“Unlike Moss, Sykes and Wells, who spend all their time trying to persuade voters they have magical power, Gorry, Old and Young have grounded their campaign messages in reality. Just as importantly, they seem focused on preserving and improving the community’s unique quality of life.”
Fact checkers are busy today assessing the “truthiness” of statements made during last night’s debate between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Locally, there is equaly as much work to be done holding accountable politicians like Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot and County Commissioner Bob Solari, who seek to influence the outcome of Vero Beach’s municipal election by creating an alternate reality.
In a guest column published in the Press Journal, Solari wrote, “For a better Vero, vote for pro-sale candidates.” Amazingly, Solari has managed to imbed two lies in a single sentence.
First, Solari does not care about a better Vero. Quite the contrary, the friend of developers and moneyed interests has worked to weaken Vero Beach in every way he possibly can. And, why? Because Solari, a radical, extremist, fundamentalist Libertarian believes Vero Beach’s municipal government is redundant to County government, and thus unnecessary. If Solari were to have his way, Vero Beach would be disincorporated, with the barrier island portion of the city becoming part of a larger Indian River Shores, and the mainland absorbed by the County.
Solari’s second lie is his assertion that some of the current Vero Beach City Council candidates are “pro-sale,” and others “anti-sale.” Solari sounds like Trump claiming he never supported the invasion of Iraq, or Clinton pretending she turned over all work-related email from her private server. No truth there!
In fact, none of the six candidates for Vero Beach City Council are opposed to the sale of Vero Electric. Unfortunately, though, despite claims by Solari and others to the contrary, there is also nothing, absolutely nothing the Vero Beach City Council can now do to move the sale forward. (See: Some are asking, “What electric sale contract?”)
Sharing in Solari’s lie, Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot, who recently introduced candidates Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Norman Wells, along with Solari, as members of the “Shores team,” claims they are somehow “pro-sale,” while the other candidates are not. In their campaigns, Moss, Sykes, and Wells are perpetuating this same lie. They are joined in their great deception by City Councilman Harry Howle.
What Barefoot is after, of course, is a partial sale to the Shores, and at a price that will leave the residents of Vero Beach and the remaining customers of Vero Electric paying higher taxes and higher rates. Barefoot’s proposed partial sale at $17 million less than the price the City would need to keep everyone whole is supported by Moss, Sykes, Wells, Solari and, notably, Howle. What Solari is really pushing for is a new Vero Beach City Council majority that will capitulate to the Shores.
Howle, full of himself and full of lies, ran for the City Council last fall promising he would, without question, get the electric system sold. A year has passed since Howle climbed into his chair at the dais, and yet he has done nothing, absolutely nothing to enable the execution of the purchase and sale agreement between the City of Vero Beach and Florida Power & Light. In Howle’s defense, there is nothing he can do to conclude the sale. He just should have been honest with voters about this fact during his campaign last year.
Now come Moss, Sykes and Wells, who, aided by Solari, Barefoot and Howle, have built their campaigns around a single issue and a lie. They will not, cannot conclude the sale of Vero Electric. Why? Because we live in a nation of laws. The Florida Legislature and the Florida Supreme Court are not going to set aside well-established contract law simple to enable the sale of Vero Electric to FPL.
Quite simply, there are not “anti-sale,” or “pro-sale” candidates. But there are three “Shores” candidates, (Moss, Sykes and Wells), and three candidates running to protect the interests of the residents of Vero Beach and the customers of Vero Electric, (Sharon Gorry, Randy Old and Tony Young). Unlike Moss, Sykes and Wells, who spend all their time trying to persuade voters they have magical power, Gorry, Old and Young have grounded their campaign messages in reality. Just as importantly, they seem focused on preserving and improving the community’s unique quality of life.