Elect Dan Abel for St Johns County Commission District 4

Is Ben Rich our county’s “white knight”?

December 2, 2013 | By More

500-HCN-BEN-RICH-FLAG-SHIRTThere is a word that defines someone who tries to get an advantage for themselves from a situation without thinking about what is right — that person is referred to as an “opportunist”. The word is often used to describe politicians, and it is not considered a desirable trait.

I’ve never known an opportunist who didn’t telegraph their intentions; but, in my experience, especially with reference to politicians, there always seems to be someone willing to give them a soapbox — and a few gullible followers willing to believe them. It’s been said before, “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

The new editorial staff at the print newspaper appears to have dusted off a corner of their soapbox for the former, one-term county commissioner, Ben Rich; allowing him the opportunity to poke another stick at St Johns County Sheriff David Shoar.

So, we ask, what has awakened Ben Rich? He’s been out of the limelight since leaving office. Ostensibly, Rich is compelled to warn the citizenry that “a storm is on the horizon” that “will damage our struggling tourist industry” — despite a Visitor Convention Bureau that says our tourist industry is anything but struggling. As far as I know, Rich has no qualifications in the tourist industry; by his own words in the Sunday guest column, “I have been involved in government my entire life.”

Well, then, what does Rich really have to say? He writes, “Knowing how to get the right people to fix broken, ineffective, abusive, fraud-infected or corrupt government is one of my limited talents.” Really? So, are those the same “limited talents” that led Rich to publicly campaign in the media for the election of Thomas G. Manuel?

Let’s call a “spade” a “spade”, Okay? Rich fancies himself some sort of larger than life, super-hero. He speaks and writes of himself in grandiose terms; but, if you actually listen to what he says, it’s clear that he isn’t playing with a full deck. Ben Rich is the man who, during a televised county commission meeting, criticized the single officer on the scene of the tragedy in Columbine, Colorado; because he followed department policy in an active shooter situation by waiting for back-up before entering the school building alone. Rich said that he would “shoot the cop and go in”.

In a public budget workshop session, Rich criticized the safety methods employed by St Johns County firefighters; implying that they were cowards. Rich seized the opportunity to “play politics” and grandstand; claiming they did not need all of the staff and equipment deployed on calls for emergency services.

In the past, Rich has halfheartedly told St Johns County voters to “write in” his name for sheriff — and judging by the tone of the rhetoric in his guest column, he probably wants to actually have his name appear on the ballot.

Then, I suppose, he can get The Record’s endorsement.

Category: Editorials

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