Thursday, July 02, 2015
Set March 15, 2016 Tax Vote on Any Sales Tax, Because "Character Counts"
"Character Counts" is part of the educational curriculum of the St. Johns County Schools.
The six pillars of "Character Counts" are "Trustworthiness, Responsibility, Respect, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship."
But is intentionally scheduling an 8.333% sales tax increase election for a low-turnout expensive special off-year election a demonstration of character?
Inspired by St. Augustine Beach parent Tom Reynolds, our School Board is asking for a one-half cent rise in the sales tax, aimed at reducing the number of portable classrooms.
That's a valid proposition that should be debated and considered on its merits. Legal experts opine that the County Commission must set a vote on the school tax -- but the question becomes: when?
Any vote on it should not be by special election in an off-year, which would cost more than $200,000.
That part of the School Board's plan is inspired by the rejected plan of County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK and Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's political machine to do the same thing for a proposed 16.666 sales tax increase.
That notion was rejected at the June 16, 2015 County Commission meeting by 3-2 vote.
Today's Record has an editorial that equates the monthly rental cost of portable classrooms (nearly $200,000) with the cost of a special election, on this question only.
It ducks and doesn't even beg the question about using a low-turnout election to raise your taxes. Why?
Setting a special election to raise sales taxes in an off-year sends the wrong message to voters and young people: the message is not character, but chicanery. There were special primary and general elections earlier this year: it could have been held then, when we were obliged to schedule three legislative elections due to the chauvinism of ex-Senator JOHN THRASHER (R-Koch Brothers), now President of FLorida State University.
County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK and Republican apparatchiks in the County Administration Taj Mahal admittedly planned on a sales tax increase for years. They did not hold the vote at the time of 2014 and 2012 primary and general elections.
They claimed an "emergency" and wanted to sneak it on a November 3, 2015 ballot all by itself.
That was sloppy thinking on the part of the County Administrator.
That did not reflect the six pillars of "Character Counts" ("Trustworthiness, Responsibility, Respect, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship").
It brought mistrust for our government. It made WANCHICK et al. look untrustworthy, irresponsible, disrespectful and unfair, disdainful of public participation. It failed the laugh test. It failed the smell test. That's why We The People rejected it and so did Commissioners.
There's a Presidential Primary on the ballot for March 15, 2016, with expected higher turnout.
That's only four months (133 days later).
If the St. Johns County Republican agenda is sneakiness and a low-turnout election, the vote will be set for November 3, 2015, and we'll know about the character of our all-Republican elected officials we have in charge of corrupt St. Johns County: what J. William Fulbright called "The Arrogance of Power.
If the St. Johns County Republican agenda is not a low-turnout election, then the vote will be set for March 15, 2016, to coincide with the quadrennial Florida Presidential Primary.
That will assure public participation.
Discouraging public participation and disenfranchising voters does not reflect character. It reflects business as usual in St. Johns County, subject of an ongoing FBI corruption investigation. Perhaps the machine wants to divert attention from the Michelle O'Connell shooting coverup and sequelae by setting up a special election?
The March 15, 2016 Presidential Primary is a winner-take-all delegate sweepstakes that will attract great voter turnout from both Republicans and Democrats -- now a third party in our county, after "Others," due to what some call "Undercover Republicans" among our Dixiecrat elders, satraps atop the superannuated St. Johns County Democratic Executive Committee (SJC DEC).
Let's set any tax increase vote then, and we'll be done.
Otherwise, people will be furious at the sneakiness.
Remember: Character Counts.