Strong community support for the current working majority on the JCP CDD board was clearly on display at the October 8 CDD meeting. An anonymous dirty politics post-card mailer was sent to a select group of JCP residents and to persons outside of JCP.
In the photo to the left, Supervisor Cathy Klein, chairing the meeting, holds up the offensive card during her opening remarks condemning the attack and calling for unity in the community. Regular Chairperson, Kannatt, who joined the meeting later, also condemned the attack in her comments. All of the remarks will be available, in writing, when the October CDD minutes are posted on the JCP CDD website (www.jcpcdd.org).
You can see and hear Supervisor Klein’s full remarks, in its entirety at this video link, plus resident after resident comments, including those of former Supervisor Brad Nelson (photo below), condemning the post-card and offering support and encouragement to the CDD Board.
According to sources who received the card who spoke with the JCP post, here is a brief summary followed by JCP Post commentary.
-A 4 x 6 post card, featuring three cartoon figures graphically edited with headshots of Supervisor and Chair Kannatt, Supervisor Klein and Supervisor Jacob showed up in mailboxes of many (not all) JCP residents. The card was also received at the workplace of Supervisor Jacob. [updated 11/6/21013] Supervisor Kannatt had to warn her workplace associates the card could appear [updated 11/6/2013] . These post-cards were also sent to non-residents outside of JCP. The post-card was sent anonymously with no return address. The language used to characterize the three supervisors was insulting, inflammatory, abusive and lacking any factual basis. As you can read from the card in the photo and in the video, it was a juvenile attempt to persuade recipients to it’s viewpoint.
-Missing from the post-card were Supervisors Lansdale and Supervisor Page. An obvious omission meant to further divide the board. Both Supervisor Page and Supervisor Lansdale condemned the action. Supervisor Lansdale defended himself (see video) as having no knowledge or involvement with this activity.
-In one of the public comments made (see video), a resident questioned whether Randy Covington, a strident caustic blogger associated with the website site, www.sjcra.org, was involved because of prior similar caustic language used in a recent blog post (attributed to Covington by sources) opining about Supervisors Kannatt, Klein and Jacobs in a unflattering way. Given that the post-card was anonymous, it will be difficult to determine the senders unless they come forward to take responsibility or ownership of their comments or apologize, as some residents demanded at the meeting.
A minority of JCP residents consistently offer a viewpoint that financial decisions and oversight from the CDD board results in unnecessary cost burden on residents, especially those who do not use the amenities as much as others. The stridency of the comments from many of these residents have risen over the last few years since the election of Supervisor Lansdale and then the addition of Supervisor Page. Supervisor Page and Lansdale have shown sympathy to this viewpoint often voting against the working majority of Kannatt, Klein and Jacob. This post-card is certainly an extreme expression of that viewpoint. But this post-card event offers them, Lansdale and Page, an opportunity to promote greater unity.
Unity and diversity: Supervisor Page and Supervisor Lansdale are entitled to their financial management (or other operational) viewpoints and to exercise their right to persuade their peers on the board to vote their way. This diversity is good for the community but not the stridency or caustic commentary often accusatory with no basis in fact. The minority of residents who complain about costs and assessments may have found advocates in Supervisor Page and Supervisor Lansdale yet the minority bears responsibility to be civil. Because of this divisive attack Supervisors Page and Lansdale now have an opportunity to promote unity not just at the last meeting but moving forward in future meetings and to encourage those who have become strident to return to civility and not be divisive.
For example, resident Steve Morrill, a supporter of Supervisor Lansdale (see CDD Minutes, 2/12/2013, Page 60 and 61) , in his recent letter to the St. Augustine News editor, attributes actions such as persecution and intimidation to the CDD and calls for selective resignation. The issue is over a lawsuit brought by a resident disagreeing how the CDD notified the public of this resident’s record request. Part of the lawsuit has already been dismissed with prejudice and the other parts, according to sources, are expected to be dismissed soon. We hope Mr. Lansdale does not share the sentiment with Mr. Morrill and disavows the call for selective resignation.
Another example is the association between Supervisor Lansdale and Randy Covington, concerning this lawsuit, documented in the June CDD minutes (Seventeenth order of business , page 60). In the minutes, Supervisor Jacob confronts Supervisor Lansdale with his e-mail communication with Mr. Covington. Supervisor Jacob expresses dismay that a sitting board member would appear to be sympathetic to a lawsuit against the district. In the minutes, Supervisor Lansdale admits Mr. Covington is an acquaintance but does not push back on the charge that he, Lansdale, is sympathetic to the lawsuit. His editorial silence on the lawsuit spoke volumes. This lack of unity with his fellow Supervisors, named in the lawsuit, is disappointing.
When this kind of stridency is encouraged by public officials it creates a divisive atmosphere. Now Supervisor Page and Supervisor Lansdale have an opportunity, with their supporters, to change the tone and bring civility back to the conversation about our common good.
Editor, JCP Post