Turns out I won't rot in hell
Stay in this business long enough, you’re going to make a few enemies.
Since I write about politics, most folks who have found disfavor with me over the years were politicians.
Usually those disputes are story-specific. A school board member dislikes something I write, won’t talk to me for three or four weeks, feeds stories to the competition, and eventually things just fizzle out.
Few people hold a grudge. And fewer are truly ugly about it.
One stands alone: Scott Adams. No one comes close.
Adams had a well-earned reputation for being an attack dog. He was elected to county commission in 2012, and proceeded to force out the county administrator, county attorney, public works director (Ken Frink, now the Crystal River city manager) and countless others.
Think Ron Kitchen Jr. goes after the Chronicle? He’s peanuts to the Adams approach, which was relentless in its attacks.
True story: During a county commission meeting, while the meeting was IN PROGRESS, Adams got up from his commission chair, walked to the back like he was leaving the room, stood behind where I sit, leaned down and whispered sweet nothings into my ear. Then he walked back to the dais and took his seat as if everything was normal.
Then there was Election Night 2016. Adams was in the supervisor of elections office awaiting results and when it was clear challenger Brian Coleman had won I went to Adams and asked if he had a comment.
His instant-classic response to me, which we printed in the newspaper: “You’re going to go to hell. You will rot in hell.”
Scott and I relived that moment Thursday morning and laughed. Then we shook hands.
The Adams Moon Lake Ranch, which Adams owns in Floral City, is Just Wright Citrus’s latest sponsor. The man who whispered sweet nothings, the man who (wrongly) predicted my eternal home, the man who I told to his face was a coward and bully — yeah, THAT guy is now on the Just Wright Citrus team.
One might wonder, “Mike, just what has happened to you? How could you possibly let such a person aboard? You know what he’s capable of!”
That’s exactly why. It’s because I do know what Scott is capable of.
Funny thing about Commissioner Scott Adams. He could make someone’s life miserable on the spot, no doubt about it. But he also had a very folksy, warm charm that could calm an angry crowd in seconds.
The Scott who sat across from me Thursday at Cattle Dog’s seemed familiar to me, but not really. Not getting into details, but he and his wife are both recovering from a serious traffic wreck a few months back. I don’t know if Scott’s a changed man but he sure seems like one. I was happy to ask for his sponsorship support and he was happy to provide it.
We’re never going to get anywhere so long as we keep old hurts alive. I know that’s hard for a lot of people to hear because they’re, you know, RIGHT and the other side is WRONG.
Yes, even if Scott Adams is in the middle of it.
I’m here to suggest it’s time to let it go. Holding onto grudges is a waste of time.
Rather than barring Scott Adams from the discussion about this county and its future, why not invite him to the table with the understanding that we are not dragging backward but instead moving forward? I mean, we’re not dummies. If old Scott shows up, we’re all going to see it right away.
As for me, I’m thrilled that Scott and I were able to bury the past, laugh about it, then have a really good conversation about Citrus County. Like him or not, the guy knows a lot about our community.
It was our first talk in a really long time. It won’t be our last.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 35 years.