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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Serianni v City of Venice, Days 2 & 3

The trial of Venice Police Officer Demitri Serianni v City of Venice continues today in Federal Court in Tampa. Serianni's attorney, Thomas Sadaka, will likely conclude his prosecution of the civil charges against the city today after calling his two final scheduled witnesses: former City Manager Isaac Turner and Serianni himself.

Over the past three days, the five-woman three-man jury has heard numerous stories of abuse of authority by police officials aimed not just at Serianni, but at a number of lower level police officers. The tale that is being told to the jury through the collective testimonies is that in order to gain rank under ex-chief Julie Williams, you had to have a flexible or non-functioning conscience and a natural penchant for thuggery and bullying.

Jurors heard testimony about the investigative white board in the squad room, usually used to put up details of ongoing criminal investigations, informing officers of new operating procedures or upcoming classes. However for several days in May 2010, then-Chief Julie Williams used the board to post pages from this web site's message board where citizens and police officers had posted information that was critical of her and her leadership along with derogatory pages from Serianni's personnel file.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Serianni v City of Venice -- Day 1

The opening day, August 6, of the trial of Venice Police Office Demetri Serianni v The City of Venice was for the most part a yawner. At stake is an award to Serianni of anywhere  from $100 k in attorney's fees to a couple of million on pain and suffering punitive damages, so this is not a minor deal. This case is to the current administration what the Sunshine Law lawsuit was to the Ed Martin administration and here, again, the city's legal strategy has bungled what should have been a small case that should have been settled out of court a year ago into a monstrous financial black hole with bottom discernible.

Having followed this case closely from the start, I am pretty comfortable stating that the city will lose this case on a big scale. How big will be up to the jury, five women and three men from all over central Florida.

The first half of the first day was spent on jury selection. Two women from Venice were in the selection pool. The first was a retired university professor from Iowa who now lives on the island of Venice. She stated she had attended functions where former Mayor Ed Martin and former city councilwoman Sue Lang had spoken (both Lang and Martin were on the original witness list, Lang was dropped after telling attorneys that she remembered little and that she has a phobia about traveling on the interstate highways).

This potential juror's comment during voir dire questioning that "the politics in Venice are crazy" earned her a peremptory strike from the city's legal team, this despite Judge Virginia Hernandez-Covington's statement to the city's legal team that she found the statement vague and not meaningful: "People sometimes say things without really thinking about what they are saying."

The other, an RN who works at Venice Regional Hospital, stated she was a social acquaintance of current councilwoman Jeanette Gates (also on the current witness list). Under questioning from the judge, the potential juror stated she and Gates ran "...in the same social circles," but that she did not know Gates all that well. She stated she had heard a bit about this current lawsuit, but not enough to form an opinion. She was eventually selected for the jury.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The lies of Greg Giles

The Venice Gondolier admitted that they are scared of me in a recent editorial, a line so wonderful that I am using it in political ads. This, however, has led the newspaper to go beyond stating their opinions. So disturbed at my candidacy, the paper is now actively in the game of trying to affect political outcome by peddling fictions, this through the work of their star ace cub reporter (and Alaskan ex-pat) Greg Giles, who has been inventing an alternate universe and, in issue after issue, reporting this set of fictions as fact.

Sounds like a paranoid delusion, right? Because the next question you would have is: Why would the Gondo do that?

One doesn't need to look too far into the organization to understand how truly scared the newspaper is of me. Giles' immediate supervisor is Bob Mudge, an ex-attorney who, prior to working for the Gondolier, was an in-house attorney with the Boone law firm.

For those of you who are new in town, Boone, Boone, Boone, Hines, & Koda is the local law firm that has financially supported the campaigns of the current majority of city council and who also represent any land developer who wants to get anything built in Venice or annexed into Venice. Attorney Jeff Boone is currently the chair of the Charter Review Board, which has been tasked with reviewing council members' benefits.

Below is a slightly modified version of an email that was sent to Gondo editor Bob Mudge on November 2, detailing some of the many recent fictions that Giles has invented.

BTW: Online campaign reports, to verify statements below, can be found at http://www.venicegov.com/Municipal_links/City_Clerk/election.htm

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nonpartisanship questioned by dummies who don't understand campaign laws

The following is a Letter to the Editor at the Gondolier, which I guarantee you that they won't publish as they are not in the habit of correcting their errors. This is in response to a recent article that stated that myself and Don Anderson had violated campaign laws by working at the fair booths of national political parties during the recent Sun Fiesta. In reality, Dave Sherman and Gondo reporter Greg Giles invented a non-existent law and then chastised us for breaking it. Proofreaders and fact-checkers at the Gondo let it slide into print without verifying the accuracy of the story.

Contrary to what you might have read or written, there is no prohibition against political parties getting involved in non-partisan elections. Quite the opposite is true and always has been. To write that partisanship has been "happening subtly for years" indicates that the writer has either been sleeping for a few decades or is writing about a land I know not where.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Patten's platform -- a self-serving bit of self-promotion

Venice United had me fill out a questionnaire, and I'm proud of what I wrote, so here it is, below, in full. They never did endorse anyone. Seems that in the end, they wanted someone who looked distinguished like Sherman, but that thought like me.

Go figure.

Anyway, this pretty much spells out my platform and how I think for those that are unfamiliar with my writing over the years.

"Democracy doesn't work unless you participate." -- Frank Zappa