September 1, 2016 at 8:43 am

LAUREN RITCHIE’S DUMB ATTACKS.

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The owners and publishers of the Lake Sentinel are among the dumbest people in America for continuing to publish columns written by Lauren Ritchie.  Decades of publishing Ritchie’s absurd columns have reduced the newspaper to nothing but a hidden Sunday coupon wrap-holder for soap and toilet tissue BOGO coupons.

Lauren Ritchie obviously envisions herself as some great opinion writer for a major newspaper where readers sit down with a cup of coffee to read a 3,000-word column that hits every minor detail so they can become better informed.  She doesn’t realize that her style of journalism is dead and that she, as a columnist, has become irrelevant.

A Lauren Ritchie column is torture to read because it focuses on minor nonsense to make irrelevant points about people she dislikes.  She will write 200 words to make a point no one cares about if she thinks it will embarrass her target.  In the journalism world, Lauren Ritchie has become the drunk at the end of the bar that just won’t shut up so everyone just tunes her out. She doesn’t get that making a column longer just to be snarky loses readers.  Brevity is what great writers do these days.

The primary election proves that time has passed Ritchie by, as all of the candidates she supported for county commission seats lost.  The primary election showed a complete rejection and repudiation of her liberal message and it wasn’t because the message was liberal.  It was because her message was unfair, snarky, and lacked critical thinking.  When she defended Jimmy Conner’s bullying behavior, it was obvious she was a sellout.

In Ritchie’s column published on August 18, 2016, she attacked Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., a 71-year old Lake County business.  Her column was void of facts and contained innuendo, assumptions, and outright lies to promote the failed candidacy of Lake County Commissioner Jimmy Conner.  It was apparent that media bias was on full display.

In her column, Ritchie said Lake County impact fees were, “…a hideously high number.”  Ritchie and Conner may support those hideously high impact fees but no reasonable person supports Lake County having the highest impact fees in the state.  A homebuyer in South Lake County has to pay $12,933.00 in impact fees for an average size home.  To set up a mobile home on vacant land, an owner must pay a whopping $9,143.00.  It is even worse for commercial property owners.  A doctor building a 10,000 square foot medical office has to pay $39,240 in impact fees, and that does not include the building permit fees.  Impact fees in Lake County are hideously ridiculous.

Yes, Ro-Mac is opposed to these high impact fees.  Yes, Ro-Mac believes it places an undue burden on homeowners, young families, renters, and people trying to start a business in Lake County.  Yes, Ro-Mac stands with the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihoods depend on opportunities in the construction industry.  Yes, Ro-Mac stands with groups like Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida, that say Lake County impact fees are destroying affordable housing. The thousands of customers, hundreds of business partners, and 300 employees of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., know the truth.  That is why Ritchie and the Lake Sentinel have no credibility.

Don’t expect people to respect you or your newspaper when you don’t respect them.  Being tough and telling the truth is one thing, but lies, exaggerations and innuendos is a coward’s way.  Ritchie has cowardly hidden behind the “I am a columnist” banner too long to justify her lack of facts and attention to real details.  A newspaper cannot falsely attack its readers and advertisers, and then expect their readership and support.

In the last 19 years, dozens of Lake Sentinel advertising account representatives have come to my office to sell me advertising space.  Each time, I tell them no because of Ritchie.  Most often they sheepishly say, “We hear that a lot.”

You can’t accuse the owners and publishers of the Lake Sentinel of being smart—attacking and lying about a 71-year old local business is just dumb.

Don Magruder

 

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August 31, 2016 at 1:20 pm

WENDY and JOSH WIN!

BREEDEN & BLAKE WIN!

Tax Raising Career Politicians Conner and Cadwell Defeated

Political newcomers Wendy Breeden and Josh Blake shook Lake County’s political world as they ousted their long-term career political rivals.  In the race for the Lake County Commission District 5 seat Josh Blake defeated Welton Cadwell by 5,308 votes (or 19 points) — that is a landslide.  Wendy Breeden defeated controversial Lake County Commissioner District 3 Jimmy Conner by 1,475 votes (or almost 5 points).  Incumbent Lake County Commissioner District 1 Tim Sullivan disposed of South Lake challengers Tim Loucks and Mike Levine with 43.01% of the votes (or by 13 points).
What are the lessons learned from this election?

First, don’t put government before We the People.  Raising property taxes to give county employees a raise is something taxpayers will not tolerate.  Cutting crooked garbage deals, which cost taxpayers more while cutting their services is a dumb idea (stinky trash in the garage reminds them of this daily).  Having impact fees is one thing, but having the highest in the state of Florida—come on, don’t be stupid.  When Habitat for Humanity leaves your county because impact fees are too high then you have crossed the line.

Second, We the People aren’t stupid.  When you try to create some fraudulent issue about sand mines that doesn’t exist, people know better.  The reason why Lake County will probably wind up having sand mines is simple—over the last couple of years, Conner and Cadwell voted three times to authorize sand mines in South Lake County.  In addition, Lake County will probably lose the pending lawsuit to CEMEX because you cannot do selective enforcement of zoning.  This election was never about sand mines; rather, it was about Conner and Cadwell raising taxes.

Finally, in this economy where every job matters, how dumb was it for Conner to attack local companies with fraudulent accusations?  Conner’s flailing attacks were baseless, and he riled up an entire industry and group of voters who knew better.  Conner’s actions have set the business climate of Lake County back a decade.

Conner’s Corrupt Campaign

Conner ran one of the most corrupt campaigns in the history of Lake County.  While he was quick to point out money flowing to other Political Action Committees, he was gathering money from a consortium of high-dollar contributors out of Orange County that want to control the development in the Wellness Way and Wekiva Way areas.  Conner was literally selling Lake County to the highest bidder.

He was also petty in his corruptness.  A couple of days before the election he put out hundreds of red signs that stated, “Wendy Breeden is a Liberal.”  These red signs were placed in front and back of Breeden’s regular campaign signs.  In addition, he hired a group of out of work millennials to troll other campaign social media sites to say disparaging words about Breeden.  Plus he slandered every Hispanic citizen in Lake County by continuously stating that CEMEX is a Mexican company in an effort to “dog whistle” racism.  Telling the truth was not a strong part of Conner’s campaign.

What’s Next?

Lake County Commissioner District 2 Sean Parks remains the only Commissioner to have voted for the 14% property increase, the crooked garbage deal, and the impact fee increase to the highest in the state of Florida.  Don’t forget, Parks cast all of these votes after he ran unopposed in 2014.  Parks claimed to be a conservative Republican but then voted like a liberal Democrat.  Many Lake County voters feel that Parks double-crossed them.  We suspect that Sean Parks along with others will have a real political challenger in a couple of years.

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