Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains
In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information. And then we vote.
JOE KEOHANE/THE BOSTON GLOBE
It’s one of the great assumptions underlying modern democracy that an informed citizenry is preferable to an uninformed one. “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789. This notion, carried down through the years, underlies everything from humble political pamphlets to presidential debates to the very notion of a free press. Mankind may be crooked timber, as Kant put it, uniquely susceptible to ignorance and misinformation, but it’s an article of faith that knowledge is the best remedy. If people are furnished with the facts, they will be clearer thinkers and better citizens. If they are ignorant, facts will enlighten them. If they are mistaken, facts will set them straight. MORE…
Thomas W. Tierney and newly elected President of the Notre Dame Club of Greater Vero Beach, announces the students beginning and returning to the University of Notre Dame (ND) and St. Mary’s College (SMC) for the 2014-2015 term. More…
For those who may have read the “lemmon droppings” Russ Lemmon served up today, don’t be confused by the taste of misreporting. Contrary to Lemmon’s reporting, Charles Searcy is not running for the District 3 seat on the Indian River County School Board. He is running against Randy Heimler for the District 4 seat. More…
D. LORNE COYLE
“Kids first, Sir,” said Marquise McGriff. Those were the first words spoken to this visitor to the Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center in Wabasso, Florida. It was suppertime at Dasie Hope and the visitor’s mouth had watered at the scent of the barbecue ribs. When the visitor had inquired about a plate, young Marquise had politely but firmly established the priority order for food. Until all the students in the after-school program had eaten, no staff or visitors would be fed. For some of the children, it would be their only hot meal that day. More…
Vero Beach City Council candidate, Charlie Wilson, recently posted the following comment on his Facebook page.
At the very least, Wilson’s post confirms the sole pillar of his platform is his advocacy of the sale of Vero Electric to FPL, regardless of the cost to the community. Pushing to conclude the sale, despite the shifting terms and rising costs, appears to be the sum total of Wilson’s vision for the community – nothing more and nothing less.
Wilson, who fancies himself a white knight, seems to believe he stands above other politicians as a shining example of honesty.
The second irony in Wilson’s post is his use of the word “out,” perhaps a mistake, perhaps a Freudian slip. There are, to be sure, some who are working to “take out” Vero Beach by forcing the city into disincorporation.
“From the beginning, to all but the most wishful thinkers among pro-sale fundamentalists, the County Commission’s petition seemed, at best, a novel idea, one that may well have been cooked up while County Commissioner Bob Solari and utility activist Glenn Heran were power walking together.”
Florida Power & Light weighed in today against the Indian River County Commission’s effort to break new ground in utility law. The County Commission is asking the Florida Public Service Commission to subordinate its jurisdiction over service territory assignments to a County Commission’s authority to enter into franchise agreements. FPL is joined by nearly every Florida electric utility,including the Orlando Utilities Commission and the Florida Municipal Electric Association, in advising the PSC to deny the County Commission’s petition. More…
Meanwhile, Fitch rating agency positive about outlook for Vero Electric, says utility sale is unlikely
Backed by the usual cast of suspects and interlopers, including Glenn Heran, Steven Faherty, Mark Mucher and Charlie Wilson, Indian River Shores special counsel Bruce May attempted at a mediation session today to make the case that Vero Electric’s rates are “capricious and unreasonable.” More…
Vero Beach resident, Dian George, who successfully challenged Charlie Wilson’s election to the City Council in 2009, confirmed today she has filed formal complaints against Wilson with the Florida Department of State Division of Elections and with the Florida Elections Commission.
One complaint, George said, asks the state to investigate Wilson’s claim to have legally established residence at 2134 18th Avenue prior to switching his voter registration to that address on August 21, 2013. George said she express mailed her complaint regarding Wilson’s residency claims a week ago today, and gave a copy to City Clerk Tammy Vock. (See: Wilson’s voter registration records raise yet another question)
George said she filed a second complaint this week, directing it to the Florida Elections Commission. A campaign sign Wilson mounded on the back of his personal vehicle, George charges, does not comply with a Florida elections law requiring non-incumbents to include in all campaign literature and adverting the word “For” between their name and the office they are seeking. (See: Wilson’s campaign sign appears not to be in compliance with Florida election law)
Unlike the Indian River Shores Town Council’s lawsuit against the City of Vero Beach, the County Commission’s complaint filed this week with the Florida Public Service Commission may actually succeed in carving up Vero Beach’s electric service territory.
If the County is able to seize a portion of Vero Beach’s customers base and utility infrastructure, it will not be on any grounds having to do with service reliability or rates. No one credible is arguing Vero Electric’s service is unreliable. On the question of rates, how will the PSC rule Vero Electric’s rates are unreasonably high, given that the Commission has already approved higher rates for a number of the state’s investor owned utilities?
No, if the PSC decides to help the County assist FPL in pulling off a partial “steal” of Vero Electric, they will be doing so for purely political reasons.
The following is the current Florida Statute governing the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission to consider and resolve questions of service territories.
2013 Florida Statutes 366.04 Jurisdiction of commission.— More…
ROBERT “JAKE” DALE STUMBERG, 84, of Vero Beach, Florida passed away Sunday, July 13, 2014 at Palm Garden of Vero Beach. Jake was born in Grundy Center, Iowa and moved to Vero Beach 51 years ago from Cedar Falls, Iowa. He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving in the US Air Force. Jake had been a receiving engineer for Piper Aircraft in Vero before his retirement. A good family man, Jake enjoyed taking his wife fishing so she could catch dinner. He was the consummate worker and spent any extra time with family activities. Jake enjoyed watering his plants, real or artificial.
Survivors include his son Steven R. Stumberg (Phyllis) of Orlando; grandchildren Christopher, Matthew, Destine, Daisy and Alizah; and extended family in Iowa. He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara Jean Stumberg and a son Randy Stumberg.
The family will receive friends 4-7 PM, Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at the Strunk Funeral Home in Vero Beach. A graveside service with military honors will begin at 1 PM, Thursday, July 17, 2014 at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Fort Pierce. Arrangements are by Strunk Funeral Home and Crematory, Vero Beach. A guest book is available at http://www.strunkfuneralhome.com. (7/17/14)
With the sale of Vero Electric stalled, if not dead, Mayor Richard Winger told his fellow City Council members yesterday he thinks it is time to consider establishing a utility authority.
“We have to plan for a future where this utility is retained with local ownership. One of the things we have to be concerned with is lowering rates as much as possible. The second thing is to protect the assets and the return on the assets. The third thing is how to govern this thing into the future. We should consider how we would have it governed by some sort of board or authority, rather than by city council,” Winger said. More…
Editor’s Note: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary, “First Lady of Vero Beach,” Alma Lee Loy offered the following remarks following the Memorial Day ceremonies held on the island this year.
ALMA LEE LOY
I am honored to be here today to share a few personal highlights of the origin and past 50 years of our historic beautiful and meaningful Veteran’s Memorial Island.
My friend, Alex MacWilliam, Sr. was the epitome of the saying “One man can make a difference.” He had a dream and led the commitment of many others. More…
The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce will host their annual “State of the County” luncheon on Friday, July 11th. The event will take place at the Executive Courthouse located on 14th Avenue in downtown Vero Beach and begin at Noon.
County Commission Chairman Peter O’Bryan and County Administrator Joe Baird will provide an overview of the current state of Indian River County.
Cost to attend is $15 per person. Chamber members and the public are invited to attend. Reservations are required. Call the Chamber 772-567-3491 ext 110 to make your reservation.
Originally established in 1915 as the “Vero Beach Board of Trade”, the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce is the oldest business organization in Vero Beach now representing 900+ businesses providing services county-wide for positive growth and change.
Attorney Schef Wright told the City Council Tuesday that Florida Power & Light officials told him they “are not ready to throw in the towel.”
With Vero Beach shackled to a contract that will not expire until December 31, 2016, FPL officials seem content to leave the city and its 34,000 rate payers hanging.
Editor’s Note: As originally posted, this opinion column was headlined “Leopards and politicians don’t change their stripes.” In an email sent to Inside Vero this afternoon, Charlie Wilson pointed out that tigers have stripes, while leopards are spotted. Wilson titled his email message “stupid ass,” thus proving the larger point being made about him, which is that he is the same self-centered, ungentlemanly egomaniac who ran for a seat on the Vero Beach city council in 2009.
Charlie Wilson, the only Vero Beach city council candidate to receive free air time this week on WTTB, was on the Bob Soos show yesterday insisting that this time, as opposed to last time, voters can trust that he has lived in Vero Beach long enough to meet the residency requirement for council candidates.
Wilson may have changed his address, but the far more important question for Vero Beach voters to consider is whether anything else has changed about Wilson since 2009.
In 2009, Wilson won a seat on the city council promising voters he would sell the electric system to Florida Power & Light with a return $80 million to $90 million to the city. More…
What Press Journal columnist, Russ Lemmon, and political activist, Charlie Wilson, have most in common is a single-minded, almost moronic fixation on helping Florida Power & Light acquire Vero Electric, regardless of the cost to the customers of Vero Electric and to the taxpayers of Vero Beach.
Lemmon and his political hero, Wilson, are turning up the heat by making false accusations against Mayor Richard Winger, Vice Mayor Jay Kramer and Councilwoman Amelia Graves. More…
Indian River Medical Center seems to be in the news often regarding its Heart, Wellness and Cancer Centers, increase in staff doctors, emergency room wait times, patient satisfaction ratings, budget and financial deficits, staff cuts and funding for our indigent citizens. The issues are too numerous to cover in one article. This will be first in a series of reports to examine some of these problems.
The most pressing concern for Indian River County relating to the Medical Center is how its operations will affect homeowner’s finances. There is a “need to know” that the County’s property taxes may be increased.
Increased taxes would be due to the burden of funding increased costs of indigentmedical care. But the fact is, as the cost of providing indigent care at the Medical Center increases, that cost is passed on to the taxpayers. More…
Editor’s Note: It is now clear to everyone but Florida Power & Light executives that the utility giant’s attempted acquisition of Vero Electric is a dead deal.
Feigning indignation, some are acting as if this weeks’ developments have come as a great surprise and disappointment. For any sentient being, the unraveling of the power sale should come as no surprise.
The following is a selection of stories and commentary on the proposed sale of Vero Electric published by Inside Vero since early 2013. More…
The Vero Beach City Council heard yesterday from, Schef Wright, the new outside attorney working on the power sale. Wright was hired to hopefully clear a path forward where Florida Power & Light strategists and the transactional attorneys have failed. More…
Editor’s note: An administrative law judge today ruled the Indian River County Commission can go ahead with its plan for improvements to the Oslo Road boat ramp. The project is budgeted to cost $960,000. The County Commission had hoped to receive a matching grant from the Florida Inland Navigation District. FIND recently declined the County’s request until the judge had ruled. Now Chairman Peter O’Bryan says the project can be funded with sales tax revenue.
That is the question under consideration as the field of battle over changes to the Oslo Road boat ramp moves to the County Administration Building on Tuesday, May 6. State Administrative Law Judge, D.R. Alexander will hear arguments from both sides before making a decision whether to allow the proposed changes. So if you have been news averse as the electric sale and hunt for Malaysian Air 370 drag on, here is what this is all about: More…
It will be a long road to recovery for Rosie and Billy, two severely underweight horses rescued by The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County (HSVBIRC). Billy, an eleven-year-old gray gelding, and Rosie, a fifteen-year-old pregnant bay mare, were voluntarily turned over to The Humane Society last Wednesday after their owner stated she was unable to properly care for the animals.
“Helping these two horses has been a collaborative effort. Thanks to our community, Billy and Rosie’s future looks promising,” says Ilka Daniel, The Humane Society’s director of animal protection. Getting the two malnourished horses to The HSVBIRC was achieved thanks to an equine trailer loaned by the Indian River County Department of Animal Control along with help from Sergeant Brad Fojtik and Deputy Davie Partin of The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Ranch and Grove division. HSVBIRC equine volunteers John Thompson and Bruce Dangerfield assisted with the transport and veterinarian Tanya Ciacciarelli of East Coast Animal Medical Center has been monitoring Billy and Rosie’s health. More…
The SorensenRealEstate.com Tennis Classic returns to Vero Beach for the 20th consecutive year; the city also hosted USTA Pro Circuit tournaments from 1979 to 1981 and in 1983. It is the first of three consecutive clay-court USTA Pro Circuit Futures. In all, there are 15 events held in Florida in 2014. In conjunction with USTA Player Development, the USTA Pro Circuit continues to emphasize the importance of increased training for younger players on clay.
Qualifying draw be can Friday and main draw, including 32 singles and 16 doubles, begins April 29 at the Boulevard Village & Tennis Club. More…
The City of Vero Beach Recreation Department and Mulligan’s Beach House will hold the 55th Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Hunting will take place on the beach behind Mulligan’s in Vero Beach beginning at 10am sharp! Children ages 0 – 9 are invited to participate in this free event. More…
The prestigious U.S. Soccer National Coaches “A” License Course begins Saturday, April 5th, for a nine-day camp at Historic Dodgertown. The course will include lectures, class work and field instruction showcasing Historic Dodgertown’s diversity in hosting sport and conference center events. This sold out camp teaches concepts toward coaching elite junior level and senior level players. Candidates are only eligible for obtaining an “A” license after holding a “B” license for a minimum of one year and meeting age requirements. This intense course consists of 30 classroom hours and 40 field session hours, along with great attention given to one’s ability to read and understand the game. Coaches are then evaluated on their ability to accurately transfer that understanding to their players. MORE…
The following email was sent to members of the FMPA by Glenn Heran, introducing himself, although he probably needs no introduction. In this case, he is exchanging his anti-FMPA hat (the FMPA is “an institution of inefficiency that should no longer exist”) for a private citizen hat. That would be difficult since up to now he has been an unabashed volunteer lobbyist for FPL. Although he says he has lived in Vero Beach for 23 years, he is not a resident of the City of Vero Beach. This email was sent in advance of a previously arranged and well-publicized meeting Wednesday between City of Vero Beach officials and representatives of the FMPA. City officials found out about Heran’s “citizen diplomacy” after they arrived for the meeting.