Good evening, County Commissioners.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter to you. Yesterday, I
stated my position and had every intention of moving forward; however,
Commissioner Williamson’s recent Facebook post demands an answer.
At yesterday’s meeting, Commissioner Williamson spoke of the will of the
people, and supporting the Navarre community. He did not apologize to the
board; he did not state he would not do the same thing again (…”would have
likely taken different action…”); he did not acknowledge or apologize for
undermining the board, only that it wasn’t his “intent.”
Now once again, he has taken to Facebook to attack those who sought to hold
him accountable for his illegal actions (F.S. 812.014), and the disrespect
and utter contempt he showed the governing Board of Commission: each of you.
It was stated by Commissioner Cole that “we all make mistakes.” Yes, we do
all make mistakes. However, when a mentally fit person makes a mistake, they
acknowledge the mistake, admit it was wrong, apologize and attempt to make
it right. As you can read from his Facebook post late this morning, he once
again justifies his actions by attacking those who seek good governance.
He states that Facebook should be a means of communication. Okay, let us
think about his position in the context in which he speaks. If Facebook is
the great means of communicating, why not did Commissioner Williamson
utilize this means of communication when he pushed and supported moving
forward with the new marketing campaign to include the signs – for the last
year as he stated in his video? Why is he only now concerned with the will
of the people? He could have sought the community’s input prior to the
Board’s decision – and he would’ve have if he cared; however he genuinely
cares not; he cares about framing himself as the “defender” of the “people.”
Now, based on his actions, he wants to govern by Facebook. It is a means of
communication but it should never, never be a tool to govern, especially
from a closed, censured Facebook page. Again, in the context of his posts,
is the Board now to seek the will of Facebook before taking any action? Or
after action is taken, seek the approval of those on Facebook and if they
express disapproval, change policies to reflect the emotional sentiment of
those on Facebook? Is this really good governance?
Regarding his supposed support of Navarre, why did he attempt to remove the
only storm water projects from the L.O.S.T. because it would be unfair to
the “folks” in the north end of the county? Why did it take a different
district’s commissioner – thank you Commissioner Lynchard – to fight for
something that will have a real effect on Navarre residents’ lives. But I
digress, back to Commissioner Williamson’s actions.
He expressed faux humility at yesterday’s board meeting. I write faux
because if you read his post, his narcissistic behavior is on full display.
Why did he not have the courage to say this to you, or me, or anyone else at
the meeting. He hides behind his keyboard using Facebook as a sword to
strike down those who have the audacity to stand for our Representative
Republic, while reveling in the praise heaped upon him. Commissioner Parker
so aptly stated yesterday that Commissioner Williamson has made himself to
be the hero and each of you the bad guys. After his FB post, Commissioner
Williamson continues to don the cape of a hero while casting those – like me
and you by proxy – who disagree with his actions as a modern-day Dracula
seeking to suck the blood out of Navarre residents.
Representation is crucial to our Representative Republic, but this is not
what Commissioner Williamson is attempting to do. By his very actions, and
his post today, he is attempting a coup through a minority. He is attempting
to de-legitimize the Board of County Commissioners and residents who think
doing things right is important. Are these citizens input important? Yes.
But these citizens have no more rights than the majority. Williamson’s
claims that the minority should be heard as equally as the majority is
correct, but he perverts the principle and takes it over the edge. He uses
it to condone immediate and illegal action. He claims in the same post that
his side is both the minority and the majority. If that makes the side I’m
on the minority, then may I also take immediate illegal action, “in the name
of the people?” This is the antifa-antics of a banana republic, not a
Constitutional Representative Republic.
“When occasions present themselves in which the interests of the people
are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom
appointed to be the guardians of those interests to withstand the
temporary delusions in order to give them time and opportunity for more cool
reflection. Instances might be cited in which a conduct of this kind has
saved the people from very fatal consequences of their own mistakes, and has
procured lasting monument of their gratitude to the men who had courage
and magnanimity enough to serve them at the peril of their displeasure.”
In other words, those elected to govern are not to react to the emotions of
a few or even hundreds; they are to withstand the temporary emotional based
outcries in order to give them time to calm down. A leader is to lead, not
“No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interests
would certainly bias his judgement, and, not improbably, corrupt his
In other words, Commissioner Williamson is being the judge of his cause and
actions: these are biased at best; lies at worst.
Now there is a protest schedule for this Friday, spurred on, in part, by
Commissioner Williamson’s initial and subsequent actions, to include today’s
FB post. Human nature proves that when reckless, illegal action is foregone
for the sake of “it’s just a mistake, let’s move on,” subsequent behavior
will only be emboldened; this is exactly what is happening now. Williamson
has been emboldened by a lack of clear disciplinary action by the Board, and
the residents who are allowing themselves to be taken over by their emotions
have been emboldened by Williamson’s public display of warrior-esque words
Regarding the illegality of his actions, he claims it was a lie that laws
were broken when he took down the sign. (He also claims that the sign being
20 years old is a lie, but why let the facts get in the way of a good tale.)
When he unilaterally acted, without board consensus, to remove a county
property sign, he illegally acted. He does not have the authority per
Florida Statute or per the charter that governs the Board of County
Commission to individually, unilaterally remove county property. He cannot
claim de facto immunity simply because he is the chairman or a commissioner.
Florida Statute 812.014 states, “Theft – (1) A person commits theft if he or
she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the
property of another with the intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
(a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from
the property. (b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the
use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.”
(1): He knowingly obtained property that does not belong to him, but to
Santa Rosa County, and thereby (a) deprived Santa Rosa County of the
property and a benefit from the property. He then sought to (b) appropriate
the property for his own political ambition and is not entitled the use of
that property for that benefit.
So yes, I stand by my claim that he broke the law.
As Thomas Hobbes wrote in 1651 in Leviathan, “The source of every crime, is
some defect of the understanding; or some error in reasoning; or some sudden
force of the passions.”
That is human nature and human nature has not changed; it is on full display
through Commissioner Williamson’s actions.
Now… what does this have to do with each of you?
While you cannot remove him from the Commission, you can remove him from the
Chairman position and from the Tourist Development Council. Through his
continued use of Facebook to further stir up emotions, solicit support, and
foment protests – and an obvious lack of courage to say these things to each
of you at the meeting – further confirms his contempt for our
Representative Republic, good governance, the Santa Rosa County Board of
County Commission, county staff, Paradise Marketing, and constituents like
As for me, I will stand upon the principles of this great Republic, and if
this puts me in the minority and derided by the likes of Commissioner
Williamson, so be it. I will stand for what is right, not what is popular.
In 1988, I took an oath to defend the United States Constitution. Each of
you took an oath to uphold the United States Constitution and the law. I
still stand by that oath and the principles embedded in me in the U.S. Navy;
I will not now or ever be silent when elected officials seek to subvert for
their own political gain the very thing I took an oath to defend.
I close with this: “If ever a time should come when vain and aspiring men
shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in
need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin” Samuel Adams, 1780.
If Santa Rosa County and Navarre is ever in need of your experience and
patriotism to prevent the ruin of the Board, Santa Rosa County and Navarre
by one man’s usurpation of and lust for power, it is now.
Yvonne C. Harper