Monday, November 14, 2016
DARK MONEY PAC SMEAR TACTICS: Steven Cottrell and Lee Geanuleas, U.S.N. (Ret.) Comment
Happy Super Moon Monday! The latter part of Steve Cottrel's column from this morning's Record addresses the nasty smear politics we saw during our recent local election.
To whomever was behind such cowardly tactics, it is safe to say, "It back-fired big-time!" Next time, try campaigning on ideas and issues, not lies and distortions.
St. Augustine Record
November 14, 2016
Are GOP voters channeling Howard Beale?
This column focuses on local issues, but it’s hard to comment on the local political scene without first wondering if maybe the ghost of firebrand howard beale came to life nationally last Tuesday.
You’ve heard of Howard Beale, haven’t you? The crazed network news anchor portrayed by Peter Finch in the classic 1976 movie “Network?” so powerful and realistic was Finch in his portrayal of madman beale that he received an Academy Award for best Actor. Beale ’s wild-eyed fictional character resonated with tens of millions of frustrated people in the turbulent ‘70s, and his words remain embedded in our national psyche.
Did you channel Howard Beale last Tuesday? is that what happened? beale’s most memorable on-air soliloquy came when he told his devoted viewers, “i don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the russians and the crime in the street. All i know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘i’m a human being ... my life has value.’ so i want you to get up now. i want all of you to get up out of your chairs. i want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘i’m mad as hell, and i’m not going to take this anymore!’” sound familiar?
“Things have got to change. but first, you’ve gotta get mad,” beale added. “Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. but first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “i’m mad as hell and i’m not going to take this anymore!’” is that how you felt as you filled out your ballot? Was voting for Donald Trump your way of figuratively getting out of your chair and yelling? if so, you joined 64 percent of like-minded voters in st. Johns county. i was part of the other 36 percent.
NO CHANGES ON CITY COMMISSION
Millions of votes nationally may have reflected howard beale’s fiery, 40-year-old oratory, but st. Augustine was the antithesis of a cry for change — at least insofar as the city commission is concerned — as all three incumbent commissioners were returned to office..
Does that mean a majority of citizens are satisfied with the status quo, or were the challengers less qualified than the incumbents? I think there were six outstanding candidates, but one of them may have been victim of the ever-increasing influence of outside money — soiled outside money.
Was Kris Phillips involved in any way with the hateful material that filled our mail boxes for several days vilifying Nancy Shaver? i want to believe that Ms. Phillips had nothing to do with it, and there’s no evidence I’m aware of suggesting otherwise. In a small town where the mayor has no actual legislative power, the vile, vicious campaign against Mayor Shaver defied logic — unless, of course, it was something personal, instigated for reasons that transcended political philosophy.
The mayor cannot veto a commission decision; cannot unilaterally take action on behalf of the city; cannot issue directives to staff; cannot appoint members to city committees or boards; and cannot hire or fire any city employee.
When all is said and done, the mayor has one vote at the table — same as the other four commissioners.
To be publicly sliced and diced the way Mayor shaver was, reminded me of a murder where the victim is shot five times then, for good measure, stabbed 15 times.
When that happens, law enforcement looks closely at those who had the strongest personal, emotional motives for the butchery. such slaughters are seldom random acts. They’re personal: killingly personal. it’s OK to open a symbolic window every so often and shout that you’re mad as hell, but i think the recent attack on Mayor shaver was outrageous and pathetic.
To her credit, she survived the bloodshed.