McIntosh Mirror: Reflecting news in the Tosh

Want to impact your community? Many of McIntosh's citizen boards have open seats and a council at a loss as to how to fill them.

Light-up McIntosh December 15

Light-up McIntosh will begin at the Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. The event will host Santa Clause and an area choir from six local churches will sing.

10.15.06 -- EDITORIAL: Dress code enforcement and the dangers of keeping a kangaroo court

By CHER PHILLIPS

I probably shouldn't even attempt an edition of Darts and Laurels when I feel about as eloquent as toast but not doing something because I shouldn't has never stopped me before. Why start now?

First, we'll start with a DART to yours truly for taking so blasted long to post last week's meeting. No one yelled at anyone or called anybody names in this meeting. Believe it or not, it's easier to write when there's gavel whacking and chair rattling.

Next, we'll toss a LAUREL to Marsha Strange, the Council and the attorneys for jumping on the let's-figure-out-what-the-heck-to-do-with-the-citizen-boards bandwagon. Kudos to the idea of telling them what direction the council wants them to go in. I think one of the problems with the boards over the last year have been the perception in the community that there's been an agenda at work but no one really understood what it was.

We should also toss out a LAUREL to Lee Deaderick for his stellar attempt at curbing his love for filibustering council meetings. Aside from asking the county road engineers if they hired immigrants, he did a pretty good job with his questions this time around. We also all noticed that he was a sport and wore a button-down plaid and a nice pair of khakis. (Yes, the meeting before someone from the audience had the audacity to insist another public figure act as the "Dress Code Enforcement Officer" and call Deaderick to the carpet for wearing a hat and shorts to council.) For the record, Lee, I liked the hat and the shorts. We all know you work for a living and respect that the meeting started early. Shoot, I thought you looked comfortable. I say we make November "wear-your-hat-to-council" month.

And a six-pack set of LAURELS goes out to the "resigners," especially Barbara Fellman for accusing the council of breaking their own laws because it brings to light a question about our codes that warrants consideration. Fellman raised a point when she said, "The only recourse from the board of adjustment is court. Period." It reminded me of Bill Glass' statement in the September code enforcement meeting: “Since we do have home rule and since basically anything that two of us agree to is legal,” Glass said. “Whether it’s defensible or not is his issue at another court of law."

Isn't that an awful lot of power to give one group of people? Not just the board of adjustment but the code enforcement board, too. Both boards are residents' last stops before they have to pay lawyers, court costs and get into potentially lengthy, expensive litigation. We got in trouble this last year in McIntosh when the perception in town was that a small group of people held all the power positions and were working their own agenda, agendas, whatever. When that group came to power, it accentuated the flaws in our codes, in this system. Should we have citizen boards represent the last chance for residents before they have to go to court? I don't know have an answer to that. I do think the changing of the guard will relieve the pressures in town and things will get better. But the chink in our armor still exists in our code. That showed itself in the BOA charging Renee Wacha $7,000 it had no right to charge and then members coming back at the council for rescinding the fee. It showed itself in the code enforcement board meeting in September in spades.

What I saw in the code enforcement meeting was imbalanced and I don't see how anyone coming before that board would not walk away with fines and legal fees. Consider this: McIntosh is no longer sitting atop a fat savings account like it was in the 90's. Instead, we're tightening our purse strings. We're spending more to have water than we make from it. We're continuing to rollback property taxes. (In 1913, it was 6 mills and now it's .054 -- we're nearly out of mills, folks.) When someone has a problem with code enforcement, they end up before a quasi-judicial board that has the ability to act as the judge and the jury to fine them, even put a lien against their homes if the situation gets out of control like it did with Pedro Molinas. When the town has a tight budget, what chance does any resident have of coming before that board and walking away "not guilty?" Think about it. The town is paying the town's attorney to prosecute the case and an attorney to guide the board. It is in the best interest of the town and the Code Enforcement Board to find the resident guilty and fine him. How long before all of those people get together who've had to put up with being fined in McIntosh's kangaroo court and say, "Fine, you want us to go to court, we'll go to Marion County together with a class action lawsuit and wipe out McIntosh's tiny little pile of reserves and then some?"

So, I guess that means I'm tossing a DART to the code book. Again, I don't claim to have the answers here, only the questions. I realize that tossing a dart at the revered codes is dangerous business. But the Land Development Code is not the Bill of Rights. Laws and rules serve us. We don't serve them. Before you condemn the questions, go back and read the code enforcement board meeting stories and put yourself in Pedro Molinas' or the Smith-Henderson's place. Would you want to be judged under that system?

posted by Cher @ 10:59 PM,

16 Comments:

At   October 16, 2006 6:25 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

As usual, Marsha made a good point in that it is the councils responsibility to make sure the citizen boards know what they are doing. I think that if they had some guidance before we wouldn't have had half the problems we did in the last year. Marsha, your great...thanks for your service.

Next, Lee's attire. Who cares. Lee's a middle class working fisherman. Who cares what he wears....hes taking time for a good cause, this town, lets encourage him instead of worrying about his hat and shorts.
However, one thing that I don't agree with that he said was about using migrant workers to decrease the cost of road work. I don't think this is the answer, as we have many Americans that need jobs. However, I do understand that many of those who need jobs don't care to work and that migrants want to work....so its a double edged sword.

Finally, I think that Barbara's comments reflect her inner desire to be back on the boards thus giving her a feeling of some sort of control. Whatever!! I am over her.

Oh, and I wonder why the people that were removed from the council are not showing there face in the meetings??? Its strange to me (no pun intended) how a couple months ago they were so interested in this town and now they say at home and pretend they were never a part of a town?!

 
At   October 16, 2006 7:53 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I wonder who has the time to worry about what Lee is wearing. Don't they have anything better to do??

 
At   October 17, 2006 10:26 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

O Well, I think that re-call is in order for those that don't wear what the people want them to wear.... never mind telling them, let them find out when the papers are searved by the sheriff...

 
At   October 17, 2006 12:02 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I attended an Art festival in Gainesville over the week-end and was appalled when I over heard Barbara Fellman who was in the show saying to the public when asked about the area and took upon herself to be the spokesperson for the citizens of McIntosh, how bad our town was to live in. Stating that our town government has gone a rye and those who cared about the town have been removed from the council and those left were incapable of taking care of it. Well, thank you Mrs. Fellman for clarifying that the Town of McIntosh is going in the right direction, on healing and prospering for the future with the removal and resignations of those who share your views. I am proud to be a citizen of McIntosh and I’m proud to be with the majority that will stand up and protect it, even if we have some bad days like all families do!!! Citizen of the Great Town of McIntosh, Sean Dowie

 
At   October 17, 2006 2:38 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

So, is the papers being served the the Sheriff a threat or a joke?

 
At   October 17, 2006 2:39 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I think that Barbara needs more darts if she is running around telling people how bad it is to live here. If its so bad then why doesn't she move?

 
At   October 17, 2006 9:22 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Enough crap has been done stop adding to it.

 
At   October 17, 2006 9:41 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

M-ostly
i-mmigrants
a-nd
m-ostly
i-llegale

 
At   October 17, 2006 10:40 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Some people will belive anything. "tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth" We are all victims of that, lets just quit listening to the lies, quit repeating what we do not know as the truth and JUST GET ALONG! Enough blood has been spilled in this town... If snipes like these found here keep going, it will take an NWA wrestling team to sort it out..... Shut this darn sight down and let the town recover!!!!!! We got along very well the cyber age hit McIntosh.

 
At   October 18, 2006 6:53 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

If you don't like the blog don't read it. Nobody makes you read it or believe what it says. And believe me I don't believe everything I hear or read!

 
At   October 18, 2006 10:38 AM     ,    Blogger fisherwife    said...

Lee barely makes it in the door some nights before a meeting. He really does care about all of you folks and representing the general population. Thanks for the Laurel, Cher. If anyone deserves it, it's the town council members. I am glad to see all of them serving so well. Let's put the ugliness behind us.

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. Prov. 17:14

Katie Deaderick

 
At   October 18, 2006 1:05 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Katie we are all neibors and we should protect each other even if one of our neibors are wrong right?

 
At   October 18, 2006 6:13 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

"Katie we are all neibors and we should protect each other even if one of our neibors are wrong right?"

interesting idea. isn't that the same thing Mark Foley said to Dennis Hastert a couple of weeks ago?

 
At   October 18, 2006 7:02 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Huh? I've lived in this town for 15 years, and "sniping" has gone on during this entire time.I don't believe one can place the blame of the current climate on this blog.I think that was caused by people feeling their voices were not being heard and that they were being treated with little respect by members of the previous council. I think the present council will serve the citizens well; let's give them that opportunity. I, for one, appreciate Cher keeping the information available on the blog for those of us unable to attend meetings; it allows us to remain informed. As with everything on the internet, if it offends you don't read it.

 
At   October 19, 2006 9:42 AM     ,    Blogger fisherwife    said...

I agree. This blog is not to blame. I am just saying that inane quarreling is not wise. It's good to debate issues so that we can understand each other's points of view. It's silly to fight and bicker over stuff that doesn't matter. That's all my quotation was about. I like to put in a good word from God when I can.

 
At   October 20, 2006 11:28 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I feel that nothing negative about our town or it's people needs to go on here anymore.
Fred DelRusso

 

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Editor and Publisher:

I'm Cher From McIntosh, FL I'm a graduate student at the University of Florida working on a master's degree in Mass Communication. While I was finishing my undergrad degree in journalism last year, I reported on McIntosh, Fla. for an in-depth reporting class. I figured that the reporting and the public record files should go somewhere people can access them. Reporters don't report to keep the information they find to themselves. Some of that reporting is included here in a forum that allows response. McIntosh suffers because with no news coverage, the local government and the rumor mill have too much potential to run rampant over residents. I moved to McIntosh in the fall of 1999. My profile

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