Please give me 15 minutes of fame…

downloadHow about that headline on Inside Indian River News Magazine titled: Attention non-profits, help yourselves to 15 minutes of free television time paid for by the taxpayers of Vero Beach

In Mark Schumann’s commentary he said, “Non-profit organizations interested in 15 minutes of free television time to promote their cause need only request to be placed on the City Council agenda under public comment, ahead of the Council’s business agenda. The television time is free, and best of all, the subjects to be addressed need not be directly related to City business.”

And, that is exactly what Charlie Wilson and Dan Stump did at the Jan. 20th Vero Beach City Council meeting. They stood up during matters by the public and proceeded to do a dog and pony show regarding some event that they are trying to put together and to give an update on their chamber. They did this at the expense of the taxpayers of Vero Beach.

Now, getting back to this January 20th City Council meeting in reference to this “free advertising” that the City Council allowed the Professor of Baloney. I don’t fault Charlie Wilson one single bit for barking his business in the PT Barnum style in front of the audience that the City Council gets on Channel 13, the local government channel. I fault the City Council itself for allowing this kind on nonsense to occur at the beginning of their scheduled City Council business meetings.

Isn’t it time this council takes the bull by the horns and takes the gadfly element out of the beginning of the City Council meetings so that the people’s business can take place in an orderly fashion. Now hear me out on this….I am not advocating shutting up free speech and I am not trying to keep the public from access to their elected officials but it seems to me that it might be time for the elected officials to find a better way to structure their meeting agendas to keep this kind of nonsense from overtaking their regularly scheduled business meetings before the meeting even starts. Just saying.

Here’s what I suggest….Anyone with any thing to say, whether it be asking for some guidance on how to get an event started, or a grievance that a person might have, or just to be heard on anything that might be of concern could very well take place at the end of the business meeting rather than the beginning of the meetings.
Not only should the elected officials vote to make this happen they should keep these grievances or requests or whatever to three minutes. The three minute rule would force the speaker, especially the gadfly aspect of the public that loves to hear themselves talk, to say what they want to say and say it in three minutes.

And, my last suggestion on this matter is the fact that I believe this portion of the meeting….the portion that is opened up to the public, should NOT be televised.
Let’s put that in easy to understand terms:
• Public comments at end of meeting
• Three minute time limit
• No television during public comments

Now, getting back to the reason for this article – the dog and pony show given by the Stumpy one and the Professor of Baloney. They proceeded to hype, in PT Barnum style, the coming of an event that they are trying to put together with Tall Ships. Great stuff and a great event it could be if…

If we had a location in Vero for such an event and if all of the specifics pertaining to the event were in place then it might be the time for the Council to be notified and I can only speak from experience.

About twenty years ago I went before the Council for permission to hold a street party called Downtown Friday. I got a 5-0 vote of approval at that meeting when I went before the elected officials for approval but…….Unbeknownst to the public, as chair of this event that I dreamed up, it took me eight months from concept to council meeting. During that time I was able to amass a committee of 22 people and we, under the not for profit group called the Downtown Vero Beach Association, met on a regular basis for eight months and had every detail of the event in place before we went to the elected officials for their approval. We dotted every I and crossed every T before we asked for the blessing of the elected officials to hold this event.

We had the whole issue of permitting in place, and we even had the portable toilets lined up before we went before the elected officials. We had the food contracts put in place, the band and the bandstand (flatbed truck provided by Fulmer Co) at the ready. We worked hand in hand with the Vero Beach Police department so that they could help us to understand crowd control and because we would be serving beer on the street during the event. In fact, as the committee grew, Police Chief Jim Gabbard opened up the board room at the Police Department for our weekly planning session meetings.

I tell you all of this simply for the purpose of thinking that Charlie Wilson and his band of characters seemed so ill prepared to hype an event with Tall Ships to the elected officials while not having all the details in place. The twosome and somewhat absent third party to this spectacle, the Mooch, would have been better served if they had done this at the end of a meeting, with a three minute presentation to their elected officials and not in front of the camera’s. Just saying.

Oh, by the way….Congratulations to this three some. They have managed during this past year to claim a membership of 104 persons to make up their chamber. At least that is what they are telling us in this 15 minutes of free advertising time that this council allowed them.

I addressed a little of my thoughts on this during my radio spot with Bob Soos on Wednesday. Listen for yourself.

  1. Cathy Katrovitz says:

    Is this not in keeping with Mr. Wilson and company putting the cart before the horse? I applaud the idea of the replica ships from Columbus’ 1492 voyage, but like you indicated, it could cost a lot of time and money for COVB–if not properly planned. I commend you for your thorough due diligence in bringing the downtown events to fruition. Perhaps the City Council, in their wisdom – with help from staff – can put the business of running this complex but wonderful little City into the forefront of their meetings. They do seem to be focusing on the work at hand and I know it can’t happen all at once. Thank you, Bea, for your suggestions. Perhaps others will be motivated to add their two cents. I will say that the Board of Education is quite strict (maybe a little too much so) with the 3-minute rule.

  2. Bea-isms says:

    Thank you Cathy for your insight regarding this article. And you are correct – if this event is left in the hands of the professor of baloney it could end up costing the city a lot of money, especially since he told the elected officials in his dog and pony show that it will take a lot of manpower to make this happen and he made a subtle hint that he would be looking for staff help. Heads up Jim O’Connor. You are about to be had by this charlatan – IMO.

    In fact, as I do recall, Charlie Wilson is the guy who told the City that if they would only sell their electric utility to FPL the City would realize about a $90M profit….or something like that. There is an interview with the then Mayor, Mary Beth McDonald on you tube that my be worth reviewing where he promised this rose garden for the city if they sell to FPL.

    I wonder how much money the Professor hopes to make when and if the ships arrive. Remember, he owns the not for profit who wishes to sponsor this endeavor with the City doing all the work.

  3. Cathy Katrovitz says:

    Not like a little ‘conflict of interest’ in a project to make it so worthwhile but only to a limited number of financial backers. Kind of reminds one of sandpits, beaches, and dredged sand…through the hourglass of time…..

  4. Joan says:

    After seeing a friends business listed in “Charlies” chamber, I asked her about it….and her words were. What, I never signed up with them, I sure don’t belong to it.
    I wonder of those who did sign up chose to renew they membership?

    • Bea-isms says:

      Joan, you have to wonder why anyone would join his chamber. BTW. I belong to the real Chamber of Commerce who serves Vero Beach and they are called the Indian River Chamber of Commerce. They just made note in their newsletter to beware of people who think they are members of the real chamber when they are not. You get my drift.