Grapski Defense

October 21, 2006

From Renee: I don’t really have a diary in me at the moment, or even a good title for a post, but I figured giving this comment from Donna front page attention was the lest I could do. Tried to edit the post before this one to add a link to Donna’s comment, but Blogger won’t cooperate, so I had to do a new post.

I have been out all day, but when I checked phone messages, there was an urgent message from Carol Thomas, who is working hard on behalf of Charlie Grapski’s defense.

I know that many of us are tapped out from election donations, but Charlie has about three days to come up with $40,000 for his defense of the trumped up charges against him.

If you can possibly help, go to:

http://grapskidefense.org

or send a check to:

Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Charlie Grapski
P.O. Bos 190
Alachua, FLA 32616

Charlie’s situation is truly an abomination. He has been arrested for daring to question the integrity of the vote in Alachua. I truly believe that if Charlie can be made to disappear, than it can happen to any activist, anywhere. Even us.

donna in evanston

Donna has a diary about this at Daily Kos–please give it a recommend if you can. 


Charlie’s thoughts about Rod Smith

August 13, 2006

My views on Rod Smith are mixed. I believe he has some very good views. I know he has some great campaign promises. But I also know Rod Smith as an actual actor.

His career was originally very “progressive” – as he was a local labor lawyer. But after becoming State Attorney – and turning to politics (his big claim to fame is getting a conviction by prosecuting Danny Rolling – and he touts this all the time (Rolling murdered several college students back in 1991 at UF) – but in reality he didn’t have to try him and convict him as he pled guilty) – he has show himself to be more inclined to play the game – and that means in Florida he portrays himself as a CONSERVATIVE Democrat – appealing to the OLD southern Democratic registered voters (many of whom now tend to vote Republican).

From my observation of Rod Smith – he goes wherever he feels his bread will be buttered. He has no loyalty to principles as far as I can tell – only to Rod Smith.

So I am not a big fan. But then there are few in Florida running for Governor that are worth much.

I am LEANING toward Jim Davis – although I have a number of problems with some of his votes in Congress – but the problem I have with Rod is what I KNOW about Rod.

Rod was the State Attorney in Alachua for about 10 years – and the City of Alachua was as corrupt then as it is now – he did nothing about that.

Rod is from Alachua, he and his family own property that has been associated with many of the controversial development issues here, his wife is the sister of one of the truly corrupt actors in town, and his daughter was one of the top lobbyists for Wal-Mart – for whom Rod has done much to pave the way (no pun intended) so that they can come into Alachua full force.

Rod is close friends with the players in Alachua – in particular Clovis Watson. Rod Smith wrote the contract that has enabled Clovis Watson to unconstitutionally hold dual offices – as a means of defrauding the state pension fund by paying him hazard benefits which are meant for police officers in the actual line of duty, with short career spans, and much lower pay. He has often been “hired” by Clovis and the City to do investigations – which have turned out to be whitewashes.

Is he better than Jim Davis? I don’t know. But what I do know about Jim Davis is much less than what I know about Rod Smith. So he appears more attractive to me at the moment.

Many local Republicans are hoping for Rod Smith to win – because they believe they will then have a Governor who will “favor” this area (I do not believe that is ever a proper consideration). But also because his policy positions are very much in line with theirs – not entirely – but substantially.

I think if you take a look at Rod’s scores among progressive groups – you will find that as he chose to run for Governor – his scores with Conservative groups grew and Progressive groups fell.

Rod is also the State Senator for this area – including the City of Alachua – yet while Rod is calling for “straight talk” and real action on election reform (a hot button issue with Democratic voters this year) – which I support (but not as empty promises – and I do believe that Rod Smith probably believes in these sincerely – its just I am not convinced he will SEE THEM THROUGH beyond their value as promises in an election season) – but then why is he SILENT on the corrupt elections in Alachua – where he admits his friends are running the city and their elections – and has failed to stand up and demand a full investigation. Again – he REPRESENTS this area in the State Senate.

So all in all – I am not a big fan of Rod Smith – but I am not a major opponent of his either. I can take him or leave him – but I would prefer the latter to the former if I had a viable choice. He’s not much better than a Republican – because he has come to act like a Republican – although I would likely vote for Smith over Gallagher (I am not sure about Crist). But at the moment – although I am not 100% certain yet (other than my general disappointment of the lack of good choices) – I am leaning towards Jim Davis for Governor.

I just know too much about Rod Smith – and am not sufficiently convinced he will live up to his promises.

Although I would certainly reconsider that if Rod all of a sudden called for an investigation into his friends in Alachua – and was cooperative in that effort.


It’s not the party, it’s the corruption

August 12, 2006

Charlie Grapski responded in the comments at Howard-Empowered People to a previous comment that he was “going after Democrats as well as Republicans”…

I am going after corruption and corrupt actors. If those actors are members of the Democratic party – I will “go after” them with as much (if not more) energy and commitment than if they are Republicans.

Its not the party that matters – its the corruption.

In this case – there have been numerous efforts to try and “frame” this issue in Alachua as a partisan one. That is not the case. This issue reveals an underlying cooperation of individuals within both parties for their own self-interests.

All of the members of the Alachua City Commission, except the mayor, are registered Democrats. Are they Democrats? That depends on what you define a Democrat as – one who is registered with that party or one who stands for a set of principles.

These actors are hardly the kind of Democrats that I think the people on this board would ever support. They, indeed, are not even Democrats in the weak sense that Joe Lieberman is – these are individuals who are far more committed, in this area, to the Republican party and its allies interests than the public’s interest or even the Democratic party’s interest.

James Lewis is indeed a registered Democrat. But one must remember that the South was once a one party region – the Democratic party – and Florida was like that through the 80s.

There were many “white-hooded” Democrats running the party and the state. I do not support such things – in the past or in the present.

The issue of partisan alignments came up in the Raw Story interview that I did a few months back. The reporter was inquiring from me who the players in Alachua politics were – and I was laying them out. She then asked if they were all Republicans – and I corrected that misperception – stating that there were Republicans and Democrats.

I also revealed that within the local Democratic party were individuals who were actually aligned with – and actively supporting – the agenda of the Republican party of Alachua County. Later – I was able to reveal this to an even greater extent when I published a “secret” Republican Party memorandum sent to “Conservative Activists” to come to the support of Clovis Watson and Bonnie Burgess in Alachua (two who were then Democrats).

Subsequent to that date – Clovis Watson and his friend (and legally roommate although he does not actually live there – but is only registered to vote there) Ward Scott – formally declared themselves Republicans (Ward Scott ran a few years ago unsuccessfully for County Commission as a Democrat but with the support of the local Republican party and the Developers – when it was no longer going to be a race decided in teh Democratic Party because a non-partisan qualified as a write-in – Scott attempted to re-file as a Republican but was not legally allowed).

…the only thing I demanded of Rod Smith was that he actually give the “straight talk” about electoral fraud and reform that he is promising as Governor – WHILE he is running for Governor – and IN the City of his residence and where he owns property and for whom he represents in the State Senate.


Charlie Grapski’s speech to the Alachua County Democrats

July 11, 2006

Click the photo to watch Charlie's speech

Click the picture above to play the video. You might try downloading it (save as) to watch it offline. Visit the Alachua Project web site to see the speeches given by the other two candidates.

Transcript

Let me just start this afternoon or this evening by answering the question that almost every candidate gets asked by almost every person first. And that is “Why are you running for office?” And the answer I give is actually quite simple: We are in trouble. This nation, this state, this county, this community is in real trouble.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a war going on. And I don’t mean the war in Iraq. I mean the war for the future, and for the meaning of our country. A war that is taking place in Washington D.C., across this country, and right here in your back yards.

Two hundred and thirty years ago last week, we celebrated our nation’s declaring independence from a tyrannical government. Yesterday’s patriots stood up–they were called “troublemakers”, and they fought for what they believed in, and they fought for what was right. And they established in this country what was intended to be a democratic form of government where we the people rule.
Read the rest of this entry »


Charlie Update for 6/29

July 1, 2006

Here is what happened. The State (with Alachua-resident in tow – who is the State Attorney’s Public Information Officer – but happens to be right smack dab in the middle of EVERYTHING to do with this case, in my view, highly inappropriately) sought the judge to rescind my ROR (release on my own recognisance) for the crime of felony wiretapping for which I was arrested but have to YET be charged with – and asked for a “substantial” bond.

When it was clear that the judge was not going that direction – for PR purposes – the State prosecutor got up and said that they were not looking for the judge to “deny me my liberty”! They were not? Then why did they ask for that in their formal motion? And in their opening statements at the Court?

THe judge did not revoke my release – but did amend the restrictions on my liberty.

Get this: I am not allowed into the city of Alachua (where I am living) until the case against me (which has not been charged – so this is indefinite) has been resolved.

And by the way – PayPal has “mysteriously” turned off my account for recieving money – again “coincidentally” the day that money is expected to come in and a national story is going out.

This is extremely troubling – and I hope that people will contact PayPal about this. This is an unacceptable business practice. And they will not tell me WHO is contacting them – to cause these problems.


Charlie Grapski, on being ejected from the City Commission meeting

June 22, 2006

From this morning’s comments

Gotta run to court on the election case. But if you saw it – the Republicans have orchestrated the airing of the video of my being ejected (unlawfully) from the City commission meeting.

What they fail to mention is how they had set that up.

And what they fail to mention is what I was doing and why.

The City must follow Florida’s Open Government law – 286.011 florida statutes.

But the City violates that law using a tactic of putting items on the Consent agenda and then approving them without a public meeting – without the public being able to observe or participate – in contravention of that law.

They place the approval of the agenda – which automatically passes the items on the consent agenda – before public comment.

Thus if the public cannot speak until public comment – they cannot speak to items on the consent agenda. Again – that violates Florida law.

The rules and procedures of the City adopt Roberts Rules of Order.

Roberts Rules prescribe that when there is a question as to the rule – you make a parliamentary inquiry.

I did. Instead of following the rules – the Mayor banged me out of order (after reading only one part of the rules – but not the relevant part).

According to Roberts Rules of Order you are then supposed to make a Point of Order – to state that they are violating the rules.

This is what you are SUPPOSED to do under the rules.

What did they do instead?

They violated the rules – and then when I stood up to inquire about the rules – they physically threw me out.

That is a violaton of the law.

But this is a town where “the law” is believed to be whatever the City officials say it is.

Charlie Grapski

Click here to link to the Alachua Project web site.

Evening update (from the comments)

Click homepage
to see my response to Hugh Calderwood’s (the Mayor’s husband and a key backroom politico (he was the “Treasurer” and effectively ran the campaign of 40year commissioner Lewis in this problematic election)).

Hugh does not know the law nor the rules. Unfortunately – neither does his wife – but she is mayor and is supposed to know.

I motioned to have the parliamentarian – who unfortunately is Clovis Watson and I don’t believe he knows these either – read them the rules.

It would be great if the City Attorney would actually speak up as to the law and the rules – but I don’t think she is familiar enough with the laws related to municipal government (Not really her area).

And as a “member” of the public – with speaking rights guaranteed by law in Florida (the Sunshine Law) and attendance rights – you also have a right to utilize the procedures that guarantee those rights are properly assured.
…..
Anyway, long – but very interesting day – first time home.

The City held a “rally” (the one cancelled Friday) to support the city’s officials. About 20+ people – but about half of them were city employees on the clock.

Interesting talk with Clovis after it – and surprisingly productive (if he follows through on what he said – I’ll give him the chance).

But there is news – as the last I mentioned I was off to the court.

THe City filed a motion to dismiss – only set the hearing for 10 minutes they were so sure of themselves being victorious.

The motion to dismiss – was denied.

Charlie


Update from the Alachua Project

June 20, 2006

VERBATIM CONVERSATION BETWEEN CLOVIS WATSON AND CHARLIE GRAPSKI APRIL 28th 2006

CW: OK, now, with all due respect I know it look like I’m being recorded, which I don’t mind if I’m being recorded.

CG: I just left it on since we … [interrupted]

[Note the recorder was on continuously from the beginning of the meeting with Alan Henderson, when Grapski, holding the recorder in plain sight, explicitly informed him that he was being recorded.]

CW: That’s fine with me. Uh, but I’d like to be told I am being recorded prior to that, so that I don’t … its not legal for you to record me without telling me.

CG: Actually, actually it is …

CW: Mmmm.

CG: … but you’re a public official and anything you say should be assumed to be public. And its only, the only time that the recording can’t be done secretly is a private individual and then it is not really a felony but just can’t be used as evidence.

CW: I’m not worried about evidence because anything I tell you I’ll tell the public.

CG: That’s fine.

CW: I’m just letting you know that I can tell you’ve got a recorder on and I wasn’t advised. And I think it would be appropriate if you would avise me, but that’s OK Mr. Grapski.

CG: I would have once I had gotten a chance.

CW: Right.

CW: I will get with the Deputy Clerk. However, on record, on tape I will tell you when we set up a time …

CW: I don’t think that will be heading on the territory of illegal based on State Statute 119, which I know, on record, on tape that I know quite well.

So where was the felony committed? When was Grapski “such an intimidating bully?”

——————————-

This is the portion of the actual conversation with Watson on the Friday when we first met to discuss getting access to the public records on the election. The following Monday, when I arrived for an appointment we made to view those records, Watson arrested me under the felony wiretap statute.

He stated that 1) He was “secretly” recorded (which I believe the above transcripts proves was untrue); 2) He “objected” to the recording (which is also not supported by the transcript); and 3) he did not consent to the recording (which is clearly untrue).

All of which should be irrelevant since he was a public official acting on public business with the very members of the public who made the recording in plain sight of the public official.

See the rest of the story – with Watson’s actual sworn statement (contradicting the transcript) and his memos (which contradict each other).

The question is – given the fact that: 1) Eileen McCoy, the only other witness to these events, was called into the State Attorney’s office and asked what happened the day I was arrested – she told the State Attorney that what Watson swore to arrest me was “a lie”; and 2) the State Attorney has had the audio recording of this conversation for over a month – proving it was a lie.

So, wHy has the State Attorney not dropped the charges against me (when he has the evidence that Watson lied to arrest me – he has not formally charged me); and Why has the State Attorney refused to accept a sworn complaint against Watson for perjury and filing a false police report?

And for a really shocking look at local attempts to “frame” (not done very well) issues by the Republican party – you have to take a look at the Republican Party attack site (http://thetruthaboutheala.blogspot.org).

Forgetting for a minute that the ALA is not “terrorism” or “communism” (it is a group of concerned Alachua citizens from all political affiliations that stood up to the corruption these past several years – only to be constantly attacked for it); and that I am not a member of the ALA (that doesn’t seem to matter – the ALA = communism = terrorism to these people. Or they are desperate to try and make that connection).

But you have to see the way they try to spin the past few days – in an attack on me made by Stafford Jones (even quoting this blog), the Chairman of the Alachua County Republican Party (who, by the way, claims it is a lie that the REC is going “after me” – problem is – Stafford himself has stated this to other Republicans, and the name of the REC member and former Sheriff who contacted a friend of mine seeking to get his assistance setting me up in a compromising situation is Keith McInnis) …

… but most importantly you want to see the new thing allegedly written by Clovis Watson entitled “What did I miss”. You will really begin to see how desperate these actors are becoming down here and how volatile the situation is becoming, particularly after the refiling of the lawsuit with the allegations and the embarrasment of the Republican Party being outed with its plants inside of the Democratic party (their planned rally never took place as a result).

It is truly getting frightening to a lot of people down here – they are not sure what these people are capable of – and they are in jeopardy of losing power (perhaps even their freedom) and there are multi-millions of dollars at stake. The one thing I have to agree with, I believe listener said it, is that the one saving factor is that you guys have kept a national eye on this situation. (THey are very perturbed by this fact).