Tuesday means County Commission day, time to ease into my aisle seat in the last row for another afternoon of local government in action.
Except…I’m not in that seat. Home recuperating from surgery means I get to watch the entire County Commission meeting online.
It is not my preferred method. The chance of getting through the entire meeting without at least one technical glitch is wildly inconsistent. I usually hear by email or text during the meeting from someone trying to watch online who says the video went out.
For today’s blog not to go off the rails entirely (“Betz Farm: The Sequel”), technology had to work. I was prepared for anything.
When I clicked on the meeting website at 12:59 p.m., this message appeared back: “The video cannot be played. Error code 232001.”
Uh oh. I fired off an email to Lindsay Tozer with the clerk’s office.
“Hi Lindsay. I'm home watching the BOCC today. I just checked and it says, ‘the video cannot be played.’ Please tell me there will be a video at 1 p.m. when the meeting starts.”
Well, this went back and forth all afternoon. The live feed would be there and then, poof, gone with an error message.
Oddly, I had the same online experience with my phone. Just as panic was about to set in, the phone video started working about 20 minutes into the meeting and stayed that way. Whew!
(Apparently, I was the only person in Citrus County experiencing this issue. The clerk’s folks told me everything was working on their end.)
What was my point? Oh yeah! The County Commission meeting. There are several highlights but pushing them all aside today for one topic.
You may have heard Commissioner Diana Finegan wanted the county to pass a resolution condemning the Democratic administration and calling on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to release the militia to "repel the invasion."
Citrus County citizens, noting there is nothing in a commissioner’s job description for resolutions of zero local significance, complained and Finegan said she’d come back with something more specific to us.
Finegan said Tuesday she’s still working on it, that a senator is helping (she didn’t say which one), and it will be something we can all rally around.
Then she did something very interesting. She asked her colleagues what they’d want to see in the resolution. Either she really wanted to know or more likely, Finegan was taking the board’s temperature so she’d know what to expect when it does come back for a vote.
Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said he was OK with the concept. Let me stop right here and just point out a little local politics. Kinnard couldn’t care less whether Citrus County has a voice in immigration or not. But he more than anyone understands the value of coming to a colleague’s aid, especially on an issue of no consequence to him but of major importance to the colleague.
Kinnard and Finegan both represent west Citrus County districts. They support one another for Crystal River and Homosassa projects. Kinnard is rarely one to sway much with public opinion, so he’s not too concerned if citizens see immigration as a waste of time. Finegan has a supporter, but she needs to be careful; Kinnard won’t fall on his sword for this.
Commissioner Holly Davis wanted to make sure the final resolution was conciliatory to all political views. In other words, no Democratic bashing.
Now for Commissioner Rebecca Bays. She took an, um, different approach.
Bays reasoned that a resolution on immigration would grab the attention and irritation of terrorists.
The closed nuclear plant north of Crystal River still has spent nuclear fuel on-site, and Citrus County has a natural gas pipeline running through its midsection. Both are prime terrorist targets, she said.
“We are at risk for war in this very state,” she said. “I don’t think there’s one thing to be gained out of this.”
Finegan called Bays’ argument “nonsensical.” That’s a start.
Great. Now we're going to waste an hour of our lives debating immigration and terrorists. This whole thing is nonsensical and indicative of a County Commission lacking direction and focus. Frankly, it's a little concerning.
That’s for another day. Error code 232001 wants a word.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.