Talked to an old friend the other day and I’m sure by glancing at the photo you know who it is.
Hard to believe I place former Commissioner Scott Adams in that category, but the truth is I’ve always liked the guy. Other than those times that he was, you know, a jerk to me.
Which for four years seemed like every other day.
I had never known a more contentious, in-your-face individual than Scott Adams. This guy could argue, level outlandish accusations and insult you – all at the same time. And that’s on one of his good days.
On his bad days, no one escaped the scathing. We think board Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr. can dish it out but Adams was unrelenting.
I wrote a lot about Adams during my time at the Chronicle. The whole idea of reviewing commission email came about when Adams was in office. I mean…that was A-plus reading material right there.
It was a tide that swept Adams into office, but not a large one. He won a crowded primary in 2012 with under 50%, so that’s not exactly a mandate. But his supporters were charter members of the dirt-under-every-rock club, and Adams their vocal and enthusiastic leader.
That worked well for a few years, but after Adams ran off all higher ups in county government, there was no one left to blame. Adams didn’t let up, though, and voters in 2016 moved on with Brian Coleman, whose campaign basically said, “I’m not him.”
Adams tried again two years later against his nemesis, Scott Carnahan, and they mixed it up some but Carnahan won with close to 53%. Not a big defeat numbers-wise for Adams, but it’s hard to come back from two straight losses.
But he tried again in 2020 for supervisor of elections, an odd choice and an alarming one for someone who’s claim to fame was making unsubstantiated allegations about fraud. Let’s be honest – didn’t we all hold our breath a little during that campaign at the thought of Adams in charge of our voting process?
The funny thing is, and I told people this at the time, we didn’t really see a Scott Adams-like campaign for elections supervisor. He started off with some remarks about stuff he heard on Fox News, but as the campaign year wore on, Adams pretty much disappeared and Maureen “Mo” Baird won easily, as she should.
I had a theory about that. As bombastic about fraud and the like Adams was, he couldn’t bring himself to level such an outrageous charge on the local elections level because that would mean coming after retiring Supervisor Susan Gill, and the public would have pitched a fit.
Plus, I think he figured it was just plain wrong.
We’ve stayed in touch here and there since then. As mentioned, despite our many differences, I like Scott. There is something very charming about the man. Plus, he’s old Florida and you can’t have enough of those people around.
So what’s he up to these days? Running for county commission! I jest – maybe. He’s thinking of it, let’s put it that way, and he lives (no, really!) in Carnahan’s District 4, so he’s got the logistics nailed down.
But talking with him, I sense a different person. I know, I know. Trust me, I’ve seen the tricks. This doesn’t feel that way. This feels sincere.
I’m not going to get into it, but Scott gave me permission to let folks know he and Pam were in a bad wreck a month or so back. They’re both healing up, and we pray for their full recovery.
The things he said about a possible county commission run had nothing to do with finding fault or tossing department directors to the side. In fact, he said a lot of what I’ve been saying: Let’s stop the bickering, get down to business and move this county forward.
That’s right. Scott Adams wants a quieter, gentler Citrus County.
Look. He may be playing me a fool and I’ll own up to it if that happens. But I’m going to give Adams the benefit of the doubt. This is 2022. We learn from our past but we give everyone the chance to join in on the discussions about tomorrow, next week and next decade.
I’m not saying I’m ready to give Adams the keys back to the courthouse. I’m saying if his voice truly is one of working together to find solutions rather than find reasons to tear apart, then I’m all ears.
Scott Adams, visionary. Welcome to a new year.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.