Today’s wrap from Tuesday’s County Commission meeting has less to do with what was done rather than what was said.
Sort of a weird meeting for me. I’m still in somewhat of a fog and only decided to walk to the Courthouse from Just Wright Citrus World Headquarters at the last minute instead of watching online.
My normal perch on the back row was taken. I grabbed a middle-row seat, set down my bag but instead of reaching for the laptop as usual, I went for the old reporter’s notepad.
While the commissioners had plenty to say, I tuned into the public comments. I thoroughly enjoy public comments, especially when there’s nothing organized going on. Just folks showing up to pop off about this or that. Some thoughts:
— First guy up, from Pine Ridge, says if county commissioners would pay attention to Sound Off, they’d know they’ve lost the public’s support. And, away we go!
— Some people are simply not pleasant and seem to enjoy bringing forth accusations. In other words, they purposely deliver their message in a way that’s meant to entice and anger. Nothing regarding any solutions or whether the accusation has any bearing on anything or not. Just pull the pin and toss.
Someone who takes great glee at this approach got up Tuesday and mentioned she’d attended a rally at the county auditorium over the weekend to coincide with Patriot’s Day. She was shocked that despite all the problems in the world, she didn’t see too many Citrus Countians among the 300 or so attending.
I think she meant it as an insult.
“That should tell the county all it needs to know about county leadership,” she said, or something to that effect.
Um…isn’t that a good thing? I mean, here’s a rally designed to bash certain segments of the government. Seems locals would fit right in. Yet, they didn’t show.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again even today: These “problems” are created by others and brought to our community. We don’t have to fall in line with every culture war being pushed by people who have nothing better to do.
— A couple of nice Beverly Hills residents asked for some help about an empty house down the street with long-standing code enforcement problems.
“We were hoping for the hurricane,” one quipped and we all nodded.
— My old friend Neale Brennan, regarding the whole American Library Association issue or even anything else that’s become an “issue” from agitators the last two years, said she can’t help wonder why these problems didn’t exist in Citrus County until John Labriola rolled into town, fresh from South Florida where he’d lost a job in government media for espousing hateful views. How in the world did this guy become the hero of the uninformed?
But Mike, why do you say such a thing? Don’t you want to protect our children from influences they do not understand?
Yes, of course. Here’s the problem: If that’s truly our aim we’re not directing our attention in the right place. I’ve said it before a million times, others have as well, but for some reason it’s not hitting home. So once again:
Citrus County Libraries are safe. They are protected. There are no Drag Queen Story Hours going on there. My goodness, if any of these parents who get up and speak earnestly about defending their kids’ honor would spend 30 seconds in a public library, they’d realize there’s nothing behind the curtain.
Let’s not lose sight of reality, folks. I’m not saying this library stuff doesn’t deserve public airing. I’m saying we owe it to the community to be truthful. And not only that, to call out those who are not.
—Janet Barek, the cantankerous former president of the Citrus Springs Civic Association, and another former board member were trespassed from a bingo game at the community center by the current officers.
Can you believe that gall?
Hey, the county owns that building, not Citrus Springs king-makers!
The county put a stop to the trespass warning, but someone needs to get to the bottom of that. How did a private organization convince the sheriff’s office that it had authority to trespass anyone from public property?
— And we finish with a man who moved from Miami to Naples to Citrus County and wants to immediately tell us what we’re doing wrong. He goes into great detail, including closing the libraries, and ends with this nugget:
“I don’t like people.”
Have a great Wednesday, Citrus County. Even that guy.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.