Sunday, July 09, 2006

Three Consent Agenda Fraud Scenarios: Discredited


Charlie Grapski said:
2) You beg the biggest question of all. Show me a time when the City of Gainesville or the County of Alachua has KEPT something on a consent agenda WHEN a member of the public requested to give input into the matter?


Very good, Charlie! A third change in your Consent Agenda Fraud Scenario. Your feet move faster than anybody I know. Let’s review your, so far, three different Consent Agenda Fraud Scenarios:

Charlie’s Consent Agenda Fraud Scenario #1:
Consent agenda is illegal because it implies consent from each commissioner, up-front – which implies communication between the commissioners – which results in a violation of Sunshine Laws.

Scenario #1 Discredited:
We pointed out that you don’t understand how the consent agenda works. It doesn’t require prior consent by the commissioners. The manager or staff can put items on the consent agenda. In fact, if you look at the City of Gainesville Consent agenda, they have a section for each department that puts stuff on the consent agenda. Fraud Scenario #1: discredited

Charlie’s Consent Agenda Fraud Scenario #2:
We proved you wrong on 1, so you modified your fraud scenario to “How they use the consent agenda”. You claim that they cannot put substantive items on the consent agenda. In your postings across the net, including at HowardEmpowered.com, you claimed that expending money and approving the application of grants were substantive items. On howardempowered.com, you specifically complained about the last consent agenda in which the city accepted a road for which a grant had been awarded, about 2 years ago. From your posting, you, obviously, didn’t understand that the road had been approved about 2 years ago, the grant awarded, and the only thing left was the housekeeping as required by the grant for the city to accept the road.

Scenario #2 Discredited:
The Gainesville City Commission and the Alachua County Commission both use the consent agenda and both use it for items that you describe as substantive. Bud has pointed out $5,300,000 expenditure on the 07-11-06 Alachua County Commission consent agenda. During the 06-12-06 meeting of the Gainesville City Commission, the commission approved $75,000 on the consent agenda. At the 06-26-06 Gainesville City Commission meeting, on the consent agenda was an item to apply for grants from the Department of Homeland Security totally more than $2.2 million over 5 years, and, if awarded, the city would kick in a matching amount of more than $2.2 million over 5 years. Fraud Scenario #2: discredited

Charlie’s Consent Agenda Fraud Scenario #3:
Show me a time when the City of Gainesville or the County of Alachua has KEPT something on a consent agenda WHEN a member of the public requested to give input into the matter?

Scenario #3 Discredited:
I don’t know that they have, or haven’t, and neither do you. The problem with this scenario is that you never asked in the appropriate fashion. The agendas are available before the meeting. Before the last couple of meetings, both Michael Canney and David Russ asked to have items removed from the consent agenda. The City of Alachua accommodated them. They know the proper procedure. It is NOT the proper procedure for a member of the public to stand up and start shouting out motions. Robert’s Rules apply to the commission members, and DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU, as a member of the public. It seems that you are the only one that doesn’t know how to have an item removed from the Consent Agenda.

The only fraud being perpetrated on the public is by you, dear Charlie. You are also perpetrating a huge fraud on your howardempowered.com friends. I don't blame them, because they only know what you tell them.


As a public actor and as a prototypical Alachua County Democrat, Charlie, your actions have been reckless and immoral with the goal of nothing more than stopping economic development, job creation and of progressivly creating an unattainable socialist utopia.


Posted by SJ

15 Comments:

At Sun Jul 09, 11:51:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Stafford,

When you get into online rants like this - as you used to do - its not worthwhile responding.

Your statements are illogical and flawed fatally by erroneous statements.

I will respond simply this way:

The State of Florida has a law, its called the Open Meetings law - it is part of the Sunshine Law.

That law REQUIRES that ALL legislative items (and at all stages of the process) be adopted in PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED PUBLIC MEETINGS where the PUBLIC has a RIGHT to OBSERVE and PARTICIPATE.

The Consent Agenda, furthermore, is not appropriate procedurally (put aside Florida Statutes 286) for ANY item of SUBSTANTIVE legislation or ANY item in which ANY person with speaking privileges deems debatable and wishes to speak on.

The City of Alachua is VIOLATING the law - and VIOLATING its own rules and procedures - each week - by passing substantive legislation via a consent agenda - which was NOT available before meetings UNTIL I raised that issue (I was told that they don't provide these matters until AFTER they are passed) - and they are being formulated by someone the public is unaware of - and given to Watson - who is not authorized to LEGISLATE for the City.

Frankly - the fact that the Chairman of the Republican Party of Alachua County would stand up and defend - once again - the illegal activities of Clovis Watson and the City of Alachua shows that the leadership of the local party is, I am sorry to say, morally bankrupt.

I believe, Stafford, that your zeal to be a partisan hero - has, once again, gotten the best of you.

Again, personally, I believe you are a good person, a kind hearted individual (outside of politics), and a nice person. I have no animosity toward you - and if you were even in need of assistance I would be more than happy to give it to you. I like you as a person. I don't like you as a political actor.

I try to give you sufficient respect when you engage in serious discussion. But when you get "trapped" - as in other discussions we have had - by your own logical inconsistencies - you consistently start a "red herring" defense such as this.

I'll await our face-to-face public debate to engage you.

 
At Sun Jul 09, 11:56:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

By the way - thanks for the free advertisement. I really like that picture.

It was about 110 degrees in Austin Texas that day - I spoke just before Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (not the preacher - his father) - and the humidity was in the upper 90s.

It was during last year's Democracy Fest - and I will be going to this year's as well. Looking forward to it. I'll be speaking this year (last year I spoke, in that picture, on what it means to be a progressive (and how conservativism and liberalism - properly understood - are less consistent with the founding principles of this nation (liberalism - properly understood in the classical sense - is a part of our nation's founding philosophy - but not all of it. Conservativism, properly understood, is a reaction AGAINST democracy - not for it) ...

... as I was saying - this year I will be speaking on how citizens can ensure that their local elections are conducted fairly and honestly. Gee - what a coincidence.

I was originally supposed to speak on inalienable rights - I was looking forward to that - but there was a mix up unfortunately.

But I appreciate the photo. Thanks.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 11:02:00 AM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Charlie,there was no rant, there. It was a clear breakdown of the situation and why you are wrong. I am serious about that. There is nothing illogical about my arguments. They are laid out very logically and in a step by step fashion.

If you believe that I am wrong, and have a clear perspective on that post (about the consent agenda) that I don't have, then please take this opportunity to teach me something that I don't already know. I am never above learning, from anybody.

There are a couple of things that we won't agree on, and maybe they are deal killers. Those are that the Sunshine law applies in this case, and if it does, the problem extends to lots of municipalities, including Gainesville and Alachua County, but I don't think it does apply.

Second, we are in complete disagreement as to how Robert's Rules of Order apply. We have seen rule 10, in which the city commission adopts it, just as my Republican Executive Committee has, but I and many others believe that it is for the governing body, itself. You have not shown otherwise.

If you understand something that I don't, then please show me. Show me where the line in my logic breaks. I am happy to learn.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 12:09:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Stafford,

I have substantially refuted each and every point you have attempted to make at http://blog.freealachua.org.

You have strung together a number of red-herring pseudo-arguments, for which you are notorious, including straw man arguments I have never made - misrepresenting the facts and my positions - and attempting to deflect from reality and to try and convince your sympathetic listeners that you have "defeated" my position.

Quite bluntly put: You have not yet correctly stated my position; you have not yet answered my criticisms; and you have not yet rebutted or refuted a single point I have made in this controversy.

Try again.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 01:53:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski:
The following is the "Open Meetings Law" that you keep referring to. Please show us which law you mean. None of them is entitled Open Meeting Law:

CHAPTER 286

PUBLIC BUSINESS: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

286.001 Reports statutorily required; filing, maintenance, retrieval, and provision of copies.

286.0105 Notices of meetings and hearings must advise that a record is required to appeal.

286.011 Public meetings and records; public inspection; criminal and civil penalties.

286.0111 Legislative review of certain exemptions from requirements for public meetings and recordkeeping by governmental entities.

286.0113 General exemptions from public meetings.

286.0115 Access to local public officials; quasi-judicial proceedings on local government land use matters.

286.012 Voting requirement at meetings of governmental bodies.

286.021 Department of State to hold title to patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.

286.031 Authority of Department of State in connection with patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.

286.035 Constitution Revision Commission; powers of chair; assistance by state and local agencies.

286.036 Taxation and Budget Reform Commission; powers.

286.041 Prohibited requirements of bidders on contracts for public works relative to income tax returns.

286.043 Limitation on use of funds for discriminatory contract or bid specifications relating to car rental concessions at airports.

286.23 Real property conveyed to public agency; disclosure of beneficial interests; notice; exemptions.

286.25 Publication or statement of state sponsorship.

286.26 Accessibility of public meetings to the physically handicapped.

286.27 Use of state funds for greeting cards prohibited.

Dr. Hugh Calderwood, Diplomat ACVA

 
At Mon Jul 10, 02:57:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Charlie Said:
The Consent Agenda, furthermore, is not appropriate procedurally (put aside Florida Statutes 286) for ANY item of SUBSTANTIVE legislation or ANY item in which ANY person with speaking privileges deems debatable and wishes to speak on.

So the, I assume that you would agree that the same applies to Alachua County and to the City of Gainesville. When might we expect you to go to those meetings and start shouting out motions when they adopt the consent agenda, or are you selectively applying your standards and criticism? I would really be interested in seeing you test your theory about being thrown out of meetings.

I have read your site, inside and out. I don't actually see any specific answers to this thread. It is all the same vague, unspecific stuff.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 03:02:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

(1) All meetings of any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, at which official acts are to be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, and no resolution, rule, or formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made at such meeting. The board or commission must provide reasonable notice of all such meetings.

(2) The minutes of a meeting of any such board or commission of any such state agency or authority shall be promptly recorded, and such records shall be open to public inspection. The circuit courts of this state shall have jurisdiction to issue injunctions to enforce the purposes of this section upon application by any citizen of this state.


Bud, above is the state code (286.011)that Charlie is hanging his hat on. The problem is that it doesn't say what he claims that it says. Compare and contrast Charlie's interpretation, below, with the actual state code, above.

That law REQUIRES that ALL legislative items (and at all stages of the process) be adopted in PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED PUBLIC MEETINGS where the PUBLIC has a RIGHT to OBSERVE and PARTICIPATE.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Gee Stafford,

The statute ALSO does not say what YOU are claiming.

However, all you have to do is read the volumes of CASE LAW on the subject and you will see exactly what I am saying.

Why don't you just venture over to the Attorney General's page - and peruse the Sunshine Manual.

You will find a much simpler explanation of the law - and the case law - there that you can possibly comprehend.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 03:09:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Gee, Charlie, I have reviewed the state attorney's opinions on this stuff and I have looked at the case law, and your interpretation doesn't stand up.

I ask again, when can we expect to see you in front of the Gainesville City and Alachua County commissions making an ass out of yourself? I would like to see you test your theory on being thrown out.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 03:11:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Once again Stafford - you try and bring red-herrings in.

This is about Alachua - not the County Commission or the Gainesville Commission.

Also you misrepresent my actions. I didn't "scream" anything at the Alachua City meeting - I stood up, and respectfully stated the following:

"Point of Order" (in the first meeting)

"Parliamentary Inquiry" (in the second meeting).

The Mayor began screaming and banging her gavel incessently the moment I made those utterances.

Again - my position on the law is UNIVERSAL - it does not apply merely to the Alachua City Commission.

Once again - I have yet to encounter a meeting of the City of Gainesville or the Alachua County Commission where they have, to my knowledge, illegally misused the consent agenda to evade doing business in an open and public meeting.

IF, however, I ever did attend such a meeting - I would do EXACTLY as I have done in the City of Alachua.

Furthermore the record indicates exactly that - as I have on many occasions risen in both chambers, as I did in these occasions in Alachua, and made parliamentary points - and I have never been shouted down, gavelled incessentaly, asked to leave, of forcibly removed at any of those times in those places. Indeed each and every time I have done so in those forums - the Commissions have respectfully listened to my point - and responded adequately - and when there is a question - they turn either to the County Manager or the County Attorney (in the case of that body) to inquire as to the law or the rules - another thing that Jean Calderwood seems incapable of doing.

Again - you keep trotting out this red-herring.

The issue is the activites of the City of Alachua which I have amply demonstrated are in violation of Florida law and their own rules and procedures.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 03:12:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

By the way - if you are unable to read - there is a POINT-BY-POINT refutation of every single point you have attempted to make in this post on that site.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 03:47:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski:

I am a busy person as most other citizens who work. Maybe you could cite the exact cases that prove your point as the manuals I have don't support your statements.
Dr Hugh calderwood, Diplomat ACVA

 
At Mon Jul 10, 04:01:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

It's not a read herring. I think that my point is very clear. You are applying your standard selectively. You do so because you have a political agenda. Not because you want good government.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 04:33:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Charlie, I read your point by point refutation. I found it filled with gems like this:

I had assumed, giving the benefit of the doubt to the City of Alachua, that items were being placed on the consent agenda after each of the Commissioners gave their consent to the item to be placed there, having agreed they would pass it, and I believed it was most likely the City Manager who was discussing the matter with each - as it would have been a clear violation of Chapter 286 for more than one Commissioner to discuss these matters outside of a public meeting.

Well, that is kinda what I said you said.

Why would you assume that? That isn't how consent agendas work.

 
At Mon Jul 10, 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Actually Stafford, there is no "single way" consent agendas work - that you could make your kind of claim.

Furthermore, I assumed that - because it was LESS aggregious a violation of the law than what they ARE ACTUALLY doing.

So I gave them the BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT.

 

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