Your Opinion – Infantini vs. Pishgar Offers Stark Contrast

By  //  October 18, 2012

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YOUR OPINION – DECISION 2012

BREVARD COUNTY COMMISSION, DISTRICT 3

County Commission Race a Debauchery of Loose Bedfellows

By Mark Clancey

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – At 7 p.m. on November 14, 2011, a jolly looking fellow strode confidently into The Sun Shoppe Café at 540 East New Haven in Downtown Melbourne, where a group of 18 agitated political activists were holding a meeting — in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street — to change the world.

The group was Occupy Melbourne and on its agenda for the evening: “Joe Pishgar is looking for support to get on the ballet [sic] to run for Brevard County Commissioner in District 3 as an Occupy Candidate.”

Trudie Infantini

Joe Pishgar

Familiar to the group as an enthusiastic protester, Pishgar pitched Occupy Melbourne for its endorsement in the primary election of August 14, 2012 in his campaign to win the Democratic Party nomination, and to run for the seat currently held by Commissioner Trudie Infantini of Melbourne Beach. Minutes of the meeting published on the Internet by the group revealed that the next item on the agenda was the distribution and discussion of a radical publication, Capitalism’s Final Days.

In allegiance with Occupy Wall Street, the same leftist group that violated and laid siege to parts of Manhattan breaking into businesses, destroying private and public property, defiling NYPD squad cars with human feces and urine — Occupy Melbourne wants revolution. Joe Pishgar, now the Democratic Party nominee for District 3, wanted the fringe group’s endorsement — and he got it.

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Brevard County is a world away from New York City and San Francisco. A solid majority of residents are right-of-center, and many are very conservative. Occupy Melbourne’s deeply “progressive” values are not shared by many voters, as reflected in the group’s inability to draw more than 18 people to its third “general assembly” — 18, plus Joe Pishgar.

But no sooner had Pishgar gotten the Occupy movement behind his campaign did he pivot and re-brand himself a moderate. Pishgar bristled with indignation about his Occupy roots after this writer posted a congratulatory comment for Trudie Infantini on a local newspaper website following the incumbent commissioner’s August 14th Republican primary win: “Hooray for Trudie Infantini, the Iron Lady of the Brevard County Commission. Now she must dispatch the liberal challenger Joe Pishgar, a guy who marched with and sought the endorsement of Occupy Melbourne, a group that distributes a manifesto, ‘Capitalism’s Final Days.’”

After accusing me of violating “civil rules of engagement,” Pishgar became downright Clintonian on his endorsement by the socialist-anarchist group: “I never sought the endorsement of any Occupy group, and you can happily ask any of them.”

I already had and pointed Pishgar to the group’s published agenda minutes on the Internet (CLICK HERE TO VIEW AGENDA MINUTES), a written record of his appearance before Occupy Melbourne. Joe Pishgar is playing both ends of the political spectrum against the middle, and in the process he’s lured some strange bedfellows into his outsized hammock. Imagine a candidate for the Brevard County Commission seeking the endorsement of an activist organization devoted to bringing down capitalism through violent revolution also receiving the endorsement of the Space Coast Realtors association. What’s the attraction?

Is this jovial chap so thoroughly likable that special interests are willing to look beyond his values and viewpoints, ones so obviously contradictory they pose profound conflicts of interest? Or, were the groups unaware of each other’s endorsements? Pishgar prominently displays on his website his backing by Space Coast Realtors and the AFL/CIO, plus photo albums showing him participating at Occupy Melbourne protests and rallies.

Seriously, radicals and Realtors? The common DNA strand is income and taxation redistribution, something the progressive Democrat is shrewdly exploiting, and something he knows all three groups want for their own special interests. Living large, Joe Pishgar intends to ride to victory a coalition of self-disenfranchised leftists, pampered public employee unions, and a progressive real estate association looking to make incumbent Infantini pay for her outspoken distrust of Community Redevelopment Agencies, especially the North Brevard Economic Development Zone that she says will divert money from her South Brevard district. Community Redevelopment Agencies have spread across the American political landscape threatening the fiscal solvency of Main Street USA.

Where CRA’s go bad is by creating special redevelopment districts in blighted areas that unleash politicians to engage in risky business, leveraging their citizens to the gills with unsustainable, long term debt that in a prolonged recession blows up and bankrupts previously healthy towns, leaving wreckage and blight — the very condition they were created to fix. CRA’s also practice economic Balkanization by hording tax increment revenue from property value increases.

That is Infantini’s objection to the North Brevard Economic Development Zone because it will keep for itself the $2.9 million increase in annual property taxes from the new Florida Power and Light generating plant just south of Port St. John. All county taxpayers contributed to the $1 million environmental study that led FPL to voluntarily replacing the former coal-fired plant.

But Brevard County Democrat Commissioner Robin Fisher’s district will keep the entire windfall for itself. With unchecked power and lots of cash, Fisher is now free to reward his constituents, including campaign contributors, with cash grants to improve their private commercial properties. Such redistribution of tax dollars, at least in the minds of fiscal conservatives like Trudie Infantini, is blatant corporate welfare at the expense of the majority of county taxpayers and FPL ratepayers. In the private sector — and in gambling casinos — it’s called skimming. Mobsters go to prison for it. Politicians make friends.

Florida Institute of Technology professor and former Clerk of the Courts auditor, Trudie Infantini recently — very publicly — laid bare the economic injustice of the NBEDZ. Perversely, her four male colleagues, all bosses of their own CRA’s, ridiculed her background in response. Up against a triumvirate of treacherous lobbies, self-indulgent politicians and the unmasked occupier Joe Pishgar, Infantini and her conservative TEA Party patriots had better be ready to rumble.

The race for District 3 County Commissioner will be a contrast of two radically opposed philosophies, one where special interests hold considerable sway over the cash flow of government, versus one where the taxpayer is respected and protected from legalized redistribution rackets. One candidate talks the talk. The other, well, they love to watch her strut.

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7 Comments on "Your Opinion – Infantini vs. Pishgar Offers Stark Contrast"

  1. Marcus Hochman October 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm · Reply

    Interesting article, even though I need to use my Ann Coulter Translation dictionary to look up some of the terminology. By the way, if I and others are pampered, then why would unions at times have to fight for our right to….

    Just a thought…actually just a right.

  2. Matt Nye October 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm · Reply

    Wow, really great article Mark! Very thoughtful and well written – linking to it now!

  3. Joe Pishgar October 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm · Reply

    Boy, it really doesn’t have to be true for them to say it, does it?

    I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to refute this provably false lie by the Infantini camp, but just because someone signs your petition doesn’t mean they have endorsed you. Scott Ellis signed my petition (and I signed his) and neither implies an endorsement. Just means you think voters should have a choice. I can understand how someone new to the qualifying process could misconstrue this, but I don’t think Clancey here is playing dumb, and it wreaks of desperation.

    And seriously, fat jokes? There’s no fewer than three mentions of my weight in this fact-free screed. I’ve lost 206 lbs in the past year and I’m proud of that, but I would have thought Infantini’s folks would be keeping some shred of class and civility to the narrative. I realize it’s tough to back someone when they vote against tax relief for businesses in Brevard, basically betraying classical Republican principles of fiscal sanity at every turn, but can we at least keep the dialogue on a level a few clicks above “Yo’ Momma” jokes?

    • Trudie Infantini October 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm · Reply

      Joe,
      I see no mention of fat-jokes. Again I say prove it. You claim I voted to cut services but cannot show the vote to prove it. Only suggestions to cut the budget, not services. The claims about fat-jokes are another of your fabrications.

      Trudie Infantini

      • Joe Pishgar October 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm · Reply

        “a jolly looking fellow”
        “lured some strange bedfellows into his outsized hammock”
        “is this jovial chap”
        “Living large”

        Do these invocations to my weight on your behalf meet with your approval, Commissioner? I saw that in your most recent mailing, you used an image of me at my heaviest. I know how you respond when people call you names, and I’ve lived my life being called a lot of things… so you and your people may call me what you like, but I will remain civil, and I will keep my campaign about the issues facing Brevard.

        As for your assertion that you’ve not voted against funding services directly, you’ve voted against every single budget vote for the past 4 years. Beyond that, here’s just a snippet of the pile of votes you’ve made in opposition to adequate funding for essential services, from your own voting record available online:

        Voted Against Mosquito Control
        MOSQUITO CONTROL DISTRICT 27-Sep-11 No/Nay
        Mosquito Control District 28-Sep-10 No/Nay

        Voted Against Libraries
        Free Public Library District 28-Sep-10 No/Nay
        Brevard County Free Public Library District 28-Sep-10 No/Nay

        Voted Against Infrastructure
        ITEM III.B.8., APPROVAL, RE: REVISED SPACE COAST INFRASTRUCTURE AGREEMENT 1-May-12 No/Nay

        Voted Against Funding Law Enforcement
        ITEM VI.A., RESOLUTION, RE: FINANCING OF SHERIFF’S OFFICE NORTH PRECINCT PATROL FACILITY 21-Feb-12 No/Nay
        ITEM VII.B.2., APPROVAL, RE: NEW BREVARD COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE NORTH PRECINCT FINANCING 13-Dec-11 No/Nay

        Voted Against Fire Rescue
        PUBLIC HEARING, RE: ADOPTION OF SCHEDULE OF RATES, ASSESSMENTS AND CHARGES FOR FIRE SERVICE OPERATIONS, HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SPECIAL OPERATIONS TEAM, FIRE PREVENTION AND INSPECTION FEES; AND RATIFICATION, CONFIRMATION AND CERTIFICATION OF THE ANNUAL FIRE SERVICES NON AD VALOREM ASSESSMENT ROLL 9/14/2010 No/Nay
        Fire Control MSTU 9/28/2010 No/Nay

        When you say you haven’t voted to cut services, or that they were just suggestions, I don’t know that anyone out there believes you – particularly if they’ve watched literally ANY of the County Commission meetings.

    • Mark Clancey October 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm · Reply

      Mr. Pishgar, your serial denials of your affiliation with the Occupy movement are destroying your credibility as a political candidate. My screed, as you called it, is completely factual and backed up by the minutes to the Occupy Melbourne meeting (www.tinyurl.com/Pishgar4Occupy). You were on the leftist group’s agenda, you spoke to them and asked for their support and you circulated your petition among their “general assembly” members. At that moment, you aligned yourself and your campaign with the 99%’s – the people who want to overthrow capitalism in America.

      The minutes to the meeting don’t lie, Joe:

      “Joe Pishgar is looking for support to get on the ballet [sic] to run for Brevard County Commissioner in District 3 as an Occupy Candidate.”

      You will recall, Joe, when I first outed you on your documented pitch for support as an Occupy candidate, that you categorically denied it. I then responded with a link to the minutes and you walked-back your denial. Are you back to denying it again? I’m confused. You didn’t just stumble upon these leftists having a meeting as your straw-man surrogate, Jonathan Kurtz, wrote in another forum two days ago. You asked to speak before an Occupy Melbourne general assembly meeting. Why continue to deny it?

      Voters in District 3 deserve a county commissioner whose word they can trust and who is beyond reproach; a commissioner who is proud of her associations and affiliations; a woman of integrity and honor.

      By the way, I have never met Commissioner Trudie Infantini (although I would like to very much), have not contributed to her campaign, and do not share my op-ed pieces with the commissioner or her reelection volunteers. Merely because I have expressed support for the commissioner’s positions, and have sharply rebuked your affiliation with the Occupy movement, does not place me in her “camp.” In short, I can say, incontrovertibly, that I am not affiliated with Vote Infantini. On the other hand, Joe Pishgar, you are inextricably tied to Occupy Melbourne and its agenda.

      In case you’re wondering, the reason I have given this topic so much of my time is that District 3 voters need to know that you, Joe Pishgar, are a social justice redistributionist who wants to “fundamentally change” government in the image of Occupy Wall street. If that characterization angers you, it shouldn’t. Stand up for what you believe, Joe, just like you did that night in front of the Occupy Melbourne activists who hate capitalism, the very economic system that brought them everything they own.

      As for my word play on your physical stature, understand something, brother: When you take frequent potshots at your opponent using artful language that implies she is an unqualified female, and question her fiscal “sanity,” well then, you’d be well advised to expect some counter-punches from op-ed watchdogs like myself. You reap what you sow, Joe.

      May Peace be with you,
      Mark Clancey

      PS: Congratulations on the weight loss triumph – Awesome!

  4. Nejra Tu October 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm · Reply

    This article made me chuckle for how obviously one sided it is. If I didn’t distaste inaccuracy so much, I’d let this go as “the usual” when it comes to party propaganda but alas, I cannot let half-truths be spoken as fact to further a singular persons agenda. So, here it is…

    THE FACTS
    1) The next item on the Meeting Minutes (that hand out on “Capitalism’s Final Days”) after Pishgar’s request for support, which you write as an agenda, is actually clearly marked as an announcement. Furthermore, it also clearly says that the hand out was already made and “left for us on the table” not “made by Occupy Melbourne FL” which you assumed because it benefited your other inaccuracies. At least you were consistent in that. If you had actually attended and gotten a copy of that hand out you’d have known it wasn’t an Occupy Melbourne publication and you probably wouldn’t have made the mistake of setting yourself up to be a caught in a lie of convenience. I’d say it was a misunderstanding but this isn’t the first time you’ve written inaccurately about the hand out to “prove” your opinions are facts. Proof of your habit toward slanderous propaganda? I’d rather not assume…

    2) “In allegiance with Occupy Wall Street, the same leftist group that violated and laid siege to parts of Manhattan breaking into businesses, destroying private and public property, defiling NYPD squad cars with human feces and urine — Occupy Melbourne wants revolution.” Two things are clear in this sentence (1) That you don’t like Occupy anything and (2) You don’t really know what they do. The movement itself clearly states it is devoted to bettering the world by putting people before profit through non-violent direct action. Just because some folks take advantage of their massive presence to incite violence, even in their name, doesn’t mean the movement as a whole is so guilty. That’s like saying all Catholics are as guilty as the Pedophile Priests who use their good name for unspeakable things. Just because it would benefit your image to slander anther’s doesn’t mean it’s moral and from a journalistic standpoint, it’s downright deplorable.

    3)”Joe Pishgar, now the Democratic Party nominee for District 3, wanted the fringe group’s endorsement — and he got it.” Did he? This statement also makes it obvious how little you “know” about Occupy. Did you know it’s a leaderless movement? Did you know that they don’t endorse any candidate? Did you know that Occupy doesn’t endorse candidates because they recognize and encourage each individual person to make up their own mind? Do you realize the transparency they offer in recording Mr. Pishgar’s request to be supported by Occupiers and the lack of discrimination you clearly can’t muster? You saying he’s endorsed by Occupy Melbourne because folks who are Occupiers support him is like saying the Tea Party also endorses him because folks who happen to support the Tea Party, also support him. I find it sad that you feel the need to use a “guilt by association” tactic to slander Mr. Pishgar without even trying to check your facts.

    4) ” Occupy Melbourne’s deeply “progressive” values are not shared by many voters, as reflected in the group’s inability to draw more than 18 people to its third “general assembly” — 18, plus Joe Pishgar. ” This made me laugh. Sticking to the facts though… it wasn’t their third assembly (which you’d have known if you actually read the minutes instead of just counting that it was the third one posted…) but the sixth. And before you jump on the “buahahaha, that’s even worse!” bandwagon, save yourself the trouble of eating your foot and realize that when Martin Luther King stood up for equality, that wasn’t a popular idea either. Furthermore, Occupy is a global movement with millions of supporters across the nation, just because only 18 other people showed up doesn’t mean Occupy Melbourne Florida is unable to draw support. With folks like you lashing out and taking things out of context, I do not blame folks for supporting silently. Frankly, as long as they continue to assist in positive change through non-violent direct action (as has been the case in Melbourne) then why do you have a problem with it?

    5) “Pishgar became downright Clintonian on his endorsement by the socialist-anarchist group: ‘I never sought the endorsement of any Occupy group, and you can happily ask any of them.'” Proof it’s about the facts to me, not my opinion, I actually support this little bit of fact you offered. I was at the meeting, he did ask for support in running as an Occupy Candidate at that meeting but he also respectfully understood and accepted the reality of individual choice. At the meeting it was made clear (as mentioned in #3) Occupy doesn’t endorse candidates but as seen in their minutes, they do support transparency and the opportunity for folks to make up their own minds. Now, we could hold this against Mr. Pishgar (who might genuinely have had different motives that weren’t well communicated), but then we’d have to hold it against you, the number of inaccuracies you report like the truth and pursue a charge of slander. Only with the whole truth can people really make informed decisions which brings me to the next bit of inaccuracy…

    6) “Imagine a candidate for the Brevard County Commission seeking the endorsement of an activist organization devoted to bringing down capitalism through violent revolution…” Wow… “devoted to bringing down capitalism through violent revolution” really? You’ve never actually participated in an Occupation have you? Or a General Assembly? Or a Direct Action? Did you know that Occupy Wall Street and it’s sister occupations often have entire volunteer groups dedicated to de-escalating people and situations to continue peaceful and non-violent direct actions? Do you blame Cops for violence in the streets because they didn’t stop it fast enough or at all; even though they are paid to protect us? Is it really necessary to demonize Occupiers to make your points against Mr. Pishgar?

    If I was Ms. Infantini, I’d be insulted by this article.

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