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Final Forecast Issues For 2014

    [2014-01-03]    GroundHog's final issues in the forecast for Citrus County in 2014. Again, please take a moment to reflect upon what citizens have witnessed this past year and draw your own conclusions as to what the new year may hold.

Who Exactly Is Listening?
Not one single idea or suggestion offered by a citizen during the County's “Listening Tour” will be implemented post haste. County staff will continue to expend time and resources on this effort in an attempt to create a strategic plan like our neighbors to the south in Pasco County have done. In third grade if you pull this stunt all your friends scream “COPYCAT!!! You sure have to admire the creative juices which flow from this Administration, not to mention the fact that, all their creativity and the plan's implementation will not occur until the end of 2014. By that time, the current Board and/or Administration will have changed to such extent the next leaders will ask, “What is this two inch thick book doing on my desk?” In support for this scenario please be reminded of Commissioner Damato's nine-year-old Motorola radio sitting on the credenza behind his Commission desk upstairs, the purpose for which Damato was unsure of. “They're for emergencys” replies Administrator Brad Thorpe. Welcome to the 90's Brad, didn't most of us get our first cell phone in like '92. Oh, and for you techno-geeks, cell phone towers operate on the same frequency as the Motorola radios, therefore if the cell tower is out, neither radios or cell phones will work.

Mad As Hell And Not Gonna Take It Anymore
Lee County will announce its search for a new county attorney. Citing the mass exodus of staff atttorneys, as well as pending resignations, and accusations of numerous sunshine law violations. Lee County will seek an attorney who actually tries to comply with the sunhine law and not look for ways to avoid it. For his part, the outgoing county attorney retorts, “we've always done it this way, and no one complained before”, as if that were some judicial standard.

Like A Computer – The Impending Circle Of Doom
The hospital transaction, formally known as a lease, will go through more trials and tribulations. Unfortunately, the transaction with HCA will reach one of two conclusions, a.) fall through entirely, or b.) result in such a reduced selling price that other suitors will or should be sought. There are still far too many egos and issues involved in this transaction for this saga to come to any reasonable or sensible conclusion. Just a bit of food for thought, the CEO and the Foundation just balked at a $750,000 pay day for the CEO - no one's that committed to anything! Think about it, the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn, Johnny Damon left Boston for New York, they tore down the old Yankee Stadium, and Richard Wesch left all his creature comforts here behind for the Lee County experiment. Yet somehow, our Citrus Memorial Hospital CEO needs to stick around. For what exactly, the principal of the matter? I mean 750 is a lot of Ben Franklins, and the show can only go on for so long. Does one really need to stick around for the closing credits? Take the money and run. When 98% of the electorate doesn't even know the difference between the Trustees and the Foundation, I feel confident that six months after the check clears many will have forgotten the CEO's name. Besides, citizens and employees deserve someone new to beat up on.

Show Me The Money
County Administrator Brad Thorpe and his four “Band of Brothers”, known as the County Commission, will contine to pursue the necessary steps for the implementation of another MSBU. In the alternative, there will be a quiet increase in the existing one. Look for suggestions or outright implementation of more funding for the Sheriff's operations. While at the same time, for his part, the Sheriff will continue to see incidence which are both embarassing to his office and this community. If the revelations which have come out this past year concerning the murder of confidential informant Jamie Seger (think gun used and previously owned by deputy), and the recent case of deputies resigning due to payment for services which were not performed or the falsification of timesheets. If any of that, is any indication of what is going on at the Sheriff's office, there is likely more to come. Citizens would be nieve to think otherwise.

Then There Is GroundHog
GroundHog will continue to expand its presence and subscribers in Citrus County. New opportunities will present themselves for the delivery of news and information to the community. GroundHog looks to capture, improve, and enhance upon those opportunities. Again, thanks to all, for the support throughout this past year. 2014 should be exciting times in Citrus County, elections are only 8 months away.  GroundHog will strive to make the coming year as informative and occassionally entertaining as possible, albeit GroundHog does expect our illustrious leaders to do their part concerning the latter. I think all trust they will.


Submitted by Claude Strass on

Drive down 19 and look at all the vacant strip malls, empty buildings, and for sale signs and homeless people walking around or people begging on the street corners. The Crystal River Mall is almost empty. Drive down our side streets and all you will see is holes and patches in need for repair and resurfacing, vacant homes and for sale signs that are old and rusted. There are so many business that have closed their doors leaving people without jobs.

Look at how much more gasoline costs here compared to surrounding counties because of taxes, How much your real estate tax rates have increased, New fees, New MSTU's, increased health care costs while the quality of services has decreased. The problems with the garbage dump, Pan Scraper, excess county cars, poor county legal advise, failed EDC, neglected fire equipment the used up county reserved funds, poor and out of control budgeting with only excuses why we can not cut spending, letters from the state with concern of our counties financial condition, and the list goes on.

What do we read in the chronicle our commissioner are doing: moving monuments, proposing an increase from 3% bed tax to 5% because Rebeca Bays does not know how to collect $200,000 in unpaid taxes, Brad Thrope wants to see our jail sold so the commissioners have more money to spend on pet projects. J.J. Kenny's number one project for the county is build a new dog and cat building. Damato wants Port Citrus (for what no one knows). The Sheriff wants to be chief dog catcher and run the fire department, but wants nothing to do with the jail. Meek wants to get his fingers in the Citrus Memorial Hospital funds from the sale. The county wants to continue to boss Inverness and Crystal River who seem to be doing very well on their own, thank you! Have all these people lost their marbles. Why is our newspaper not covering the issues and only doing photo ops for the politicians for no nothing pet projects. The Chairman is so smooth calling our largest business in the county thugs, talking about our retires taking a dirt nap, and telling smokers to give up some of their smokes to pay for his new fees.. Is this a real leader to look up to? Scott Adams wants to reduce spending and install zero base budgeting to enable fiscal responsibility and reduce the peoples taxes, but the Fab Four stop every one of his proposals. Is Scott really Crazy. God please help us...

Submitted by LG on


Your service to the community is appreciated by those who have watched the situation go from bad to worse over the last few years.

I can see some small signs of improvement in terms of off loading some of the counterproductive waste in county government but I also see the leadership going down some dead end gopher holes with their ideas of economic development. I think they are looking at preserving their own sacred cows rather than stepping back and looking at what is best for the long term health of Citrus County.

We still have a way to go.

Submitted by Shaun Harkness on

It really would be so, so, so funny if the big man was given the elbow after the Lee County elections this year. He went in on a 3/2 vote and that's very shaky for an incoming county attorney, Legal eagles usually look for a 5/0 vote with 4/1 as the absolute minimum. Does he feel a cold wind blowing down his pants?

Submitted by Philip Martin Sr on

Little Richie will impress them with his outsourcing tricks.

Submitted by PAG on

Excellent Bob. Now to enhance the scope of GHN's existence to unaware locals beguiled by vanilla write-ups in the Chronicle. Billboard. Ad in the Chronicle, paid of course, they have no problem accepting funds for [their] efforts...

Submitted by Alexandria on

Agree PAG. Nice to see that GHR has a "donate" button. made a contribution, hope others do too. All readers here need to share this site so those online can read creditable journalism and not biased articles. Awesome thought!

Submitted by Philip Martin Sr on

The donate button is very easy to use with a debt card (no comments are needed Bob thank you). I have sent a check but now am going to use my debt card quarterly to support my Honest & Free Press. We need to start a fund for Bob so he is ready to go to a "Family Dinner" should he ever be invited. After all they have expense accounts so Bob has to be ready. So Support the Free Press!...