There is so much to write. So much.
However, I have to guard myself because it is somewhat personal for me. I sat across tables from some of those involved in the FBI probe knowing, KNOWING, they were outright liars. Others have made great effort to have me fired because of my consistent comments on what I observed through the reporting of Tallahassee Reports, email I received over the many years of watching, what I believe is, the corrupt actions of City Hall - whether it be through some of its elected or appointed officials, and common sense.
Some involved in this mess acquired such ridiculous wealth.
It was not smart investing. Certainly no inheritances, no sophisticated business savvy or acumen. No, for some of those caught up in the FBI investigation we know about (and I am betting the farm many more we do not) it was perhaps dirty, old-school corruption, bribery, pay-to-play, and, maybe even extortion.
However, the Democrat sat on stories for years. Never, ever forget that. I personally begged the paper to cover questionable dealings, actions, votes and decisions of the Commission. But, it was too busy playing footsie and, in my opinion, protecting its own interests by not upsetting the local insiders. The paper has tried, in recent months, to portray itself as the guardian of good (sorry, David Allen), and, to its credit it, has done a much better job of covering the dirty dealings, but it was Steve Stewart and Tallahassee Reports breaking story, after story, after story...unafraid of the insider syndicate and simply reporting facts shown in the public record guided often by City employees who knew where to send him. For most of the last several years, the Democrat's keyboards were mostly still on the events which led to where we are now.
But, when you sit on boards and are personally chummy with the people you are supposed to hold accountable you tend to shy away from such reporting.
You'll notice I did not even bother mentioning WCTV and WTXL. Both have had in their employ, or affiliation, members of the insiders club. Both did virtually no reporting on this until the FBI dropped subpoenas. In fact, years ago, when one WCTV reporter got wind of the insider dealings and started doing some great investigative reporting the reporter was unceremoniously pushed into marginal duties and eventually left the market because he/she was not allowed to do his/her job. Why? You can figure it out. Insiders on the payroll, or closely connected, a business driven by advertising which is heavily influenced by the same group of local insiders.
If you get the idea I am angry you would be correct.
Had the local media done its job, oh, I don't know, maybe the first time Scott Maddox was mayor, followed by the embarrassment of John Marks' time as mayor, we would not be here. That, I can guarantee you.
But, we had Dr. Erwin Jackson, a Democrat tired of dishonesty, who pushed, prodded, and, as necessary, filed ethics charges and asked for investigations. Dr. Jackson's success as a businessman afforded him the resources to do what most of cannot - fight back against the wrongs being committed. Thank you.
We had (and have) Steve Stewart and Tallahassee Reports. Thank you.
We have, sort of, the Tallahassee Democrat (an apology to Dr. Jackson and Steve Stewart, maybe me, would be nice). Great to see it finally using that cavern of a newsroom to do something to help.
Folks, do not mistake my writing as happiness or glee (actually, I think my tone is rather somber). As I warned repeatedly on my show - there are innocent family and close friends who will be devastated by what is coming. My heart breaks for all of them.
But, do not miss the bigger picture...only when this is all cleaned up and yes, that means an entire new City Commission (I think three out of five are and the other two sat silent). We also need to sweep out most all senior appointed staff at City Hal.
Only when these two things are done can, and will, this community heal.
That last part...new Commissioners who will clean house...is all up to you.