Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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The Villages

What county commissioner mailers tell us

To the Editor:

It’s apparent that $200,000 of “coerced” donations from contractors will get you a bunch of mailers and a few online and newspaper ads full of lies, half-truths and fear mongering. From their mailers, the incumbents would like you to believe that if they are not (re)elected, the job market will collapse, schools will crumble, police will be de-funded and crime will run rampart, healthcare will get worse (than it already is), Sumter County will become a sanctuary city full of illegal immigrants and your 2nd Amendment rights will be revoked and guns taken away. The public relations agency used by the incumbents certainly seems to have a high regard for them, or at least their money. They must think the voters are idiots!
In my opinion, political affiliations at the county commissioner level is about as meaningful as having a Democrat or Republican county librarian! These are key talking points used by the incumbents that again were pulled from their mailers:
• Lowering property taxes, cutting taxes,
• Keeping our conservative values. Protect conservative values.
• Proud Trump conservative


Don Burgess claims he’s “the only candidate who will stand up to the Democrats and their radical agenda.” What radical agenda? Last I checked, there are no Democrats on the upcoming County Commissioner Republican ballot. Does he mean it’s radical for challengers Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search to roll back the tax increase Don voted for? The incumbents’ (Printz, Burgess and Butler) decision to suppress constituents voicing dissent at a public hearing and their unanimous vote to increase property taxes 25 percent to help pay for infrastructure south of 44 does NOT reflect conservative values. Giving the Developer a sweetheart deal on impact fees at the expense of taxpayers does NOT reflect conservative values or fiscal responsibility. The incumbents call themselves conservative Republicans and that the challengers are former Democrats masquerading as Republicans. What I see is incumbents who are mouthpieces for the Developer and challengers who plan on exercising fiscal accountability. Sounds pretty Republican to me.
If you say something often enough, you’ll believe it. It’s on the public record that Printz, Butler and Burgess unanimously voted for a 25 percent property tax increase – but you wouldn’t guess it from their flyers. Nearly every one talks about “lowering taxes.” Many of us moved to the Sumter County portion of The Villages because of lower tax rates. While the rate may still be below surrounding counties, it’s like the incumbents are saying, “Don’t complain. Your rates are still lower than New York City!”
Incumbents believe we should vote for them because they are veterans. As a former U.S. Army officer, my word is my bond and if my word is no good, then I’m no good!  Printz, Burgess and Butler refused to admit they were the incumbents responsible for the recent tax increases and Developer pork. Instead they hide behind red, white and blue flyers full of obfuscations. If you can’t defend your position and be proud of it, then you have something to hide. They refuse to defend their actions or engage in political discourse prior to the election and instead turned to an out-of-town PR agency to disseminate “soundbites” from an out-of-date playbook. But then again, what do you expect when the incumbents could not get enough signatures to get on the ballot without paying for the privilege and who used political chicanery to block 45,000 registered Democrat (taxpayers) from voting in an apolitical county election.
To atone for themselves, I would like to see all of the contractors who wasted their donations on Printz, Burgess and Butler make a similar donation to local food pantries.  I am sure they could use a couple hundred thousand dollars to restock their shelves during the COVID pandemic.
Finally, don’t believe a word the PR agency is spinning. Vote for Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search and defeat the developer puppet incumbents.

Mark Carey
Village of Pennecamp

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