Saturday, March 7, 2015


I try hard to ensure factual accuracy in all my posts, but unintentional errors are inevitable. I encourage readers to point them out to me as soon as possible, so that I can publish corrections.

On March 6, Jared Grifoni, Chairman, Libertarian Party of Collier County (LPCC), messaged me through the Sparker’s Soapbox Facebook Page. He wrote, in part:
I have recently noticed that some of your blog posts contain a good deal of factual inaccuracies. I think you are mischaracterizing some of the Libertarian positions vis-à-vis local control/common core/SB864/etc in an effort to lump everyone you disagree with together. Perhaps it’s easier to create a monster when dealing in generalities instead of specifics?"
He then pointed out several statements that I would like to correct:

In a post on February 1 and again in a post on March 5, I said that representatives of the Libertarian Party of Collier County (LPCC) urged the Board of County Commissioners to support the Florida Education Stakeholders Empowerment bill. The LPCC has never endorsed the bill.

In a post on February 1, I said Jared Grifoni is a past chairman of the LPCC and a regular public speaker at School Board meetings and workshops. Mr. Grifoni is the current Chairman of the LPCC, not a past Chairman. And according to Mr. Grifoni, the first time he addressed the School Board was in January 2015 and he has not spoken at or attended a school board workshop to date.

In a post on February 9, I said, “The Resolution [petitioning Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature to enact legislation to 'restore the local School Boards’ control of educational standards, curriculum, and student assessments']" was initially put forward at a Board of County Commissioners meeting by Mr. Grifoni, Peter Richter, Vice Chairman of the LPCC, and Keith Flaugh, who leads the Southwest Florida Citizen Alliance. The Resolution was read into the record at the BCC meeting by LPCC Vice Chairman Peter Richter, not all three people mentioned.

In a post on February 16, I wrote, “Don’t let a very vocal but small group led by the Southwest Florida Citizens Alliance, Libertarian Party of Collier County and Parents ROCK disrupt the way our District is run.” According to Mr. Grifoni, “No officers of the LPCC have spoken at any of the book review workshops yet you have lumped the LPCC in with the SWFL Citizen’s Alliance and Parents ROCK as part of that effort.”

I would like to thank Mr. Grifoni for pointing out that I conflated the actions and interests of the Libertarian Party of Collier County, the SWFL Citizens Alliance, and ParentsROCK. While this was unintentional on my part, he is correct. The groups may share positions on some issues (e.g. opposition to Common Core), however they do not necessarily share positions on all issues.

I appreciate that Mr. Grifoni took the time to provide his feedback.  I encourage other readers to do so as well. 


  1. I want to make sure I understand why you were accused of creating a monster by lumping the LPCC in with its allies, Parents ROCK, and the SW FL Citizens Alliance, and by dealing with generalities rather than specifics. The implication here is that you mischaracterized the libertarian party. Let’s look at that again (granted, I don’t have access to Grifoni’s message, only excerpts).

    First point: At the LPCC-hosted event at the Marco Island City Council meeting, they used the Florida Education Stakeholders Empowerment bill to draw people to the meeting.

    Maybe the LPCC never formally endorsed the bill, but clearly they support it. That doesn’t sound like a mischaracterization to me. Cross that one off the list.

    Second point: Sparkers Soapbox claimed Grifoni and Richter submitted the resolution to the Marco Island City Council, when in reality, only Richter, the LPCC VP, read the resolution into the record. Unless Richter was acting independently of the LPCC, that’s not a mischaracterization of the libertarian party’s role either. Cross that one off the list.

    Third point: At the end of a post that covered instructional materials, various other policies, including the board-superintendent relationship, you wrote “…let your voice be heard. Let the School Board members know you are paying attention, what you think about any of the proposed policy changes and how you want them to vote. Don’t let a vocal but small group led by the Southwest Florida Citizens Alliance, Libertarian Party of Collier County and Parents ROCK disrupt the way our District is run.”

    These groups have been working together. The LPCC joined Erika Donalds (wearing her parent hat, not her parent/board member hat; they look a lot alike) at the Marco Island City Council meeting. Kelly Lichter guest-hosts Jared Grifoni’s radio show, a platform for criticizing the senior school board members. Elsa Martinez (LPCC organizer) attacked the Board Chair in her letter in the Naples Daily News recently.

    I guess the point Grifoni’s making here isn’t that they aren’t working together.

    The point is that they don’t want to be connected to the textbook revision/ censorship campaign of SW FL Citizens Alliance and Parents ROCK. Because they are conducting this campaign as a coalition, if they end Common Core, something will have to fill the void. If this coalition has a better plan than Mrs. Clemons replacing Mr. Solano as head of Curriculum & Instruction, I’d like to hear it.

    I wish all members of their coalition were as conscientious about publishing accurate information as the author of this blog.

  2. Response to Anonymous:

    Point 1: The LPCC has not endorsed the FESEA, I'm not sure how much clearer one can get. There are many bills in Tallahassee right now that deal with different aspects of Common Core/High stakes testing/data collection. The FESEA is one of the bigger ones since it is a comprehensive bill compared to some of the other bills that look at the items piecemeal. Of course we are going to inform members and other interested persons about pending legislation (good and bad, pro and con) but that does not qualify as any kind of direct endorsement.

    2. Richter read the resolution into the record at the BCC meeting not the Marco Island City Council. I don't know how you can argue the point that Grifoni did not read it into the record. Only one person did, it was Richter. That doesn't have anything to do with the LPCC role at all, simply that it was factually INCORRECT that more than one person read it into the record.

    Point 3: No one suggested that the LPCC, SWFL CA, and other groups have not been working in conjunction with one another in support of a common concern. The LPCC has worked with MANY groups and organizations in the past on a variety of issues where there is common ground. The LPCC worked with right-leaning groups and the LPCC has worked with left-leaning groups. Are you going to charge that the LPCC is now a left-wing organization because we helped organize and marched with left-leaning groups against proposed military intervention in Syria back in 2013? Are you going to say the LPCC is a left-leaning group because we fought against a bailout of a company here in Collier?

    It is a different matter altogether to suggest that those two groups plus Parents ROCK are mirror images of one another. It is also incorrect to suggest that Grifoni, Richter, or any LPCC officer has been a part of the book review workshops because it's not true.

    Here is the LP Platform on censorship:

    LP Statement of Principles: "We... hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual:... (2) the right to liberty of speech and action -- accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form;..."

    LP Platform Sec 1.2 (Expression and Communication under Personal Liberty): We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology.

    You also make a point to criticize Erika Donalds for coming to the Marco Island City Council meeting. Are you going to criticize Curatolo for speaking at the BCC meeting against the resolution on Feb 24?

    Board members do not give up their right to free speech when they are elected. That goes for Curatolo, Sprague, Terry, Lichter, Donalds, and all others in other offices.

  3. You may have misinterpreted my earlier post. Understandable, because it was too long.

    1) I agree with you there were factual errors, which the author of the blog corrected with diligence. Thank you for pointing out my error about Mr. Richter speaking at the BCC. It is difficult to keep straight all the different players, and venues in which the LPCC and its allies are acting.

    2) The main point of my earlier reply was that these errors did not mischaracterize the role of the LPCC, except perhaps in relation to the textbook review/revision. LP's position on censorship is clear, and I am glad you speak up on this issue.

    3) Mrs. Curatolo represented the school board at the BCC to clarify the school board's role in respect to the resolution the BCC was voting on. She did not go there to take a position on it, so I do not criticize her for that. I do not criticize Mrs. Donalds for attending the MICC, but expressed my confusion about her role. She supported the resolution. Did her appearance give the perception that the school board backed the resolution, too? She clarified her role later at a school board meeting, but I wasn't able to attend the meeting in Marco Island.

    I am surprised that you accused the author of this blog of "creating a monster," given the level of misinformation in the attacks leveled against the senior school board members, and public school staff, and wish you would hold your colleagues to the same high standards.

  4. Anonymous,

    My mistake if I did misinterpret your last post.

    One thing I will add in response to your update points is that the original message to the blog author was not confrontational. It was merely an attempt to correct a couple errors in some of the prior posts, in fact, the blog author was told that it wasn't a "big deal" and to do with the suggestions as the author saw fit.

    When Donalds attended the Marco Island City Council meeting and spoke she unequivocally said that she was there as an individual parent and NOT a representative of the School Board.

    The LPCC does its best to hold ALL elected officials accountable, regardless of party or affiliation, in an effort to protect individual rights.