he would be unwilling to challenge his benefactors on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). A legitimate concern that Keys media has repeatedly buried under misleading coverage. (They overstated the iPhone Bandit’s qualifications as well. Are we seeing a pattern?)
Scott Unger is the reporter who wrote the article containing this ingeniously deceptive, yet technically accurate, wording. I’ll add a blurb to Watching the Watchers, and of course, I will email Mr. Unger and the management team at the Citizen.
The reckless spending BOCC is intact and now they’ve got a compliant Clerk who has proven that he is willing to deceive the taxpayers at the BOCC’s behest. Not good at all. When you factor in Neugent’s ethics issues, Carruthers’s financial problems, Murphy’s faithlessness, Kolhage’s hypocrisy and Rice’s family ties, there’s an awful lot of smoke. No visible fire yet, but a lot of smoke. The Clerk is in a position to discover and raise the alarm over financial irregularities. He or she is also in a position to facilitate those irregularities and cover them up.
I’m disappointed that Steve Gibbs was re-elected to the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District (District) board. I am disappointed in his failure to pursue financial relief for the ratepayers. I am disappointed with his inaccurate and deceptive spin. I am disappointed in his misplaced priorities. I am disappointed in his war on transparency. I think he is better than that and I hope he will do better going forward.
I’m disappointed that Gary Bauman wasn’t elected. But Sue Heim was and I think she will be an outspoken watchdog willing to fight for the ratepayers. That’s exactly what we need. Ideally, we would have had Bauman and Heim join the board.
Of course, I will miss Robby Majeska who has served with distinction on the board for many years. Always looking out for the ratepayers, including small businesses. Majeska was the hardest working board member – bar none.
So there you have it. This is what the chessboard looks like until the next election. As always, I’ll be watching and posting.