Thursday, September 29th, 2011 at 10:58am

Carving and Cutting Out Jimmy

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The Lake County Board of County Commissioners attempts to gerrymander

Next Tuesday, October 4, 2011, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners will be voting on the redistricting plan for Lake County, and we can honestly say it is one of the finest pieces of gerrymandering one could imagine.  The new plan 2-B (click for link) which is “by name only” a derivative of Jimmy Conner’s plan 2 accomplishes four important goals:

  • It gerrymanders Jimmy Conner into a new district in hopes he will be defeated by a popular hand-picked candidate from Leesburg.
  • The plan opens up a new district for a political ally of a sitting commissioner.
  • It protects the districts of the remaining commissioners.
  • Of course, the less noble goal of issuing payback for Jimmy.

Lake County Redistricting plan 2-B does everything we cautioned against, and it will not serve well for bringing unity to the county.  This has been a disappointing process for the people of Lake County.

We asked Commissioner Jimmy Conner for his comments on the new plan 2-B and he did not mince words.  Here is part of Commissioner Conner’s response:

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1. No integrity in the process. The Commission failed to follow its own established process.  For example,  after all of us agreeing to turning in our original plan on a certain date, Commissioner Parks had a plan for a month and did not show it until the day of the first redistricting meeting rather than presenting it on the agreed upon date.   Rather than sticking to their own rules, three Commissioners allowed Parks to submit his second plan a week later.

When you fail to follow your own rules, there is no integrity in the process.

2. Public participation. After submitting five plans for the public to review and provide input for about a month, the Commission- by a 3-2 vote- agreed to a plan (2b) that was not submitted to the public for review and input.

The approval of 2B without presenting it to the public was a very hypocritical move that made a mockery of the process we had just gone through for a month on Plans 1 through 5.

The approval of 2B-without presenting it to the public was unconscionable.

3. The bizarre flip flop. After [the commission] voted for plan 2 and 2b, on Sept 6th at the morning public hearing, one Commissioner flip flopped at the budget hearing-held at 5pm and voted to kill option 2.

This is not good government because the issue had already been heard at a Public Hearing earlier that day and a vote taken.  Redistricting was not on the agenda for the budget hearing so reconsideration then was inappropriate because those attending the public hearing had left and gone home.

To reconsider a vote of this magnitude at a budget hearing when a vote had been taken earlier that day with citizens present is wrong and not good government.

Any reconsideration should have been announced for a future meeting rather than kill option 2 at a budget hearing with no one present.  To hold a public hearing then change your vote with no one at a budget hearing is underhanded and not good government.  Underhanded is a good word to describe the reconsideration vote.

The manner plan 2 was killed is also unconscionable.

Flaws-

Several Commissioners wanted to gerrymander two South Lake County districts when only 33% of the residents live south of the turnpike.  That is proven since the second South Lake district now includes Howey and even some parts of the city of Leesburg.  The Howey council has made it clear they do not want to be part of the south [lake] county district since they are centrally located but plan 2B treats Howey like the red-headed stepchild.

Almost over 90,000 citizens get moved from one district to another.  This is more than 20,000 more in Option 2.

Howey gets put in a South Lake district despite an email from their town clerk telling us the town council voted to support option 2.

Conclusion- Unfortunately, the public got scammed by those who put their own political motives ahead of what’s best for the average citizen.

Summary-

  • No integrity in the process.
  • Public not involved in 2b.
  • Manner of reconsideration killing option 2 very inappropriate.
  • Howey is not in South [Lake] County and should not be placed there.
  • Potential divisiveness on many issues in the future.

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Commissioner Conner brings out some very valid points, and we redacted the name of the person who he believes the other commissioners are trying to pit him against in an election. It is troubling that a major promise to the people was broken in this plan:  Cities in the county were not to be split.  The City of Leesburg, which is one of Lake County’s largest cities, is now split in two to make political accommodations, and we don’t believe anyone thinks Howey-in-the Hills belongs in a South Lake District.  Leesburg and Howey will both be ill-served by this plan.

After the initial public hearings and input, the BCC decided to accept the Jimmy Conner plan 2, and we believe that is the one they should stick with.  The new plan 2-B looks as if a three year old drew the lines, and is an obvious attempt to stick it to Conner.  Like many of you, Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. has not agreed with many of Commissioner Conner’s actions in the past.  However, if he is defeated in an election, it should be in a fair, un-gerrymandered way.

Commissioner Conner and his supporters legitimately have a concern about this redistricting issue, and we encourage them to speak up at next Tuesday’s commission meeting (October 4th).  There is no doubt about it – Conner’s political opponents are carving him up like a deep-fried turkey on Thanksgiving.

The Right Side of the Lake is a publication of Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C., and if you would like to comment on today’s column please go to our website www.lakecountygov.info or www.therightsideofthelake.com.  This newsletter is free to all who would like to subscribe, and we encourage you to send it out to everyone on your mailing list.  If you have information or a topic you would like us to cover please email us directly at lakecountygov@lakecountygov.info.

6 Responses to “Carving and Cutting Out Jimmy”

  1. Name says:

    Cyberbullies are often lacking something crucial in their lives so they seek pain in others.

  2. when jimmy conner talks about “integrity” i want to gag. How about this for intergrity folks–Jimmy takes his family on a first class trip to washington dc and bills the citizens of lake county $6,000 for it. the only commissioner scheduled to go and budgeted for was welton cadwell. jimmy did not attend meetings but instead went on a sight seeing mission. i would love to see an itemized statement for his expenses. when the orlando sentinel busted him for this, jimmy said while he didn’t attend scheduled meetings, he did secure funding from the federal government to build the howey bridge. puhleeeeze. i guess that check is still in the mail. jimmy should pay this unauthorized expense back to the county. That would take some ‘integrity” so i guess we shoudn’t be expecting it any time soon.

  3. I remember when Sandy Minkoff was the Tavares City Attorney and Jimmy Conner was on the Tavares City Council. Minkoff use to make comments about Conner and laugh at him to others. I often wondered when Conner was elected to the Lake County Board what Minkoff would have to say and how he would treat Conner knowing all the terrible things he had said about him years ago. Apparently Minkoff has come a long way with McKee and Cadwell and their connections. Looks like they have not let Jimmy join their gentleman’s club and are in fact doing everything they can to boot him out. Time for Jimmy to look after Jimmy, the boys club is planning his waterloo. If Jimmy can’t see the handwriting on the wall maybe he should take up piano playing like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder!

  4. Name says:

    This is the most ridiculous article RSOL has ever written. If anyone watches the first BCC meeting it is clear that the only reason there was a map 2B is too apease the retirement community voters that Commissioner Conner manufactured into campaigning for him. Had it not been for that Ciommissioner Hills Map 3 would have been selected.

    This is more Conner sourgrapes. I predict a companion story from Lauren Ritche on Sunday. It does not matter who Conner runs against, he does not deserve re-election.

  5. When everyone decides enough is enough of this Lake Corruption. The Jacksonville office of the FBI which covers this area from its Ocala office is begging for tips on public corruption.

    They are advertising their email address for same at: jacksonville@ic.fbi.gov

    Maybe its time someone like Mr. Conner contact them and get this over with! Surely there is plenty he and other insiders can share with them. Just look at all the information that has been placed on this website- not one person has ever disputed the validity of any of it and I see millions of tax dollars destinations in question here! That alone when proven factual should be enough to load up the whole group over there!

  6. Where are the people who should be standing up to this obvious organized culture of corruption?

    This is slightly worse than a few clerical errors; missing agenda’s and moved public meetings. Hell, this is even worse than accepting an illegally submitted letter from the sheriff and calling it a budget proposal! This is an obvious conspiracy by two or more of the Lake County commissioners for nothing more than making it easier to replace Jennifer Hill and Jimmy Conner with two already indoctrinated into this culture!

    As the RSOL article implies, it is hard to agree with Jimmy Conner all the time! In fact it is hard to agree with anyone all the time. Whether or not you like Jimmy, he dances to his own drummer and has not fell into the courthouse mafia crowd! The can’t control him and they are scared of him! Around here there are only two kind of folks, those in the click and those not in the click! While a lot of folks had high hopes that he would stand a lot taller and scream a lot louder about the corruption and abuse of power we see everyday, he has not done so! Who knows what methods they use to tie the tongues of people like Jimmy, that’s not easy? Why do they go to all this trouble on the redistricting just to get rid of Jimmy? Everyone around the courthouse knows they can fix an election anytime they want too, they have done it before! Whatever those scanner numbers show is the gospel! After all Jeb Bush and Tom Feeney took care of that for them! Feeney got his friends at NASA to write the vote flipping programs and Jeb Bush made the administrative order to refuse a paper vote re-count!

    They are all home free and they know it! The local law is too busy playing silly games and if anyone notifies any higher authorities that are all friends and go out to lunch together on the taxpayers dime like a bunch of lawyers and rat out the ratters and laugh it all off! They know there are no consequences here on earth for their actions, therefore they do as they please!
    The cheese must be beginning to become binding around Tavares a little though, the corrupticans have quit trying to spin of the truth tellers as liars and started hacking and spamming in an effort to stop the flow of truth! They are way to late though; it’s hard to stop thousands of people who know the details of the ongoing corruption from sharing it with their friends, kinfolks and neighbors! There will be a judgment day for those who have so brutally abused their fellow man, woman and child and that day will take into consideration all forms of abuse financially, sexually, physically and otherwise!

    Someone in their right mind might ask how do these people sleep? They don’t most of them stay up 24/7 planning their next schemes and partying with their friends!

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