Must Vero Beach voters brace for another Front-Line-Strategies-style smear campaign?

COMMENTARY

“At their first official Council meeting, Howle, Moss, if she is elected, and Sykes, if he runs and is elected, would vote to sell out the people of Vero Beach by agreeing to hand over Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers for $17 million less than the experts have said will be needed to protect everyone else from higher rates and higher taxes. Living in their own little post-truth world, Shores leaders and sympathizers will seek to mislead Vero Beach voters into believing $30 million for a partial sale would be a good deal.  They will argue the sale would lead to lower electric rates, when, in fact, the opposite is true.”

“In the coming weeks, Veroites who know well the candidates who looking out for the interests of the people of Vero Beach can do a great service to the community by repudiating those who will attack their motivations and their character. Now is the time to reject negative campaigning, and to stand up for Vero Beach.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Matt Mohler of Front Line Strategies
Matt Mohler of Front Line Strategies
Lange Sykes, Front Line Strategies client.
Lange Sykes, Front Line Strategies client.

The word on the street is that Lange Sykes, a failed Florida House candidate whose political consultants, Front Line Strategies, helped him wage one of the most mean spirited campaigns on record, is considering running for a seat on the Vero Beach City Council. As author Garrison Keillor recently wrote in a column for the Washington Post, “God help us. We are in trouble down here.”

About the likes of Sykes and his hired political hacks from Tallahassee, Press Journal columnist Larry Reisman wrote, “After watching Grall’s House District 54 race this year, it is clear there are more bad people in Tallahassee than I thought. Good people try to get elected, but need lots of money to do so. Why? Because bad ones — controlled by special-interest groups, lobbyists, ladder-climbing politicians and their consultants — try to rig the system. They seek control over our government.” (Despite vicious and sustained attacks from Sykes and out-of-town electioneering communications organizations supporting him, Grall defeated the political newcomer with the light resume by 17 percentage points.)

Last year, in working for Harry Howle, Front Line Strategies had a hand is a coordinated smear campaign against Vero Beach City Councilwoman Amelia Graves. Graves lost to Howle by just 52 votes.

Those who remember well the dark energy that settled over City Hall during the years of the Carroll-Fletcher-Turner troika look to the prospect of a Howle-Moss-Sykes majority on the City Council with great concern.

Backed by limited government extremists in the local Tea Party, Carroll, Fletcher and Turner did what they could destroy employee moral, to put at risk the Vero Beach’s prohibition against short-term rentals, to squander more than $2 million dollars negotiating such a bad deal with Florida Power & Light that the contract they signed can never be executed. Most importantly, in the name of limited government Carroll, Fletcher and Turner sought to eviscerate the City’s ability to continue providing the quality of municipal services that make Vero Beach such a special community.

Who can forget the Carroll-Fletcher-Turner majority’s plan to adjust for the expected sale of Vero Electric by cutting the City’s General Fund budget 15 percent a year for three consecutive years? Who can forget their willingness to surrender the City’s quiet neighborhoods to short-term rental operators, including Carroll herself?  Who can forget their plans to sell Crestlawn Cemetery and to designate popular public parks at “surplus properties?”  Who can forget the fiasco that followed the outsourcing of roadside maintenance to and Orlando firm.

As dark as those days were, they will seem like “morning in Vero Beach” compared to the pall that will fall over the City if Moss, and possibly Sykes, join Harry Howle in an anti-everything troika ignorant of, and even dismissive of what makes Vero Beach such a special community.

At their first official Council meeting, Howle, Moss, if she is elected, and Sykes, if he runs and is elected, would vote to sell out the people of Vero Beach by agreeing to hand over Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers for $17 million less than the experts have said will be needed to protect everyone else from higher rates and higher taxes. Living in their own little post-truth world, Shores leaders and sympathizers will seek to mislead Vero Beach voters into believing $30 million for a partial sale would be a good deal.  They will argue the sale would lead to lower electric rates, when, in fact, the opposite is true.

Make no mistake about it. There is a lot riding on Vero Beach’s Nov. 8 municipal election. FPL, several of whose top executives contributed to County Commissioner Bob Solari’s campaign, along with monied interests in Indian River Shores, are set on getting what they want. It’s just their way of being. If professional slime merchants from Tallahassee, hired with Shores money, have a hand in Vero Beach’s Nov. 8 municipal election, several fine reputations will come under sustained attack.

Mayor Jay Kramer, who unsuccessfully challenged County Commission Bob Solari in the Aug. 30 Republican primary, has until next Friday to decide if he will seek re-election to the City Council. Likewise with Councilwoman Pilar Turner, who has yet to announce her intentions.

In the coming weeks, Veroites who know well the candidates who looking out for the interests of the people of Vero Beach can do a great service to the community by repudiating those who would attack their motivations and their character. Now is the time to reject negative campaigning, and to stand up for Vero Beach.

 

5 comments

  1. There were negative mailings against Sykes, too…along with Workman and Mayfield. All the negativity (mostly) worked. It’s extremely disappointing, and I’ve already decided not to allow ANY mailings to come into my house….except those telling me about the candidate only–not the opponent. I will NOT vote for Sykes or Moss. The residents of Vero Beach must protect themselves from the intrusion by outside interests with ‘great’ plans for our resources.

  2. Before Sykes runs for any seat, he must explain the charges made against him. One concerns Homesteading at Pirate Cove. Did he homestead at the Pirate Cove house or not? Its easy to see why he hired the same company that was pushing All Aboard Florida trains coming through Vero Beach at 110 MPH. Lets all look at where he raised all of the money in his run for office.If you check it out, he raised huge amounts of money from outside the county, but lost by huge numbers. We all know outside money comes with strings. The who and why of these donations is important to all Vero citizens.Some will call his campaign against Erin Grall mean spirited, I call it low and dirty politics.Who will believe anything he has to say in the future. Not me.

  3. Caroline Ginn From examining Lange Sykes brochures, etc. It was difficult to ascertain just what office he was running for. For example: One brochure spoke of national issues, one spoke of school district issues – non really spoke to the issues relevant to the District 54 Florida State Legislative race. And, I would like to know what his “business” is, and also how can he use the term Long Term Republican when he is still a young man, and was not on the political scene until recently.
    Erin Grall was the best choice in this race.

  4. Caroline, Mr. Sykes and his handlers, the political hacks at Front Line Strategies, operate in a post-truth world. Exaggerated claims, and distortions of the truth are really all they have to offer.

  5. The vicious attacks by Lange Sykes on Erin Grall in the house race goes well beyond what most people will tolerate. Some of the words that come to my mind when thinking of Sykes are nasty, arrogant, and vicious.There is no place for this dirty campaigning in the county or anywhere else.

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