Baitball Blogger's Journal
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Current location: Seminole County, Florida
Member since: Sun Mar 18, 2012, 09:16 PM
Number of posts: 22,616
Current location: Seminole County, Florida
Member since: Sun Mar 18, 2012, 09:16 PM
Number of posts: 22,616
I am interested in homeowner issues in Central Florida. What I have observed living in a Republican county is that a lot of what Republicans claim to support, is not how they live. For more information, see my website at www.keystoneworksite.com
Even in local areas across Central Florida they have rooted into the community, pushing their anti-government memes in small bite-size portions that generates public support for them. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to believe that any good can come from downsizing government regulations? Is the tax bonus you receive really worth the destruction of your own community as these people infiltrate government and community leadership positions to profit from the weakened regulations?
Apparently, very stupid because too many can't see through the ruse. And you can bet that their children will grow up not knowing any better.
Yes, the Feds created their own problem. Many of us have been trying to tell them that something was wrong in our communities, and they just took the easy route and looked the other way. If we have a problem with white Americans thinking they are above the law, who can blame them from reaching this conclusion because no one has shown them anything different.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sat Jan 9, 2016, 11:36 AM (1 replies)
The bank's recklessness at protecting our investments has proven to be a national security problem. When ordinary people can't sock away enough for retirement or their kid's college education, bad things happen. Many of them move to the dark side to try to make up for the loss. In this age of small government, we have an incredible problem with corrupt community leaders who have learned how to profit from their positions in the community. Their greed and selfishness is destroying the rest of the American dream for the people they are supposed to represent. Trust in the private-public alliances are gone forever. And, when you have a lack of unity among Americans, we end up with the fragmentation problem that we're dealing with today.
THAT's the trickle down effect of having a deregulated banking industry.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Wed Dec 30, 2015, 10:06 AM (2 replies)
if you don't first eliminate the public perceptions that drive it? It's easier to see how all the moving pieces work together when you study a small town culture.
In small towns you get the full picture. Length and width. Specifically, you can see how the white elite game the system, skirting the laws to enrich friends, family and business associates. No one will stop them. Not the FBI, the state attorneys office and especially not the police department. That's because their mission is generally defined by the status quo in the community. In other words, their salary is paid by the very same people who will wilt like a flower when they see a PoC walk down their streets.
So, in order to redefine the mission, you have to redefine the status quo.
Personally, I think "shadow government" is more appropriate. The fact that this backwater construct still exists today defies common sense because our American identity is founded on the concept of equality. In contrast, the status quo's purpose is to retain power, and resist change.
I can use a small town culture to demonstrate how they resist change. Keep in mind that the status quo is a socially constructed monster. It grows whenever its turf is threatened. It can pull in new members for the most inane of reasons. For example, if there is someone in the community who presents a challenge to their power, they will respond by pulling all the stops to watch that individual. That can mean increased police surveillance or it can mean contacting neighbors to ask for their assistance. Sometimes it might even involve asking for permission to use a driveway to station a car. (As a side note, when they are asking the gullible neighbor for this favor, they are not just asking for a favor, they are also forcing him to take a side.)
The purpose behind watching the house is not just an intimidation tactic, but also serves to observe who this person is socializing with to stop any political challenges before they begin.
Given this hostile environment I am asking you, how are you going to find allies, how are you going to grow a political movement when the entire system is set up to frustrate you before you even start?
So, do you see how we are all being stymied on both ends of this social experiment? In sum, the key to change is to change the demographics of the status quo. That's the only way to make our criminal justice system more egalitarian in their mission statements. We will get their faster together, with a strategy supported by the BLM and a push for economic equality.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sun Aug 23, 2015, 12:38 PM (1 replies)
This is a battle that will be fought on two fronts.
On one side, we're working with the ever hidden hand of the status quo. The status quo consists of the most economically and politically-connected individuals. Currently, that means rules for the police, school programs and job opportunities are gamed to improve the lot for a white demographic, because that is the composition of our status quo in America.
This is a no brainer. Even Sandra Bland mentioned it in her video that to be successful, you have to learn to work alongside of the white culture. That means learning how to fit into their culture, at least, if you want to earn an income. And that's how it will be until minorities can make it in great numbers into the status quo equation, where they can make the rules more equal, so they can retain more of their self without being penalized for it.
And that's where the second front comes in. The one where organizations like BLM will make a huge difference. BLM is creating an urgency and building a groundswell that will put minority issues where they need to be for any change to even be considered by the current status quo.
That's the only way that this country has ever made concessions to minorities. And let me tell you, the first Civil Rights movement did a magnificent job, but it was only the beginning. Affirmative Action did a great job to help minorities overcome obstacles that once kept them from gathering the kind of training and experiences that would help them climb the ladder. But I can tell you that once you get up that ladder and take two steps away from any Federally mandated occupation or environment, you'll find yourself in the same backwater hole, where the old style status quo has been allowed to thrive, undeterred by any effort to diversify.
No question that some of those Federal programs need to be updated. Introducing minorities into any small town environment where the system is gamed in favor of white residents is fool-hardy. It's insanity to think that we can offset the existing political networks in these established communities by building multi-family communities on the outskirts of town. The reasoning behind these programs is that multi-family homes are more affordable, hence, minorities will be able to move in and change the political demographics. But that isn't what happens. We are essentially recreating the very segregated style of communities that the Civil Rights movement tried to put an end to.
The only right way to break through, is to raise the economic well being for minorities, so they can afford to move into the high priced gated communities where the power is pooled. But we have to do it in numbers because these communities have further pitfalls to consider.
You can see the edges of social engineering wherever covenant restricted communities are selectively enforcing their documents. Business Associates and cronies are allowed to do whatever they want to do on their property, infringing on the rights of neighbors. To someone who is victimized by the process, it does look like a concerted effort to push you out of the community, because the HOA is reinforcing a hostile atmosphere.
To add to the tumultuous environment, the HOA board members can pile it on by increasing the Association fees. This will not have a negative impact on residents who are connected to one another through the poli-economic networks that small towns are known for. These residents won't even bat an eyelash when those fees keep climbing because the cost can be mitigated through business opportunities that will spring up through their business associations. Everyone else is on their own.
This will be particularly daunting for minorities, wherever racism is an issue.
Those fees become a challenge because they must be paid, or you lose your house. It's simple mathematics. It is a major pitfall to home ownership, especially for minorities who finally make it to the top to discover a society where the rules are unlike any other that they have experienced before. You pay for a dream home, just to discover that you're on the outside of an entitled, insular society. And if you look around, it is not much different any where else.
So you will continue to pay those fees, and unwittingly feed the system, because your house can be sold right from under you if you don't. This will not change until the demographics of a community change, to make it harder for insular societies to set in.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Mon Jul 27, 2015, 10:31 AM (0 replies)
Hey everyone, full disclosure: I posted this in other forums and it pretty much went flat on its face. But I thought it might interest this forum because it was inspired by an article that described how black residents approached their City Hall to ask for a fair share of the public works projects that were being planned for their city. They managed to get a vote of agreement from the commission, but it's not binding.
I thought about writing this screed because a similar project was planned in my city fifteen years ago and we're still dealing with the repercussions from the back room deals that undermined those who tried to appeal their situations in an open meeting.
I see it as a relevant topic for the reasons I point out below.
Equal Economic Impact is the Remedy to Crony Government
When we talk about improving the economic conditions for minorities, the first step is to recognize when an opportunity presents itself. The most obvious example occurs whenever a local government decides to sponsor a large public works project.
If the plan is to ensure that these projects don't get hijacked by the crony groups, it's important to keep an eye on the local government officials and their advisors. Specifically, are they conversing with members of private organizations in order to curry support for the public project? Is so, who are they pulling in at the ground floor?
It is important to identify these entitled groups because people who are pulled in through outreach programs will bring in their own agendas. As the government body cultivates the social relationship in order to find issues that will help induce support for their public cause, they can entangle themselves in private matters that will leave a permanent stink in a community.
So, it's imperative for someone to keep track of those private conversations, especially if equal access and equal representation is a concern.
An Example: Apopka, Florida
Right now, Apopka, Florida is gearing up for a large town center project. There isn't enough information in the newspaper to determine if there are private groups that are getting sneak previews, but it is an issue that someone should look into.
In the late nineties, my city, Winter Springs, had a similar town center concept and they did target "key people" and "key organizations" in order to gather support. The ultimate result from pulling in people into these inside circles, was to create a dichotomous society that still stands today.
People who were pulled in during the early stages, learned that the city and its attorneys would circumvent the rules under the right conditions. It was insight that would influence how they viewed government and leadership roles.
That conclusion is prima facie because people who experience this kind of indoctrination will never have respect for the government process. Once they see how rules are ignored to facilitate the decision-making process, they will never look at a rule as an obstacle, again.
And, if they don't respect the due process and due diligence requirements of government, don't expect them to respect it in their community leadership roles either.
So, in sum, let's agree that dichotomous societies are not something we should be striving for these days. If Apopka is using the same closed-society mentality that my city used in the nineties, I can guarantee that equal economic impact will not be a direct result of the process.
Equal Representation as a Remedy to Cronyism
There is a factor in Apopka that was missing from my city in the nineties. Apopka's demographics are half white, a quarter black and a quarter Hispanic/latino. With those high numbers in minority groups it is no surprise to discover that black leaders stood up in an Apopka meeting to pitch their cause. In a public meeting in March, they made their case and the commission agreed with their position, at least, ceremonially.
Black leaders seek more diversity, opportunity in Apopka
However, it was just a ceremonial vote, for, as the city attorney pointed out:
City Attorney Cliff Shepard said the resolution was full of "platitudes" but lacked binding language to commit the city to any action or programs.
For my two cents, At the local level I have seen very little commitment from small government proponents to engage residents who are not part of the inside circles. If you're not a member of one of the favored organizations, chances are that your interests will be undermined. So, the answer is to tie any federal dollars to programs that will result in equal impact for minority communities. This step is necessary to avoid the business as usual oversight from the crony networks.
In addition, someone should watch who receives the subcontracts once the Master Developer is selected. Because, it's not unheard of that job assignments, like landscaping architecture, ends up in the hands of local insiders.
- - - - -
Here are clips from a current paid subscription article that has an update on the plans:
Apopka eyes major transformation, new city center
"We've been waiting on a downtown forever," said Richard Anderson, who served 31 years with the city fire department and nearly a decade as Apopka's chief administrative officer.
The targeted area includes another 108 privately owned acres that could be pulled into the development, a University of Central Florida business incubator and Martin's Pond, a 14-acre body of water. Private property owners could negotiate their own deals with developers if they chose.
The city wants a developer with a "proven track record" of building large-scale urban projects, which it defined as having a value more than $50 million, and not many developers can clear that hurdle.
Also, the intersection of "441 and 436 for years has been a mess," Anderson reminded City Council. "We've argued with and state officials a long time about that."
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sun Jul 19, 2015, 07:17 PM (4 replies)
white suburban communities, where large pools of hate and entitlement spread unfettered across generational lines. There is no one here to challenge them. And it is from this white suburban nuttery nursery that racist feelings are spread around easier than stock tips on a golfcourse.
You think it's only black men they fear? Imagine driving by neighbors who are out walking on the street. The husband waves a friendly smile, and the wife ropes her children in her arms in a protective stance. What are we supposed to make about that?
I know exactly what's going on because I have seen it before. Some people were raised in racist families where they were indoctrinated to fear people who are different than they are. Some of them know that these fears are unfounded, but that's not enough to stop the ones in the family who are perpetually damaged.
The irony is, that they only add to their anxiety because they think it's their manifest destiny to collude against the interests of the weakest members of society. So we who are fighting these battles on our own are in a bad situation because we not only have to learn how to defend our rights (which takes money) at the same time that we don't add fuel to the fire because we are dealing with the impressionable perceptions of the next generation.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Fri Jun 5, 2015, 09:08 AM (1 replies)
on a regular basis. They also tend to flock together in many of these covenant-restricted communities, where they take over the boards and control the decision making to benefit their boys and gals, and undermine the rights of everyone else. They are pretty brazen in their efforts to push undesirable residents out of their insular societies.
I really don't understand why Civil Rights organizations have been so slow to recognize the correlation between these micro-cultures and economic opportunities. In small communities, job opportunities are directly derived from private-public partnerships programs that are government sponsored. Unfortunately, from what I can see, these jobs do not come without a hitch. City government not only can use jobs to dangle carrots to induce support for their programs, but they also can use these private organizations as a backdoor into the private communities. This can prove costly to homeowners who are not part of the inner circle, because it always feels like they are being sold out.
So it makes sense that if racists can push out minority homeowners out of these neighborhoods, they can also keep them from joining the very private organizations that could help them find jobs.
Of course, there's another reason to give minorities in these neighborhoods a hard time. Once they understand how the game is really being played, they would cry foul.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Tue Jun 2, 2015, 04:41 PM (0 replies)
in a "suburb with restricted covenants". So the current times aren't a cup of tea either. If you manage to buy a house in their communities you will pay dearly for it and we could use some enlightened help from our progressive candidates to fix the problems.
The symptoms of racism are alive and well in the suburbs. Here are some of the signs to look for:
1) Is there a strong clique or two forming in the neighborhood?
2) Is there already a history that shows how the people in these cliques will work together to pass on misinformation that will support their improper agendas, at the same time that they discredit the minority homeowner's position?
3) Does the HOA turn a blind eye when cronies breach covenants that specifically encroach on the rights of the minority resident in the community?
4) When the minority resident appeals to the HOA, do they hold a meeting without inviting you to discuss the issue? Afterwards, do they invite the minority resident to the board meeting to hear their final decision when you know that on the board is one of the members that encroached on your rights and the decision has already been squared with the other residents?
5) Despite that it's evidence of selective enforcement: When you're out working in the yard do people come back to watch what you're doing to make sure you aren't building anything that will encroach on their buddy's property rights, even though they passed on a chance to stop the neighbor from encroaching on your rights?
6) And the most beautiful example of racism: Given the comprehensive list of indifference or hostility they have subjected you to over the years, do they suddenly find their sweet face and approach you just to ask you if you're ready to sell your house? It's like they're checking to see if you've had enough.
Yeah, they absolutely know that they're giving you a hard time, and they don't have a sincere friendship to offer you because they know the end game is to push the undesirable out of their insular societies.
I think it's time to expand our knowledge of racism, since making it to the suburbs isn't the reward that everyone has led us to believe.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Mon Jun 1, 2015, 05:20 PM (0 replies)
I've tried many times to pass on information to my local paper and they keep burying the story. Years ago I discovered the reason. The networks that we continue to complain about that are taking over the integrity of the government process include the newspaper editors. It's not hard to figure out why. If there is a large economic development program planned for a community, the newspaper editors would be the first to be pulled in because positive reporting would be necessary. Also, their editorial endorsements for "friendly" political candidates would be critical to the overall success.
But they are also needed to tamp down on hound dog reporting that might reveal what goes on behind the city's nefarious outreach programs. These outreach programs are an integral part of inducing support from community leaders.
My favorite example is the use of super-HOAs to define the story that is needed to sell the programs to the residents. In the newspaper you almost never hear criticism launched at the board members of these organizations, though they so richly deserve scrutiny, given the political influence they weld - even when they may not have any legal authority over anyone. My community is a perfect example. The master HOA in this area has no legal authority to influence the self-determination of our smaller, mandatory HOA, but everything about our community has been co-opted by a past allegiance that was based on fraud and conspiracy.
There is a cautionary tale here for other HOAs in Florida. And it's one that the local paper won't tell you about. When a city decides to launch a major construction program, they will go after the HOA leaders. More effective to the city, (and more damaging to the residents), is when they work directly with the master HOA leaders, who pull in all the presidents of every HOA for special meetings. What happened in my situation, was that this quick access into government resulted in short-cuts and collusions which cut us out of the decision-making process and deprived us of our legal rights as homeowners. To this day, fraud and conspiracy, and now a cover-up, has been allowed to stand.
And, there is a strong indication that this same formula of pulling in the heads of all the HOAs to control public opinion in a city, will happen again.
Before the economic downturn, there were big plans to develop a large tract along a major highway that cuts through the borders of two cities. The first signs of the operation that overtook my city began to surface with a simple article in the paper. The article stated that a super HOA board was going to be established to advise all the mandatory HOAs in the city that adjoins mine.
In a legal world, these things don't happen this way. If the paper was any service to its readers, it should have smelled the makings of a con-job. There is a legal process that give HOA boards their authority. The documents that give these organizations their power are generally approved and legalized before the first homeowner purchases property in the development. If it doesn't happen this way, it requires negotiations and a legal vote to sanction this kind of power.
A super HOA, coming in after the fact, claiming to represent the interests of all the homeowners within the city limits is just a self-proclaimed lobby group. Sometimes lobby groups are good, but residential boards are usually manned by tough-talking board members who are more goal oriented, than mindful of the law. (And sometimes political lawyers like them that way). The potential for abuse and overreach are real.
But the paper never went into this kind of detail. Instead, it just reported that one of the desired features of this super HOA was that it will be more cost effective to the other HOAs because they would rely on one lawyer to provide consultation for everyone.
I cannot stress how bad of an idea this can be. This happened in my community. The super-HOA relied on a handful of lawyers, and when everything began to fall apart, these lawyers found their way to all the hot spots in our community and provided information that protected the super-HOA at the expense of the homeowners who lived in the smaller HOA communities. Those lawyers only looked into our HOA documents to select information that protected their real boss, the super-HOA. They will not empower you with the rights that you do have as a homeowner, because those rights can be used against the city and the super-HOA. In this way, they helped squelch challenges by keeping homeowners confused about their rights.
When you have this kind of interference, corrupt people within your community begin to exploit the fault lines in your HOA's foundation. Many of these same people were neighbors who were pulled in early, when the city was looking for supporters for its works projects. These people are politically connected. They will be quick to pick up on the community's vulnerabilities and the chaos that their selfish objectives create only makes it more difficult for the honest homeowners to join forces to fight against the intrusion created by the city and the super-HOA.
So, without good, affordable legal advice to rely on, you get to watch, helplessly, as the unique features that made your HOA stand out from all the others, begin to disappear.
In sum, backwater law takes over when a newspaper becomes complicit with government works projects. That's the unintended consequence that comes from their political endorsements, and lack of investigation when residents try to tell them that they need to investigate the wrong-doing that is occurring in their communities.
People around here think the hijinks and shenanigans that occur during these lawless periods are funny. After a while you eventually reach the conclusion that fraud and bribery is a way of life in Florida.
That's why editors don't like whistle-blowers. When these operations take over, it's the paper's job to tamp down on information which might interfere with government works projects that they deem to be for the good of the community.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Thu Mar 26, 2015, 10:46 AM (0 replies)
We have a good ole boy network in Central Florida that crosses party lines. Many of the convoluted decisions that cities have made in this past that involved land development were based on questionable legal opinions from city attorneys. i.e. these were activist attorneys who were pushing the envelope on sovereignty issues. Some were even involved in pushing a "novel" approach that would have changed land development law, giving cities the power to make decisions over land zoning changes, which at that time was considered quasi-judicial, instead of legislative. These lawyers believed they had immunity, which must have emboldened them. In other words, these lawyers believed that they would not be held legally accountable for their involvement in a land development issue. They were wrong.
It all backfired when a developer who felt targeted by them hired a smart lawyer who not only challenged their immunity claim (and won), but was able to explain, in plain language (so that people assembled at a city meeting could understand) that the city was not following State law. <Footnote 1>
Unfortunately, this developer was not liked by a coterie of ordinary people who had elevated this land zoning issue into a personal fight. Not surprisingly, they assumed the developer was the bad guy and never took the time to understand land zoning laws well enough to A) negotiate better deals and B) understand and accept their legal limitations. In all fairness, the lawyers in the area were not much help. Hard to say whose side they were on, even now.
In the end, the developer prevailed and there was a Mexican stand-off between the corrupt public attorneys and the coterie of people who had turned this whole mess into a personal grudge. They were partly composed of gullible, misled individuals; Republicans/Libertarians who were mentally wired to hate government and just wanted the city to give them what they wanted; and a contingency of thirdway style democrats-neoliberals who forgot that Democrats are supposed to respect government process. <Footnote 2>
The dispute with the developer was resolved with a settlement agreement that gave him two million dollars to go away. The same agreement also contained a confidentiality clause, that I believe became a détente between the attorneys and the community leaders who were most involved in this fracas. These groups, who ordinarily did not like each other, were now bonded to one another because of the need to keep the information tapped down. (Because there were other victims that were not included in the lawsuit.)
Essentially, that confidentiality clause gave the lawyers and the community leaders a chance to start all over. It allowed them to set-up a status quo that was committed to perpetuating a cover-up. This mission has created a surreal situation that rewards people who will take up the mantle to continue a story that at its foundation, is false. You can't do this without the cooperation of several lawyers to back up that "story."
So, enter Charlie Crist. If he had succeeded in becoming our next governor, the people involved with this scandal would have felt reasonably confident that they would not have to worry about legal ramifications. Not that Crist had any role to play in the original antics, but it's the environment of our political system that would have made him rely on the people involved in the fracas because a few of them are rainmakers. To this day they manage to hold onto power because the money they are able to pour into political campaigns provides them with influence.
I am not in anyway saying that this particular local scandal had anything to do with Democrats being turned off by Crist, but I suspect that it is many such governmental collapses that finally wore everybody down.
To get the high ground, Florida Democrats not only have to redefine themselves as the party of reason and fairness, but also have to explain in very simple terms that small government is a cardboard cut-out that people shouldn't fall for. Behind the label, small government is just the same ole backroom cronyistic system that we have all come to associate with good ole boys.
Since people only tend to pay attention when they have something to fear, here is what should concern them: There are people in their communities who are intentionally spreading lies and misinformation. It is this intentional attempt to keep people from learning the truth that is creating a very hostile environment where people feel like they have to form alliances in order to create some semblance of a social life.
I hate to say it, but when I dissect these alliances to determine what binds people together around here, nobody seems to be getting it right.
- - - - -
Footnote 1: Actually, it was the combination of the explanation from the city's special counselor and the developer's lawyer that painted a curious picture. For background: the city, which appealed to small government types and property rights supporters, were playing out their own sovereign rule experiment, practicing government without an established constitution. <The city never filed a Comprehensive Plan and a couple of its early ex-city attorneys became staunch property rights supporters and welded influence in the community afterwards>. For most of the early decades, the city resolved land development disputes in court and relied on settlement agreements to determine zoning changes. Such was the case with the developer who sued the city and prevailed. Their disagreement cropped out of an early settlement agreement. When the developer submitted conceptual plans for his proposed developments, there were slight adjustments that incensed the community and this opened an opportunity for a coterie of people to organize an attempt to stop his developments.
It marked a change in the city's evolution when the city joined forces with this group of residents who had, in the past, organized efforts to stop city projects. This change would be most noticeable in the way the city argued its case. They hired a special counselor, who after months of research, presented state law requirements that she felt were needed before the city could approve rezonings of the developer's property (even though these rezonings had already been approved through the settlement agreement signed a few years before.) The irony here, is that the special counselor introduced the same legal state requirements that the city had been circumventing for years due to their sovereignty efforts.
When the developer's lawyer's turn came up in that city meeting, he essentially explained that the settlement agreement that they had entered into with the city was, essentially a contract. And in the contract it stated that the city was required to file any necessary paperwork to permit the construction. The claim they would present in court involved estoppel. They would argue that because of this early agreement they had with the city, the city could not now erect road blocks to prevent the construction.
I would have given anything to be in City Hall that day when Republicans in the room must have suddenly understood why it was so important for local government to follow due process. The smart ones would have realized that if the city had properly followed state law there would have been properly noticed meetings for the rezonings where members of the public might have stood a chance to listen to the details in time to develop legal strategies, or attempt better negotiations. Instead, they were always going to be behind the eight ball because many of the city meetings were just set up to approve settlement agreements, where the details had already been hashed out by a select handful of people. This style of select committee groups is how the city still operates to this day.
Footnote 2: Among the people who were most opposed to the developer were individuals who the developer claimed in his complaint, were involved in a conspiracy to interfere with his business. <tortious business interference.> Indeed, there are strong indications that a few were not operating in an unselfish manner. In other words, they stood to benefit from the developer's downfall.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Fri Nov 7, 2014, 05:55 PM (1 replies)