Ellisville Utility Boondoggle brings out worst in Columbia County Commission
Columbia County, FL (posted July 23, 2010 08:25 am)
At Tuesday's July 20th Special Utility Meeting, County Commissioner Ronald Williams has once again set meeting decorum and common sense on its ear. The legendary Williams, long known for his erratic behavior, which runs the gamut from charming to rude and obnoxious, lived up to his billing at the County Commission Special meeting this past Tuesday night, demonstrating once again why many Columbia County citizens don't get involved in county meetings. (file photo)
The Ellisville Utility Boondoggle has brought out the worst in Columbia County's recalcitrant County Commission.
not bullet proof..."
Com. Williams said, "I don't read the articles and ain't gonna read em. It don't bother me any what so ever. One can say what he wants to about me – how he want to say it about me, but I want you to know – you're not bullet proof – and one day you are going to go a little bit too far and there ain't gonna be anybody to help ya. It's just that simple. Motion for adjournment."
In the past, the County Commission would wait for speakers, with whom they didn't agree, to go back to their seat and then hammer them, giving them no chance to respond. This antic had ceased for a while, but with the election of Jack Berry protégé, Commissioner DuPree, this tactic has come back in full force.
The most recent antic of Commissioner Williams' and some Board members is waiting until the end of the meeting, just before adjournment and then making comments designed to threaten, diminish or discredit a previous speaker.
A little background
By June, Citizens Against Forced Utilities (CAFU) had obtained thousands of signatures against the mandatory utility hookups that were being rammed down everyone's throats in the county. They had a professionally designed web site in which they presented their views.
On June 10, 2010, Commissioner Williams waited until the end of the meeting and then struck.
Apparently addressing the CAFU webmaster, Com. Williams said, "I don't read the articles and ain't gonna read em. It don't bother me any what so ever. One can say what he wants to about me – how he want to say it about me, but I want you to know – you're not bullet proof – and one day you are going to go a little bit too far and there ain't gonna be anybody to help ya. It's just that simple. Motion for adjournment."
Shortly after that, most of the information on the CAFU website was removed.
The July 20th Utility Public Hearing
This time your reporter was at the end of the Commissioner Williams' whip and by the end of the meeting he had been threatened with expulsion numerous times for reasons which were unknown.
Again, just as the meeting was about to be adjourned, Com. Williams struck.
Out of the clear blue, Com. Williams said in relevant part: "If the board would have done what Mr. Lilker suggested, we wouldn’t have worked with Ms. Elaine -- we wouldn’t have softened the ordinance up. We’d end up in court somewhere. The whole time Mr. Lilker was for it. He said time and time again -- ‘I don’t want to have to pay for somebody else's utility.” But when the crowd came -- he changed... He speak with fork-id tongue. Motion for adjournment.
Who is Ms. Elaine and did the Board work with her as Com Williams claimed?
Ms. Elaine is Elaine Reeves, the chairperson of the CAFU Political Action Committee. Ms. Reeves did not want to speak on the record.
Chris Williams, the groups spokesperson told the Observer: "We didn't meet with any of them. We didn't have any kind of a dialogue or anything other than what you've seen in the meetings."
Was Commissioner Williams telling the truth when he said, "Mr. Lilker "speak with fork-id tongue?"
The "fork-id tongue" meeting to which Com Williams referred occurred on March 11, 2010.
Chairman Williams: Mr. Lilker, make sure I understand what you are saying. You are saying that you want to pass a ordinance - the strength that it is with mandatory hookups so that nobody else in the county has to subsidize that hookup?
Mr. Lilker: I am saying two things Mr. Chairman. Number one, I am saying that I agree with not putting this -- passing this tonight, until we know what the rates are.
Chairman Williams: I understood that, but ~inaudable~
Mr. Lilker: The second part I’m saying is -- I am not saying whether I’m in favor or not in favor of mandatory hookups. What I’m saying is this -- whatever ordinance -- because you are not passing it tonight -- whatever ordinance this board passes should reflect the ordinance you want to pass -- not the ordinance that you think you’re going to pass six months from now, because you can back off from it. What I’m saying sir is...
Chairman Williams: I understand it.
The record speaks for itself.
After the meeting your reporter was approached by a few people who expressed dismay about the continuing antics of the infamous Columbia County Commission.
One 9-12 member, who asked not to be identified told your reporter, "They all have to be removed."