Thankfulness & Appreciation Series- Part 2

Sometimes the posts just write themselves. Thank God for that. Thank God for the Free Speech that would otherwise not be afforded to me in any other country. Free Speech Sir David doesn’t want to hear but that just delineates the need for such. If someone locally, won’t say it, I will. If not me then who? If not now, then when?

There were 2 different articles in the Mullet Wrapper this weekend that basically hit on the same points. The first is by my fave writer, Emma Kennedy, “Reopened death row, juvenile justice cases strain system” & the second, by my other fave writer at the Mullet Wrapper, Kevin Robinson, “Escambia County leads state in charging juveniles as adults”. 

To summarize the two issues, in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama, that mandatory sentences of life without parole for children under the age of 18 are unconstitutional. The weight of this decision is financially straining Bill Eddins’s office because………

First thing that comes to mind is that office has been pushing juveniles into adult sentences at a far higher rate than the rest of the state, which is pointed out in the second article, by Robinson. Scott McCoy of the Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC) points out that these kids are being pushed into the adult system only to get probation. If the crimes are not severe enough to actually result in jail time, why shouldn’t they stay in the juvenile justice system which would allow them the chance to not be labeled within the adult system? This seems to be a case of not liking that option because it isn’t seen as punitive enough (in NW FL), for Mr. Eddins or at least his perception of what his constituents wants?

Over the last few weeks, I have become more acquainted with what passes for “a case” by the State Attorney’s office. Ron Clark Ball, John Powell, Pat Gonzalez, Gary Sumner were just a few who have been escorted in front of cameras and called criminals but when the evidence is laid to bear…..our court system (and by extension the judiciary that allows them to play “law”) were the through-backs on the short bus in law school.

What are you thinking, Bill Eddins, when you allow a personal vendetta of one of the legal elite firms to rope you into a RICO case, where there is perjured testimony, charges galore that end up being dropped because they are just that charges…not actual crimes committed. The bill on that case will cost the taxpayers millions. What about the letting whomever, assist the Assistant State Attorneys in the grand jury room, when Fla Statutes say they must have a J.D. after their name? Greg Marcille surely knows that. What about letting a Sheriff shake GRAND JURORS hands telling them, “I’ve done my job; now it’s time for you to do yours”? This is a directive to people personally to indict. How many people have been deprived a fair trial for that. Screwing with Grand Juries , YEAR AFTER YEAR, seems to me that will cost the taxpayers BILLIONS WITH A “B”.

This is a case where people who are in charge shouldn’t be. Their decisions result in inequities on the people they were sworn to represent and protect. I am talking about CRIMES OF MORALITY THAT LET THE REAL CRIMINALS OUT WHILE PUTTING THE INNOCENT IN JAIL.

Please, as always, don’t just take my word for this. Go to Flcourts.gov, or FDLE.gov. The statistics of what is actually going on. The problem is these men, Eddins, Morgan are stewards of the county and they don’t play fair. Consequently, in the appellate stage, other courts look at their non-sense and kicks back the badly handled cases. That is an error that is coming to fruition while these men are still in office. Typically, this sort of thing hits the following administration or comes back to haunt the subsequent terms of politicians; however, the glut for power has kept them in office long enough to see the spoils of their injustices.

It is a no-brainer that if you have to pay for a job to be done and then redone because of it was inadequate, it costs more money. Doing the job twice due to shortcuts like not having the properly composed grand jury, pushing kids into an adult system for no reason other than perceived political capital, letting other officials subject court cases to retrial for inappropriate contact, all these things COST THE TAXPAYERS MONEY & on top of it, having to doing out punitive damages for ruining people’s lives COSTS EVEN MORE.

According to the NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service),

Corruption can arise in virtually any area of local government activity, and will leave distinct traces according to the area -law enforcement, land-use regulation, purchasing, or tax assessment. It is possible to put together a diagnostic check list that will indicate possible corruption in a particular area. 

When corruption in government is suspected, there is a checklist of things people should look for. Some of those are:

  1. Have there been any cases tried in recent history of corruption? Statistically, there are going to be people involved in the moving parts of government trying to make money by cutting corners. Lack of this implies there are things not being caught which indicates incompetence or there are things overlooked indicating bigger corruption. Either way, the fact is something has to change for the county to retain its liquidity.
  2. Is there a high turnover in agency personnel? This indicates a systemic internal problem that cost taxpayers money and allows for corruption to flourish in the internal dissension.
  3. Are public positions filled when there is no need for the job, as hiring a
  4. swimming instructor for a park with no pool? This indicates the fulfilling of political favors for off the book gains ie corruption.
  5. Are those arrested for narcotics and gambling mostly street-level people
  6. rather than higher ups? This indicates incompetence in not investigating about the street-level soldiers in a more organized criminal enterprise.
  7. Is there an effective independent investigative agency to hear complaints of official misconduct? This is a check and balance approach to keep everybody honest.

The NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service) goes on to say:

“Some people who participate in corruption make no attempt to hide their activities, either believing that what they are doing is perfectly acceptable or expecting that no one will be watching. In most cases, however, participants will attempt to cover their tracks, both by making payoffs secretly and by attempting to provide a legitimate cover for their decisions. Where this is true, uncovering corruption problems can be difficult. Existing nvestigative bodies, such as the police and the prosecutors’ offices, are the obvious starting point because they can use surveillance techniques, subpoena powers, and the like, and can grant immunity to uncover evidence of specific crimes. Elected officials and agency heads who have daily contact with first-line supervisors or middle-level management are likely to have a fairly good idea of where the soft spots are, although they may be protected from below from any knowledge of specific corrupt acts or practices. Those who deal with local government from the outside – lawyers representing developers, contractors seeking building permits, salesmen seeking orders, or companies seeking contracts -will have certain knowledge of specific acts of corruption. Some will have little interest in exposing the acts that they profit from while others will be eager to see an immediate end to corruption (although they may be reluctant to aid in a suppression effort that entails personal risk). Newspaper, wire service, and television reporters may have more knowledge of corrupt acts than is revealed in their news reports, but may be reluctant to reveal it for fear of cutting themselves off from sources of other news. Outside of specifically chartered investigative bodies, the least reluctant sources of information about acts of corruption are official records.


” The desire to be respected by the public, so that being a politician or civil servant can be considered an honorable career, and election, appointment, or employment in government can be considered evidence of high personal standards of conduct. (They display:)• Recognition that corruption has a high social as well as monetary cost, and that even though the public may not seem to care in situations where corruption exists, and may continue to vote··in administrations that are either dirty or too stupid to be believed, the social cost is still being paid. When corruption and the costs of corruption finally become unacceptable, the result is likely to be personal as well as civic peril.• The awareness that there are standards of ethical conduct that can be agreed on, and principles of ethical action that can be applied, so that an employee or official can have confidence that he/she is acting ethically and need not be at the mercy of a superior’s whim or an investigative reporter’s slow news day. The most important ingredient of a (government leadership) management environment that is hostile to corruption is a strong and principled leadership. Without that, formalized guidelines for ethical behavior will be of little use. The next ingredient is credibility, which rests not only on sending clear messages that reinforce one another but also on keeping it all open and public”

Bottom line: Is this present in Escambia County? The articles in the PNJ tell the story….NO!

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Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Recently, Commissioner Jeff Bergosh challenged Sheriff Morgan on his spending as Morgan acted out regarding the budget of the county. Morgan’s has misappropriated money from the LET fund to aid to private organizations for the political capital and possible monetary kickback, that smacks of backroom deals. No one seems to care. Not the Governor; not the Attorney General. The big question here is WHY?

So when Commissioner Bergosh was the first to MAN UP and say he wanted to see justification of how this money is spent ie fiscal responsibility, I was able to see the light at the end of the corruption tunnel. Such scrutiny, especially retroactively, would uncover numerous “good ole boy” transactions. However, upon looking at the LET report for August, I see further pillaging of the LET fund since that pronouncement by the commissioner. Assuming this was done as a rebellious act by the child Sheriff, I notified Commissioner Bergosh of the continuation of the mishandling of the money that should be going to better use.  Sadly, I was informed that, it will be September 9th, before anyone takes away Morgan’s checkbook.

I was flabbergasted. Morgan can continue to thumb his nose and spend “as he sees fit” just like Haines asserted he would in a recent social media comment. In effect, Morgan has a thousand dollars to just light a match to, without an ounce of oversight for another few weeks. The board agreed to tackle this issue after the budget is finalized.

To the public, this looks very much like the remedy the State Attorney said should put in place in the summer of 2016. In the FUTURE, someone will look into and redirect the crooked Sheriff.  The lack of immediate action gives credence to the Sheriff’s actions or at the least minimizes the wrong of it by not addressing it for what it really is, misuse of governmental money which is what the BOCC is responsible for. Every dollar, hereafter that is spent by the child Sheriff is done so with the blessing of the BOCC and a huge “screw you” to the citizens.

I get that the BOCC is covered up in issues but money management is huge and so is the doing the greater good for the most people. Ethically, that is the contract of trust with the public that is being broken with every check.  Silence consents. The Board is remaining silent until they can get to it, but at what cost?

This quote speaks to the court system but equally applies to the county leaders.

Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger noted in an address to the American Bar Association in 1970: “A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching; that people come to believe the law – in the larger sense – cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets.

The First Domino Falls

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To my great shock, the BOCC denied the increased millage which Sir David tried to shove down their throats. The most amazing thing is how verbally they expressed their contempt for the Sheriff’s tactics. Each of them, except for Underling, spoke to the press push that Morgan tried to use to get his way.  Underhill was the lone dissident vote, not surprisingly.

The issue here is not the raises for deputies; the issue is why Morgan hasn’t made it a priority. In April alone, Morgan gave away $35K to Underhill’s pet projects.  Assuming the starting salary of $35K, Morgan could have used the money he gave away to fund the Sheriff’s portion of 2 SRO’s–not to mention $5K to Pensacola Opera, $20K to PACE Center for Girls, $20K for Panhandle Charitable Open. That’s another $45K that could go to 2 1/2 more SRO’s salaries. While no one is saying these charities aren’t worthy (the opera is questionable), Morgan is spending money on all these things INSTEAD OF SRO’S.

The most ironic part is the article I found that Sir David wrote:

The pre-elected Morgan seems much more honorable and reasonable than the drastic contrast of the 3 term sheriff. It is funny when I was talking to people about what was going on in the county, I used the word “corruption” and I was told, “No, I wouldn’t say corruption; it is just the ‘good ole boy system'”.  By not using the word, it was like it was somewhat better than what it is. It is power that corrupts and we see this demonstrated in front of us with this article from several years ago and the issues of today. The budget has always been a point of contention for the Sheriff’s office and BOCC. But the tactics of this Sheriff are sophomoric and not in good faith. Good faith isn’t a concept 3-term Morgan knows at all.

 

The King of the Prevarication & Duke of Cronyism BACK TOGETHER AGAIN

YES, MORGAN & UNDERHILL are teaming up again to fleece the county.

This is not news to most of us, but Morgan has gotten much more bold with his latest campaign to discredit the BOCC for the extra fraction of the budget that he is not getting. The most recent confabulation is that he will have to cut SRO’s out of schools, end funeral escorts and cut courthouse security. This is moronic for many reasons but the best reasons are that a.) SRO’s are funded 50% by the school board. Pulling them out means Morgan will have to make up that 50% of SRO salaries normally paid by the school board. Thus no money is saved, but expended.  b.) court security is paid for entirely by Pam Childers. If that is pulled, Morgan would be on the hook for those officers entire benefits and pay.

The funeral escort situation is there to play on Southern civility which isn’t affected by the school and the courtroom scare. It is truly the only service in dire straits.

This is where UnderLING steps in. Morgan is making such a stink about not negotiating and has started a propaganda campaign, disclosing commissioners email addresses and direct phone lines. His call to action hasn’t turned out the way planned but Underhill is sending out emails to ECSO and the school board that clarifies his want to give in to Morgan’s demands.

This email fails to address the fact that according to Fla Statute, SRO’s can be funded through the controversial LET Fund. Sat Jul 22 2017 13-36-13 GMT-0500

While Morgan and Underhill conspire to keep anyone from looking at Morgan’s budget closely,  I suggest that the people start a real “ask the sheriff” by calling him & emailing him to ask why he is floating these BS scare tactics about schools when it is to his fiscal detriment that they are removed…a bigger money problem.  Or contact your BOCC chairman, UnderLING, and ask why he is trying SO HARD to cover the gap to keep the Sheriff happy.  Who cares what makes Morgan happy?  It won’t fix the problems in the ECSO.

Sheriff Morgan’s contact info: 850-341-7553; SHERIFF@escambiaso.com

Doug Underhill’s contact info: 850-281-1981; digdug15@gmail.com

Why aren’t people more pissed off that Morgan created not-so-safe neighborhood and THEN threatens to pull SRO’s out of schools? Isn’t that adding insult to injury? Aside from the money,  he made the neighborhoods more dangerous by running off deputies left and right.

THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT MORGAN MISMANAGING THE MONEY HE HAS ALREADY….NOT HOW MUCH THE DEPUTIES SHOULD GET PAID. THEY ARE THE VICTIMS OF HIS POOR MANAGEMENT. ALSO, MORGAN CANNOT AFFORD TO PULL SRO’S OUT OF SCHOOLS OR THE COURTHOUSE.  PLEASE CALL HIS BLUFF AND TELL HIM WHAT A LIAR HE IS AND TELL UNDERLING THAT HE IS NOT DOING HIS JOB BY GIVING IN TO MORGAN’S MONEY GRAB, SCARE TACTICS OR HARASSMENT OF THE COMMISSIONERS.

NEXT TIME YOU SEE MORGAN THREATEN TO CUT SOMETHING OR JUSTIFY HIS SPENDING, REMEMBER THESE POSTERS.

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