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Palm Coast Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 1 month ago

Readers respond to endorsements, question Observer's integrity

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Why would the newspaper endorse Joe Mullins after exposing his own lack of integrity?

Observer’s Editorial Board lacks integrity

Dear Editor:

I am disappointed regarding the clear lack of integrity of the Palm Coast Observer’s now-discredited anonymous ad hoc Editorial Board owing to its remarkable behavior in handling one of the most sacred responsibilities of a free press. And, coupled with Executive Editor Brian McMillan’s disingenuous public statements telling us the Observer’s board is anonymous while steadfastly defending a corrupted editorial endorsement process is beyond understanding.

Your Palm Coast City Council District 4 endorsee had access to and held in-person interviews with members of your anonymous board, formally empanelled then or not. The good fellow you pushed aside held to his understanding that your board was not available for personal interviews and respected that as inviolate. Mr. McMillan, your credibility is taking a sizable hit on this one.

Your endorsee favors high salaries for Palm Coast elected officials: no mention of any of that in your endorsement of a tax-and-spend Democrat.

But Eddie Branquinho, candidate for Palm Coast City Council District 4, is a strong conservative. His sensible opposition to low-end mass housing development in Palm Coast shows his connections to community to be more important than winning any questionable endorsement by the Observer.

Eddie Branquinho played by your rules and the Observer burned him. Worst of all – unforgivable — the Observer burned every Palm Coast voter on this one. 

Bob Updegrave

Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: It is true that some Editorial Board members met with John Tipton. It is not true that any of that was orchestrated. The meetings took place weeks before — months before, in some cases — the Editorial Board was even selected. No candidates were ever given “rules” of the endorsement process, so it is impossible for anyone to be “burned” by them.

How much lack of integrity is too much for you?

Dear Editor:

I was very surprised to see that the Palm Coast Observer’s Editorial Board recommended Joe Mullins for County Commissioner. The Observer, as I recall, looked into Mullins’ background and exposed lies, cover-ups, questionable business dealings, possible campaign finance violations and even a fairly credible allegation of revenge porn. Now, the Editorial Board, even after admitting that Mullins is a “problematic candidate,” actually decided to recommend him — just for a change.

Exactly how much lack of honesty and integrity is too much for your Editorial Board? Or is honesty and integrity no longer a necessary trait in a political candidate, and your board simply represents this new normal? I really hope not. Supporting an ethically challenged candidate for any reason is just not the right thing to do.

Margaret Minutaglio

Palm Coast

After Mullins, I’ll look elsewhere for endorsements

Dear Editor:

Just to make things clear, I am a northern registered Democrat who retired in Palm Coast five years ago. My wife and I love this town and county. When your election edition came out, it was good news to read up on some of the candidates.

As I read it and then discussed it with my two cousins that have since retired here, we all thought that the Speed Campaigning thing was a little vague, as it didn't really accurately tell the story of each issue.

Well then, here comes next week’s issue. and two candidates who didn't fill it out didn't get your recommendation. But you have a candidate that lied, tried to cover it up, Palm Coast Observer uncovers this lie, then he lied again, tried to cover it up, got caught. Then you have the nude picture fiasco and another lie, got caught again. Now the Palm Coast Observer has checks that are supposed fraudulent campaign contributions.

Your statement: Mullins is a problematic candidate, but we need a change.

Really!

I will have to get my recommendations elsewhere! FYI, I don't vote straight party ticket.

Rick Schultz

Palm Coast

Greg Hansen has served Hammock well

Dear Editor:

I was disappointed with the Editorial Board’s failure to recommend County Commissioner Greg Hansen for the upcoming primary. What I hoped would be considered for a sitting commissioner is how well that individual has performed in his job as a county commissioner.

I am a board member of both A1A Pride and the Hammock Community Association and have worked with Commissioner Hansen since he was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott following the death of Frank Meeker.

While you criticize Hansen for not speaking about County Administrator Craig Coffey, you call him out about making comments about other officials, making either action seem problematic.

Commissioner Hansen has met on a monthly basis with A1A Pride and the Hammock Community Association, reporting on what the commissioners are doing and asking questions about what we feel needs to be done. He has been helpful about the sand replacement on an 18-mile stretch of A1A, about the flooding issues for many homes in the Hammock and about what is happening with the Malacompra drainage system.

In other words, Commissioner Hansen has been an excellent commissioner for the people in the Hammock, who have no other elected official. What Commissioner Hansen has done seems much more important than the fact that he didn’t participate in Speed Campaigning and instead chose to write a public letter.

I think you have done Commissioner Hansen a great disservice.

Dr. Lynne Bravo Rosewater

Palm Coast

Why endorse Mullins after exposing him?

Dear Editor:

I read with great interest your recent the endorsements. Who served on this Editorial Board? I was quite appalled by the conclusion at which this board arrived in the District 4 County Commission race.

Having determined that Joe Mullins is a "problematic candidate" and going on to disclose his various lies and perversion (circulating a nude photo of his wife?), it defies logic that your Editorial Board would then proceed to endorse him.

Cathy Vogel

Flagler Beach

Disappointed in ‘weak reasons’ for endorsements

Dear Editor:

I live in Ocean Hammock, am the President of the property owners association and a Flagler County Republican committeeman.

I have been very involved over the last six years improving my community, improving the negative impact of short-term rentals, transferring the Hammock Dunes Parkway to the Dunes Community Development District. I also participated significantly with the county administrators and staff to obtain the financing for the dune restoration. I have worked very closely with the county for several years.

I cannot believe you and your Editorial Board used such poor reasons to turn against the two current county commissioners, especially for two totally inexperienced and tainted candidates.

Greg Hansen has, in a relatively short period of time, worked very hard and made an important positive difference in our county. He has worked closely with the people of the county. He is much more than a “good-hearted” man.

You say similar things about Nate McLaughlin: a “kind person.”

It appears the Editorial Board’s reason for recommending two other inexperienced candidates is because Mr. Hansen and Mr. McLaughlin refused to participate in your Speed Campaigning portion of the Election Guide. I have heard both candidates express their opinions and answer all questions asked.

I am deeply disappointed that the Palm Coast Observer has taken such a position with such weak reasons.

Paul C. Pershes

Palm Coast

Logic for favoring Mullins is ‘frightening’

Dear Editor:

Although I disagree with most of the Palm Coast Observer's Editorial Board candidate recommendations for the upcoming Primary elections, one in particular was downright jaw-dropping.

The Observer has in the past exposed and detailed a variety of serious honesty and integrity concerns, as well as probable salacious behavior involving Joe Mullins, a District 4 County Commission candidate. Given the Observer’s own discovery of lies, cover-ups and potential campaign finance law violations, the Editorial Board openly questioned whether Mullins could be trusted to be a county commissioner, but then opted to "take a chance" and recommend him anyway. The reason given was that we need a change.

Not trusting a candidate, knowing about their lack of honesty and integrity, but setting that aside for the sake of change (or for any reason), is not a responsible way to vote, and it certainly doesn't make for ensuring good government. The Observer's Editorial Board's recommendation logic is not only dumbfounding, it's actually a bit frightening. 

Robert Gordon

Palm Coast

DeSantis does not stand for personal liberty

Dear Editor:

You support Ron DeSantis for governor because he stands for personal liberty? He did a heck of a job in Congress trying to take away health care so poor people could have the right to be sick and die!

Sal Rapisarda

Palm Coast

Don’t be fooled by campaign signs

Dear Editor:

Election time makes many people want to scream. No matter where one falls on the spectrum of happy or sad about election results, we should all heed the cry: “Find out!”

Find out who is really running for office. Find out who is trying to lead, tax and govern our lives in the future. At the local level, that may take more than reading a campaign sign stuck on an empty lot along the right of way in Flagler County. Don't make your choice based on an easy-to-remember name stuck on the lawn of an unoccupied house.

Just because a candidate is running for office in Flagler does not mean he lives here.

A tag hung on your doorknob depicting a happy, loving, intact family does not mean there is one.

Take the time to find out who each candidate is. If a candidate claims his businesses are actively beneficial to Flagler County, they ought to be well known, and we ought to know what businesses they are.

Most people who devote their time and effort to run for office are good, decent citizens who seek to serve their own home community. Their records of local accomplishment are long, impressive and right there, plain as daylight. Be a smart voter, not a hapless victim. 

Lee Mulvihill

Palm Coast

Vote for a change in Flagler County

Dear Editor:

We need new people in our government. There really is a swamp here in Flagler County! The people we elect are there to work for us, not to do whatever they want, when they get in.

Time to ditch the past, and the county commissioner! All he knows how to do is raise all our taxes, and put our Sheriff’s Office in a sick building! Enough! Vote for a change. Vote Joe Mullins! It’s time for a change.

Dennis C. Rathsam

Palm Coast

John Fischer is everywhere because he cares

Dear Editor:

I’ve been a teacher, an administrator, a mentor and the parent of two Flagler Palm Coast High School graduates, so I’ve seen most aspects of our schools. In my 20-plus years in Flagler education, there has never been a School Board member who was more engaged than John Fischer.

He didn’t just show up when he was on the board (although he was the only one who was consistently dropping by). He showed up even when he wasn’t on the board, simply because he cared about the students and the teachers.

Fischer went to every school the day after the Parkland shootings just to see if everyone was doing OK. He went to the bus garage the day after the driver was killed on Interstate 95 to let the grieving bus drivers know he was praying for them. He went to practically all the special education events throughout the year, long before he was actively seeking election to the School Board. He goes to the honor roll assemblies, Terrific Kids, band and chorus contests, theater performances and countless sporting events.

On at least a weekly basis this summer, he has stopped by to see the students at the reading camp, the STEM class and the Extended School Year classes. His reputation is “Fischer is everywhere,” and although somewhat unbelievable, it’s true.

He doesn’t just show up; he talks to the students and staff and is always positive, always willing to listen and always welcome. I would never say this if it wasn’t merited, but I am asking my former students, their parents and my colleagues to believe that this is the very best candidate for the School Board and to vote for John Fischer in the primary on Aug. 28.

Don’t be fooled by the promises you will hear from other candidates. They aren’t in the schools the way Fischer is on a constant basis. He will continue to work for the students and staff of Flagler Schools more than anyone else because he’s already proven it through his actions.

Kim Pandich Gridley

Palm Coast

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