Brevard County Commissioner Helen Voltz has local Gadfly arrested

Our local paper did not cover this and I heard about this only after receiving an email from a friend about it. Here was his email:

Dear Brevard County Commission,

The arrest of Walter Pine at a commission meeting has come to my attention. It is documented in the video clips below.

I am ashamed of three members of my county commission, Helen Voltz, Ron Pritchard, and Jackie Colon. Sue Carlson was not there and Truman Scarborough tried to be reasonable but couldn’t even get a second.

Helen, you were much to quick on the trigger. You should have at least given him his 10 minutes even if he refused to say anything during those 10 minutes. At the end of those 10 minutes, if he refused to sit down, then you may have had to do something else. You don’t know what would have happened during those 10 minutes, some discussion might have occurred that would have resulted in a more civil outcome.

Ron and Jackie, why did not one of you second Truman’s motion? 10 minutes was a unilateral decision made by Helen. Something like this should have been a decision by the entire commission after appropriate discussion especially when one member obviously had an objection.

(Windows Media Player required to view these clips. Apparently, about an hour elapsed between the first and second clip.)


Well, I wrote my own letter to the County Commissioners. As another friend of mine aptly commented, “I hadn’t realized that I moved to the ‘People’s Republic of Voltz’.”

It sounds as if Ms. Voltz has become a little to big for her britches. I’m sad I voted for someone who would so quickly allow her emotions and personal feelings to take her to the level of a tyrant. It won’t happen again. That Viera building is just so isolated from reality that apparently certain commissioners begin to think they can do things with impunity.

For the record, I don’t even know who Walter Pine is or what this topic was about, but clearly there is some long standing issue between Ms. Voltz and Mr. Pine, who I might point out was about as peaceful and reasonable as any citizen as I’ve ever seen in all my years of attending various council meetings. I’ve seen Melbourne City Councilmen sit quietly while black women scream at the top of their lungs about the injustice of not having a street named MLK. They had more decency and restraint than Ms. Voltz displayed.

But I guess our Commission needs a house cleaning again. We had to do it once before - we can do it again. First, they have the cowardice and shame to triple the impact fee in Brevard - punishing the successful, punishing our growth in Brevard. Then, they pull a stunt like this? Well, at least we won’t have much difficulty in getting the builders and developers in the area too assist us.

Mr. Scarborough did try to be reasonable, but I doubt Ms. Carlson’s presence would have assisted Mr. Pine, knowing her track record. I’m particularly ashamed of Ms. Colon considering her record of being a “woman of the people” in Palm Bay. Pathetic and weak.

For Ms. Voltz, it was absolutely wretched behavior coming from a woman who claims to be a Christian. The video is so telling - you can see her rage simmering beneath the surface while she tries to be all dignified and businesslike. Well, I don’t even know what Walter Pine is going to talk about, but I think this commission better decide right quick if they are going to work for the people or not.

I’m curious what monumental items were on the agenda that Ms. Voltz felt the need to shove a citizen off the podium. She couldn’t even bring herself to address his objection. She just simply decides she doesn’t have to listen to it. But, actually, if she is going to keep her job, she does have to listen to things she doesn’t like. Doesn’t she know that?

First of all, these commissioners had better learn the common decency to address citizens by their proper names. Calling him “Walter” over and over is flat out rude. His name is Mr. Pine. He is not their child. But it is revealing to see the parent/child way in which Ms. Voltz belittles him.

He might be a gadfly or whatever, but if he objects, he objects and they are to deal with it appropriately. Quite frankly, many of us are too busy with our families or running our businesses to be at meetings all the time, and I sort of have a comfort in knowing that the gadflies will keep things somewhat in order. But, if Ms. Voltz and others are going to dispatch them so easily without proper regard for their comments, then I guess we will have to change our schedules. I’m rather sure Ms. Voltz and others would deal with nice guys like Walter Pine than me, but arrogance never backs down easily, does it?

Real simple demand: Mr. Pine is allowed to speak on EACH topic, as is afforded to him by law, next meeting, with full attendance by the commission, for 5 minutes EACH. We can all go together and listen to him. And then Ms. Voltz, Ms. Colon, and Mr. Pritchard, can publicly apologize for their apathy and arrogance. We can all chalk it up to raw nerves and a late night and go on peaceably - if they want to (assuming Mr. Pine was not actually “arrested” - in which case, if he was, he’ll need to have the charges dropped and his record expunged).

Anything less and I say we break out the pitchforks.

Lawrence Salberg

“All Politics is Local” - Tip O’Neil

It turns out that Mr. Pine was in fact arrested and charged with Trespass in a Structure or Conveyance (Statute 810.08). If you actually read the statute, and view the tape, you’ll see that no jury in the world would convict Mr. Pine of this offense, which is why the state filed a No Information Brief, which essentially says they are not formally charging a defendant at the time, but reserve the right to do so (within the statute of limitations). This is a common filing by most state attorneys to wash away the actions of over-zealous police officers who arrest without thinking. People tend to be relieved that they aren’t charged and go their separate way.

It was interesting to me that Assistant State Attorney Michelle Jackson once again became emotionally unglued at the hearing. According to Mr. Pine, “When Judge Majeed reserved the case to his Court looking at Mrs. Jackson some in the audience said they expected her to explode and start screaming at the Judge. She couldn’t get out of the Courtroom fast enough and nearly ran out the door without even the perfunctory salutation.”

Reserving a case to a specific court means that should the State, at some later date, decide to file charges, they would have to file those charges in the original court that was randomly chosen for the docket hearing. This prevents a side in a case from “judge shopping”, else a crooked State Attorney could continue to file “no information” briefs until they got the judge they wanted.

What amazes me is that Michelle Jackson is a known hothead. She consistently bends the law, exhibits wild and raw emotion, and essentially is a detriment to not only our justice system, but, at least to me, would seem to be a real eyesore for State Attorney Norm Wolfinger. Anyone who is a Christian, a conservative, or even, well, someone who has bothered to read the State Constitution she automatically hates. Worse, she doesn’t hide that hatred and behaves irrationally. I don’t understand how she has been able to keep her job for so long. I’m glad that Wolfinger, a Republican who has been re-elected many times, doesn’t just turn his whole office into a bunch of “yes men”. But Michelle Jackson has, for at least almost 13 years that I know of, been an embarrassment to his otherwise stellar record. Maybe someone can email me and explain this to me, but I’m not the only one who wonders about this.

Technorati : Brevard County, free speech, politics

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thanx - i saw it live, never knew what the disposition was. i don’t see Mr. Pine as much as i used to before this all happened - too bad! i would support a movement ( by petition, if need be) to make the term of a county comissioner 2 years with a limit of two terms. we need to improve accountability to the citizens of Brevard county. - keep up the good work - Dave

Walter Pine has a long history of disruptive and counter-productive behavior during public meetings. As someone who has occationaly seen him in action, I can attest to his arrogance first-hand.

Civil participation is essential to democracy, and I, like you, oppose actions which discourage dissent. However, this is not a case of an over-zealous official attempting to silence a local gadfly. To the contrary, on past occasions the commission has given Pine far more time than what was allotted, and he rewarded their good-will with vitriol and immature behavior.

In my humble optinion, Pine’s allegations are mostly contrived. He wastes countless hours of local, state, and federal government time to bring attention to himself.

I applaud Ms. Voltz for putting a halt to Pine’s childish behavior.

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