Recently we in Central Florida have made the national news spotlight again. If it were only for a good reason this time...
Over the years, we have been featured for many things, but I am having a problem remembering the last time it was something positive. Yes, we dealt with not having sufficient support and supplies following the hurricanes last year, but that is about it.
In Orlando we have a Mayor accused of having absentee ballots illegally collected during the last mayoral election. In Minneola, our mayor was accused of drunk driving and getting an illegal coutesy ride home. Lake County has a newly elected sheriff who chose to excerise his own judgement on a law prohibiting election campaign signs from being on vehicles - in his case he chose to put a banner covering the entire side of a semi trailer which was conveniently parked on the side of the most busy road in Lake County. In Seminole county we had another drunk driving incident by an elected official where he initially denied being drunk throughout the traffic stop and court proceedings.And who can easily forget our Schaivo fiasco which has so generously provided us with news coverage for 15 years now... The most recent story uncovers our controversially elected Mel Martinez having a memo sent from his office detailing talking points on how to use the Schaivo case to gain voter support among a specific voter base.Now, the long-time sherrif of Orange County has gone and done it again! Sheriff Kevin Beary is accused of illegally using goverment resources to track down a woman who sent a letter in to the local newspaper criticizing him and his policies using stun guns. According to local media sources and his own department, he ordered the retreival of the womans home address using the States' Department of Motor Vehicles drivers license records.Although the sheriff's office maintains that this was a legal use of power in obtaining the womans personal information, the law clearly states that such action can only be taken in the event that it would lead to additional information through a criminal investigation. The community as a whole are scratching their heads on this one. Did we miss something? Is it a criminal offense to criticized an elected official now?After the Patriot Act, it is now easier for law enforcement to legally gain access to the personal information of any person they choose to investigate. This looks to me like another of many under publicized events directly related to the nearly communist-styled Patriot Act. It would be more appropriately called "The U.S. Government's Indecency and Immoral Prosecution Act". This would be closer to the truth. I have an idea, let's create about 15 committees to look into this and other similar cases so they can all report the same thing.I believe our biggest opponent to getting all of this straightened out is our national media. Whether it be global-reaching newspapers, or cable/major network news organizations, they are simply too stupid to realize one thing - the truth. Their responsibility is not to gain ratings. Their responsibility is to report NEWS. This means that we see Michael Jackson sneezing before entering the courthouse, but we didn't find out about President Bush signing a controversial bill. This is rediculous.My blog on Sheriff Beary has turned into a rant. Basically, the american public is tired of several things:
There are only a few ways to prevent these things from happening in the future: