“Now we citizens of Vero Beach face our greatest challenge – preventing a takeover of our City Council by puppet candidates of Indian River Shores and FPL.”
I first moved here 60 years ago and I am very concerned that Vero Beach election cycles since 2009 have been about outside interests trying to manipulate Vero Beach voters into voting for their puppet candidates so they can advance their own interests. Those interests are clearly not in Vero’s best interests.
This year’s City Council election represents the most serious challenge to Vero’s future of any election in our city’s history. You are being asked to vote for three candidates whose sole purpose is to approve a deal on behalf of Indian River Shores that would sell that town’s Vero Electric customer base to FPL for $30 million, $17 million less than what our city needs to fulfill its financial obligations. That would be an unprecedented dereliction of duty by city leaders who have a legal obligation to protect their constituents. Although $30 million is a lot of money, it does not cover the financial liabilities faced by city taxpayers and Vero Electric ratepayers. But that is not the whole story.
In fact, unless you read InsideVero.com or our recently published pre-election print edition, you would think the $30 million is a great deal and the three candidates supporting it are doing it to save all Vero Electric ratepayers. Why? Because the city’s two main print publications, the daily Indian River Press Journal and weekly 32963, have endorsed the deal, or at least given minimal editorial space to the $17 million Vero Beach stands to lose.
Mark Schumann and I started InsideVero.com almost four years ago because we saw these outside interests and their puppet candidates were given free reign by the established print media to promote their position and any opposing viewpoint was either discredited or not even mentioned. I consider that an insult to those of us who care about Vero’s future and to our forebears who created and maintained the Vero Beach we love today. Go visit Crestlawn Cemetery and they are all there. (Ironically, one of those former puppet council members even suggested selling or leasing out Crestlawn to an outside company.)
The Vero Beach Press Journal was always our community newspaper, published by Mark Schumann’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him. Since then it has been owned by Scripps out of Cincinnati, Journal Media out of Milwaukee and now Gannett out of McClean, Virginia. Now called the Indian River Press Journal, it is part of Treasure Coast Publishing, whose president is married to a vice president of FPL. There could be a case for calling it the FPL Press Journal. since it seems to publish only pro-FPL editorials (except for the proposed $1.3 billion rate increase that has been announced around the state but not in the Press Journal because the paper endorses selling Vero Electric to FPL at any cost to get their temporaryily lower electric rates).
InsideVero.com has been the lone voice on many issues, providing the public with information they need to know but cannot find in the Press Journal or the Indian River Shores-centric “island weekly,” 32963. We were the only publication to come out against the Oslo Road Boat Ramp, an issue that ignited public uproar and had to be shelved by the County Commission. We were the only publication to cover the short term rental controversy from start to finish, originally considered by Commission Chairman Bob Solari as nothing more than a “blip” of a problem not requiring an overhaul of regulations, yet affecting every residential property owner in the county. He and the other Commissioners finally had to approve tough regulations to protect residential homeowners because it had become a major issue. Before that, short term rentals had become an issue in Vero Beach, with one of the Council members engaged in that business tried to undo regulations. That effort was covered thoroughly only by InsideVero.com and resulted in the defeat of that Council member running for re-election.
Now we citizens of Vero Beach face our greatest challenge – preventing a takeover of our City Council by puppet candidates of Indian River Shores and FPL. While I have nothing against candidates Laura Moss or Norman Wells (Lange Sykes dishonored himself during the state senate campaign last August with mean and personal attacks on Erin Grall), the fact all three have chosen to align themselves with Indian River Shores’ effort to leave Vero Electric’s ratepayers $17 million in the hole and have waged their campaigns financed heavily by Indian River Shores residents and FPL, tells me they do not have the interests of Vero Beach voters at heart.
You can prevent that from happening – but only if you vote on November 8 to elect candidates who will work for you and keep the Vero Beach we love intact: lifetime Vero residents Sharon Gorry and Tony Young as well as retired banker and current Vice Mayor, Randy Old. Young’s Grandfather, A.W. “Uncle Tony” Young, was Vero’s first mayor in 1919 and served a subsequent term in 1935. He also authored the legislation that created Indian River County in 1925.
Editor’s note: Apparently working in a coordinated effort with the island weekly, civic activist Charlie Wilson last week filed an compliant with the Florida Elections Commission in what can only be seen as an effort to silence InsideVero. See related story…