Incumbent commissioners serve the Developer not the people

Reed Panos

Is Fair Government for Sumter too harsh in our attacks on the Developer’s puppet Commissioners?  A few recipients have charged that, in our earlier emails, Fair Government for Sumter was too harsh in our criticism of Messrs. Butler, Burgess, and Printz, the incumbent County Commissioners.  Therefore, we want to start out by reiterating that those incumbents have, in fact, consistently acted as the Developer’s puppets in facilitating his massive sprawl of Villages.  These puppets have hiked our County tax by a massive 25% to pay for the resulting massive County infrastructure– so that the Developer’s sweetheart impact fee (which should pay for that infrastructure) could be preserved. 

The puppets’ campaign contributions and fake candidates.  Furthermore, in a desperate attempt to get reelected and thereby enable the Developer to maintain this lucrative relationship with the County Commission, the puppets have accepted a couple hundred thousand dollars from the Developer’s companies, suppliers, and associates– thereby skirting the $1,000-per-donor campaign-contribution limit.  In addition, the puppets and their backers have unethically (and perhaps illegally) fielded fake candidates, Wahl and Prince, to disenfranchise 45,000 voters.  Those voters are now being forced to change party registrations to regain the voting rights wrongfully taken away from them by that chicanery.  To understand what is going on, take a look at https://www.villages-news.com/2020/06/13/fake-candidates-reveal-developers-desperation-to-cheat-voters-by-rigging-election/ 

The Developer’s puppets’ BS claims and the facts.  The puppets have also been promulgating a flood of false or misleading campaign advertising.  For example: 

• They falsely claim to be both “true Republicans” and conservatives.  True Republicans and conservatives do not raise taxes 25%, especially to give hundreds of millions of dollars to their political backer.

• They outright lie when they defy mathematics and claim that the Sumter County property tax increase was “far less than 25% for many residents”.

• They claim that Sumter County has the “Lowest Property Taxes in the Tri-County Area”.  The only relevant tax rate is the one set by the County Commissioners: the County Property Tax Rate.  Our County Property Tax rate is actually the HIGHEST in the tri-county area.  Here are the millage rates:

Lake      5.118

Marion   4.42

Sumter   6.700

• They make nonsensical claims about defending the 2nd Amendment and “No Sanctuary County for illegal immigrants”.  Those are not even issues in this election but are simply principles that all Republican candidates running in this election support.

• They try to grab credit for such things as good schools and a low crime rate—things that the County Commission has nothing to do with.  They have even make the preposterous and totally unsubstantiated claim that UF Health has “arrived” here because of roads built by the County Commission.  Huh?  BTW, any county roads are being paid for by us, not the Developer– whose sprawl necessitated them, and what about the fact that our hospital is rated one-star by Medicare?

• The list could go on.  Every time you see an ad from Butler, Burgess, or Printz, just ask yourself one question: “What in the world are the puppets claiming this time?”.

Also notice that the puppets’ ads never say a word about the Developer’s sweetheart impact fee that, in essence, gives him hundreds of millions of dollars at our expense.

On top of all this, the puppets claim credit for the “growth” of Sumter County.  The so-called growth is nothing more than the massive expansion of The Villages.  Remember that the massive expansion of The Villages (which has been facilitated by the Developer’s puppets) is a bonanza for the Developer, but it is bringing the rest of us:

  • higher taxes,
  • traffic congestion,
  • wear and tear on our roads,
  • crowding at our amenities and businesses,
  • additional sink-hole risk,
  • more strain on a second-rate health-care system, and
  • an at-risk water supply (remember, we had water rationing a couple of years ago). 

It is also turning our county into a giant Villages sprawl, but with food trucks instead of country clubs. It is also totally destroying the “friendliest-home-town” atmosphere that actually used to exist here.  Why should we subsidize all this with a tax increase?  (BTW, as true Republican conservatives, we think that businessmen making a fortune is great, but they shouldn’t do it at taxpayer expense.)

The main issue in this election and our response to the charge that Fair Government for Sumter is too harsh.  All of the BS from the puppets is nothing more than a blatant attempt to distract attention from the main issue in this election:  THE INDISPUTABLE FACT THAT THE PRESENT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS SERVE THE DEVELOPER, NOT THE RESIDENTS.  So our response to the charge that we have been too harsh in describing the puppets is this: We retract nothing, and we do not apologize for anything that we have said about them!  The puppets’ conduct in office and in this campaign has been truly reprehensible, we are outraged, and we are calling them out for what they have done and continue to do.

Ask anybody who attended the Commission hearings on the tax increase and saw the puppets’ arrogance in action if we are too harsh.  Here is a link to a video showing the puppets at one of their meetings:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-EhsiPdbEQ&feature=youtu.be  Unfortunately, what you see is illustrative of the puppets’ attitude toward the residents of Sumter County.

The EMS platform.  In contrast to the Developer’s puppets, the EMS team of Republicans Craig Estep, Oren Miller, and Gary Search have each pledged to do the following:

  • Rollback the massive tax hike, with the lost revenue being paid for by a higher (fair) impact fee. (Impact fees are per-house county charges, assessed to a builder. They are used to pay for infrastructure.)
  • Oppose more aquifer-depleting, sink-hole-causing water pumping out of our aquifer by commercial bottlers.
  • Support everyone in the county and give control of the Sumter County Government back to its citizens.
  • Give dignity and respect to our citizens because everyone deserves to be heard.
  • Support all first-responder personnel, who daily put their lives on the line for us.
  • Not to accept campaign contributions from corporations, LLCs, partnerships, or labor unions.

For more information about the EMS team and about the issues in the August 18 Republican Primary, go to www.FG4S.org.  Mark your calendars to vote for them, and tell your friends and neighbors to do the same. 

The EMS team has not received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Developer and his henchmen to spend on their campaign.  As a consequence, they rely on volunteers, not paid political consultants, but, as a result, the EMS team owes neither the Developer nor any other special interest their loyalty.  THE ONLY LOYALTY THAT THE EMS TEAM OWES IS TO YOU, THE VOTER.

Don’t let the dark side win reelection.  Refusing campaign contributions from special interests means that the EMS team cannot afford flashy campaign ads.  The EMS team has to count on rank-and-file voters to inform themselves and to make a wise choice when they vote.  Don’t let the Developer and his puppets buy and steal this election through massive campaign contributions, fake candidates, and false and misleading paid advertising.

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