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Baitball Blogger

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Current location: Seminole County, Florida
Member since: Sun Mar 18, 2012, 10:16 PM
Number of posts: 28,196

About Me

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

Journal Archives

Trickle-Down economics over-simplifies how money gets redistributed in red counties in Florida.

Rich people will always be a factor in business, but in Central Florida, we have a strange social dynamic going on that influences the distribution of wealth - and not in a fair way. I saw this process for the first time in the nineties. It may have started as inherently, good ole boyism, but it evolved and embedded itself into traditional organizations, until if finally took over.

Back in the nineties, our local government was seeking support for large public works projects and reached into the civic and professional organizations where they knew they would find the loud-mouths in our community. At the time the two groups were engaged in a headlock over a land development issue. The local government infiltrated the private groups and tapped the ambitious and the most fluidly ethical. Those people got the nod and became community leaders.

They didn't even have to ascend to positions on a board in a proper fashion to control what happened in our communities. As a newcomer, I saw how their authority was established. The word got out that they had special access to the city leaders. We were lied to and told that we didn't have any leverage in an important zoning matter that directly affected our Association, so our only option was to rely on this one person in our community. So, we ended up with two leaders in our community. One that was a named president, and the other was the good ole boy "ambassador" to the Mayor.

I was victimized by this process. I never had any preparation for this, no warning that something like this was even possible. There was just no known or shared history for the things that were occurring in my community. Over the years, I saw firsthand the dysfunction and favoritism to others that would tarnish my American Dream. So, I researched and studied public records and came up with an understanding.

What I found were networking circles that defined and eroded just about every institution that is supposed to provide a fair process. I can tell you, without blinking an eye that THIS IS THE RED FLORIDA COUNTIES ACHILLE'S HEEL. They have two parallel lines of leadership running concurrently in a community. And the one that always wins, is the one that has jobs opportunities or other inducements that can be used to seduce just enough of the population to squelch dissent in the others. WHEN A LOCAL GOVERNMENT TAPS INTO THESE GROUPS FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSE, THIS IS WHAT SYSTEMIC DISCRIMINATION LOOKS LIKE.

These networks run through-out Central Florida and hits just about every profession. The only way to break it, is to bring in outside legal professionals who will start filing Civil Rights lawsuits.

Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sat Jan 6, 2018, 11:22 AM (0 replies)

The average Republican isn't just a middle class to wealthy class white male voter.

Though poor whites may have had a past history of voting the Democratic ticket, I think we have seen a shift in voting patterns when Unions stopped being a factor with job security. The factor that is changing everything is an over-reliance on the so called trickled down system. It creates an environment where small businessmen must rely on the patronage system in order to survive. That's my observation from living in a good ole boy community.

The trickle down effect in small towns creates a very strange relationship between white residents, based on class. White males who are scraping to make a living find a way to hitch their wagons to the wealthy, hateful authoritarian types. Look at it from their small businessman's point of view. He knows that he's getting a steady check for one reason. He has passed his employer's purity test. The two have a political perspective that they agree on. And they reinforce those beliefs by spewing every hateful stereotype about minorities and Democrats. That's a reality in a small red town.

It's really hard, not to get defensive when you know that jobs are being dispensed in a way that reinforces a lifestyle that is intended to block you out of every basic right that you are entitled to in this country. There is no limit to their hubris because the legal authorities will do nothing to stop it. So, rank discrimination goes unchecked and the price of living the American dream in these communities is that you get victimized, not just by the old guys who use their military, ex-officer positions to justify their entitlement, but their grandchildren as well. There is no end to their hubris and, as a homeowner, you will be excluded in ways that defy the written law. There's nothing you can do about it because the system that exists in the community, is stacked in their favor.

So, if anyone can find some way to find a term that separates poor white males who are aligned with this political patronage, from poor white males who would walk away from a job where the employer expects a white purity test, please let us know what it is. I will use it.

Keep in my mind, that my section of the county is mostly white and Republican. Things might be different in more diverse neighborhoods.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Thu Nov 9, 2017, 10:17 AM (0 replies)

Papadopoulos - the coffee boy is right out of the good ole boy playbook.

He was a necessary conduit and didn't need credentials for the task he was supposed to perform. In fact, credentials would have been too much of a lighting rod for questions and criticism.

They do this in city government all the time. If there is a private development matter that the city might have some desire to push through, they will make sure that there are no city professionals available at the meetings. For example, at a Planning and Zoning board meeting where a complicated retention pond was planned for a small community, the city did not provide a licensed city engineer to answer questions from the panel or for the residents. Instead, the Land development coordinator, who had no engineering license to risk, was there playing the role of Papadopoulos, using his ignorance to the city's advantage to push the meeting over the bumps and obstacles that would have slowed down the process.

In fact, the only reference to the city engineer was when the Land development coordinator stated that the engineer had approved the plans. This wasn't entirely true. Through a public records request it was found that there were quite a few letters exchanged between the city engineer, his boss and the developer's engineer. Nothing was set and changes were being made to the retention pond even after the last Commission meeting had taken place. It was a mess because the city commissioners and mayor had co-opted this private development for their own purposes and they had more than a few ordinary Papadopoulos types in the city government, as well as in our community to help them.

Same thing when the City went through a major beautification project. The board was manned with a lot of the good buddies who used the city platform to bully neighbors who got in the way. The strong words that were picked up on tape were incredible to hear. The city, instead of involving their own people to contact residents who would be impacted by their decisions, they instead handed it to civilians to make those contacts. They didn't even provide a lawyer to ensure that the board meetings were held with a civil understanding of private property rights.

Don't be fulled by the coffee boy label. You would be surprised at how willing an ordinary person would be to cross the line if it would make the people at the top happy. They need to be held accountable in the same manner.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Fri Nov 3, 2017, 09:15 PM (5 replies)

Have you figured out the pattern yet?

They shut down protests from Black Americans by claiming they are disrespectful to soldiers when black NFL athletes kneel, instead of stand for the National Anthem.

They shut down calls for gun control by claiming this is not the right time to talk about it because it's disrespectful to grieving victims and family members.

It's a ploy. Can you see it? Everything about our society is set up to resist change. Or more to the point, conservatives have figured out how to push the right set of buttons to keep their people in a state of incurious inaction.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Wed Oct 4, 2017, 09:55 AM (3 replies)

What I find disrespectful to soldiers is that the military is using their

sacrifice to elevate the military's authority in this country. Our military is becoming a never-ending challenge to a country that believes in equality and free speech. We have to face off, not just against the military propaganda, but the officers who go through the program believing they're gods.

I know it was 2009 when this practice began in the football fields, but that autocratic belief has a strong racist pattern, in my opinion. If you think about it, the draft during the Vietnam War forced two demographics together. You had young black soldiers who were inducted as privates and you had a higher preponderance of white officers, many who would never have to reevaluate the racist beliefs of superiority that they learned from their red origins. How many of those white officers ever saw minorities as anything but subordinates? Their entire career was reinforced by the visual reminder that their officer's clubs had few minorities eating dinner on the next table over. And when minorities started to show up in force, they only had to deal with them on a one on one basis.

And these are the people who retire into our red Florida communities and people think they're going to make good community leaders? No wonder our red counties are still stuck in the 50s.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Tue Sep 26, 2017, 09:40 AM (1 replies)

Racism and its enduring perceptions. (mini-rant)

It's bad enough when you have to deal with one person's irrational perceptions, especially when they're in a position to throw obstacles in your way. At least, in the work force, we have the opportunity to equalize or minimize the damage because we have a process we can use to counter the nuttery.

But, what do you do when you have leaders in the community who are so guilty from their own crooked deliberations that every day they have to struggle with their own guilty consciences? Unfortunately, every time they give into their irrational fears, this just creates another obstacle for many of us. What we need is an authority who can step in and show them the man in the mirror.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Wed Sep 20, 2017, 01:57 PM (0 replies)

Gardeners are the most optimistic people in the world.

I have my storm supplies ready and I need to wait for hubby so we can both start to batten down the hatches, so I decided to use my time by visiting the hardware store to pick up garden supplies for the next garden project. There is reason behind my madness. I was in this house after Charlie in 2004 and we didn't have electricity for two days. It helped to keep my mind off my discomfort by gardening. Don't ask me why, but as long as I keep moving, the heat doesn't bother me. My son and his friend had cleaned up all the hurricane debris, so I proceeded to remove ferns from a small landscaped area on my property in order to plant daylilies. It would have been very therapeutic if not for the neighbor's grandkid who was propped on the wall across the street, obviously keeping an eye on my activities. It was pretty obvious that he was following orders to protect the next-door neighbor's vacant yard, who was a crony. Certainly someone they could depend on for quid pro quos over the years. (Really, such bullshit has to be experienced in order to appreciate what's really happening in these red suburban communities.)

Anyway, I went down to the hardware store today and couldn't stop beaming when I found like-minded souls filling their carts with mulch bags, soil and plants. I think it's important to remember that one should be prepared for the worst, but the waiting is hell and, sometimes, you just have to do something normal to help yourself stay centered.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Fri Sep 8, 2017, 01:21 PM (16 replies)

To respond to the question, what organizations would be resistant to minorities or their views?

(This opinion piece is a rework from a response I made to a fellow DUer.)

I have lived in Central Florida since the late seventies, so I'm just shy of forty years of observations. The last 23 years have been inside a red county, in a community that is 90% white. You would think that Democratic strategists would want to know what goes on in red counties, in order to improve their outreach, so I hope this gives them something to work with.

If I had to pick one word to describe the social structure that influences everything in the county, including the way the criminal justice agencies decide where they focus their resources, that word would be "protectionist." Makes sense, doesn't it? Conservatives want to protect a culture where they are always dominant. So, shouldn't we examine their social structure to see how they manage to get away with some of the most outrageous maneuvers that would land most people in jail. If nothing else, my reflections reinforce the view that white, entitled communities exist and thrive.

Let's start with the private organizations that have direct access to elected officials. It isn't uncommon to find more than one elected official showing up at meetings for these private clubs because many become members of the same organizations. This is where private and public agendas can merge, and not always in the best way.

Especially for those clubs that require sponsorship prior to membership, a minority member would already be vetted before they join. However, once they get in, if they express progressive ideas, or show a low tolerance for good buddy decision-making, they can discover the incredible shrinking effect that small towns have. What may happen is that a select core of individuals will be pulled into private side meetings for further lobbying. In my town, breakfast meetings are a popular choice. These people are indoctrinated to become "ambassadors." "Ambassadors" is a popular term around here, and, at least for me, it sends up a red flag because my community was stung by this system.

Essentially, by the time the formal meetings begin, the ambassadors will push whatever meme is desired. Even if you understand that they are following an illegal, or foolhardy objective, you are going to be shouted down. Worse, you'll become that one person that gets ostracized and serve as an example for others of what happens to anyone who tries to provide another view. In this case, minorities of conscience have the unhappy choices of turning into a minority prop, or a megaphone for bad ideas.

In my community, an example of what could go wrong occurred in the nineties. The City reached into the local Rotary Club to try to appease a core group of people who were behind the resistance to the city's objectives and programs. Not that the City, didn't deserve criticism, but the merging of these two factions resulted in a new power structure that was predictable. Think "Animal Farm."

The ambassadors spread misinformation that spread into the various HOAs. To this day, they were able to use the chaos they created to their advantage. Which is my my community is still deep in the rabbit hole. Today, the HOA board doesn't even properly notice board meetings anymore. Complete shut-down.

Now, if you do manage to be a particular thorn at their side, it's an easy matter in small towns to defame and box out the particularly bothersome person, where it really is hard to go anywhere, including local restaurants without getting a dirty look.

No problem, though, I just go to the franchises located in the next town over. But, I still can't figure out how the local business community can maintain the mutually exclusive objectives of keeping their insular clientele happy AND grow new business. It mystifies me. I sometimes wonder if they keep track of the money lost to the community when children grow up and settle down in other states. If an average wedding costs $45,000, I wonder how much money is lost to the community when brides prefer to set roots in more agreeable climates?

The other problem that minorities have is that we get targeted when we walk into businesses as customers. This happened to me when I tried to sell old gold jewelry to a jewelry store. The jewelry person made a racial assumption about me that undercut me as a customer. I never had sold jewelry before, so I was totally unprepared for what happened. I had a hunch that something had gone wrong and that I didn't get a fair value for the necklaces and bracelets I had brought in, but I couldn't prove it. Just had a feeling. As I left wondering what just happened, the girl followed me to the parking lot and asked, "Is this what you and your friends do?" I'm guessing she thought I was a cleaning lady and that I could get her more gold for her. I was stunned. Most of the jewelry was collected over a lifetime, and other pieces where inherited from recent family losses. I blubbered something about being a graduate from a local college, as if that would somehow serve to remedy her racist views. But I walked away feeling dead inside.

I called her on it the next day and told her that she had racially profiled me and I questioned how she weighed the jewelry and whether it was a fair trade. She offered more money to smooth things over. It wasn't much, but I had very little options. I kept her card and documented it, but never turned it in. Where would I go? If Orlando had an active department that tracked down acts of racism, they would advertise. But I've seen nothing but protectionism from the authorities since I began to look.

And that's the problem. I don't think that red counties are going to be racially sensitive. And if they're not racially sensitive, they won't set up departments within criminal justice agencies that can help minorities clear the way for a fair and equal society.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sun Aug 20, 2017, 12:22 PM (4 replies)

I can understand why you would remain a skeptic.

First of all, I don't accuse that particular policeman of anything. He looked very intent on getting to wherever he had to go.

I asked a question because I live in a good ole boy community where some pretty heinous things occurred in the nineties because the city networked too closely with good buddies in the community. It resulted in a lawsuit, so there is a legal foundation for these claims. Because their misdeeds were cleverly buried in a confidentiality clause, nothing was publicly aired and discussed. Ever. No one was held accountable. After all these years, it's pretty damn apparent to me that nothing will change until we have an opportunity to truly examine what happened. And it has to be done. No surprise that over the years, these networks have not only persisted, but they have grown.

No one that supports the status quo is going to be happy with this. But I do see the urgency. In fact, everything that I have seen and experienced connects with what is going on today. I sit here in full facepalm when I read that people are bewildered that racism has persisted. Really? How is it possible that no one can see how entitled white societies have been allowed to dig into red counties without scrutiny? How is it that there has been too much tolerance for these peripheral societies that are allowed to reinforce their culture by excluding individuals, even from meetings that they have a legal right to observe. Why is our side still trapped into thinking that the only fight against racism is in the work place or in the military or in the actions of an excessive police force ? How about where we live? Or, more to the point, where we are not encouraged to live?

After everything that has happened over the last few days I can't believe that there is any social structure in our society that doesn't deserve heighten scrutiny. If I wrote a thesis on this subject the conclusion would be: The source of enduring racism is locked in society mores and beliefs that make the status quo resistant to change or scrutiny.

I hope to open eyes because it is clear to me that if you want change, you can't be afraid to ask critical questions. Any interference is nothing but gaslighting. And then there is the example of Heather Heyer. I can take the criticism. I hope Heather's mom knows, that I heard her.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Thu Aug 17, 2017, 10:41 AM (0 replies)

I think we have a story of two American militarys to run parallel with the Two Americas.

I grew up in the Canal Zone on a military base, in a small community that was heavily populated by civilians. To be more specific, we lived in a segregated part of the Canal Zone, where they housed Americans who married non-American spouses. Obviously, in those times, we are talking about Latino or White males married to mostly Panamanians.

Despite this, I grew up in the sixties thinking that racism was something that occurred in the U.S. between white and black Americans. I didn't see our community as segregated primarily because I was the same color of the majority of inhabitants in the country of Panama. I didn't even know that our little town was viewed as a segregated community until later, when someone told me that one of our classmate's mother wrote a book about the Canal Zone and described our community as a place where you couldn't tell the difference between the mothers and the maids.

I haven't read that passage, myself, but it's certainly on my to do list to hunt down one of those books. It was such tripe. The mothers were beautiful by anyone's standards.

Anyway, I lived in a shoebox of a house. It was a concrete block duplex, maybe 1750 sq. ft. My dad added a room to take care of the space for five kids, a grandmother and two dogs. The point is, that even when he became a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserve we didn't change housing as a commemoration to his accomplishment. There was no complaints. I loved my community. I loved my house that backed up to the baseball and softball fields. I loved playing in the tall sawgrass that grew along the airport strip. It was a heavenly childhood.

In sum, my expectations for officers in the military is very different than what I found once I moved to the States. And I think that my humble view of life at an early stage set me on a far different path than many of my friends who moved to the States and followed a very different trajectory.

At the Reunions, when I hear many of the Canal Zone ex-residents talk about any number of subjects, I realize how different we really are. We are all an extinct species, but our lives have followed the separate parallels that exist in the U.S.

Go figure.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Tue Aug 15, 2017, 03:01 PM (0 replies)
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