Today Monday, January 20, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a man I greatly admire, for his courage, his truths spoken so clearly and defined by his actions when marching for all of humanity’s civil rights.
“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”—Martin Luther King Jr.
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone. Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.” —Martin Luther King, speaking about right-to-work laws in 1961.
“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”—Martin Luther King Jr.
My name is Keith G. Laufenberg and I am, presently, the lone democrat running for political office in Hernando County, as all seats are currently held by republicans. I am running to replace the present representative: Blaise Ingoglia, of District 35, in Hernando County. For the past 4 months I have been busy qualifying for this position by collecting 1207 signatures from registered voters in Hernando County to waive fees I would have had to pay, without having first gotten those signatures.
I have spoken to far too many parents of young people who are living in their parents’ home or are on a shoestring budget as a single parent and it bothers me quite a lot. This is a very diverse section of our population, some with college degrees, many with just high school degrees, or less, many who appear to wind up in untenable situations simply because of low minimum wages, student loans, car payments or even pay-day loans. Working couples who fall behind their monthly rent payment because of their children or themselves having hospital and/or dental bills, along with too many other money problems that cannot possibly be foreseen. In the city of Spring Hill, we greatly need sidewalks where far too many neighborhoods have none, roads with potholes in them need repairs; people need to be able to get to a safe park for a walk or run or exercise because they live too far away and have little children they cannot even take for a walk or bike ride because no sidewalks are in their neighborhoods. Bicycle riding is so dangerous in these neighborhoods and accidents happen so frequently that these mothers sit inside their homes and watch their children who are playing with an i-pad, watching TV, running around inside the house or sitting in a high-chair crying. This is a big problem in Hernando County.
This is not a good time to have a Hernando County Representative who allegedly serves our county but fails to address these problems because he is, all the while, serving no one but himself.
Blaise Ingoglia is the culprit here and he has a horrible record of legislation he has either sponsored, passed or helped to pass since first assuming this position in the legislature, six years ago. He has voted in tandem on anything the NRA sponsors, like Amendment 2, which gives life to the gun-show loophole. He has repeatedly voted for or against any bills that benefited himself or his donors, like drilling and fracking in the Gulf and, of course, spouts the Republican mantra of climate change being a hoax.
Several years ago, before he ran for public office, Mr. Ingoglia made a ridiculous, childish tape that he posted on the Internet, entitled “Government Gone Wild” which was more like Ingoglia gone wild and to which I have answered his ridiculous slogans and statements on my website.
Blaise Ingoglia’s name shows up in so many places concerning political shenanigans it’s hard not to imagine it’s something he works at daily even as serving himself appears to be a natural-born trait of his.
His political fund-raising and hard-line backing of the Republican Party, and of Donald Trump, eventually landed him in the State Legislature as District 35’s representative and then Chairman of the Florida Republican Party, in 2014 & 2015 respectively, as he sponsors self-righteous, ultra-conservative laws. https://tinyurl.com/rju77d7. Copy & paste url to see Ingoglia’s voting record for the past six years.
The all-Republican BOCC just recently, last October, 2019, sold 6 large lots, a total of 40 acres, for $408,000 to Mr. Ingoglia: lots that had been set aside for parks and recreation use.
And now, in the first few weeks of 2020, it has been reported that the BOCC was meeting to approve a redevelopment plan when, walla, one of these six lots shows up: a 6.3 acre piece of land that had been set aside to be used to serve the surrounding community, and this particular lot had been envisioned to become a community park with a playground, walking trails & recreation equipment, along with hopefully, some sidewalks for any area where people are forced to walk in the street because there are none. But now, there was this catch-22: because this is the same lot the BOCC sold to Blaise Ingoglia, a political representative who had just happened to solicit the BOCC by making a reportedly unannounced visit when he bid on six lots, including this 6.3 acres, which was accepted by the BOCC and sold to him, for $408,000. In other words, Hernando County’s representative for Spring Hill, Blaise Ingoglia, and the five Republican Commissioners broke the “Florida State Sunshine Law.” Sunshine laws are regulations requiring openness in government or business. Sunshine laws make meetings, records, deliberations, votes and any other official actions available for public observation, participation, and/or inspection.
Now, make no mistake about this: Blaise Ingoglia got these six lots because no other bids were ever, even considered and, as I mentioned both Ingoglia and the BOCC have countermanded the Sunshine Law, enacted in 1967 as well as the Public Records Law: both laws exist to ensure public access to government meetings and records. Talk about government gone wild?
It doesn’t surprise me a bit that Mr. Ingoglia and the BOCC broke this law as he voted in 2017, on HB 843, the same bill that would bestow on legislators the right to caucus (meet) to discuss upcoming bills in private, without any minutes being taken and it passed in the House but not the Senate. The BOCC have expressed their willingness to forget about the Sunshine Law and here now, is the proof,
John Mitten, a Rick Scott appointee to the BOCC, reportedly formed a coalition with Commissioners Jeff Holcomb and vice-chairman John Allocco. The commission vice-chairman traditionally becomes chairman, but, this time, vice-chairman John Allocco nominated Jeff Holcomb who had just recently been elected Chairman of the Hernando County Republican Executive Committee, taking it over from Mr. Allocco himself, even as Mr. Allocco had taken it over from none other than Blaise Ingoglia.
Now, John Mitten had been the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce government affairs committee and the Chamber of Commerce Chairman just so happens to be Marilyn Pearson-Adams, the Broker/owner of Century 21 Alliance Realty, the very same real estate company that Jeff Holcomb just so happens to be a real estate agent at and who just so happens to advertise and sell Blaise Ingoglia’s Hartland Homes. Holcomb has been a county commissioner since 2014, the same year Blaise Ingoglia became the Hernando County District 35 Representative. Why, my-my, what a coincidence.
And so, I, basically, have to undo everything Blaise Ingoglia has done. There’s an old saying that if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together. I want to go far and I ask for your vote for 2020. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mentor, Dr. Ralph David Abernathy once said: “When you pick a fight pick a good one.” He, of course was speaking of civil rights and so am I by asking for your vote, for this man, Blaise Ingoglia, has disdained us all, by his votes and his actions over the last six years.