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.

08.28.06 -- REPORT/PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCMENT -- Council plans for Ernesto


Town of McIntosh prepares for storm, sends out local hurricane shelter info


By CHER PHILLIPS

Mayor Marsha Strange called a Special Town Council meeting for Council Member Lee Deaderick to discuss hurricane preparedness.

The council voted and agreed if Tropical Storm Ernesto's path bear down on McIntosh later this week, they would call a special meeting on Thursday at noon in the Town Hall office to discuss further emergency plans for the town. Currently, the storm was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.



Earlier this summer, McIntosh's volunteer committee for safety put together a letter with vital information including storm shelters, as well as a list of items to have on hand in case of a storm. The town clerk had planned on sending these out with the water bills but the council members were concerned they would not reach residents in time. They decided the letters would be hand delivered to the major gathering places in town including the Post Office, the McIntosh Grocery Store and Sportsman's Cove, as well as this blog.

A concern of Deaderick's was maintaining the water tower during the storm. Council Member Jim Strange also voiced concerns about the amount of diesel on hand. The water tower generator is a propane generator and failed last year for a few hours.

The Town Council would like all residents to have a copy of the following letter.
(To enlarge, click TWICE on each picture --- first, click to enlarge to a browser screen and then click AGAIN to view the full size.)









PDF's for download and viewing. Feel free to print and hand out to neighbors who might not have a copy.

McIntosh Hurricane preparedness page one. (Adobe PDF, 878 kb)
McIntosh Hurricane preparedness page two. (Adobe PDF, 156 kb)

posted by Cher @ 9:01 PM, , links to this post

08.28.06 -- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: How much difference 40 years, bad policies make on small town

We have a letter to the editor passed on to the McIntosh Mirror Blog by Mayor Marsha Strange. She said the former residents who wrote the letter gave it to her, asking her to put the word out where it would impact the community and raise awareness.


August 9, 2006


To Whom It May Concern:

In the mid 1960's the town of us, along with our 7-month-old son, moved to the wonderful town of McIntosh. We chose McIntosh for several reasons, including the fact that long-time friends, Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Rutland were the Methodist Church parsonage family. They had returned to McIntosh for their retirement years after having experienced McIntosh many years before.

We here happy to find the "Old Hospital" was available, moved in, and became comfortable there in a very short time. The Stranges were very special landlords and friends.

McIntosh was a a warm, inviting, community -- happy to welcome young families. The old homes and picturesque streets made us a Mr. Rogers type neighborhood of the very best kind. We were not even aware that there was a town council (maybe there wasn't) because there was no obvious friction.

Many friends and relatives were our guests in the Old Hospital during our years there ... most especially during football weekends. They always left us telling us how much they envied our being able to live in a delighful place.

We were a Farm Bureau agent's family, and transfers were a part of that experience. So, sadly, the day came for us to pack up our family (numbering four by then), and move to hectic, congested Pinellas County. We moved two more times during these forty years, always saying that McIntosh was the one place we would be happy to live in again.

So, last summer and into the fall, we made several trips from Vero Beach to McIntosh to see what we could find. We were happy to be back in the company of many dear friends with whom we had kept contact all these years. We shared with some of those old families our excitement in locating a very pretty piece of property and having an engineer here in Vero Beach drawing up our retirement house plans. We were so happy that Thurman Kingsley was still int he building business, because we were well acquainted with the quality of his work.

Then we became aware of present day McIntosh. We foudn out about lots of "brick walls," some fair, but several unjustified. We found out about setbacks that were four times the norm. We learned that we could get approval to put out house on a large piece of property if we were willing to have our drain field run uphill and have the septic tank on land higher than the house. Even though the lot was spacious, the city council and adjustment board could find no other way to accommodate our plans. We learned about shoddy treatment of those who dared come before the council and plead on their own behalf.

Consequently, sadly, we decided it would be futile to try to find another piece of property in the McIntosh town limits because we would still be dealing with the same unrealistic restrictions. We have talked with some of you by phone and got nowhere. We only know one of you well. Ther rest of you will know know us because we are going elsewhere to live "happily ever after."

We pray that McIntosh will return to the peaceful, non-combative place we knew and loved forty years ago.


Polly and John Willis

1376 37th Ave.
Vero Beach, FL 32960


Click each image TWICE to view original letter at the largest size.



posted by Cher @ 9:01 PM, , links to this post

08.25.06 -- EDITORIAL: Some people like to getcha

Some people in this town like to getcha.

By CHER PHILLIPS

The editorial board would like to start this edition of Darts and Laurels with a we-know-it's-not-a-permit-but-we-hope-you-like-it-anyway LAUREL to Ursula Hochberg for telling it like it is.

Ursula sat on the back row of this week's special meeting, raising her hand in patience. When Acting Council President Frank Ciotti called on her, she said, "I've had my hand up now for a good half hour."

He apologized and Ursula told her story. She said she put up a wall inside her business and applied for a permit. She hung the permit on her door during the construction. While she was not there, someone took it. So, she went down to the office, got another permit and hung that on the door. Someone took it, as well.

Then, Ursula drove home the point that following the rules in McIntosh isn't always enough to keep you from being picked on by the status quo.

"I followed the rules, as always, but there are some people in this town ...," Ursula paused. "...That like to getcha."

Then, something miraculous happened for a town where council meetings begin with the Lord's Prayer and just as often end in a shouting match.

People laughed.

One reason is that her comment was funny. But in the past four months, laughter wouldn't have been possible. Another reason is the reaction from the council has changed. For that, we'd also like to send out a it's-about-time-we-were-all-heard LAUREL out to the council members for not turning a deaf ear on their residents.

Oh, they didn't really offer much of a solution to her but Ciotti listened sympathetically and said he was sorry. Maybe it's the change in the status quo, I don't know. But in the past months, when some people have brought concerns before the council, they've been chastised for complaining to the council -- like Fred and his palms, Casey and well ... anything she tries to voice.

As much as we'd like to leave everyone warm and fuzzy, we've got one more missive to send. That's a we-maybe-think-you-did-the-right-thing-but-we-aren't-sure-exactly-why DART to former town council member Joe Phillips for not offering an explanation in his resignation letter. He came to last week's meeting and from the floor was willing to continue giving input and opinions to the council and the community, whether that opinion was heeded or not.

But he offered no explanation for his resignation, in his letter or in the council meeting.

When Phillips was campaigning for election last year, he sent a letter out to McIntosh residents asking for their votes. Some might remember this letter. While he was campaigning, he came down to Sportsman's Cove, according to some of the residents who remember his visit. There are 101 McIntosh voters who believed him last year and deserved a better explanation for how he spent their votes.

posted by Cher @ 9:35 AM, , links to this post

08.24.06 -- REPORT: Council keeps code enforcement , site plan approval under town control

Council keeps code enforcement , site plan approval under town control

By CHER PHILLIPS

McINTOSH -- In a special meeting tonight called by Mayor Marsha Strange, the McIntosh Town Council decided to temporarily retain control of code enforcement and site plan approval. The council effectively took a hot-button issue on the town's agenda and delegated it to the town clerk to handle.

A contract submitted by Capri Engineering was voted down because the bid included clauses the company handling code enforcement and council members felt this was outside the purview of what they were asking of the company. Last week, the council voted to ask Capri to handle their site plan approvals but sent an interlocal agreement to Marion County for them to consider taking on code enforcement.

Council Member Lee Deaderick proposed and the council approved Town Clerk Julie Musselman taking on the responsibility of hiring a point person to approve site plans for 60 days. The council also gave Musselman the responsibility of hiring a code enforcement officer on an interim basis until the town can negotiate an agreement with Marion County.

Last week, the council agreed to send Marion County an interlocal agreement asking them to cover the town's code enforcement.

At that meeting, Council Member Lee Deaderick was concerned about removing powers over smaller code infractions to the county level. The council argued tonight about how to handle code enforcement while the county and town negotiate if and when the town's code enforcement can be handled by the county.

One concern is determining which code infractions would go to the county level and which would stay at the local level and how that determination would be made. This responsibility will now fall into the lap of the town clerk. Both the temporary code enforcement officer and the interim site plan approval employee will be hired at Musselman's discretion and will report to her.

Resident Joe Phillips, former council president, voiced a partial concern from the floor without completing the full sentence that the clerk was not qualified to hire employees for these duties. He did not elaborate when asked by Deaderick.

Either way, council unanimously voted to delegate this control to Musselman, specifically addressing her level of qualification.

However, by removing these duties from direct council control, the town leaders are, in essence, getting themselves out of the hot seat.

Over the summer, the council had been slowly torn apart with members resigning and a great deal of public frustration over how some matters were handled in town, especially code enforcement. Deaderick said that handing this task over to Musselman wasn't an attempt on his part to get out of making a decision but that in the past, the clerk made these kinds of hiring decisions.

In other news:

The Town Council accepted Joe Phillips resignation with regret. His seat will go up for election on Nov. 7. The qualifying period for those interested in applying will be from Aug. 28 at noon through Sept. 1 at noon. Qualifying packages are available in the town office.

The council did not vote on a new president this week. Vice President Frank Ciotti said he'd like to remain as the second in command. Voting in a new president, as well as appointing a temporary council member to Phillips' vacated seat will hit the September meeting's agenda.


Audio file is available for download: Special Meeting Aug. 24 (18.8 mb windows media file)

posted by Cher @ 9:41 PM, , links to this post

08.24.06 -- EDITORIAL: All Hail the First

What I missed when I didn't get past Freedom of Speech and Press Freedoms

By CHER PHILLIPS

Last year I took this amazing class called Spirituality and Communication. Part of the assigned work was creating an inspiration journal surrounding themes brought up in the class.

My instructor is a friend of mine. She asked if she could take my journal to class to show new students an example. So, I was looking at it through the eyes of someone who'd never seen it, reading all the quotes figuratively for the first time.

Because I'm a freedom-of-expression geek, there is a page in my journal devoted to the First Amendment. I laid out the quote last year in PhotoShop, set the font and all that. But reading it again today, something struck me that I didn't realize before.

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It's the last clause that caught my eye ... no laws prohibiting the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A petition to the Government as a freedom of speech ... I remembered Scott Walker saying something of the kind when former Council President Joe Phillips wanted to remove citizen board members for signing the recalls. I just missed the context.

I've not made any statements for or against the recall petitions. I didn't sign them. I didn't actually SEE them until long after they'd been turned in so I didn't have to make that choice.

I admit that it would have been a hard one. Given that I live in the Cove, I might have felt like I owed it to my neighbors to sign the recalls. Given that I witnessed the February Workshop meeting and deeply believe in the importance of our state's Sunshine Laws, I might have felt obligated to sign the petitions.

But I do report here and people do read this. When it comes down to it, I wouldn't have signed the recalls for the same reason I have always been a registered independent in this state. I know in Florida that cuts me out from voting in the Primary Elections. By not choosing a party, I retain an objectivity I need to feel ethical in how I do my job. It's the same thing with the recall petitions.

I've not made any editorial statements about the recall petitions, Danaya Wright's defense in her resignation letter and Strange's official defense filed at the office. I've kept reports on Strange's decision to sue over the minute details and the theory surrounding his recall petition to what I could find in record or could ask in an interview. And I am not going to rant, nor throw Darts, nor award Laurels.

But I sure would like to point out that last line of the First Amendment again ... no abridging the freedom "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Casey Girardin told me tonight there is a tentative court date set the law suit for next Tuesday.


***

I still hope to get defenses on line since I was able to post Strange's complaint. But UF decided to start a little thing called the Fall semester so I've been a wee bit busy.

posted by Cher @ 5:19 PM, , links to this post

08.22.06 -- ADVANCE: Special Town Council meeting Thursday

Thursday's special meeting to discuss code enforcement, election qualifications

By CHER PHILLIPS

The McIntosh Town Council has called a special meeting for Thursday, Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center in Van Ness Park. One agenda item concerns a qualifying period in October for residents to apply to run for town council. The second involves Marion County Code enforcement.

The council held another special meeting last week to discuss the matter of code enforcement, as well as clarify former code enforcement officer Art Davis' removal from office. After last week's meeting, the council sent an interlocal agreement to Marion County asking the county to take over local code enforcement because the town has not been able to manage this at the local level.

Discussions at last week's meeting between the former Council President Joe Phillips and residents became heated. Phillips turned in his resignation to the town office the following morning stating no reason.

Per the town charter, Phillips' seat will have to be filled on an interim basis and then an election held within 60 -90 days to replace him. When the previous former Council President Danaya Wright resigned in July, Lee Deaderick was appointed as interim council member. Deaderick has since applied for Wright's seat during last week qualifying period. He was the only resident to step forward running unopposed.

posted by Cher @ 8:27 PM, , links to this post

08.21.06 -- PUBLIC RECORD: Joe Phillips' resignation letter


I made a public request for Joe Phillips resignation letter from the town office. It is listed above. (You can click on it to enlarge.)

Up this week: Public records detailing individual defenses against Jim Strange's civil suit.

posted by Cher @ 10:42 AM, , links to this post

08.19.06 -- EDITOR'S NOTE: Blog Survey

I would like to know more about how the blog serves you and the community, what I can do better and generally what you think. I've created an anonymous, academic survey. Please CLICK HERE to take a survey about the blog and give me your input.

As always, Thanks for reading.


posted by Cher @ 1:56 PM, , links to this post

08.18.06 -- BREAKING NEWS: Council President Joe Phillips resigns town council

Council President Joe Phillips resigns

By CHER PHILLIPS


McINTOSH -- Mayor Marsha Strange confirmed Friday evening that Council President Joe Phillips resigned. She did not know any other information about his resignation or why he made this decision.

Two attempts were made to contact Phillips but he was unavailable for comment.

This is the second council president to resign in McIntosh over one to two month period. Former Council President Danaya Wright resigned July 13.

Details pending.

posted by Cher @ 8:39 PM, , links to this post

08.18.06 -- REPORT: Special election qualifications only pulls one candidate

Only one applicant volunteers for special election

By CHER PHILLIPS

The qualifying period for the special election to replace Danaya Wright ended Friday at noon pulling only one applicant, interim council member Lee Deaderick.

The special election date was originally set for October 3. Since there is only one candidate running, town officials will have to determine if an election will be held.

In the past, Council Member Eunice Smith said when candidates ran unopposed in McIntosh, the town did not hold an election.

Deaderick was sworn in to the council last night. He would replace Wright whose term will end in 2007. His candidacy is now dependent the Supervisor of Elections Dee Brown certifying application and his resignation from the school board. He is currently holding dual offices and will need to relinquish that seat to serve on the council.

posted by Cher @ 1:02 PM, , links to this post

08.18.06 -- REPORT: Council drops sheriff's contract, grapples with code enforcement, site plan approval, residents

Council grapples with fallout surrounding Art Davis' removal from office

By CHER PHILLIPS

The Audio files for this meeting are available in two parts.
Download part 1, (windows media file, 8MB)
Download part 2, (windows media file, 20 MB)


At a second budget hearing followed by an emergency meeting, the McIntosh Town Council decided to discontinue an agreement with the sheriff, bring in an outside company for site plan approval and continue negotiations for sending code enforcement to the county level.

The council ruled they would not continue to pay for a contract with the Marion County Sheriff. This decision will save the community $51,000 per year and should not effect service to the area. The town has increasingly faced a shortfall. Council followed up previous discussions about raising the water rates which are the lowest in Marion County.

Mayor Marsha Strange called the emergency meeting to discuss who would take over site plan approval. When the council passed a motion to remove Art Davis as the code enforcement officer, it remained unclear whether or not Davis would continue to approve site plans for the town.

Sportsman's Cove owner Casey Girardin has been waiting four months for site plan approval. She'd been unable to get Davis to approve or deny plans to bring trailers on to her property. Davis did approve site plans for other residents during his tenure. At a meeting in town attorney Scott Walker's office to discuss this matter, Art Davis lost his temper and treated the town's mayor aggressively. She, in turn, asked the council to remove him from the office of code enforcement officer based on his behavior and read an open letter signed by about 100 town residents.

Council President Joe Phillips continued to support keeping Davis on for site plan approval for the town at $30 an hour. Several residents disagreed based on the reasons he was removed.

Several times during the meeting, arguments broke out between Phillips and members of the audience to the point where Phillips threatened to adjourn the meeting.

Initially, Attorney Sam Mutch was arguing for his client Girardin demanding to know when the town would approve her site plans. He said at the meeting with the town's attorney when Davis was verbally abusive to the Mayor, Walker told Mutch and Girardin her plans were approvable. Walker confirmed this for the council and Phillips in the meeting. Mutch told the council Davis was stalling approval until ordinances could be passed that would keep Girardin from moving in trailers. He said his client wanted to avoid a lawsuit but the town could be held liable for financial damages that an unreasonable delay might cost her.

Phillips said he had no power over approving Girardin's plans and would not answer when plans would be approved. In the process of shutting Mutch down, Phillips called on Land Planning Agency member Joe Shea from the audience who'd raised his hand to speak.

Shea was recently the subject of a resignation letter read at the LPA meeting by Chairman Barbara Fellman who suggested blindly -- describing him without naming him -- that he lacked moral fiber for signing a recall petition. Phillips also asked the council to remove Shea from the LPA because he signed a recall petition.

The confrontation between Phillips and Shea came down to a shouting match. Shea called Phillips a hypocrite for his policy of not allowing discussion about Davis when he was not present while Phillips did discuss Shea when he wasn't present. Shea also demanded Phillips resignation. He did not resign but agreed he was a hypocrite.

Along the lines of hypocritical, Pete Callahan called out Phillips for something town residents have long been complaining of to no avail. While raising his hand to speak and being ignored, Callahan spoke out and Phillips began to call him out of order. Previously during the meeting, resident June Glass just spoke out and Phillips answered her. Glass rarely raises her hand and speaks out when she pleases during council meeting. She is rarely, if never, called out of order while Phillips slams the gavel at other residents who speak out, speak of issues he doesn't agree with or whisper among themselves.

Callahan asked the long-overdue question, "So, June is allowed to speak?"

Phillips said that she was.

Finally, the council moved they would have Capri Engineering to approve site plans, if the firm is willing. In the past, the town has spoke with this company but decided against them because they were based in Tampa and the travel costs were too much.

Other issues from in the meeting:



posted by Cher @ 11:03 AM, , links to this post

08.18.06 -- REPORT: Lee Deaderick sworn in

Temporary council member Lee Deaderick sworn in

By CHER PHILLIPS

Temporary Council Member Lee Deaderick was sworn in to the McIntosh Town Council Thursday night. Deaderick will serve one to two months until a special election can be held in October to replace former council member Danaya Wright.

Deaderick, though unfamiliar with the current issues on the town's agenda, held his fair share of the floor on his first night. At one point, Mayor Marsha Strange teased him telling him they were going to hold him to a time limit after he pushed an argument to limit the amount of money allotted to code enforcement for legal representation. Deaderick's style in council is to make a point by first telling a story or offering hypothetical scenarios.

On his first night, he was quick to pick up issues like questioning how much an attorney the code enforcement board wants to hire would be when no other council members voiced this concern. But he seemed out of step on other issues that have been a concern to residents.

Deaderick did not seem to support sending code enforcement to the county level making the point that the town stood to lose some of it's local control over small infractions like dogs in the park. The council is exploring an interlocal agreement with the county to take over code enforcement. But then later, Deaderick admitted in one of his illustrative stories his personal feelings toward his property. He said 10 years ago he once cut down a pecan tree knowing he would be fined because he wanted the tree gone.

Deaderick ran for council last fall and lost by only a few votes to Council President Joe Phillips and council member Frank Ciotti. He is a long time resident of McIntosh and the son-in-law of former council member Cary McCollum.

The qualifying period deadline for the special election to replace Wright will end Friday at noon.

posted by Cher @ 12:09 AM, , links to this post

08.17.06 -- REPORT/PUBLIC RECORDS: Councilman: lawsuit a defensive move

Council Member Jim Strange hopes lawsuit will block recall petition

By CHER PHILLIPS

After an emergency meeting of the McIntosh Town Council Thursday night, Council Member Jim Strange said the lawsuit brought against a local business owner, the town clerk and the county supervisor of elections is purely a defensive action on his part and is not meant as an offensive move.

The complaint filed said Supervisor of Elections Dee Brown was handed over the second step of a petition to recall Strange on Aug. 9. Strange's suit was filed by his attorney Aug. 10.

Strange confirmed that the lawsuit is a way to bring the petition before a judge. He said he chose to sue Sportsman's Cove owner Casey Girardin, Town Clerk Julie Musselman and Brown because they were the persons who brought the recall against him, or in the officials' cases, approved the petition.

When asked if he was concerned that the lawsuit would give residents the perception he was getting even with Girardin for petitioning to have him removed from office, he said he was not. When asked initially Thursday night, he said he was not aware that all three counts ask the court to charge Girardin with court costs. When the question was redirected as to whether he knew or didn't know what was in his complaint, he said he could not comment.

Strange has said in the past he is primarily interested in clearing his name and said that this suit is meant to be a means of doing that. While the complaint does offer as part of an exhibit Strange's 300 word defense that was filed in the town office, it offers no new defense and asks for actions based on the format and questions the method of obtaining signatures.

***

The following links are to PDFs of Strange's complaint filed at the Marion County courthouse. Defenses for the defendents will be made available in the coming week.

Page one (Adobe pdf 706k )
Page two (Adobe pdf 781k )
Page three ( Adobe pdf 722k )
Page four (Adobe pdf 659k )
Page five (Adobe pdf 690k )
Page six (Adobe pdf 745k )
Page seven (Adobe pdf 455k )

posted by Cher @ 10:10 PM, , links to this post

08.17.06 -- REPORT: Councilman Strange sues over recall petition

Councilman sues over recall petition
Court documents call Florida's recall statute unconstitutional, local petition unlawful.

By CHER PHILLIPS

McINTOSH -- Councilman Jim Strange filed a lawsuit in the Marion County Civil Curcuit Court against Sportman's Cove owner Casey Girardin as chairman for the committee seeking to recall him. Strange would like the court to deem the recall petition illegal and charge Girardin for courts costs.

Strange named two other persons in his suit individually who have no personal interest in the case, Julie Musselman as the town clerk and Dee Brown as the County Supervisor of elections. Documents on file at the county courthouse show that Strange would like the court to order both officials to stop the recall election.

In June, Girardin circulated petitions to recall two council members, Strange and Danaya Wright who resigned July 13. Girardin's recall committee garnered more than the 100 signatures needed to begin the recall process. McIntosh only has about 360 registered voters and petitioners hailed from all four quandrants of the town which is no more than a mile wide.

Upon certification of the petition by the town clerk, Strange offered a defense to the four reasons that his recall petition were based. The suit doesn't address the nature of the accusations though.

Strange is suing on three counts. All three reasons for the lawsuit ask the court to stop Brown and Musselman from holding a recall election and ask the court to charge Girardin for the court costs. Two of the reasons are mainly to legally discredit the recall petition, put a stop to it and charge Girardin for the costs ensued. But one count is solely to establish the right to clear his name and challenges section 100.361 of the Florida Statutes saying that Strange is entitled to a public hearing where he can cross-examine his accusers and clear his name. Documents on file ask that section of the Florida statutes unconstitutional.

The next step on the suit is for the defendents to respond to Strange's suit.

Court case documents, the petition recall and Strange's defense will be available on this site.

posted by Cher @ 3:30 PM, , links to this post

08.16.06 -- SPECIAL REPORT: Council member files suit against local business owner, town clerk and County elections supervisor

By CHER PHILLIPS

Breaking news: Council member Jim Strange filed a civil suit against Sportsman's Cove owner Sandra "Casey" Girardin, Town Clerk Julie Musselman and Marion County Supervisor of Elections Dee Brown on Aug. 10. Records state this is a petition/complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief.

Details pending.

Filing is online through the Marion Clerk of the Curcuit Court, case number: 42-2006-CA-001734-AXXX-XX

posted by Cher @ 8:37 PM, , links to this post

08.15.06 -- SPECIAL REPORT: Land Planning Agency chairman resigns

LPA Chairman Barbara Fellman resigns

By CHER PHILLIPS

Barbara Fellman resigned at a meeting of the McIntosh Land Planning Agency on Monday night. In a resignation letter filed at the town clerk's office, Fellman stated her reasons were a conflict of interest with another LPA board member who signed a recall petition.

The text of the letter handed out by Fellman at the Monday night meeting reads as follows:

"To the Mayor, member of the Mcintosh Town Council and fellow citizens:

Webster's dictionary defines the word "intention" as an act of determining, mentally, upon some action or result. The end or object indended. [sic] Intention, intent, purpose, all refer to a wish which one means to carry out. Intention is the general word, such as ... his intentions are good. Intent is chiefly legal, such at the intent to deceive. Purpose implies having a goal or a settled determination to achieve something.

Hopefully, it is the intention of a man to do only good. His moral fiber includes credibility, integrity, and his covenant with his creator. He exhibits this through his actions and expression of ideals. When a man's intention is to do harm with full knowledge that he is bearing false witness and his action will bring undue hard to others, he lacks credibility and integrity. He has no moral fiber.

There is an LPA member that [sic] lacks these important traits. He, with full knowledge, affixed his signature with the intent to destroy the reputation of another man. His signature was his bond that the statements provided to him for the purpose of a recall of a council member were indeed true, and that he posesses the documentation to substantiate the allegations therein. In a court of law, under sworn statement, this would be perjury. Without a sworn statement, this becomes moral decay.

I choose to surround myself with people of high moral character and who exhibit good intentions. It is in direct conflict with my moral compass to serve with an individual that [sic] does not share these values.

My resignation to the McIntosh Land Planning Agency is submitted with regret.

Most sincerely,

Barbara E. Fellman, Chairman, 14 August, 2006."


The resignation letter should come before the council during the September Town Council Meeting.

posted by Cher @ 9:22 PM, , links to this post

08.15.06 -- MEETING: Special Town Council meeting Aug. 17

There will be a special meeting of the McIntosh Town Council on August 17 at 7 p.m. along with a second budget hearing.

The council will swear in newly appointed council member Lee Deaderick as well as discuss how code enforcement will be handled in the future. One item agenda is an interlocal agreement with Marion County for the county to cover code enforcement. The council will also discuss the sherriff's agreement.

The budget hearing will be the second hearing to go over the town's budget, shortfall and measures to take in creating next year's budget.

posted by Cher @ 8:17 PM, , links to this post

08.15.06 -- Darts & Laurels: So quiet you can hear the moss moving

REACTIVE REMOVAL

By CHER PHILLIPS

Qualifications to run for Danaya Wright's abandoned seat on the town council opened today at noon. It's been so quiet around here you could almost hear the moss moving. This place seemed almost like the small town everyone who doesn't live here thinks it is (except for a little old meeting in the town lawyer's office a week or so ago that everyone in town has probably heard about already but we'll get into that in a minute.)

We're gonna try something called Darts and Laurels. It's kinda like yard darts without the yard. And it's part editorial. I talk about who done good and who didn't.

We'll start with a steel-magnolia LAUREL to Mayor Marsha Strange.

I'd always heard this town's government was built with a weak mayoral structure. Marsha Strange blew that idea out of the water last week.

For anyone who didn't hear, at the town attorney's office, Mayor Marsha Strange attended a meeting representing the town with former Code Enforcement Officer Art Davis and Sportsman's Cove Owner Casey Girardin. When Strange, Barbara Fellman and Art Davis were alone in a room waiting for mediation to begin, all hell broke loose. According to eye witness accounts, the meeting broke down before it began into a WWW verbal slapdown. Apparently, Marsha had to bear the full brunt of what some residents have called Art's "crusty" side.

Marsha told the council last week without going into the gory details how he treated her. She used the language of the open letter signed by about 100 residents saying he was aggressive and disprespectful. It was the same letter residents had asked her to give the council last month but they refused to hear it.

For standing and delivering, thank you Marsha.

We are grateful to you because you used his mistreatment to stop others from having to withstand it in the future. And we're awful sorry it had to come to that.

We're sorry it took his acting out against you for the council to see that all the other residents who complained weren't just making it up, or grinding a political axe, or getting even for his writing code violations against them, or being grossly misled by the Mistresses of Misinformation as Joe Phillips might like everyone to believe when he gets up on his you-people-don't-know-what-you-signed soapbox.

And that leads me to hand out another LAUREL to council members Frank Ciotti, Eunice Smith and Joe Phillips for removing Davis from the office of code enforcement followed with a jumbo-sized, council-pack DART chaser to each and every council member, including former council member Danaya Wright and Jim Strange who was absent from this month's meeting, for not taking the complaints of residents who'd voiced concerns about Davis sooner.

How many residents does it take for you to believe us? How many Fred DelRussos standing up in council telling you Davis threatened his property? How many nice couples like the Great Wall of McIntosh owners saying that from their experience with him, they can understand Davis inspiring animosity?

It sure would have been nice if the council had been PROACTIVE about making sure their constituents were treated with respect by the office of code enforcement.

posted by Cher @ 1:01 PM, , links to this post

08.10.06 -- BRIEFS: Code enforcement officer removed; new council member appointed

Code Enforcement Officer Removed, Lee Deaderick appointed interim council member

By CHER PHILLIPS

McINTOSH -- The McIntosh Town Council voted to remove their code enforcement from office and appointed a new interim council member Thursday night.

Mayor Marsha Strange brought a petition to the council signed by more than 100 residents asking for Art Davis' removal from office based on poor behavior. Strange attempted to bring this to the council last month but council members refused to hear her read the open letter into the record because Davis was not present.

Again, Davis was not present at this month's meeting.

Strange began reading the letter into the record by first apologizing that Davis was not present to defend himself. She then read the letter and testified to the council that at a recent meeting she attended at the town attorney's office, Davis treated her in a way she described as agressive.

One resident raised his hand and said that Davis made his statement by not being available.

Even though Council President Joe Phillips said Davis should be allowed to finish the cases he is currently working on, the council voted to remove him. Phillips also said that the council charged Davis to do his job proactively.

****

Council member Frank Ciotti motioned to appoint Lee Deaderick as an interim council member after Deaderick volunteered to serve. Attorney Scott Walker informed the council earlier in the meeting that per the charter, they were required to appoint an interim replacement, even for two or three meetings.

Initially, Phillips blocked Ciotti's motion in a move to vote in a new council vice president before the council voted on Deaderick's appointment, blocking Deaderick from being named both to council and as vice president. Ciotti is now the vice president of the town council.

Last Fall, Deaderick lost the local election for town council to Ciotti and Phillips. The three candidates ran for two seats with Ciotti pulling 100 votes, Phillips taking 101 and Deaderick falling behind with 89.

Deaderick admitted when he volunteered he was not up on current issues. In the next two months, the council will be making decisions about the town's budget, looking at issues including a shortfall in the budget, the question of raising water rates and governing in a small town with a recall election of another council member potentially on the horizon.

****

June Glass approached the council asking for a lease for the McIntosh Charter School. A motion was passed amending the lease but excluding an area in the southwest corner from the school's leased property with the caveat that the school can use it but the town still retains control of the land for future use.

Later in the meeting, Ciotti motioned which the council passed allowing to use this piece of land to park cars during the annual 1890's Festival to raise money for the school.

****

Casey Girardin addressed the council asking why she could not get her site plans approved from the code enforcement officer or have her issues resolved with the code enforcement board. She said she's been waiting three-four months with nothing resolved.

Phillips said he could not speak to this because it involved the code enforcement board. But later in the meeting another resident, Jody, raised his hand and asked about a code enforcement issue and his concern was discussed by both Phillips and the code enforcement board chairman Harris Fellman.

Though there is a separation of powers between the code enforcement board and the council, all citizen boards serve at the pleasure of the council. Phillips pointed this out at last month's meeting when he wanted to have board members removed for signing petitions against council members.

The town attorney also said code enforcement would not meet with Girardin and her attorney without an attorney for the town present.


****


McIntosh will have a special election October 3 for a town council member to replace former council president Danaya Wright who resigned in July.

Candidates who are interested in running for Wright's seat will need to turn in their qualifying paperwork to Julie Musselman in the town office next week between Aug. 14 at noon and Aug. 18 at noon. Qualifying paperwork packets are now available at the town office.

Wright resigned in July and had been the subject of a recall petition. She resigned before she entered the defense portion of the recall and before a second petition was circulated.

****

Council President Joe Phillips reintroduced several ordinances that were previously voted down and defeated earlier this summer under a great deal of public pressure regarding land use originally prepared for the council by the Land Planning Agency. Phillips said he thought people were given misinformation about these ordinances and that he said they needed to be heard again.

Attorney Scott Walker and Mayor Marsha Strange questioned the validity of rehearing these ordinances, even amended, without first noticing them in the paper. Further questions arose regarding Roberts Rules of Order. Since Phillips was not a council member who voted these ordinances down, he could not bring them back up as business. Only council members who had voted against them and wanted to reconsider these issues could bring them back up.

After Phillips removed his motion from the floor pulling these ordinances from the agenda, neither Ciotti nor council member Eunice Smith chose to open them again for discussion.

****

Phillips made good on his promise to ask the council to charge a resident for the July election to add an amendment to the town charter banning expansion of the historic district. He asked the council to send a bill to Lee Winters who he said had offered to pay for the election. No other council members took him up on this point.

But looking back at this reporter's notes and recordings of council meetings, it was not Winters who offered to pay for this election but Charlsie Stott said the committee would pay for it if need be. That need was not ever established by the council.

Last spring Winters wrote an open letter to the town's residents and the council asking them to add to the July election the option of voting on the CRA.

****

Up next: Check back for Darts and Laurels and a new poll.

posted by Cher @ 10:34 PM, , links to this post

08.01.06 -- EDITOR'S NOTE: Shiloh development on Marion County Commission Agenda

Editor's note: The following is information from an e-mail circulating in the community about 1,200 acres of land between Micanopy and McIntosh up for rezoning at the county level near Shiloh.

The Marion County Commissioners will hear a rezoning petition from developer that could potentially allow a large number of homes to be built in an area rich in wetlands and farm country. I first saw in this in a flier at the Pearl Station with the slogan, "Keep our country, country" this weekend but the content in the flier was unsigned and I didn't want to post something I couldn't source.

After a McIntosh resident dropped me a couple e-mails this afternoon, I was able to speak to Gail Stern with the Marion County Citizens Coalition.

Stern explained community members in the Micanopy, McIntosh and Shiloh area are holding a meeting tonight at Shiloh Church to discuss a gameplan for Thursday's commission meeting. She said the developer's petition to the Marion County Commissioners is in two phases. The first would set up the area as a "conservation community" and the second could reduce the number of acres required for a home -- feasibly down to one acre which could bring as many as 1,200 new homes to the Shiloh community.

Stern said the concerns are not only environmental. She said these plans don't account for the infastructure needed to support sizable growth -- like schools and roads. It also could open the flood gates to other development in this area.

"This would forever change the fact of McIntosh-Micanopy-Shiloh area," Stern said.

I did notice when I read the Sun article that county staff are recommending these petitions be denied.

For those who are interested, there is a meeting tonight at Shiloh Church. I hope to have more definitive information on that later this afternoon. I've included the info sent to me in e-mail below.

Other info on this subject:

Originally in Ocala Star Banner, reprinted in Gainesville Sun:

“Rural Shiloh Country may give way to development” http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060801/LOCAL/208010337/1078/news

From an e-mail circulating:
Commission meeting concerning this proposal:
Thursday, August 3rd at the Marion County Commission Auditorium
601 SE 25th Ave in Ocala at 9 a.m.

A developer that owns 1,200 acres north of County Road 320 and west of County Road 329 (this is located between Shiloh and Wacahoota) is petitioning the Marion County Commission to change the land use zoning from "rural" to "low density residential." This amendment would allow the owner to divide this parcel into lots as small as 1 acre. Amendment is another proposed text amendment which is loosely worded and would essentially give developers free rein if they designate a development a "conservation community."

This proposal also needs to be defeated in its current form.
This part of northwest has been designated a "Farmland Preservation Area" by the commission which prevents any new development having from having lots of less than ten acres. The amendment will be the first test of the commission's comprehensive land use plan which is designed to keep this pristine area of free of a major development.

If you are against these amendments:

1. Please show up at the Marion County Commission meeting on Thursday, August 3rd at the Marion County Commission Auditorium

2. Please contact all five county commissioners at (352)438-2323 or email them.

To send an e-mail to the Marion County Commission, you have to go to their website at http://www.marioncountyfl.org/CO211/CO_home.htm


On the right side of the page it lists each commissioner. Click one and scroll to the bottom of the page and click on email commissioner. (e-mail addy's are included below)

601 SE 24th Avenue
Ocala FL, 34471

The Marion County Commissioners are:
District 1 - Andy Kesselring andy.kesselring@marioncountyfl.org
District 2 - Jim Payton - Chairman jim.payton@marioncountyfl.org
District 3 - Stan McClain stan.mcclain@@marioncountyfl.org
District 4 - Randy Harris - Vice Chairman randy.harris@marioncountyfl.org
District 5 - Charlie Stone (this is the district that we live in) charlie.stone@marioncountyfl.org

posted by Cher @ 1:23 PM, , links to this post

08.01.06 -- NOTICE: Meetings for first week in August

Historic Preservation Board Meeting
There will be an historic preservation board meeting at 7 p.m. on August 2.


Code Enforcement Board Meeting
Code Enforcement Board will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. in reference to violations for the following people: Sandra Girardin (Casey), Doug Henderson and Melinda Smith, Sharon Sutley and Deborah Olliver. Fees for Pedro Molinas will also be assessed.

posted by Cher @ 10:19 AM, , links to this post

Editor

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

About This Blog

The primary purpose of this blog is to accurately reflect what happens in town public meetings and dispel rumors. I record the meetings and make them available for download. One of the goals of this blog is to offer residents a place to voice opinions. The comments, views and opinions expressed there are not necessarily those of the editor.

 
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"A Popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison, 1822

"Personal journalism is also not a new invention. People have been stirring the pot since before the nation’s founding; one of the most prominent in America’s early history was Ben Franklin, whose Pennsylvania Gazette was civic-minded and occasionally controversial." - Dan Gillmor, 2004, We the Media

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