Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 8:00am

The List Remains Long

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In ten years, 2011 will probably be viewed as a transition year for Lake County.  It was the year in which common sense returned to most parts of government, coupled with the realization that economic growth must never be sacrificed for the liberal, job-killing, no-growth policies of the past.  The culture of Lake County has changed because the harshness of this economic turndown has spared no one – not even our liberal, no-growth friends.

The new Lake County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) made very good progress in stabilizing Lake County’s economy in 2011 by suspending impact fees; creating a real economic plan; and, most importantly, implementing a “Yes, I can!” attitude at all levels of government.  The new attitude is about creating jobs, making government more efficient, and holding staff members accountable to the public.  When compared to the dismal record of former Commissioner Elaine Renick and Linda Stewart’s era, the positive changes are stunning.

Although a lot of progress has been made, there’s still a long list of issues facing Lake County.  If not addressed in 2012, these issues could hamper an economic turnaround in Lake County.  More importantly, they could send the county back in time –when it was the laughing stock in the state for its lunacy on no-growth.  Here are some of the items we believe need to be accomplished:

  1. The new county manager and BCC haven’t purged all of the negative attitudes from county staff that were part of the disastrous no-growth era.  Daily, we hear from members who tell us there are county staff members who still work to stifle growth through bureaucracy.  At some point, County Manager Darren Gray must clean house of these people.
  2. Virtually no progress has been made on amending the Comprehensive Land Plan, which was written by environmental lobbyist Keith Schue and former Commissioners Stewart and Renick.  This plan will choke any future economic growth in the county.  Addressing this issue has to be a high priority in 2012.
  3. A long-term fiscal plan that implements major cuts and stops wasteful projects (like the Emergency Operations Center) has not been agreed upon or implemented.  The realities are in plain view – revenues will be extremely short over the next four years.  Therefore, Lake County must take bold fiscal action now or face a bitter future of having to cut essential services.
  4. The assault by Representative Larry Metz and the Marilyn-Bainter-anti-hospital group is threatening thousands of jobs as well as the welfare of thousands of Lake County’s poor.  In a time when federal and state governments are kicking the shins of our hospitals, we have local people twisting a knife in their backs.  This is an absolute disaster for the county and its reputation.

Each of these issues has the potential to derail a whole year’s progress and send Lake County in the opposite direction.  2012 will need to be the year Lake County politicians show their leadership and willingness to address each one of these issues for the good of Lake County.

Thank you for your support in 2011, and next week we will give our predictions for 2012.

We wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year; it is our prayer that everyone who wants a job next year finds one.

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 or  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.

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10 Responses to “The List Remains Long”

  1. Old $itchie must have had to scrape the bottom of the barrell to find this new bean counter. It’s getting harder and harder to find people rotten and dumb enough to work in this culture of corruption not only for the sheriff that spends money before he gets it and then robs Peter to pay Paul, (and Peter is getting sore) but the county employee’s that help him cover it up.

    Finance director blog (by: Former co-worker – 12/19/2011)

    Did Klinker happen to mention that he was fired from both Leesburg and Osceola County? Did he also mention that he was Finance Director in Marion County until his boss, the clerk of the court, died. And when he ran for that office he was soundly defeated. He has all the credentails but he also has a reputation for never getting anything done on time. And you can bet that he will not be in the office on Friday if the Florida Gators have a game anywhere.

    So, we are getting ourselves one big happy “culled” family here? Let’s see; Tom Klinker was fired from Osceola County. (not to mention a few other places) His new boss Sheriff Gary Borders was fired from Osceola County. (circe 1/3/1989) Maybe they met at a meeting of the former Osceola County disgruntled employee’s ass’n who knows? The sheriff’s friend and mentor and self anointed “untouchable godfather” that runs everything Lake County was only fired at least twice in Orange County and at least twice in Lake County (maybe even more) for lying on resumes and such.

    No wonder Lauren $itchie don’t want all these “lying bloggers” putting all this libelous dirt on her friends on the street. Heck, they might even start telling some truth about her pillow talk. Don’t you feel sorry for that dog? Roger 10-4 over and out.

  2. I don’t think the old hag from the bankrupt rag went to all that trouble to figure a way to write a story so she could wiggle in some digs to stop or curtail those viral bloggers ability because “a lot of folks read this particular blog for laughs.”

    People looking for comedy can go to Wal-Mart and get more than their tickle box can stand. The RSOL has many articles of interest to the real voting, taxpayers of Lake County, many of which come directly from public records searches and is of evidentiary value. Young uneducated, unintelligent people are incapable of comprehending this and when inspired by their effected immoral bosses or leadership tend to attempt to spin facts away as though they are fiction.

    Intelligent people can decipher facts from fiction. Therein comes the problem that the old hag from the broke rag seeks to destroy! Intelligent people read the Right Side of the Lake just like financial experts read the Wall Street Journal. If an intelligent person caught a stock tip from reading the journal they most likely would have sense enough to take advantage of it. Likewise when intelligent people read the facts on the Right Side of the Lake that is not available through other local media outlets, they tend to believe it and follow up with their own research to verify the facts and pass same on t friends! Those like the old hag who have become a legend in their own minds that have had people believing they couldn’t get elected or appointed without their support have spent eternity convincing people of their importance, blind to the fact that the internet has increasingly made them as totally obloquy as a travel agent. The people can communicate with the masses without running the facts through an editor and waiting for next edition. For decades the people have lost the war with the paper tongues simply because news agencies bought paper by the ream and ink by the barrel. The internet has removed not only the smears and the scent of stinking paper, it has removed the ability of people like the old hag from the broke rag to control an environment of people civic education, attitudes and thoughts with the poison and venom of her sick liberal mind. Welcome to the age on online truths. If those like this old hag think they are going to defend their friends from these bloggers disclosing the truth about them they had darn well better pack a lunch. The fun is just beginning.

  3. I actually thought that Lauren Ritchie’s article was quite accurate in referring to the vitriol comments that this blog contains without naming it. A lot of folks read this particular blog for laughs & know that the “good ol boys” of Lake County are just as ignorant and closed minded as they always have been. Lake County is a complete joke to people who don’t live here. Our education system is lacking. Our government is corrupt and nothing ever changes. Congratulations, RSOL! You have succeeded at making Lake County look as petty and ignorant as we are unfortunately perceived! Thank the Republicans & Tea Baggers!

  4. Right Side- Just want t say thanks for all the abuse you take and still stand tall and allow the people to tell the truth on your blogs no matter who is trying hard to stop it. It appears from recent blogs from our old friend Richard Riker and a recent article in the rag of our old hag Columnist (Webster defines as: “one who writes a newspaper or magazine column and; Column as “one of two or more vertical sections of a printed page.”) Is causing them both great stress and we thnk Riker should take his own advice and check in at Lifestream. There is no cure for the old hag, shei is terminally ignorant to all issues outsie her network. No requirement of content! Just more than one column on a printed page. How can that definition coupled with gross lack of education and life experiences qualify any columnist to become the self anointed expert on all issues? It is very apparent by the old hags repeated ranting and raving about bloggers that they are striking a nerve within that close knit culture of corruption where she thrives. The stress from the ability of we the people to communicate the truth to the masses without first having to run it through their censorship is more than they can take. As for Richard Riker, the poor old guy just doesn’t know any better. Life in general stresses him. He’s still counting Jimmy Conner’s hated busses hauling dope from Willow Street in Zellwood past the 7-11 every morning. I’ll bet the anti-hospital group wishes he was on your side!

    Remember, the truth only hurts for a little while! It will not necessarily set you free, it might actually result in trials and incarcerations but in the end we feel the humans involved will eventually find an inter peace they have never before experienced! God Bless the USA including the State of Florida and Lake County!

  5. It seems the sheriff’s friend, chief blogger deputy, financial director recruiter and part time communist propaganda journalist aka as the old hag from the out of town rag remains vigilant in her attacks against those who exercise their freedom of speech “often on unsigned community blogs.” In other words anonymously. She says “Cowardly people increasingly are making libelous accusations.” The truth is not libelous. The fact that she defends those including her friend the sheriff who have gone out of their way to cover up violent crimes committed against young children because of their involvement in an organization and their fear they might be sued for the failure to protect those children in their custody is worse than cowardly it’s a sin against humanity. And even some bible thumpers are involved.

    We realize the RSOL probably does not like their website tainted with the name of Lauren Ritchie and we certainly don’t blame them for that, if you choose to redact the name we will understand. In recent months she has become more and more obsessed with defending her friend the sheriff from all the truths that have long been circulating concerning his various extracurricular activities. These are simply facts. Most of this comes directly from sources inside the office. There is no “goal to unleash pent-up venom.” Sheriff Borders and his friends Don and Charles Brown and a few others opened Green Isle Boys Ranch” in Clermont in 1989. The ranch earned a morbid history of abuse both sexual and otherwise of the boys almost from the beginning. Documents prove cover up after cover up by management of brutal sex offenses from years back. But the real culmination and the Achilles heel come in November 2009 when the brutal rapes of five students under fifteen by an older student was reported to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office by the facility director whom the fired within two days of the report.The investigation was stalled by Sheriff Borders Detectives until February, 2010 when new house parents labeled disgruntled because they demanded Green Isle Management which included the sheriff help these boys some of which was threatening suicide. They somehow got the news of the boys plight on all local networks.The next day Borders initiated the cover up of the cover up sending two teams of detectives to interview one suspect and filing documents with the SAO. A crime is a crime. When a person is raped it is a crime. When a thief steals it’s a crime, even if they return the loot. The sheriff of Lake County takes an oath to uphold the constitution of the State of Florida and the United States of America. That includes investigating felony crimes committed against children in a facility he is involved in. Failure to carry out that duty and/or halting or otherwise suppressing a felony investigation is Obstruction of Justice by an elected official. If everyone decides they will join the bandwagon on this cover up and protect their friend the sheriff so be it. But the people of Lake County and the State of Florida have a right to know they are paying people who conspired to cover up the brutal rapes of five young boys at the Green Isle Boys Ranch where the sheriff was involved with management team for over twenty years.

    This subject is the reason the old hag from the out of town rag has launched her war against anonymous bloggers on community blogs, because she can’t control the flow of facts for her friend the sheriff; Plain and simple! Honestly I can’t think of anything to call people who are so rotten they conspire to cover up child sex abuse because it might cost their friends a lawsuit. To all these people who hate the bloggers being able to get the truth out, welcome to 2012- cause you ain’t seen nothing yet! The truth is going to come rolling out for all to see. The public is not really as stupid as you think when they get the facts, it’s just that media like the out of town rag always filters the truth and tells the story their way. God Bless the little children!

    The Free Press

  6. To the writer of this blog: I really think you should take advantage of the psychiatric help your insurance can afford you. You have a real psychotic hangup on this none existent anti-hospital boogeyman which you have conjured up from your own psyche and an inexplicable hatred of the best public official this county has ever seen, Representative Larry Metz. Your palpable fear of Mrs. Bainter goes to underscore your need of real mental health care. Please, for your own good, get help. I ask you to do this not because your blog is extremely superficial and humorous but because it’s the new year and I’ve made a resolution to assist you in any way I can to get the help you need.

  7. I just want to say thanks for the accolades @ Almost Persuaded and Mr. Lee Johnson. Also thanks to the Right Side of the Lake. Like all humans we don’t always agree on everything but survival dictates we must all agree much like our forefathers did, our descendants can not survive in a lawless atmosphere controlled by corruption. Without the support of hundreds of people and the information provided by the victims of this culture of corruption we would not be at the tipping point we have reached.

    Today our message is God Bless American! God Bless the State of Florida and God Help Lake County! Never in the history of Lake County has she fell into the depths of corruption as she has since 1996. Games and deals and winners throw losers to the curb. Everything is pre planned and pre determined. It’s there way or the highway. Well guess what 2012 will be the dawn of a new ERA in which we will endeavor to correct our errors of the past! Thanks again for the support and we look forward to each of you joining our anti-corruption movement in 2012 to rid government from city hall to Washington of the snakes that have entrenched our public offices.

    Everyone please join us in wishing Bob McKee a happy 62nd birthday tomorrow (12/31) and a happy retirement at the end of this his last term in office! Happy New Year and God Help Lake County in 2012!

  8. Almost Persuaded, I don’t know who you are but I must say you have made my day. We have been keeping close tabs on the activities taking place in our County Government for several years; you have hit it the nail on the head. Our County will never achieve its full potential until law enforcement does the job it was sworn to do and we bring in true leadership; others will most likely be incarcerated for what they have done. I have to believe we are getting close to seeing a long overdue clean sweep of Tavares. Keep up the good work and let your voice be heard.

  9. Excellent historical sketch of recent County history.

  10. Another good politically correct article which starts out like a Bill O’Rielly fair and balanced talking points presentation. On one hand everything is wonderful and on the other you point out all the things that in your opinion should be improved or corrected.

    You folks need to grow some of those things you claim Larry Metz is showing the world he is. The subject of what is wrong and what is right with Lake County is not a dismal one. You have no doubt skimmed the surface of some of the problems however; you have not addressed the root of all evil which is the underlying cause of these problems.

    You see, County Manager Darren Gray is simply a figurehead. He has no real authority to purge the negative attitudes or clean house of these people.” The best example of this would be if Mr. Gray tried to adjust the attitude of Sandy Minkoff’s fair haired boy and Director of Facilities Management, Kristian Swenson.

    We all know that won’t happen because Darren Gray is smart enough to know who butter’s his bread and probably won’t bite the hand that feeds him so to speak. Still he might eventually suffer the same fate as Cindy Hall. When things really get tough the tough get looking for someone to blame like they did Cindy and boom Darren is at the top of the disposable food chain.

    Let’s revisit the demise of Cindy Hall. People were noseing around all kinds of funds that flowed into the coffers of the Lake County government after the hurricanes of 2004 and the tornados of 2007. They found all those free houses and free rehabs and new appliances purchased on the Pcards for friends and family of the well connected. Projects completed by insider contractors sitting on the Affordable Housing Boards and voting themselves the work. Lake and Tallahassee officials immediately went into crisis intervention mode and begin shredding and re-documenting and working overtime. Still in order to stop the bleeding they had to sacrifice someone other than just the Indians. They had to sacrifice a chief. At an impromptu meeting in a Fire House on Monday October 5, 2009 the BCC voted unanimously to fire County manager Cindy Hall. What an appropriate setting fired in a firehouse!

    Cindy Hall Timeline –

    April 2003 — Then-County Manager Bill Neron hires then-Seminole County Finance Director Cindy Hall as assistant county manager.
    October 2004 — Commissioner Jennifer Hill questions Hall’s work with Terry Godts, who headed a political action committee urging voters to support the county’s then-proposed land preservation tax. Hill argued the county shouldn’t be using taxpayer money in support of the referendum.
    April 2005 — Neron resigns, leading to Hall’s hiring.
    May 2005 — Hall officially hired as county manager.
    February 2006 — Hall, county commissioners and officials successfully negotiate land agreements for site of future parking garage in downtown Tavares. Later that year the scope of the project increases, extending completion into early 2009.
    February 2, 2007– State of emergency declared after several tornados rip through north Lake County, killing 27 residents. Millions in disaster funds flow into Lake Coffers. The game is on to build free homes for friends and family.
    April 2007 — Lake borrows more than $87 million to pay for the parking garage and for property appraiser and tax collector offices in downtown Tavares.
    April 2007 — Lake County lays off 14 building department employees following a slumping housing market. Summer 2007 — Transportation impact fee debate heats up, pitting a development community against local government trying to keep up with growth.
    December 2007 — County pursues funding for $34 million emergency radio system. Some question the timing of the expense in slowing economy. Someone forgot the mention the millions in annual maintenance fees.
    February 2008 — Niagara Bottling LLC officials claim Hall and Commissioner Jennifer Hill recruited them to Lake County. Hill denies claims. However, records show Niagara officials met with Hall and Hill in late 2007.
    April 2008 — Lake County pays $8 million to buy and close a concrete plant on land that does not allow such a plant. County officials held responsible for giving the go-ahead on the plant.
    June 2008 — Sales and other tax shortfalls endanger funding for downtown Tavares expansion projects. Project cuts could be needed, Hall says.
    November 2008 — Lake County Fire Rescue officials ask for reserve funds to pay for overtime and other supply overruns. Commissioners question how such a budget mistake could occur during tough economic times. — Commissioners had to transfer more than $1 million in overtime expenses because the public-safety director mismanaged his budget.
    January 2009 — County commissioners enact hiring freeze, saying unofficial hiring freeze by Hall was not enough. — Staff overspent about $70,000 in the tornado-relief fund and another $98,000 in the U.S. Housing and Urban Development rental assistance fund without Hall’s knowledge. — The county also settled an age discrimination lawsuit for $51,000.
    Early 2009 — County judicial center expansion in doubt as county commissioners grow weary of bond financing. They had planned to borrow a few hundred million more for a $95 million courthouse expansion and a $20 million current judicial center renovation and leaks stoppage.
    May 2009 — Hall proposes raising property taxes despite commissioners’ urging for smaller government.
    September 2009 — Commissioners approve scaled-back version of judicial center.
    September 2009 — Commissioners Elaine Renick and Jimmy Conner criticize Hall’s management style on her job performance review. Commission later schedules a retreat to discuss Hall’s job performance.
    October 5, 2009 — At an impromptu retreat, commissioners vote 5-0 to terminate Hall’s contract.
    Hall’s exodus surprised many, considering she received the highest evaluation possible from Commissioner Jennifer Hill and very good marks from Cadwell and Stewart. Chairman Welton Cadwell said Hall’s management style didn’t reflect the direction the board wanted to take. “She’s done a great job for Lake County,” said Cadwell, following a special meeting in Leesburg where commissioners voted 5-0 to end Hall’s contract. “There’s a difference in management philosophy. It was best for her and best for us.” The sacrificial lamb is gone. The hemorrhaging is over. Everything is alright now.

    County Attorney Sandy Minkoff was appointed interim county manager and Assistant County Attorney Melanie Marsh was named interim county attorney.

    Minkoff served as interim county manager for sixteen months. During this time the BCC made unsuccessful attempts at locating a suitable permanent county manager. Sources say that was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It was election year for two seats on the commission. Board candidates Campione and Parks were both commenting their disapproval of Minkoff not only in his “temporary” roll at interim manager but also his job as county attorney. They were telling constituents if they were elected they would vote to terminate Sandy Minkoff period.
    More crisis intervention had been in place for a few months now. “They” had been working with Darren Gray to bring him on board as assistant county manager for a while. In November 2010 they pulled it off. Darren Gray was hired as assistant county manager to start in December 2010. Like getting the horse before the cart. They hired a full time permanent assistant to an interim county manager. Minkoff, Cadwell and McKee were still hoping to pull off Minkoff keeping the job permanently. The word got out that he was welcome to apply but the process was going to be scrutinized. He knew he couldn’t take the heat. He knew things would come to surface like his marriage to the chief check writer Barbara Lehman (Minkoff) and people working there still today with them still don’t know they are married.

    The slight of hand come into play. Support Darren Gray and encourage everyone else to support Daren Gray. It worked. Daren Gray becomes the Lake County Manager with the support of everyone. Another smoke and mirrors!

    Just like James C. Watkins still has his foot in the door of the Lake Clerk’s Office with his self anointed appointment of long time friend Neil Kelly, his brother John Watkins coming on board and his son-in-law Jeremy Martin in place as the Internal Auditor, Sandy Minkoff is still the county manager ” defacto.” Again, all is well!

    Absolutely nothing has changed in the last few years except the names. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. Bob McKee is still the puppet master and king maker. Ed Havill and Neil Kelly are stilling collaborating and running interference for McKee. The deals are still being cut. The contractors and architects are still pulling their under the table deals and Lake County taxpayers now more than ever hard earned money is still disappearing like rats from a sinking ship.

    We left out the goings on at the lake School Board and the millions in debt service for the over ½ BILLION in bond debt before we pay a light bill, buy any IPADS or pay the first teacher or support staff salaries, insurance provided by Jimmy Conner’s friends at Brown and Brown Insurance or anything.

    Then it’s hard to leave out that recently disclosed hiring of a new finance director by Sheriff Borders at the LCSO who announced he would be like the CEO of the LCSO and be managing their $65 MILLION budget. All prior news articles concerning the 2011-2012 Sheriff budget reported it to be somewhere less than $55 MILLION. If the sheriff’s current budget is $65 MILLION that equates to $178,082. (One Hundred and Seventy-Eight Thousand and Eighty-Two Dollars) per day.

    If any of you folks truly want Lake County to have a viable economy you must first wake up and rid the county of the pickpockets and common criminals who believe they are untouchable with a license to steal sanctioned by a bunch of gutless people afraid to tell the truth or do the right thing for fear of being label disgruntled or something if no more than being labeled politically incorrect.

    Oh, I almost forgot! “The assault by Representative Larry Metz and the Marilyn-Bainter-anti-hospital group is threatening thousands of jobs as well as the welfare of thousands of Lake County’s poor. In a time when federal and state governments are kicking the shins of our hospitals, we have local people twisting a knife in their backs. This is an absolute disaster for the county and its reputation.”

    All this above attention to the people whom you know for a fact are simply demanding their right to vote on a special tax and if successful want those funds directed to go to indigent health care and not the hospital’s over expenses account used for big fat bonuses and lawyers fees to oppose the public’s attempts to secure their right to vote on this issue. More smoke and mirror’s. The more dissention you can create the less likely the public to have time to see just who this is with their hands in the public’s pockets the deepest.

    No! All is not well in Lake County. As long as the corruption remains at it’s present level no matter how many fees you abate or how many rules you change or abandon the very culture of lake government is not conducive to business. Use the lawyers old sayings if it walks like a duck it must be a duck. Therefore if it smells like a dead rat there might be poison around somewhere. Lake County government smells rotten when you enter the doors. You can see the fear in the eyes of some of the employee’s when they speak. Many are afraid they’ll say hello to the wrong persons.

    And lastly, you were concerned about the attitude of the Lake County employee’s. In defense of many of them it is hard to smile and maintain a good attitude when they are being abused by their supervisors in more than one way. Being made to lie and alter financial records, reports and legal documents while knowing even though they are ordered by their bosses to do so it is they who will suffer the consequences for doing so when the issue is brought to light.

    The facts are right before your eyes. There is none so blind as he who will not see!

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