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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Daytona Beach Model: America's Most Corrupt Politicians

Daytona Beach: Excuse Us, We Are StealingIn the 1920s and 30s, Al Capone used to have police officers and government officials on his payroll. His influence was large but it had limits and was far from total control of Chicago, a city already famous for corruption.

Capone would have drooled over the power that today's "capos" have over the local politicians in Daytona Beach; a product of good ol' boy networks, campaign contributions and undue influences that propel unqualified individuals with a nasty predisposition for corruption into power. Their patrons exert total and absolute control over a city as if it was their private ranch and much to the detriment of its citizens.

Their control extends to the institutions that are tasked with the checks and balances to protect the public, and as a result they act with impunity.

They have reaped untold riches by getting their captive public officials plunder the public trust and finance everything from overpriced sales of real estate, privileged zoning deals, virtual immunity against local laws, and, most galling, the funding of their personal pet projects and private indulgences. All courtesy of the taxpayers, which are unknowingly funding the largesse and who now must bear a gigantic burden that will take generations to pay off.

In Daytona Beach, the formula is simple as can be gleamed from a recent post:

...Well, it's an easy recipe, a few multimillionaire capos handpick a local politician; normally someone with poor skills, who is unable to find a job in the business world. They look mostly for an ability to follow orders and predisposition for corruption. Then they fund and get him or her elected to the City Commission.

They then wine and dine the corrupt official, give him rides in jets, invite him to parties where the public official would never have been invited otherwise, give jobs to the politician's family and so on...

Then payback starts in the form of lucrative contracts, sweet zoning deals, funding of hobbies, retaliatory measures under color of law against the capo's competitors [and enemies], etc. - all paid for by the taxpayers.

The end result is a city in fast decay, flight of jobs to cleaner locales, crime, unemployment, mistrust, and the homeless left behind aimlessly roam the streets.

Basically you take hope away from the people and they lose the energy to fight back.

The hope is that a docile public, numb, poor, uneducated and deep in despair is unable to make a change.

"Flee from the country where only one holds all the power. It is a country of slaves."
Simon Bolivar

Change might be in the horizon, however. The public has already made its voice be heard by booting State Attorney John Tanner from office. Tanner steadfastly refused to pursue the many criminal complaints against Daytona Beach public officials.

Not surprisingly, the same people that have largely benefited from the corruption in Daytona Beach coincidentally have also largely financed Tanner's political campaigns.

We thought we end the year with a run down of America's most corrupt leaders, the role models of Daytona Beach public officials:

America's Most Corrupt Politicians - Part 1

America's Most Corrupt Politicians - Part 2

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