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Was the Wetlands Petition Really About the Right to Vote?

Was the Wetlands Petition Really About the Right to Vote?

Last year, the Wakulla Wetlands Alliance embarked on a petition drive to give the Citizens of Wakulla County the “Right to Vote”.  Were they being sincere when they told everyone this issue was about the right to vote or was that message chosen to convince voters to sign their petition?  Was it ever really about the right to vote? 

Let’s take a look to see if their actions line up with their words.

In the photo below, you can see their message.


Now let’s take a look at what our County Charter says…

To summarize, after the minimum number of petitions are obtained, the Board of County Commissioners had 2 choices:
1. Adopt the ordinance as referenced on the petition, which would take away the citizens right to vote on this issue.
2. Do not adopt the ordinance as referenced on the petition and allow the citizens to vote on the proposed ordinance.

If the Wakulla Wetlands Alliance sincerely wanted the voters of Wakulla County to have the right to vote, wouldn’t it make sense that they would encourage the Board to approve option #2, Do not adopt the ordinance and give the voters the right to vote?

Unfortunately, that is not what they did.  The vast majority of speakers encouraged the Board to adopt the ordinance and take away the voters right to vote on this issue.

It turns out, the Wakulla Wetlands Alliance abandoned their “Right to Vote” message after the petitions were obtained.

Thanks to 4 Commissioners, you still have the right to vote and I hope you will vote NO on Referendum A!

You now know the truth. Your friends and family deserve to know the truth also. Please share this with everyone you know and please leave a comment below.

See for yourself by clicking the link below!

19 Responses to “Was the Wetlands Petition Really About the Right to Vote?”

  1. Marc Lipsius says:

    You are using this Facebook page to advance your own personal agenda, which is fine. But it is not the opinion of the entire Board of County Commissioners nor of any other official Wakulla County government organization. You should not be trying to impress or influence anyone with your official-looking Wakulla County picture on here as it misrepresents you and the County, it is unethical and may even be illegal. I will be finding that out and others may want to look into that as well. You can have your own Facebook page and your own opinion page in the Wakulla Life magazine, just post your own photo without the Wakulla County logo and county seal behind you.

    • ralph says:

      Mr. Lipsius,

      Thank you very much for reading my blog. Let me start by agreeing with you. You caught me. I am in fact using Facebook and my personal blog to advance my personal agenda. For the benefit of other readers who may not have figured out what you figured out, I will come clean and reveal my entire personal agenda. It is…

      Spreading the Truth!

      When good people know the truth, they make the best decisions! In case you haven’t noticed, everything I say is sourced, referenced, and backed up by facts. Funny thing, the folks who typically do not like my posts have a tendency to ignore the facts and resort to attacks. Fortunately for me, given my commitment to stick with the facts, my posts are able to withstand the attacks.

      To the best of my memory, I believe this is my first dialogue with you. For that reason, I will overlook your accusations about unethical and illegal behavior and I will dismiss them as a momentary lapse of good judgement.

      I make myself available to discuss this, or any issue with you. You can reach me by phone at 597-3858, or I am willing you meet with you for a glass of sweet tea and a constructive conversation between gentlemen.


      Ralph Thomas

  2. Marc Lipsius says:

    Awaiting moderation = censorship.

  3. Marc Lipsius says:

    As a typical politician you have avoided the issue I raised about using that official looking picture with the Wakulla County logo and seal behind you, using your priviledged position to promote your personal gain. You have the perfect right to have a blog and post whatever "truth" you want, but I don't think you have the right to do that in front of that Wakulla County seal, implying endorsement of your position or being the official position of the County government. That is the issue here. If you want to respond to that I would be interested in hearing what you have to say, and if you want to back up your position with codes or rules and regulations you can find that allow that, let's see them.


    • ralph says:

      Ok Mr. Lipsius, I tried to give you a pass, but if you insist, I am happy to address the issue you raised.  The thing I love most about my blog, it provides me the opportunity to share the truth and educate people about issues that are important to our Community.  So I invite you to grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfortable chair and prepare to be educated.

      1. The Wakulla County Logo is not in the photo at all.  If you would like to learn what the Wakulla County logo looks like, you can view it on the official  Wakulla County website here
      2. The Seal you refer to is also not the Wakulla County Seal.  It saddens me to have to tell you this.  That is the Great Seal of the State of Florida.  In case you haven’t seen it, it is also located on the State Flag.  Now that you have learned this, I hope you don’t think that I am “implying endorsement” of my position being the official position of the State of Florida.
      3. See that flag over my right shoulder?  I hope you don’t think its presence implies endorsement of my position as the official position of the United States Government.
      4. Regarding your comment, “I don’t think you have the right”, the next time you choose to attack someone, attempt to impugn their integrity, and accuse them of illegal activity, maybe you should “think” carefully about your words and their consequences.  Of better yet, maybe you should do a little homework before you embarrass yourself. 

      I could go on, but I’m hoping you now understand the error of your ways.  My offer is still on the table for a glass of sweet tea and civil conversation.  That’s up to you.


      Ralph Thomas

  4. Marc Lipsius says:

    Oh, so sorry for mistaking that seal. You're right – what an embarassment.

    I guess your chosing that photo of yourself sitting in the chamber in front of the Wakulla County sign, the seal of the great State of Florida, and the flag of the United States, was to show your dedication, integrity and patriotism as well as for standing for the "truth". There obviously could be no other reason, no self-indulgance, no hint of "endorsement", no promotional influence – oh, the "error of my ways". Carry on. I will not be joining you for tea at the moment, especially, sweet tea.


    • ralph says:

      Mr. Lipsius,

      It is clear that you have spent more time analyzing and contemplating my photo than I have, so maybe I can shed a little more light on the subject.  I started the blog just a few weeks after taking office.  At that time, I had very few photos to choose from.  That photo was taken by my wife on the day I took office.  It was the first photo on the first day, so it seems to be a perfect choice for my blog and it is the only photo that I have every used as my background.  I tell you this, not to justify its presence.  I really could not care care less if you approve of the photo.  I tell you this to demonstrate that you are making a big deal out of nothing.

      My offer will remain on the table.  Given your disposition, maybe lemonaid would be more appropiate, also unsweetened.

      Ralph Thomas

  5. Marc Lipsius says:

    Yes, that is a lovely photo, taken by your lovely wife. But it was taken the day you took office, to celebrate your position there, was it not? And that is what you are doing every time it appears, so you are actually agreeing with me. I am not the only one who thinks this is inappropriate, but you do what you believe is right and who is anyone to offer a different opinion?

    • ralph says:

      Sir, I welcome and invite you to share your opinion at any time, even if it differs from mine.  I am very tolerant and willing to engage in constructive and respectul dialogue.  I am much less tolerent of accusations that accuse me of illegal and unethical behaviour.  From this point forward, as far as I am concerned, I will forgive and forget and it is my sincere desire that you and I can start over and treat each other like neighbors and gentlemen.


      Ralph Thomas

  6. Marcus Floyd says:

    Mr. Lipsius,

    Though I appreciate your thoroughness in such issues.  I certainly hope that you are even more though when going after Mr. Kessler who, as you can see in the photo above, chose to drive around Wakulla County in his vehicle with a sign promoting his false agenda, along with a sign on the door of his vehicle actually stating that he is a county commissioner.  I personally would enjoy reading such an attack to Mr. Kessler with the same assertiveness, and malice from yourself.  If you wouldn’t mind, please post a link here, so may read that post as well.

    Thank you,


  7. Marc Lipsius says:

    Mr. Thomas,

    As you must know, Wakulla County does not have its' own Code of Ethics, but defers to the State of Florida.

    In the Florida Code of Ethics, and here specifically, this would seem to apply –s112.313(6) MISUSE OF PUBLIC POSITION.—No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney shall corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position or any property or resource which may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself, herself, or others. This section shall not be construed to conflict with s. 104.31.

    Your picture plainly shows you in your seat at the Commissioner's dais in the County Commissioners quarters and touts your position there, as evidenced by your saying your wife took it the day you were elected and you thought it was the perfect choice for your blog. You are proud of this photo, and this position on the BOCC, as you should be, but this photograph still implies an official position and therefore an endorsement by the Commision and/or the Wakulla County government, and tends to add credibility or legitimacy to your opinions, and does indeed advance your personal agenda. And that is the Truth that you seek. It could be very easily solved by cropping that picture and removing the official background, or by posting a very plainly read disclaimer below that photo, wherever it is used, stating that the opinions expressed by you on that page are solely your opinions and are not those of, nor are they endorsed by, either the BOCC or County government. And we do know who you are, by name and by face, without that background, so it (the background)  is abolutely not necessary for a personal blog or magazine article.

    I don't know why you find that so difficult to understand and are so dismissive and don't give my opinion any merit. After all, I am just another constituent looking out for the good of my elected officials. You are not giving me any counter argument at all, of why you think this is right or of no concern. I think cropping that photo or putting a disclaimer underneath would be a lot better than someone posting this in social media to gain much wider attention and comment, or to be brought up at a BOCC meeting as a possible ethics violation, or even face a formal charge of an ethics violation. If I were you, I would either crop the photo or post a disclaimer. That would be the right thing to do.

    Actually, Mr. Floyd, you are totally correct, but I am focusisng on only one issue at this time. This is incorrect no matter which public official does it. And I would imagine if Mr. Kessler was also notified of this, he would immediately see the point and agree.

    • ralph says:

      Mr. Lipsius,

      Please allow me to suggest a few concepts that will help you realize you are wasting your time and mine.

      1. Please explain how I am “corruptly” using my position.
      2. Please identify the “resource which may be within my trust”.
      3. Please identify the “special privilege, benefit, or exemption” you believe I am receiving.

      It may not hurt you to also do a bit of research into the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, specifically the section that pertains to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press.  It is not news to me that people like you exist in our Country who wish to suppress opinions that differ from yours.  Fortunately, for our Great Nation, there are men like me who refuse to let that happen.



  8. Marc Lipsius says:

    Nobody is supressing your opinions at all, your freedom of speech or your freedom of the press, so don't make that up as coming from me. You are free to voice your opinions in any way you see fit, with the exeption of using your political position to further your personal points of view, as on your blog. Nobody is violating or supressing your First Amendment rights, but you see absolutely nothing wrong with your posting that picture of you in the County Commissioner's chair and that having no influence on your blog posts, that is not privilege being gained by you? If you don't see that, then there's nothing further I can do to explain it to you. And was it OK for Mr. Kessler to ride around in his vehicle with those signs on it expressing his point of view, or does this concept I am trying to explain to you only apply to him and not to you? If Marcus Floyd thinks Kessler was wrong, then he must think you wrong too. Tell me why you feel justified to keep that picture up there without editing out the background  or adding a disclaimer as I suggested? Like a typical politician you won't answer the question, you keep trying to throw it back on me.

  9. Marc Lipsius says:

    We'll see. Enjoy it and get as much mileage out of it, as well as the Commisioner seat, for as long as it lasts.                                    

    I love your ability to spin, it's one of your attributes. Too bad you dismiss other's opinions and have nothing to offer but attempts at talking down to me with

    demeaning negative comebacks. The honorable approach would have been to accept what I had to say, understand my point of view which is also shared by others, and be willing to reach a compromise with at least a disclaimer if not the changing the photo. So you sir, Mr. Commisioner, also have a nice day.  We'll be in touch, I'm sure.

    • ralph says:

      Honorable?  Mr. Lipsius, you have some nerve.  I know you didn’t ask for it, but this my blog and I would like to give you some advice.  The next time to approach a perfect stranger, with notions of compromise, consider doing so with a bit of kindness in your heart.  I do not negotiate with bullies!  


  10. Kathleen Lamarche says:

    Thank you, Ralph, for your dedication to Wakulla County and our citizens.  You are a credit to our community, and I applaud your efforts to shed light on this oh! so murky subject of wetlands "protection",,,and I agree with you wholeheartedly.  It isn't easy to spend so much time trying to educate the public, and you deserve everyone's gratitude.

  11. Marc Lipsius says:

    You nay call me names if that makes you feel better, it doesn't change a thing.

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