Intellectual Dishonesty at the BOCC

Lake City Reporter Editor Robert Bridges

The Lake City Reporter has the following editorial today, Feb. 22, 2017 regarding the shameful actions of the commission chair at last Thursday’s meeting.  Ron Williams ramrodded the defeat of an amendment which would have benefited our county, aquifer, residents, and yes, small farmers.  Mr. Williams, who is woefully ignorant of Columbia County and North Florida’s water problems,  is now at odds with his county attorney, Joel Williams.  Read on for the editorial in the Lake City Reporter.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-

williams In: Intellectual Dishonesty at the BOCC | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
Chair of the commission Ron Williams


Intellectual dishonesty at BOCC County Commission Chair Ron Williams got the answer he wanted concerning the legality of a proposed amendment to county land use regs last week, but he had to work at it. Namely by asking a question that wasn’t remotely relevant to begin with.

As detailed in a story on today’s front page, Williams, seeking cover to shoot down an amendment that would have limited intensive agricultural operations near environmentally sensitive areas, sent the proposed changes to the office of Florida Secretary of Agriculture Adam Putnam for vetting.

Putnam’s legal staff, having been wrongly informed by Williams that the regulation itself was new, and not just an amendment to an existing measure, wrote back that the county lacked authority to put such a rule in place.

Williams trumpeted the finding before a packed house at Thursday’s commission meeting, to the cheers of hundreds there to protest the proposed change.

That would have been fine, had the Putnam team been given the right information to work with. But as it turns out, the proposed amendment — whether you think it a wise move or not — was clearly not a violation of state law. Since the underlying measure had long been in place, we had effectively been grandfathered in.

Folks at the meeting who cheered Williams’ theatrics may never know he was dead wrong, especially if they don’t see the story on today’s front page.

joel In: Intellectual Dishonesty at the BOCC | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
Columbia County Attorney Joel Foreman

But state and local officials may see something else. Even had Williams been right on the facts, he could have been wrong on the law — as in, on the wrong side of it.

According to County Attorney Joel Foreman, who drafted the proposed amendment at the behest of the board, seeking outside legal help without first getting the permission of fellow commissioners could itself violate state law.

The problem isn’t that Williams just wanted to know more before casting his own vote. He used the faulty information he received from Putnam’s office to try to influence other board members during the meeting.

It’s times like these one wishes the county hadn’t dragged its feet on Foreman’s long-delayed ethics proposal, which may or may not ever see the light of day.

Of course, new rules might not matter to someone who doesn’t bother to follow those already in place.


  1. What has to be done to impeach this circus bunch of paid off idiots . The ones who want to kill us through pollution and don’t give a damn for the very people who voted them in. Must be trained by ISIS terrorists THEY WANT TO KILL YOU AND I. This has to stop now our water is being lost to MONEY and idiotic mentally incompetent jerks. These won’t wake up to the fact (and don’t want to) that they are killing their and our grand children. Very serious situation.
    The other ding dongs are afraid of This williams bully. He must have something over on them to act like this.

  2. Shame on those other Board members who ignored the needed information they HAVE heard for the last two years.
    Shame on those who attended the meeting who were outsiders there to accomplish a negative outcome.

  3. Other board members “should” have known better than to vote against this amendment! Residents for two years have been before this board many times, without negative comments from any of these , MAINLY outsiders, who showed up with Mr. Williams at Thursday’s meeting. Shame on the other four commissioners for not listening to the residents, NOT OUTSIDERS, during this important issue concerning EVERY Columbia County resident…

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