Just some Friday musings…
—Seeing the demolition Thursday of the old classroom buildings at the Historic Hernando School brought back some memories.
Believe it not, this was the site of a fierce battle between nonprofit tenants and the Hernando Heritage Council, which oversaw the property and rehabbed the historic schoolhouse. While the feud ended, the county eventually removed the nonprofits in order to tear down the buildings for parking.
(Important distinction: The “old buildings” are in the background of today’s photo. The historic school is intact.)
This is one of those projects that began with great enthusiasm and can use a reboot. The county received grants and other funding to rehab the historic brick schoolhouse, and it’s being used today for various county programs.
But it’s a far cry from the historical community center that organizers had in mind. And commissioners seem lukewarm to putting money into it.
The classrooms were vacant for two years, yet the county let the property languish. The demolition this week is a welcome site, but only if the county plans to be serious about this property. The historic school building grounds have such potential; so far it’s largely ignored.
Sometimes the government is Big Picture and sometimes it’s figuring out how to make an old building shine. We need an answer for this one.
— That was quite the interesting announcement this week from the College of Central Florida naming the Citrus County campus for Senate President Wilton Simpson.
Not that Simpson doesn’t deserve the accolades — though, truthfully, this is bit of a head scratcher — but the timing is crazy. Not only is Simpson still in office, he’s on the ballot for ANOTHER office.
And, last I checked, Simpson isn’t on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Christmas card list. So the guy who holds the checkbook will decide how much goes to the college campus named for a political nemesis.
— I’m a little behind on commission email but I found this amusing one from a few weeks ago in Commissioner Scott Carnahan’s batch.
“Good morning Senator Carnahan,” it begins.
Now, it isn’t all that unusual for commissioners to get junk mail addressing them as something other than commissioners. That’s what I thought this was.
Here’s some more:
“On behalf of the thousands of associates across North Carolina, The Home Depot asks you take action to address the rise in Organized Retail Crime in North Carolina. This week, your committee will consider S.B. 766 — legislation that will strengthen the ORC statute in North Carolina and go after repeat offenders.”
So this was apparently NOT junk mail.
I immediately looked up the North Carolina Senate directory for a Senator Scott Carnahan and was disappointed to see there is no such person. I’m not sure who Home Depot really wanted to contact about this bill, but it passed — apparently without Scott Carnahan’s assistance.
— A little program note, we’ve started adding my Digital Hound Media candidate interviews to Just Wright Citrus Facebook page, but I want to make sure you’re seeing them because there’s not a real schedule for their release. Here are the interviews with John Murphy, Diana Finegan and Stacey Worthington. The interviews with Rebecca Bays and Winn Webb will be released soon.
— The chamber of commerce county commission candidates’ forum is today and I can hardly wait. We saw a glimpse of strengths and problem spots for the candidates at the Chronicle forum last week, and it’ll be interesting to see their progress a week later.
Someone suggested this week that maybe people aren’t as interested in the county commission races as I am, or as much as I think the public is.
That’s fair. I’m super locked into county commission races because this is what I do. I don’t expect normal people to react the same way.
But I’m hoping to generate more than 35% interest, because that’s the common voter turnout in a primary. I’m suggesting these two county commission races, which will help shape the today and tomorrow of this county, are worth more than a third of our attention.
That’s just my opinion. Have an awesome Citrus County weekend.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.