“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” — Philippians 2:3-4
“This board is turning into more of a head-in-the-sand bunch than any I can recall.” — Just Wright Citrus, Oct. 31, 2023.
It pains me to reread my stupidity. It’s disturbing to realize when my words are so callous and offensive.
But, folks, this is what we signed up for.
Certainly been an interesting few weeks around the Just Wright Citrus newsroom. We’ve had deep discussion, fierce debate, self-reflection, and plenty of prayer.
The matter is whether I’m being too critical of Citrus County government.
It certainly seems that way. I look back at the last several county-related blogs, and there aren’t too many smiley faces. From Inverness Villages 4 to road congestion, Just Wright Citrus has been rather pointed in its opinions on how well we are faring or not.
Then came the Oct. 31 blog, where I agreed with an email writer that the county should install a temporary traffic signal at C.R. 491 and Horace Allen Street. During a brief brain freeze, I found it necessary to throw the entire County Commission under the bus with the "heads in the sand" remark that served no purpose.
Man, did I hear from people about that. It’s one thing to make points about specific issues, such as taxes and road paving, but to paint the entire government as being out of touch was off base.
Allow me to correct the record: This board does not have its head in the sand. All five commissioners have a pretty good idea of what's happening in the county.
They are not perfect. There are NUMEROUS areas being ignored; we’ve touched on some of them, such as Betz Farm and Maylen Avenue. Plus, attention paid to a resolution, one with scant ties to Citrus County, is a distraction taking time and energy away from things that matter.
But, geez, the stuff I’ve heard the last two weeks would give one the belief I kicked the County Commission in the shin.
Sigh. Let’s talk about it.
Nearly two years in, Just Wright Citrus is breaking barriers. I’m not bragging; just stating the truth. Yes, there are other bloggers in the county, and some of them have ads or like-minded followers, but what we — you and me — are doing is unprecedented.
The premise is simple. I write blogs and Facebook posts, and readers discuss the topics. That’s pretty much it. In a county that thrives on opinions — Sound Off, anyone? — Just Wright Citrus provides a unique online niche.
I consider any blog a success if it attracts 20 Facebook comments or more. That’s an arbitrary number, but it tells me discussion is taking place. More of these are cropping up every week, suggesting readers are truly engaged.
Some subjects just hit home. My blog with the “head in the sand” remark garnered over 50 comments and unlike me, these folks stayed on topic.
What am I getting at? Just Wright Citrus is fresh ground, fertile soil. We’re all learning as we go.
A final point, and then we’re done.
I can’t tell you how difficult it is personally when blogs are critical of individual county commissioners. Policy stuff is one thing, but when one of the five lands in the blog in an unflattering way, I don’t sleep all that well. These folks are my friends, and I want them to succeed.
That said, I gotta do what I gotta do. I just have to show a little humility. Or a lot.
Few people in this county have their heads in the sand. Certainly not the commissioners. Not you or not me. I see it in the JWC Facebook comments every day. We are totally focused on our surroundings. We know what’s at stake.
That makes community discussions even more important. Short of emailing commissioners or showing up at a board meeting, I know one place Citrus Countians can join the debate.
And you’re looking at it.
Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.