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Friday, October 31, 2008

Where is Dwayne Taylor?

Daytona Beach Campaign Financing, Taylor: Don't ask me any questionsCommissioner Dwayne Taylor has been noticeably absent from several important town meetings in Daytona Beach.

His disappearance acts are an eerie repeat of his actions during the primaries months ago, where he failed to appear in public debates to face his opponents.

The strategy paid off at that time thanks to the huge financial advantage he enjoyed over his better qualified opponents. Taylor is substantially financed by special interests in Daytona Beach. The same special interests that have greatly benefited by the widespread corruption in the City Commission.

As a result of this financing he was able to heavily advertise his name in signs and placards that were left littering the streets of Daytona Beach after the voting.

Daytona Beach Commissioner Dwayne TaylorDuring the years Taylor has been in the Daytona Beach City Commission, several local tycoons and friends have enjoyed lavish contracts with the city, public funding of personal indulgences, overpriced land purchases (such as City of Daytona Beach buys small 20-foot strip of land from campaign financer for $320,955), preferential zoning deals and overall favoritism in the distribution of the taxpayer’s assets.

It is presumed that the local capos have now again given him the proverbial "tap on the shoulder" and ordered him to stay low and avoid embarrassing exposure to serious questions that abound.

It’s a proven strategy that staying quiet and laying low will get you the least into trouble when you have little to say or cannot articulate a credible defense of your actions.

Remember Dan Quayle?

The special interests that fund Taylor know that, which would explain the reason for his disappearance from these important public events where voters can ask questions and gage the capabilities and leadership abilities of the candidates.

Abuse of Power

It seems Taylor also timed his resignation as Daytona Beach Commissioner so that his replacement would be appointed by his friends in the City Commission rather than let voters decide in an election. By having an appointee, the local capos ensure continuity in their control of the officials in the city commission.

When asked to change the effective date of his resignation by a few days so that his successor would be elected by the voters, Taylor refused indicating it was out of his hands.

This obvious abuse of power created a public outcry and the formal submittal of signed complaints by hundreds of residents. These complaints had been largely ignored by the commissioners until recently.

Due to the increasing public pressure and press coverage, including a Daytona Post exposé, the City Commission agreed during a special meeting on October 24th, to hold an election for his replacement.

However, this decision came at dear cost to Daytona Beach citizens as it would also extend the term in power of the current commissioners for another year. This includes some of the officials that are under a cloud of suspicion for abuses of power and who have been the subject of multiple criminal complaints by citizens.

It seems these public officials would rather finish the economic and moral destruction of Daytona Beach than give their power up (See Daytona Beach Job Woes Worsen , Daytona Beach: The moral breakdown of a city mired in corruption. and This is killing Daytona Beach! When will it STOP?)

The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
James Madison, 1829

Taylor Admits Special Interests Control the Daytona Beach City Commission

During the meeting, Taylor admitted that special interests do have the power to getting people elected over the voice of the "small guy". Mayor Ritchey and, of all people, Commissioner Cassandra Reynolds, shot back in anger at the indiscretion and obvious allegations to the commission's lack of integrity and a public admission that they are controlled by outside forces.

A local citizen commented: "As if the citizens of Daytona Beach didn't already know..."

Also interesting is that Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey himself has been one of Taylor's key financers. According to campaign finance reports (See The People That Finance Dwayne Taylor in Daytona Beach), Mayor Ritchey, members of his family and corporations he controls have given Taylor thousands of dollars. Florida Statutes limit campaign finance contributions to $500, but large financers routinely utilize family members and corporate shells to legally circumvent those limits.

Most puzzling is the fact that many of Taylor's financial backers are registered Republicans, yet Taylor's run is on a Democratic ticket head-on opposite to Republican values.

Undue influence crosses party lines indeed.

Open Questions Abound...

There are many additional disturbing questions that Taylor has failed to address:
  • His source of income to be able to afford and drive several expensive late-model European imports.

  • How does he pay for expensive dinners at area eateries and Yacht Club in company of the local millionaires? Taylor, as elected official is prohibited from accepting gifts, even if they come from the political cronies that put him and his fellow commissioners in power.

  • His connections with mortgage companies such as Ivy & Associates, alleged to be under investigation for predatory lending.

  • His abysmal record as City Commissioner where he pushed and voted for granting numerous gifts of the public trust to cronies and millionaire friends to fund their personal hobbies and indulgences, granted questionable city contracts and land purchases and consistently voted for measures that have resulted in the waste of over a hundred million dollars of taxpayer’s funds.

  • The whereabouts of the $20,000 he took from the city’s CRA funds but never repaid

  • Most distressing, his refusal to abstain from voting on items that personally benefitted him and his friend, Commissioner Rick Shiver. See article: Daytona Public Officials Conflict of Interest: Shiver and Taylor .

Taylor also has not made any formal response to the numerous criminal complaints (See Criminal Complaints against Daytona Beach City Officials) that have been filed against city officials over actions that he personally supported.

I'm not going to defend anything I've done in the past... My work is for the future.

Dwayne Taylor in a recent interview

Maureen Monahan is running against Taylor for the District 27 Florida House of Representatives post on an independent ticket. Her platform is concentrated on a grass roots anti-corruption campaign and she has refused to accept money from special interests which require future favors in return as a condition for their support.

She recently indicated that when walking through Taylor's Daytona Beach Zone 5 district, residents remembered Taylor for contributing to the demise of their beloved YMCA.

In a very surprising move, even the leftist local newspaper is opposing Taylor.

With a nearly perfect track record of endorsing inept and corrupt politicians, and with a long history of abuses of power in its own right, the News Journal has taken an about face in Taylor’s case:

Taylor's record on the City Commission is troubling.

Taylor's track record on the Daytona Beach City Commission shows more divisiveness than leadership, and more ambition than aforethought.

He's shown disdain for civil liberties.

He (Taylor) doesn't appear well-prepared for commission meetings - poor preparation would be a clear liability in the fast-paced, demanding flow of business during legislative sessions.

He's exploited painful issues

Taylor doesn't inspire confidence that he would put the needs of District 27 above political ambitions

Daytona Beach News Journal, Oct 6, 2008

While true, we cannot help but wonder at what Taylor’s transgressions against the NJ's controlling family or their friends must have been to merit such treatment and exposure.

As a result of Dwayne Taylor’s absences from town meetings where he would have faced his opponent, Monahan’s supporters have been toying with the idea of a “Where is Dwayne?” T-shirt.

Indeed, everyone keeps asking: Where’s Dwayne?

Related Article: Dwayne Taylor seeks election for the Florida Legislature despite atrocious record and failures at the Daytona Beach City Commission

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