I was reading John Labriola's blog, and I have to admit he is good. How one person can make an issue from vapor is impressive.
You might remember Labriola from the recent Library muddle. Labriola, and a handful of out-of-county discontents, demanded our Library remove a tiny, harmless display of LGBT materials from the public areas. He didn't get his way, so he went to the County Commissioners. There, three of our commissioners stopped him short. But he continued and demanded that the Library Board be reconstituted to reflect his conservation, anti-gay ideas. A meeting was held, and, much to his dismay, the old Library Board was reappointed. But that didn't stop him from attacking the Library Board members.
Labriola is like a dog with a bone who won't let go. Once he discovered he could not get his way with the Library Board, he started to attack more volunteer government officials.
At the re-appointment meeting, Crystal River Councilman Ken Brown made a motion to reappoint all five incumbent members of the Library Advisory Board whose terms had expired. Citrus County Commissioner Holly Davis immediately seconded the motion. Without any proof, Labriola decided that the speed of the motion and second were signs of a conspiracy, and he made this an issue.
When that didn't go anywhere, he and his Library gang went after Inverness City Councilwoman Jacquie Hepfer. They urged the Council to remove her from the Library Board. Her sin: she voted to continue the term of office for the incumbent library board members. That didn't go anywhere.
At the meeting to reelect Library Board members, Josh Wooten spoke out. His message conflicted with the message Labriola was trying to sell. Wooten said he doesn't hear from the business community about the Library. Wooten hears about the Turnpike coming to Citrus; he hears about inflation or other business items, but he does not hear about the Library displays. In his short three-minute speech, Wooten said some who spoke were agitators, and we will hear from these folks again.
Labriola is one of the agitators who now wants the Chamber to fire their long-time leader. He has organized the Library Gang to write to the Chamber's Board to get this done. Emails, one Board member describes, as hateful and scary. He has advocated for a boycott of Chamber members' businesses.
Do we need this in Citrus County?