Many months ago, District 4 commissioner and incumbent candidate Rob Williamson was keeping count of how many editorials we wrote about him. In the spirit of not wanting to disappoint him, and because time may be running out for the opportunity, we have at least one more. He won’t mind because he recently said on a Facebook post Navarre Press can no longer hurt him or anyone else. Really, we aren’t trying to hurt Williamson or anyone for that matter, but sometimes the truth hurts. In truth, we have given him four years of good advice and counseling – for FREE. But as the adage goes, you can’t help someone who won’t admit there is a problem.
Rob Williamson is a man of many faces. The face he most wants you to see is the smiling gregarious commissioner who wants you to believe he has his constitutents’ interests at the forefront. That he is the solution-centered conservative. He touts his work on infrastructure and managed growth when the zoning record shows differently.
When we drill all of it down, out of the clouds where his accomplishments live, we find his actions speak louder than words. Williamson is the commissioner who has bowed more than once to developers. Williamson is the one who on record said he was for developing every inch of available beach property. In fact, he is the one who we believe unilaterally had the fee simple bill language changed to remove the beach protection clause. He has shown himself to be FOR unrestrained development.
Williamson lacks integrity. He refers to his opponents supporters as drinking the “Colonel kool-aid” and saying in campaign events that being in the military does not qualify you for running for office, as if landscaping does. At the end of one such event, he refused to shake his opponent’s hand. During one visit to the Visitor Information Center, Williamson parked in a spot reserved for Purple Heart recipients. He called it an “honest mistake” even though he claims it was his idea to add that space to the parking lot. What does a dishonest mistake look like? The disrespect or lack of respect he shows to the military is telling. And yet, the National Association of Counties has elected him to serve on their Veterans and Military Services Committee. But they don’t know what we know.
Now, Williamson is shamelessly using his addiction and his claim of sobriety to pander even more votes. In a place that requires anonymity, he has used his social media platform to “check-in” to his AA meetings. In the past, he would take selfies at his meetings – and those wanting to remain anonymous were outed by his photos. Now, he carries his “recovery” like a torch. It is a trail of disaster. Financial failure, foreclosures, bankruptcy and addiction. He nearly drowned, went hungry as a child, lived in all 67 counties of the state of Florida. Next we will see the tragic story play out on the Lifetime Movie Network.
When we watch the famous video made for his campaign, we see the actor he is. He bends down, stares off into the distance with a look of seriousness. We can almost hear the director saying, “more emotion, Rob.” And he delivers. We see him standing in the middle of a peanut field although we aren’t sure why…(north Santa Rosa County-vote for me). Then we see him as he mirrors the memorial statue by kneeling (military-vote for me), then he is at the beach (south county-vote for me). And most interesting of all is all the photos of his meet and greet – with a bar of every kind of liquor facing him.
There are instances time and again where his temper was out of control…in public. There are examples of irresponsible spending from him – what do you expect with his past. There are times when he was a bully and issued veiled threats. And we have seen it escalate to the point where during a board of county commission meeting break, he threw his jacket to the ground and challenged fellow commissioner Bob Cole to a fight outside. Where will that temper go next? Who will his next victim be?
Folks, Williamson is a man of many faces. But the beautiful thing about voting in the United States of America is that once you are in the booth, your vote is yours. All of the intimidation, threats and bullying goes away – he has no power over you in a voting booth. Your vote is private and it is protected by the very military he dismisses. Vote responsibly.