Don Burnette’s campaign for Mayor of Port Orange sunk deeper into the politics of deception this past week. His use of the official seal of the City to imply endorsement of his campaign is certainly unethical and no doubt illegal as well. Ted Noftall, his opponent in the race, pointed out at the August 2, 2016 City Council meeting that use of the seal on political literature is a violation of Florida Statutes, Section 165.043. Such a violation constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree and is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 and/or 60 days in jail.
Burnette admitted his wrongdoing at the meeting (“oversight” was his term), and it is obvious that he has no “certificate of approval” to use the logo as is required by City Ordinance 2012-18. So, it seems the only determination that remains to be made is the amount of the fine and/or number of days in jail. Right?
Anyone who believes that has not been paying attention to Port Orange government for a long time. If you are merely a citizen and taxpayer, the powers-that-be will slap a fine on you so fast it will make your head spin; but, if you are a member of the elite like Burnette about all you can expect are a few chuckles from fellow Council members about your careless “oversight”.
While nothing of any consequence may ever be done to Burnette, the way that he mishandled the situation speaks volumes about his character. He failed to mention the illegal action until he was caught and once caught he tried to make light of it by calling it an oversight. I don’t want a careless criminal as Mayor of Port Orange.