Columns

Charlie, the Black Community Knows When It's Being Disrespected

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: July 2, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist is not a racist. No one can honestly call him that. On the other hand, after Monday night, it's time to address the subject fairly.

By all accounts, his appearance at a candidates forum in Liberty City for the South Florida black community, side by side with his primary opponent Nan Rich, showed African-Americans where Charlie's heart lies.

It lies with himself.

That's where it's always been.

It was there 20 years ago when he adopted tough-on-crime "Chain Gang Charlie" to make a name for himself. And it was there Monday night when he pandered for votes -- not by addressing policies of the most interest to the black community, but by dropping President Obama's name umpteen times in the space of more than 20 minutes, as if to say, Barack is a black man who loves me, I helped elect him in 2012 and so did you, so support me just the same as you did him.

I Beg to Differ

Bad as that is, it's not racism. Nor should his audience feel he singled them out for an insult. Charlie is an equal opportunity exploiter. He would disrespect his own mother if it took him a rung higher on the political ladder.

In a telephone interview, Gracie Wilson and her sister Millieann Oliva who attended the National Action Network event, talked to me Tuesday about their impressions.

"You know, we don't care how many times Charlie Crist and the president hug each other," Wilson told me. "We wanted to hear about our grandchildren's education and what he would do to help their schools. We heard that from Mrs. Rich. She convinced us she has a policy to put children first. Charlie Crist said a lot of nothing about nothing."

Leslie Wimes, who also attended, wrote her no-nonsense Tuesday column on the forum, and in it -- in much the same terms as Wilson and Oliva -- she described the difference between Crist and Rich.

"Nan Rich hit the ball out of the park," Wimes wrote. "One of the major components of getting out of poverty, of staying out of jail, of not being left behind or stepped on, is EDUCATION." 

She continued, "... After Crist’s campaign people placed his trusty fan on the stage, Crist hit the stage to win over the crowd. ... We didn’t get the same concise answers that we got from Nan Rich. We got President Barack Obama. If Charlie Crist invoked Barack Obama’s name once, he invoked it 20 times."

Wimes is a devoted progressive who admits she sees more to like in Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rich than in Rich's party-leadership-chosen opponent Crist. But Wilson and Oliva, also Democrats all their lives, sat in on the forum, they said, because they genuinely weren't sure which candidate would serve them better if elected.

Said Oliva, "They gave Charlie Crist a longer time to talk than they gave Nan Rich and I still don't know what he said. We felt sorry for the way they treated (Rich) when she had so much more to say."

Wimes paraphrased a conversation she had later with Congressman Alcee Hastings, who represents a large portion of South Florida. Talking about Crist's decision to lean on Obama, Hastings said this: When your water is off, you don’t call Barack Obama. When you are stuck on I-95, you don’t call Barack Obama. When you lose your job, you don’t call Barack Obama.

A lot of fuss has been made about whether Charlie is or is not a racist. Even I have written about his Chain Gang Charlie beginnings in the Florida Legislature. The truth is, I know a racist when I see one, and Charlie isn't close.

He is nothing more than a gifted, schmoozing flim-flam man. He came along when Floridians were terrified of the rising crime rate, when visitors from foreign countries were being waylaid and murdered, when vicious crimes involving drug deals were daily occurrences in the state. He latched onto Chain Gang Charlie like a limpet, tried to put the worst kind of chains on mostly black prisoners, and it made him famous.

Charlie Crist has weathered his political career looking in a reflecting pool for what he wants to be next and how to get there fast. It doesn't matter who gets in his way. He doesn't serve at our pleasure and never has. We serve at his.

Has he treated African-Americans abysmally? Of course. But you don't have to be black to feel ripped off by Charlie.

The real reason for Democrats to consider the stunning difference between Nan Rich and Charlie Crist is because with Nan, you get what you see, you get her tenacity, her convictions. With Charlie, who is devoid of core beliefs, you get whatever he's selling today.

And the problem with that is, like every rank opportunist, Charlie's lust for power keeps him open for options -- which, rest assured, are all about what he sees in that reflecting pool -- all about him, not even a little about you and me.

I'm truly sorry I wasn't there Monday night. More of the press should have turned out for a rare, much-needed Crist-Rich forum in the heart of a Democratic stronghold. 


Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423.



Comments (10)

Paul Cajka Sr
7:39PM JUL 3RD 2014
Charlie Crist is a Cristocrat, out only for himself. He's a party of one. I'm sure I know why he will not debate Nan Rich. He tried to debate Marco Rubio on Fox's Sunday show in 2010 in the Senate primary and was soundly thumped. Charlie turned whiny, nasty and left the studio. Nan needs to challenge Charlie Crist to a similar televised confrontation and keep pounding on Crist until he does it. It will certainly help her win the primary and it may finally put a stake in Charlie Crist's heart.
Frank
9:08PM JUL 3RD 2014
Gee, imagine that . . . a rightwing Republican activist pushing Nan Rich to win the Democratic primary . . . . just like SSN's not too subtle attacks on Crist and their faux support for Nan Rich . . . . . politics of the not so subtle "Big Lie" . . . . . absolutely . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
protected child abusers
3:47PM JUL 2ND 2014
In 1989 Gary Borders (Now sheriff of Lake County) and his friend Don Brown who along with his family owns The Bridges of America Florida Department of Corrections vendor early release facilities and prison ministries opened the Green Isle Ranch for wayward boys near Clermont in South Lake County.
That same year Gary Borders come to Lake County to run the Lake County Jail. Rumors of boys having sex with each other and being sexually abused at Green Isle was on the streets of Clermont and Groveland almost from the beginning.
In 2000 a none year old boy was sexually abused by older boys and a houseparent. His parents removed him from Green Isle. Don Brown convinced the parents if they would return him he would get the boy special treatment and protect him from further abuse. They retured the boy to Green Isle where he was once again sexually abused. In 2001 they hired Attorney Keith Mitnik who was raised in Tavares. He filed a lawsuit against Green Isle. That lawsuit was heard before Lake Circuit Judge William Law whose wife Julie Law was the Attorney of Record for the Green Isle Foundation at the time. Judge law dismissed the case in favor of his wife’s employer Green Isle.
In October 2006 founding Green Isle Board member Gary Borders become the sheriff of Lake County. In 2008 complaints surfaced that Green Isle had been feeding rancid food including frozen maggots and over working the boys at the Green Isle Thrift store. The ranch closed. Soon State Attorney Brad King announced he could find no criminal wrong doing on the part of Green Isle and the ranch reopened under new management.
On November 21, 2009 five boys ranging from 12 to 16 years old reported to the Green isle administrator that they had been sexually assaulted over the summer (from July to early November) by an older boy who had recently left the ranch. They all said he threatened their lives if they told on him and that was why they were only now coming forth. Green isle administrator Rev. Steve Zepp called 911 immediately and reported the crimes to the Lake Sheriff’s Office (Sheriff Gary Borders). A deputy sheriff went to Green Isle and took a through report including handwritten statements from Rev. Zepp and the five victims who all “initialed the yes box” in “do you want to prosecute?” the responding Deputy also notified the DCF Child Abuse hotline from the ranch. Rev. Steve Zepp was gone from Green Isle in 48 hours after dialing 911. He only says “over an disagreement with management!” Insiders at Green isle said it was over his calling 911 without consulting his management.
Absolutely nothing was done for these five little rape victims. By February 3, 2010 some of them had attempted to commit suicide and the sheriff’s office had reportedly responded to those calls and again took no actions on behalf of the victims! The original report was Lake Sheriff’s Office Case Number (09 191988) No records have been found regarding the attempted suicide calls, but entered into that case is the following: On February 3, 2010 at 4:07 PM Lake Deputy Walker responded to a call from Paula Whetro the new Green Isle Administrator regarding the fact that she was receiving threatening & harassing phone calls, text messages and emails from a disgruntled former employee (house parent) Clayton Berkey (and his wife Angela) who still had keys to the boys cottages. Why was this entered into the report of the rapes?
Then by 5 PM that date Clayton Berkey was on all the local television breaking news stories relating over and over the plight of the five boys being held at Green Isle for seventy-five days after reporting they had been brutally sexually abused by the older boy over the summer. Then Green Isle insiders released a flyer with the rapist named by all the victims pictured right next to Sheriff Borders in July 2009 around the time the rapes began. Later a retired Captain who was a direct report to Jail administrator Gary Borders for fifteen years reported in all those years he never heard Gary Borders mention his involvement at the Green Isle Boys Ranch.
According to the report (09 191988) the next day after the leaks of the rapes was exposed on local television Sheriff Gary Borders sent two of his detective teams to Citrus County to interview the suspect who had been named in the original report over 75 days earlier. The FDLE reported that Sheriff Borders Office arrested the rapist on February 9, 2010 for four counts of sexual battery, one count of Lewd & Lascivious and one count of Battery.(The sheriff’s office report marked out the box “cleared by arrest” and in fact indicates the case was not filed for prosecution because it liked enough “probable cause for and arrest!” FDLE also reported that on May 20th, 2010 the rapist pled no-contest and was later sentenced to community control. Anonymous Lake Courthouse rumors reported the case was numbered (2010-CJ-000185) and the sentencing by Circuit Judge Michael Takac occurred on may 26, 2010.
Bu October 2010 – The convict at large was receiving traffic citations. On March 3, 2010 – (Just 13 months to the day that his crimes were leaked to the public) the convicted rapist who was supposed to be serving community control in Citrus County , Florida had an injunction for protection against dating violence filed against him in Citrus County by the father of another juvenile victim. As required by the courts the petition alleged a history of violence against this juvenile. (They won’t even take a complain for just one act of violence against a person) The petition described events such as assault with a motor vehicle against the parents of the juvenile and two Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Deputies reports of violence was contained in this request. Any of the calls to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office should have turned up the fact that the violator was on community control and should have violated that judgment. The request for injunction for protection should have violated the judgment of community control, but it did not and the petitioners request for protection against dating violence was denied.
By November 16, 2011- The protected rapist was still at large and received a careless driving citation for an accident resulting in damages. From that day forward this protected species – protected by Sheriff Gary Borders and his friends in the fifth circuit of Florida has laid low and off the grid.
Over the last several years a large group of people has been following the horrors of the Green Isle Boys Ranch and the involvement of those who conspired for over two decades to keep their little secret of the abuses of those who were unfortunate enough to have been “students” at the Green Isle Boys Ranch.
Can you imagine anyone working side by side with fellow employee’s (for fifteen years) and not once mentioning to that fellow employee that he was involved in this great boys ranch to help the unfortunate and wayward boys and invite that fellow employee to join in this great worthy cause? Some of Sheriff Borders employee’s was pictured with him in the flyer (where he was pictured with the rapist) Summer 2009 – why was some employee’s invited to Green isle while others never even heard of it?
This nightmare of horrors reopened in 2011 under true new ownership and recently it was closed down again (this time by DCF – thank God they finally done their job) The only reason they closed it down so fast this time is the new owner was not politically connected the power house that Sheriff Borders and his friends has been connected too since the middle 1980’s.
And now the local oligarchs are trying to convince animal lovers that Sheriff Gary Borders can manage the Lake County Animal Services more efficiently and more ethically than its present and previous management teams have. What possible morals and ethics can a human have who as the sworn sheriff of this county and (by his employees who are nothing more than extensions of his power as sheriff) takes the obviously certifiable and authenticated reports of the brutal rapes of five little boys and sits on it and does nothing – no immediate arrest; nothing! Even after his employee’s are called back to the scene of the crimes (more than once) where the victims are still being held because they have attempted suicide (not just threatened suicide). Those of us who follow child abuse cases have seen more than enough documented evidence regarding the 30 + years of Gary Borders and his involvement with Green Isle Ranch, The Osceola Boys Clubs and other functions “where the boys are” to know we do not want Gary Borders around young boys. Therefore we would be inclined to believe animal lovers likewise would not want him to be in charge an animal shelter making decisions regarding the life and death of animals when he has shown by documented evidence (in reports obtained from his own office) that he does not enforce the laws against child rape. And he show no concern about children who are trying to take their own lives because he has failed to protect them from his abusive friends.

This is not politics – this is the plain hard facts concerning the true history of the man who runs our sheriff’s office. He was handed this job on a silver platter because of and not in spite of his history.
Anyone who disputes these facts (unless Sheriff Borders has destroyed -09 191988) you can obtain a copy of the entire report by public records request. The rapist is named in this report. Then you can also obtain the continued criminal actions of the rapist (who was supposed to be on community control) by obtaining Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and Clerk of the Courts reports. Then ask yourself why is this young man at large and not required to have been registered as a sex offender or predator?
Frank
12:06PM JUL 2ND 2014
Written like the true SSN continuing demonization partisanship that has discussions on their site of the upcoming race wars . . . . or articles explaining how abortions by minorities are genocide . . . . . and most recently, how continuing illegal immigration in America will create a citizen's solution resulting in blood in our streets in order to keep America for Americans . . . .

Yes, Florida's minorities have an increasing clear vision of the racial politics in Florida . . . . . after all, which candidate & party continues to try and suppress their vote . . . . . which candidate & party wants to violate minority civil rights and mandate drug testing without just cause . . . . SSN's sad attempt to spin otherwise is simply . . .

Pathetic . . . .
C Breeze
10:55AM JUL 2ND 2014
The only similarity between "Chain Gang Charlie" Crist and 11th term Alcee "We have no rules, we do what we want here in Congress" Hastings (23rd Dist candidate for Congress) is their lust for power; Hastings has been in the D.C. House for 22 years despite investigations of him for 'sexual harassment of staff members' and was 'impeached in 1989 for soliciting a bribe & perjury'...Hastings was a disgrace to the black community while he was a former Federal Judge and before he even set foot in the U.S. Congress. These two must have been like a "sleight of hand" magic act in front of this Liberty City black community forum. Crist and Hastings are "brothers" merely in deception...
the Sad Truth Is
3:27PM JUL 2ND 2014
It is kind of funny how CharLIE Crist became too radical for the Republican party since it's the Repubs like CharLIE's maker Mel Sembler who run all the child pedophile farms like Straight, Inc, Coggins Farms and Green isle Boys Ranch.

Could it be that ole CharLIE might be a little to left to come full circle around to the Aggressive-Conservative ultra whatever side with jeb Bush, Rick Scott and all those "so called conservatives" that cover up children's deaths with their DCF and what about when Jeb Bush was the real governor 6000 children went missing from the rosters of his DCF.

The black community has been abused by the politicians forever. But then we must remember it was not their master's who went into the deep, dark jungles of Africa and drug them out. It was their chieftains who sold them to the predecessor's (family) of the (now) world bankers who brought them here and sold them like cattle. How can anyone with an ounce of brains except their explanation that the Civil War was fought over slavery? Lincoln did not declare the Emancipation Proclamation until Jan 1865 in which he announced he was freeing the slaves in all the rebellious states! The Civil War started April 12, 1861. In Jan 1863 20% of the population of New York State were slaves (called indentured servants) the Emancipation Proclamation did not free these slaves!

So, Mr. Lincoln (the Republican) did not really free the slaves and halt slavery in the USA - just like the modern Republicans Mr. Lincoln's speech was all some and mirror's!

Every race of people in US history has been symptomatically divided over the centuries to affect an atmosphere of hate and discontent between the races. Beginning in the early 1970's when they run out of races they began to create a new race. A race of special people of all races who for some unknown reason seemed to prefer sex relations with persons of their own sex. They named them "Gay" and bestowed greatness upon them as long as they promised to go about recruiting the young to join their forces and spreading the sicknesses and illnesses they acquired among the majority. Among their unwritten goals one of their primary tasks was to feminize the males of the United States and other developing nations. Of this task they have made great strides.

Unlike Rome and the stories in the Bible of the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, the book the Rise and Fall of the United States of America can not yet be written. But, the day that book can be written is closer than people think and almost everyone wants’ to go to heaven, but not right now! They want one more day and one more night of sins and they will give their souls to the Lord before it's to late they say!

We are all Gods Children! Can you not imagine if the children in your household spent 24/7 devising schemes to use each other! Schemes that would make one sibling more important or more accepted by their parents than the others.

If the day ever comes that the people of America woke up one day and decided we are all in this world together. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water and eat variations’ of the same nourishment's created by God's earth with the help of the people who prepare it for sale. These humans who think they control the earth and its masses are few in numbers, but large in valuables! Jesus called them the "money changers" when he threw them from the Temple!

What would happen to America tomorrow if like the morning the builder's of the Tower of Babel; everyone showed up to work and no two people could speak the same language and we had no means to communicate face to face let alone on out precious hand held devices?

That is the day we would all be forced to realize; it is all about we the people, not they the powerful and it is we the people who are all alone in this world unless we have the ability to communicate and stick together like glue! Them know that and that's why they go to so much trouble to devise methods to make us hate each other while at the same time devising methods to control and monitor our communications!
Fire
9:31AM JUL 2ND 2014
Wow, So Charlie is in it for himself, sounds like 95% like all politicians. Now what about the Black Community your talking about. When will the Black Community raise up and clean up their own Community? That's right. Why doe you expect others to clean up your mess. Take education for example, your community your education so if you claim your schools and the education is so bad then change and make better. Crime in the Black Community, it's your community so clean it up. How about being poor? How about starting to teach the trades and opening businesses besides fast food and show the rest of America the Black Community is in it to compete not just take and take and expect everyone to feel sorry for you. Yea you do know Charlie Crist, sounds like your just like him.
RepublicanConscience
6:31AM JUL 2ND 2014
Charlie not releasing his wife's tax returns is clearly a red flag needing investigation by the Board of Elections. Rick Scott files a joint return so both his and his wife's incomes are transparent. If filing separate all the shady deals and shady income streams can be buried and not disclosed.

Everything about Crist is a sham. No debate with Nan Rich?

Rick Scott should have a press release notice that if Crist wont debate Nan Rich, he will and that he will not debate Crist. When the time comes to debate Crist if he wins the primary, he can refuse. Then give in if he can dictate terms of the debate that would be favorable. Fair and Balanced, unlike the left wing biased "League of Women Votes" that tries to claim neutrality but is no better than (P)MSNBC ot CNN the Commie News Network. May I suggest a Tea Party event with Meghan Kelly asking the questions?
Fire
8:57AM JUL 2ND 2014
None of your business what Charlie Crist's wife income tax returns are especially if they file their income tax separately. It's a wonder the NOW folks aren't all over you. You think Rick Scott is a great Governor when the company he was CEO of stole hundreds of millions of dollars ripping off our medicare. That's as bad as the problems with what's going on with the Va Hospitals today. You say Tea Party event with Megyn Kelly asking the questions? Take off your tin foil cap and get your facts correct towards the Tea Party.
Dean
8:10AM JUL 2ND 2014
RC. Since you claim Rick Scotts' income in transparent explain how he managed to make $40+ million last year. An almost 50% gain in net worth. Not even Buffet makes that kind of money. Legit folks do not make that kind of money, with rare exceptions. Scott has already refused to debate his 2 party candidates and Southerland has refused to debate Graham. Are you sure you want to open that kettle of worms?

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