Welcome Center, the rest of the story

As I wrote earlier today on Facebook, my story regarding Commissioner Patty Mahany's comments about the Welcome Center were meant to highlight what I felt were ridiculous comments made by an elected official as part of an official meeting.

Specifically, Commissioner Mahany was complaining about city officials not being invited to a function at the Welcome Center, and suggested that the city needed to revisit the relationship with the organization.

I knew when I listened to the audio of the meeting that the event she referred to was not a Welcome Center event. That's why I was so appalled Commissioner Mahany would bring the subject up as part of the city's official business, rather than communicating directly with the folks from the Welcome Center.

I rushed to write the story before for heading out to a networking event. In my haste I inadvertently left out that part. Like I said, it was clear in my mind why this was newsworthy, but I didn't make that clear. That's my fault.

Since I left it out the first time, here's why Commissioner Mahany was upset: Artist Jeff Sonksen changes his mural panels next to the Welcome Center about once a month. The most recent change recognized deputies who died in the line of duty from theOrange County Sheriff's Office (he had previously done the same for Seminole County deputies).

Some of the families wanted to watch Jeff install the panels, and what was supposed to be a private family affair grew a little bit bigger than Jeff thought it would with a couple of TV crews showing up. There was no intention for an official event or ceremony, and no one from the Welcome Center was aware of what was happening.

I apologize for not including that information in the first article. It was not intentional, I just screwed up. It irks me to no end to make a mistake like that. I try to provide very accurate and complete information when I write for y'all. I didn't this time, I'm sorry.

My mistake was amplified by the fact that I did not realize the depth of the social media response until late last night. Combine that with the fact that I was at the airport at 8 a.m. for a meeting, and I am way late in getting this explication published.

My entire point was Commissioner Mahany elevated a petty grievance without all the facts into a full-blown public spectacle by putting it on the public record. She should have addressed the matter first with the folks from the Welcome Center before going on a rant in her official capacity as a city commissioner.

But if I'm being honest, I see a lot of people in the Sanford social media groups doing the exact same thing Commissioner Mahany did. My story was a perfect example. Clearly I didn't communicate well enough, and that's on me. But of the 3,500 people who saw that story, only one person personally reached out to me to ask me to clarify what my purpose was in writing the story.

Many others decided to jump on their keyboards and accuse me of being fake news. Please, if you have an issue with I write, feel free to contact me by email, Messenger or text/phone. I have 12 social media accounts on various platforms for personal and professional purposes. If something I write gets posted in a group without my knowledge I don't always see it immediately.

All of this leads me to a larger question I've been thinking about for a long time: Why have we stopped talking WITH each other, and started talking AT each other, usually in an accusatory tone on social media for all the world to see and participate. We have more technology than we've ever had in the history of the world to communicate with each other, yet misinformation and misunderstanding is at an all-time high.

Let's all try harder to communicate with each other. I'll do my part by trying to make sure what's in my head gets published in my stories, at least until y'all can start reading my mind. šŸ˜‰



  1. Even though as you stated one person reached out to you to clarify there were other people like myself that didn’t need to and understood the reason for writing what you wrote. You are an asset to the community and do not allow people to make you think differently!!!


  2. Thanks for the clarification and update, Dan. Lots of folks do look to you for keeping us informed about what’s going on. As for social media, though Abraham Lincoln said that only 50% of what on Facebook is true, I’m a bit skeptical of that high percentage! You are right, we need to talk more, but today, communication is fast and furious on social media, for better or worse. I knew there was more to the story and frankly, i’m glad you pointed out how an elected official jumped to conclusions without even trying to find out the facts…and that scares me, frankly. We need elected officials who carefully weigh all the facts before making a judgement, and who are willing to admit when they are wrong. Wonder if this Commish will do that?


  3. I have posted my feelings regarding this travesty on the first INACCURATE article and am saddened by the damage, known and unknown, that has been done due to careless and reckless publishing of an article that had no basis in fact. I do challenge the City Commission, since one of your own has basically published information that is not factually based in a social media platform, to deal with this is an expeditious manner. The Welcome Center has been falsely accused without any factual basis which is unconscionable and reprehensible. I think the electorate needs to consider the action/inaction of the City Commission during the upcoming election and more importantly it is my opinion, if the facts prove her actions were without basis, that Mrs. Mahany needs to step down as she has displayed extremely poor judgement.


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