I recently read an OpEd on Brevard Times in which one of Trudie Infantini’s supporters, Mark Clancey, spread some false information about Infantini’s opponent Joe Pishgar. I thought it was important to take some time and set the record straight, and I hope that this helps voters sort through the misinformation and make an informed decision about who to support in the County Commission race for Brevard’s District 3.
On November 14th of 2011, I was at the Sun Shoppe in Downtown Melbourne when candidate Joe Pishgar did indeed show up and ask registered voters to sign his petitions to qualify for the ballot as a candidate for County Commission. He explained that candidates need registered voters to sign their petitions because the alternative is to pay a gigantic $3,800 fee just to appear on the ballot. Pish explained the reasons that he was running, and that his platform included the issues of job creation, low taxes, and responsibility in government.
It’s true that an Occupy meeting was going on at that time, and that Pishgar spoke to the voters present during the meeting. What’s not true about what Clancey said in his article is that Pish was a member of the group itself, or that he came asking for an endorsement.
But yet Trudie Infantini and Mark Clancey have both been saying that Joe Pishgar was not only part of the Occupy movement itself, but that he sought the endorsement of Occupy at this meeting at the Sun Shoppe, since some of the members present at the Sun Shoppe that day signed his candidate petition.
Clancey even went on in his article to say that the Occupy group endorsed Pish, and they clearly did not. We know this because Occupy doesn’t even endorse candidates, and that’s a simple thing that anyone can google to discover.
Clancey also states that pictures of Joe Pishgar on Pishgar’s campaign website were of Pishgar participating in Occupy protests. This too is false. Those pictures are from Awake the State protests, against Governor Scott’s proposed cuts to infrastructure funding on the Space Coast.
As for the meeting minute-taker at the Sun Shoppe last November, Occupy selects its note taker at random and certainly not on the basis of who is most qualified to record the events of the meeting. This person simply wasn’t paying attention or didn’t understand what was going on, which is clear from that person’s own recollection of events. The minute-taker wrote that Pish was asking for petitions to be signed to “get on the ballet as an occupy candidate.” This is patently false, as Pishgar’s petitions clearly state that he was running as a candidate of the Florida Democratic Party. "Occupy" is not a party, and even if it were, Pish wouldn't be on their ballot.
Folks make mistakes, and desperate politicians will be sure to seize on them when they occur if there's any hint of political advantage to be obtained by doing so.
At the end of the day Clancey and the rest of the Infantini camp have been degrading the democratic process by blowing a lot of smoke over a simple mistake by a random note-taker, along with their own inability to distinguish pictures from an Awake the State rally for Brevard’s infrastructure from an Occupy Protest.
This speaks more towards Infantini’s desperation to distract voters from true campaign issues than anything else.
As citizens, we have a responsibility to demand a higher level of discourse from our public officials and candidates. We need to demand a discussion about the real issues facing citizens on the Space Coast today, and talk about how to bring Brevard County’s economy back to where it should be.
Pishgar is running a campaign based on creating good jobs in Brevard County, and improving our local economy for the long-haul. He’s running to keep taxes low while responsibly funding county services that folks and businesses need.
At the end of the day, Brevard’s voters will have a choice between a serious candidate who brings the voters’ attention to the issues, or a part-time incumbent Commissioner who seeks to distract the voters from her record by misleading them and misrepresenting her opponent’s character and values.
Fortunately for Brevard, the voters are smart enough see through the Infantini camp’s deception and will make the right choice for real leadership in November.
Letter to The Editor
by Jonathan Kurtz
Melbourne Beach, Florida