Monday, August 6, 2018

North Bay Village Campaign - The Dirty War

The dirty war is starting early in the North Bay Village Campaign.  

Disinformation is not always massive Kremlin or other government cyber-operations.  In a small town like ours, it happens through gossip spread by seemingly innocuous questions and doubts.  

Don't believe me?  Our mayor is a master of this.  She talks sincerely one on one and claims not to understand something, asking a third party helplessly if they can clarify.   As a cunning person, she knows full well that the other person will sympathetically pose the false question to others and with that gets the lie out.  

I've been the target of this many times by her and her colluders.   

It's starting early in this campaign.   

The Laura Cattabriga Kreps Crew who desperately want to keep their three vote majority on the dais so as to avoid the investigations reaching the dais, and they are supported by overpaid employees with a lot to lose?  They've already started.  

Here's one example.  

Interim Village Manager Lewis Velken asked a third party to reach out to me and clarify that he really does make less than the previous police chief.  Seems reasonable, right?  

But it's not hard to find me.  In fact, I had written an email to him and the mayor seeking clarification on his claim that he is making $40,000 a year less than the previous police chief since the published numbers do not bear that out.  You can read it here.   And yet no answer.   

So why refuse to answer me but yet very concernedly ask a third party, with no direct knowledge, to get this clarified?  

Well, maybe I'm that scary.  I don't think so but if you frighten easily...

Or maybe the purpose was not to clarify.  

Maybe the purpose was to discredit me and put the information out there.   

Do I sound paranoid?  

I might be but it's happened before.  

In 2014, when the mayor ran against Jorge Brito, she very concernedly asked voters why her opponent's address was not listed in the voter registration or property records?  Were they sure he lived here?   

It was ridiculous of course as our mayor knew very well that law enforcement personnel are exempt from public listings but it did a great job of spreading untrue gossip about her opponent.  And it worked.  The rumor flew around.  

In this go around, the classic disinformation is already happening.  

This weekend a nonvoter in North Bay Village explained that the mayor had spoken to him, questioning candidate Julianna Strout's voter registration.  Not saying it was invalid, not directly, but wondering about the validity.   

The third party then obligingly brought the "question" to a neighbor and now the "question" is out there.  

Here's the thing.   Julianna Strout's voter registration was checked by our Village Clerk and then by the Elections Department on Miami-Dade County.   It is valid and conforms and they sent confirmation of such.  

But it feels like the first disinformation through genuine "questions", a hallmark of the mayor and now of Laura Cattabriga, her protege and North Bay Village mayoral candidate?  

I've written about Cattabriga's "questions" before.  She's either entirely befuddled or maybe these are not honest questions. 

As this campaign hits its stride, here are some good rules.  

  1. Anyone asking a rhetorical question or who should be in a position to have the answer, stop them then and there.  Ask them if they have the answer and if they don't, why not?
  2. Understand that in a small town like ours, you can reach directly to the source.  Nobody in North Bay Village is hard to find.

  3. Try to understand why you were asked that question.  What special knowledge did the questioner assume you had that was unavailable to her?  How does the questioner propose to get a definitive answer?  
Questions?  Good move.  Answers.  Next move.  

Postscript:  my favorite planted question was one posed by a friend of the mayor on social media.  She was "wondering" what I had been indicted for?   And for whatever record there may be, I have never been arrested, indicted or otherwise impugned but that question was asked without curiosity.  See what I mean?

Kevin Vericker
August 6, 2018

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