Two thoughts to kick out while listening to random Pandora tunes in the earbuds:
— About 200 community and business leaders gathered last Friday at Citrus Hills for the annual Chamber of Commerce Pillar Awards. These awards are given to the best our community has to offer and it’s an impressive list.
My view of the chamber has changed considerably since my Chronicle days. I’d been to a few of these events as a reporter, looking for good quotes but generally bored. It wasn’t my crowd.
These days, it’s entirely my crowd. For one, I’ve learned that the chamber of commerce is less about businesses being successful at making money and more about businesses being successful through community involvement. As a chamber member I now understand that.
It was a thrill to hear names of friends announced for leadership awards. I know most of them fairly well. We are extremely fortunate they’ve chosen Citrus County as their home.
Chamber president/CEO Josh Wooten is the kind of guy who says hilarious things (example: Gov. DeSantis couldn't be here tonight to auction off four tickets to Disney World) that people in the audience mumble, “Only Josh!” He’s also leads an exciting, engaging and enthusiastic chamber of commerce filled with members who want to help their community.
I’ve come to very much enjoy these events. For one, just being in the room with so many good people rubs off. It’s a reminder that Citrus County is filled with professionals, political types, retirees and regular folk who really have our best interest at heart.
By the way, that’s school board member Joe Faherty to Wooten’s right helping with the live auction. Joe and his wife, Dawn, are stalwart supporters of this community. They are EVERYWHERE. If it’s a worthwhile event, especially one that helps children, Dawn and Joe Faherty are in the mix.
— This week’s random commission email batch came from Chairman Ruthie Davis Schlabach. It was the usual mix of requests, complaints, observations, and demands that commissioners vote down the Sugarmill Woods apartments.
One from a Citrus Springs man, though, caught my eye for its ugliness. I’m printing it here in its entirety as written, minus the person’s name:
“Trying to bribe a future voters base with a $13 million dollar puppy hospital, playing on the emotions of the elderly in your voters area is shameless.
The Circus Chronicle reports that you "represent" the Citrus Springs area.
WHY don't you please, during one of your late work arrivals, early exits, extended lunch periods take a drive through Citrus Springs. And I mean every road. Citrus Springs roads are crumbling away, and your only goal, ever mentioned in the Circus Chronicle since 2021, is your willingness to "die on that hill" for a puppy hospital.
You’re not fit to be in the decision making position that you're in because you rule and vote based solely on emotions. The stupidity it takes from all those surrounding you to ignore the future costs' of this puppy hospital is indescribable. You're not fit nor have the aptitude to make reasonable decisions.
I’ll repeat, in the form of a question:
When is the last time ever, if ever, you've went boots on the ground to inspect the roads in this county? I already have the answer: Never.
With one vote. One measly vote, Diane Flannigan has shown more aptitude and integrity in that instant that you'll ever - even potentially have. Politicians like you ALWAYS leave a wake of financial destruction.”
Well. Guess that person let her have it, right? The chairman didn’t reply in the email batch I reviewed, so I’ll go ahead and jump in for her.
“First off, thank you for your kind note. It’s always refreshing when citizens contact their commissioners in a thought-provoking, respectful manner. You’d be surprised how rude and condescending some people can be.
Second, your understanding of the Citrus Springs roads is, how shall I put this, um..nonexistent. The “puppy hospital” and road resurfacing have nothing to do with one another. I would be glad to explain it to you one of these days I come in late and leave early.
The person who provided you my schedule is misinformed. I’m in Citrus Springs quite often and drive many of those horrible roads. It’s been challenging trying to convince my colleagues to spend more money on Citrus Springs roads. I encourage you to attend the next commission meeting and voice your opinion.
As for ‘Diane Flannigan,’ I’m not sure who that is. Maybe you can introduce us sometime.”
And that’s all I’m going to say about that. The tunes are calling. Have a great weekend friends.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.