Well it is that season again and this year locally, much like we have seen on the national scene, local politics are confusing and a source of never ending amusement. Locally, we have an unusually large number of people running for offices and issues and confusion abounds. Here are some of the Shadow’s observations.
First there seems to be infighting going on within the local Republican Party and it appears to be led by, you guessed it, Stan Escudero. If what we hear is correct, it seems that he is not happy with the local party chair, Tony Ledbetter, to the extent that good old boy Stan has resigned from the Executive Committee. But we are getting ahead of our story. There are two little known positions up for election this year and they are State Committee Persons. In one race, a group within the party, apparently led by Ledbetter, decided they needed to replace one of the incumbents, Dana Christina Dougherty, for reasons that we are not privy to.
Now we know many of you Shadow followers have no idea what these unpaid posts do, so here it is. They get to go Tallahassee and participate in state level party votes and attend cocktail parties. They also go to the national party convention every four years and case votes, based on elections held here, for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, and yes, attend cocktail parties. Between the national presidential elections we hear nothing from them and have no idea what they vote on or who has prodded them to vote a particular way. We think therefore that maybe the incumbent was doing what some factions within the Party may have liked. In short they appear to function as political pawns controlled by the local party bosses, otherwise a “known vote.” .
So what happened is this, a move to seek someone to run against Ms. Dougherty was started within the local leadership and after the first person offered the opportunity turned it down, the second, Marilyn Ford accepted in the spirit of supporting the Party. From there it gets murky, but shortly after our friend Stan resigns from the Executive Committee he endorses Ms. Dougherty, while some other person or persons marks up with a magic maker some copies of a misappropriated party voter guide to falsely indicate endorsements for Ford, as well as for one of Jason Davis’ opponents and a candidate for Congress. In walks our County Chair, Jason Davis, who is also running for re-election, and he drop an application off at the State Attorney’s Office for criminal charges against the three candidate, who we understand had nothing to do with the fraudulent marking of these voter guides. With unprecedented speed that application is thrown out by our otherwise lackluster State Attorney.
But back to the Dougherty versus Ford race, we think that after beseeching her to run, maybe somebody (you can probably guess who from the subsequent endorsement of Dougherty) came to the conclusion that Marilyn Ford might not be as responsive to local control as Ms. Dougherty apparently has been and decided they needed to keep her in place. The result is that for the first time, we actually have a race for these below the radar positions and, in the Shadow’s opinion a clear choice exists between Dougherty and Ford. We do however note that we know little about Ms. Dougherty as we have seen no advertisements or mailers, nor have we heard her speak on the issues. But we do know Ms. Ford, as well as her husband, Bob Ford, a Port Orange City Councilman. Both have PhDs and both have served in high level governmental positions, Marilyn most recently as Director of Corrections for Volusia County. But where she really shinned was when she was asked to step in as an interim director of the then County Beach Patrol and settle it down after years of sex related scandals. She did a superb job there and set the tone for the current organization. We believe she has been active member of the local Republican Executive Committee and most recently was the co-chair of the Lincoln Dinner. More importantly we take note that she has promised to keep voters up to date with her official activities, a distinct and welcome change from the past. We can’t say that was the case by Ms. Dougherty.
So the Shadow recommends without reservation, Marilyn Ford for the position of Republican State Committeewoman.
The other race we wish to comment on is that of Sheriff. While we find ourselves perplexed by the entry of Chief Chitwood into the race after he stated he would not compete, we are more alarmed over the source of his campaign funds, a significant amount of which apparently has come from Pennsylvania and not Volusia County. We find that disturbing and question whether our Sheriff should be elected by Pennsylvanians as opposed to Volusians. We admit not being a fan of Chief Chitwood’s policing style and find his performance in reducing crime in Daytona Beach lackluster. We also find his choice of words in press conference to be incongruous with responsible and professional law enforcement executives. Regardless of the socio-economic status of persons who come into conflict with law enforcement they are not “dirt bags” as Chief Chitwood likes to refer to them. We are especially concerned with this behavior when we find him putting on another face at a Police Executive Research Forum conference in Washington, DC as the community healer. Finally, we want a Sheriff who sees responsible and professional administration of the Sheriff’s office as his main responsibility as opposed to driving bull dozers in a political stunt at One Daytona.
While the Shadow will not make a recommendation on who to vote for Sheriff, we do make a recommendation not to vote for Chief Chitwood.
The Shadow now makes its most important recommendation and that is to VOTE. Our military has shed their blood to guarantee you that right, so go exercise it.