Stench from Apopka Mayor’s Office is NOT from the Water Treatment Facility

Certified Second Chance Inc. a for-profit business “social purpose company” filed their initial papers on February 3, 2017. Just 6 days later, on February 9, 2017, a bill was filed in the Florida Legislature by Rep Kamia Brown (D) on behalf of this brand new company, requesting $500,000.00 in STATE Taxpayer money. The bill, HB 2809, is a simple one page request for a non-recurring sum of $500,000.00 from the General Revenue Fund appropriated to the Department of Corrections to fund this for-profit business. As of this morning (4/16/17), current status is that the Bill’s first reading was on 3/7/17; further action on this bill appears to be unscheduled for now.

According to Appropriations Projects Request form, filed per House Rule 5.14, the requested  $500,000.00 of the TAXPAYER money will go toward Salaries and Benefits ($100,000.00), Equipment/Travel/Supplies/Other ($100,000.00) and Contracted Services/Study ($300,000.00). The request does not mention even ONE DIME going towards helping convicted felons reintegrate back into society. Apparently the “social purpose” type of corporation for this venture was chosen because the State of Florida has a special provision that will require they demonstrate they are in business to convey a public benefit. Hmmm, who are these social purpose do-gooders?

According to the original business filing from February, the principles, all listed as directors are: Joseph Kilsheimer, Mayor of Apopka. currently earning a taxpayer funded salary of $150,000.00. Robert Olszewski (otherwise known as Bobby O), currently running for Florida House District 44. A candidate for FL house, going to that same legislative body asking for $500,000.00 to fund a for profit business he want to start up. Deveron Gibbons, out of St. Petersburg, a former mayoral candidate whose campaign Kilsheimer worked on. And finally Allen Chernoff, involved in the City of Life Foundation, the same foundation that has received over $70,000.00 from Apopka Taxpayers for the program, Apopka Begins and ends with an A. Plans are to continue to fund this program with Apopka taxpayer dollars through infinity. To date, I am not aware of a single, concrete, positive result yielded from this program.

Now, in several interviews, Mayor Joe stated he does not see a problem, a conflict of interest with his current job as Mayor of Apopka, because “this is not an Apopka project”. The City Charter was cited as the excuse that Mayor can be involved with this as long as it does not interfere with his duties and obligations as Mayor. City Attorney Shepard also reportedly told the Mayor that he “must avoid businesses interests that do business with or are regulated by the City”. As noted above, The City of Life received thus far, up to $70,000.00 of APOPKA TAXPAYER Funded Money. I would like to have the City Attorney clarify his statement to the Mayor in light of the relationship between the City of Apopka and the City of Life.

Let’s tie this all together, ok? Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, who receives a taxpayer funded salary of $150,000.00/year, and for better, or definitely worse, is the FACE of Apopka right now. EVERYTHING he does reflects directly on OUR CITY, so just diving into this business venture poses some real ethical and moral problems. The largest Mayoral salary in Orange County is apparently not enough for Mayor Joe, a liberal who spends Apopka money, including reserves like it’s his personal ATM; he is now asking for a boost of another $500,000.00 of State taxpayer money? Mayor Joe is going into business with Chernoff, who already gets plenty of APOPKA taxpayer money; the public trough feeding is pretty good. I don’t know what to make of Bobby O’s involvement here, except that Bobby O and Mayor Joe are  close personal friends, and Mayor Joe HAS endorsed the Candidate for Florida House District 44. Bobby O apparently also sees nothing wrong with going to the Legislative body he is running for and asking for $500,000.00 in Florida taxpayer money. I do not know much of the relationship between Mayor Joe and Gibbons, except as noted above.

Does this pass anyone’s smell test?? The stench coming from all of this is almost as bad as the stench coming from the Wastewater Treatment plant and Apopka’s on-going water problems. Elected officials should view themselves as public servants, and  view their time in elected office as a privilege, not as a money-making venture. If Mayor Joe wants to go off and run his own business, LET HIM, AFTER he is voted out of office in 2018. Till then, Apopka taxpayers pay him plenty of money to represent OUR interests, not his own.

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Stench from Apopka Mayor’s Office is NOT from the Water Treatment Facility

Should Apopka end the City of Life Foundation Gravy Train

About 7 months ago, Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer introduced the citizens of Apopka to his pet project “Apopka Begins and ends with an A”. Typical of many liberal feel-good programs and with a heavy dose of it’s for the kids and this IS who we are rhetoric, the program and it’s main goal was that all schools in the Apopka Community will achieve an “A” rating from the Florida Department of Education. In a 5 page proposal, the Mayor laid out a non-specific plans towards achieving that nearly unattainable goal. Filled with flowery, lofty language and liberal buzz words and catch phrases that don’t mean anything, the Mayor then announced he’d already committed $20,000 to an organization called the City of Life Foundation, a group with whom the Mayor had a 10 year association with, including being its President from 2011 – 2013. The group had already chosen the first two schools to work with.

As far as I can tell, that was the last we heard of this program until a presentation about this program was done at last month’s Commission meeting. I personally did not expect much from this presentation except more non-specifics about how great the program was doing but how much work remained to be done. And I was not disappointed. Not unexpectedly, the report was long on back-patting and very short on actual program achievement specifics. The presenters even admitted that the goal is at best, a moving target. In fact, we were told that this program actually is not all about the “A”, but about the students and hopes this program expands to all Apopka schools… at $10,000 per school, I am sure that is a BIG hope. Like most government feed-the-beast, gravy train programs, success won’t be measured by concrete results or accountability measures, but by how quickly more taxpayer money can be obtained to expand the program. The presentation was also very long on liberal  “it takes a village” rhetoric. As long as the target continues to move, we have no choice but to continue to throw more taxpayer money at this program; after all it is for the kids.

Then yesterday, a blog post by City of Life Orlando was discovered, singing the praises of George Soros, a “self-made” billionaire. For those who are unfamiliar with Mr. Soros, he never met a far-left, Socialist destructive cause or policy he did not support. He has poured millions into far-left and new world order causes and organizations, Common Core, among others. He strongly supports Mr. Obama’s wish to fundamentally transform America. Wanting to find out if there was any connection between this organization and the City of Life Foundation that came to Apopka last month to appeal for thousands more in taxpayer money, I researched. And found that these two organizations are in fact the same.

So, Apopka citizens, I have a question for you.  Are you willing to continue to throw thousands upon thousands of dollars to an organization with very little to show for that money, but makes a hero of far-left Socialist George Soros? I won’t even get into the whole public schools as indoctrination centers theories, but it is very disconcerting that our Mayor sings the praises of and appeals for more money to fund an organization run by friends of his that in turn support leftist causes and individuals. Is this who WE are?

 

 

Should Apopka end the City of Life Foundation Gravy Train

Citizens of Apopka: YOU need to know!

With the lofty and ambitious goal of “All schools in the Apopka Community will achieve an “A” rating from the Florida Department of Education”, Mayor Joe Kilsheimer announced the launch of the program “Apopka begins and ends with an ‘A’”. In fact, Mayor Kilsheimer is so laser-focused on achieving this, he is calling on all of Apopka to join with him to set a community-wide goal that every Apopka area school achieves and maintains an ‘A’ rating. Two Apopka schools, Lovell Elementary and Rock Springs Elementary have been identified as the first two schools in this program. In his zeal to achieve this goal, Mayor Kilsheimer is proposing a program that will cost the city of Apopka, $20,000 this year, $10,000 per school. Working with a group called the City of Life Foundation, who will supposedly come in with their Community Action Team, hold meetings in the schools and community, identify and facilitate resources that might help our City attain this lofty goal. Sounded like another one of those feel good programs, long on “It takes a village to raise a child” rhetoric but short on any specifics or real concrete measure of success. Wanting to learn more about a group I’ve never heard of, I did some research; here’s what I found.

I found a 2015 Florida Not for Profit Corporation Annual Report for this group filed with the Florida Department of State dated 4/30/15. It lists Joe Kilsheimer as the President of this organization. I also found that the Mayor has been listed as President of this organization since 2013, and that his involvement with this organization goes back to 2006, when he served in various capacities on the Board of Directors. I could not find evidence that the Mayor disclosed this close relationship during two interviews with the Apopka Chief, nor in a thorough reading of the Commission Meeting minutes where the Mayor announced this program. Even if this information has been disclosed to someone,  I have 4 words for Mayor Kilsheimer: MAJOR CONFLICT OF INTEREST! Even if it is “for the kids”.

Even if we overlook that fact that the Florida Standards Assessment, a key component that will determine a school’s grade is embroiled in controversy, disarray and confusion. Even forgetting for a moment that like the constantly changing test criteria, schools’ grades change from year to year. Will we keep throwing $10,000.00/year per school at each school till the end of time? Never mind that there are plenty of private organizations and service clubs already in the Apopka area that won’t charge $10,000/school to set up these programs and in fact, many already work within the various school communities. Until Mayor Kilsheimer clarifies his relationship with an organization he wants to give $20,000.00 in the first year of an unproven program, and continue to feed this program a steady diet of taxpayer money till who knows when, I believe the taxpayers of Apopka need to put a STOP to this expenditure.

Citizens of Apopka: YOU need to know!