Friday, September 30th, 2011 at 10:30am

Commissioner Parks Rebukes Conner’s Redistricting Opinions

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Lake County District 2 County Commissioner Sean Parks asked The Right Side of the Lake for an opportunity to respond, unedited, to Commissioner Conner’s redistricting statements made in Thursday’s edition, and we do believe both sides of the disagreement should be heard.  Below are Commissioner Park’s responses to Conner’s criticisms.

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I will try not to mince words either.  I have made my responses in italicized bold.

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.

This is an incorrect statement by Commissioner Conner.  Commissioners Conner and Cadwell did ask that maps be submitted on a certain date – they did this at a meeting where I was not in attendance nor made aware of their “decree” until after the actual meeting.  See the minutes for the BCC meeting dated August 9th, August 16th and August 30th.   All of my working maps were on file for several months.  Commissioner Campione’s and Commissioner Hill’s working maps were on file as well.  Viewing the maps was a matter of public record.  Why didn’t Commissioner Conner simply ask to see my working drafts – he knew the process of redistricting was underway (See BCC minutes June and July where redistricting was discussed).

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.

This is a very misleading statement.  We had a properly advertised meeting that was open to public input on August 30th.  The changes made in map 2B simply reflected what we heard from many of the speakers that day.  Conner’s comments are baffling as Map 2B was modified to meet many of the speakers’ concerns who showed up to support Commissioner Conner’s Map 2.

3. 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.

This comment is completely inaccurate.  Commissioners Conner and Cadwell wanted staff to spend many, many, hours to draft two legal descriptions, one for Map 2 and one for Map 2b.  We had already approved Map 2b earlier that day.  There was no need to make staff do another legal description, potentially wasting many hours of time, to produce a legal description for a map that was not approved.  See BCC minutes for September 6th including the budget workshop where I asked staff to hold off.

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.

I find Commissioner Conner’s concluding statement filled with great irony considering the approved map (Map 2b) was approved to address the comments received from those who came to support Commissioner Conner and his map.

I have been consistent on this issue from day one.  I voted for Map 3 because it reflected what I heard overwhelmingly from people who contacted me throughout the process.  Conner’s map would have split up more cities than Map 3.  In my opinion, Map 2b was the best compromise between the reasons I supported Map 3 and what I heard from many speakers on August 30th.  Remember, Map 2b was approved on September 6th after Map 3 was defeated on August 30th.

This whole process was done according to the letter of the law.

I sincerely hope Commissioner Conner will not elect to make this a divisive issue. We need to work together for the good of the County and put our egos aside. I have more discussion about this issue and others on my website www.seanslake.com.

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In Thursday’s The Right Side of the Lake, we left out one statement from Commissioner Jimmy Conner that we feel compelled – in a sense of fairness – to release because it was primarily directed to Commissioner Parks.

Commissioner Conner wrote, Lake County is one county.  We are not north versus south yet one Commissioner regularly talks in those terms.  I believe the current redistricting plan might start a trend to pit north vs. south and to make geography matter more than merit.  This increases the politics on issues and I do not think the north vs. south mentality is positive for Lake County.

One of the main purposes of Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. and The Right Side of the Lake is to create an environment of open government.  While some will look at these competing comments by Commissioners Conner and Parks as political acrimony, we see it as transparency in government, which is allowing all sides to voice their opinions.  The key for all concerned is to accept the total will of the people and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners after the final decision has been made so the work of the people can continue.

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

5 Responses to “Commissioner Parks Rebukes Conner’s Redistricting Opinions”

  1. Commissioner Parks statement,”The changes made in map 2B simply reflected what we heard from many of the speakers that day.” in and of itself is incorrect. Did the overwhelmingly majority of citizens show up that day to express their support of Commissioner Parks,no, or Commissioner Cadwell, Campione, or Hill, no. They showed up to show support for Commissioner Conner and Map 2. The sole purpose Commissioner Campione suggested any change of Map 2 was because she felt the proposed District 1 covered too much territory, never commenting on the fact which was brought up that Commissioner Cadwells’ district also covers a large area. Commissioner Campione stated she was concerned about the distance from Silver Lake to the 4 corners because it seemed to be to expansive. Well, 2-B cuts at least 15 minutes of travel time from the top of the district to the bottom. If the reason for a new map was to make the district more compact, guess what, it wasn’t accomplished.

  2. Name says:

    I hear some old timers around Eustis telling this story about some big mouth cop who was a racist always wanting to beat up on the Golden Gloves Champ Soloman McTier and always running his mouth about whooping him.

    Story goes like some folks at the Buick place in Eustis told him to bring it on and they put together this fight at the fairgrounds. Apparently this know it all cop failed to perform and wound up at Waterman for a reconstuction face surgery. Point is I wonder how much money was raised by the promoters? Times are hard now, I wonder if we couldn’t raise some coins pitting Conner against Parks at the fairgrounds! Old Cadwell is looking frail but maybe he could be the tag just in case Parks whoops Conner. Maybe Jack Cassell would volunteer to help the injured just in case that part come into play! Hey, anything to raise a buck nowadays, these pros have robbed us blind but even a blind hog can find an acorn every now ane then! Give us some idea’s the holidays are coming up and everyone needs something to get excited about.

  3. Mr. Parks your statement “This whole process was done according to the letter of the law.” Is false! You know I don’t need to clarify that! To start with why are all of you acting like a bunch of third graders in after school daycare waiting on Moma to pick you up?

    Why don’t ya’ll just let Sandy Minkoff show you what districts he wants you to represent and get it over with! Hell, he runs everything else around here! What kind of rinky-dink operation are we running around here when the county attorney personally responds to public records requests anyway? At least the ones he wants to respond too; he’s careful and trying to keep his clan out of the federal pen! It was probably a real hard blow to all these suckophants to see Duncan shipped off to the bighouse for ten years! Yes it can happen to every one of these clowns; corruption is a crime just like drinking, driving and killing folks! Ecen when you have the powerful running interferrence for you! If he’s got time to respond to prr’s you should be looking at laying off some of his help because he don’t have anything better to do!

    I don’t know where Parks gets his legal advice but I can guarantee him not one of the commissioners made sure the sheriff’s budget process was done according to the letter of the law! Hey Sean, that FS 30.49 requires a legal presentation by the sheriff. What’s even worse is it requires him to disclose all his expenses for the budget year that ended at midnight last night! Can you show us that information? No! Ya’ll didn’t require it! Conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers of Lake County plain and simple!

    Actually Jimmy Conner is a more honorable person than you are, and that is hard to say! With Jimmy what you see is what you get! With you, people don’t know what’s up your sleeve! Exactly where do you live now? Since you conveniently sold you Montverde home in a recession your records are not showing a Clermont area home! Did your new friends fix you up or are you now a renter or socially elite with your records blocked? Since you have decided to sign on to the culture of corruption of Lake County you will be under the microscope and added to the close watch list.

    Back to the sheriff’s budget matters, it seems information about the missing money is coming out daily now. That’s what happens when you abuse the wrong people. they make good sources!

  4. Name says:

    Jimmy Conner has always been Jimmy Conner- like him or leave him! He got way to nasty with Anna Cowin and I for one bet he would never go to either of the Dr. Cowin’s for a procedure. He also got way to friendly with the contractor’s and architect’s building all those unnessary schools and they slipped him money from lawyers, families and friends! Who knows maybe they just wanted him off the school board!

    He’s getting the right age now to need one of those Dr. Jack Cassell boat trips for that unauthorized out of the USA procedure that Doctor Jack specializes in. I think he can sign up for that through the Vance Jochim vacation medical procedure society of Lake County!

  5. my sources tell me that jimmy conner is looking to chest bump sean parks and jack cassell just like he did to dr cowen a couple of years ago.

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