DISCLAIMER – This article is Commentary, purely my own. There is no copyright – please forward.
Cocaine Club at County High
One of the mid-level managers in a large department at County High used to have the strangest temper tantrums…..he would become red-faced and largely irrational at the slightest problem or incident, blaming the nearest employee or just becoming intensely abusive for almost no reason whatsoever. This writer personally saw him start to jump across his desk to attempt to grab an employee with whom he was angry, and there was no shortage of such incidents. His behavior was a puzzle until someone explained that this manager was a regular coke user. He would come to work at County High so ripped on coke that he could barely function. That certainly explained his irrational behavior…..but it didn’t stop there. White Powder Ma, as we used to call him, had his procuror on the County payroll, and the procuror only worked one or two days a week but got paid for 5 days. Nice arrangement, no? The worst thing you could do was to complain about the procuror’s lousy work or the fact that he was absent and wasn’t doing his job. This would initiate an avalanch of abuse from White Powder Ma. The procuror was supplying someone besides White Powder Ma, someone higher up. Pretty fine management, eh? There are many managers in and around the County Administrator’s office who have really bad tempers. Some may not be coke users, but the intense temper tantrum for little or no reason is a tip-off that the person is a freakin’ nut case who should be locked up. White Powder Ma wasn’t alone in the club….it went higher, out of the author’s sight, and, of course, White Powder Ma’s supervisor did absolutely nothing….apparently this supervisor thought it was funny and a good management technique to get totally ripped on coke and then abuse the ***t out of your employees. This is just a small part of Pat Bean’s infamous legacy. The BBC has a good article on White Powder Ma and his connections. Maybe we should call Bean “White Powder Pat” ?
Another fine example of a key government manager with an extreme temper problem is Rob Hunter of The Planning Commission, who has long had a nasty, uncontrollable temper. No Rob, you can’t sue because you are a very public figure and the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled in New York Times Co. vs. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), that public figures such as yourself cannot sue for comments made about them in the news media. Check it out at Cornell University Law School. Years ago, Hunter had to be restrained from punching out then-chairman Ellsworth Simmons, who said something Hunter didn’t like. Hunter also mysteriously resigned from his position as Executive Director of The Planning Commission, then was re-hired in 2008 in the same position. Maybe it’s coke, maybe the red hair, or a combination of both. Problem here is Hunter is out of control and his employees have to put up with him, another fine example of intense abuse by a high-level loco local government manager.
The question which we should be asking is why does The Planning Commission or the Board of County Commissioners put up with and allow this type of behavior from its mid and upper-level managers? How high up does the cocaine club membership go? More to the point, why is this coke use never discovered or prosecuted? Just exactly who is involved? Can you ever remember either the State Attorney or the U.S. Attorney in Tampa prosecuting anyone for using or selling nose candy? Not very often, if at all. Hubris at the highest levels of government is likely the cause. George Will recently wrote one of his most prescient articles on just that very subject. You can read it here.
Cocaine use and Importaton
In part two of this series, we briefly mentioned the Port of Tampa and all the freighter traffic between Tampa and South America. The Tampa Port Authority even mentions Peruvian Amazon Line shipping and its service between Tampa, Colombia (world’s largest coca cultivating nation), Brazil, Peru (second-largest coca cultivating country), and Mexico (biggest cocaine exporter to the U.S.). Check out the list of countries which export drugs from the CIA Factbook. Is Tampa and the Port of Tampa the major port-of-entry for cocaine and heroin into the U.S.? Is this why there are never any coke busts around here? Let’s take a look at the logistics involved in smuggling cocaine into the U.S. in the next section.
Assume someone in one of the more affluent areas of Tampa is having a party, and these people are primarily all professionals with high incomes, somewhere above $100,000/year. Let’s also assume there are 100 people at this party and at least half of them are experienced coke users. If you take 50 people snorting blow, assume one ounce per person on this particular occasion, and do the math, you get 50 ounces in one evening at one single party. That’s 3+ pounds of coke, at a single event. Now multiply that out for the rest of the Tampa-Clearwater-St. Pete area for one month, and you get something like 3 lbs x 10 parties/week x 4 weeks gives you 120 pounds of coke used in a month in the Tampa Bay area. This figure is low because people are using nose candy every day, so the total is probably something on the order of a ton per month for the Tampa Bay area. So why bring a ton of coke per month all the way across from the Texas-Mexican border into Florida when you can hide it in a freighter? And why bother with Miami when Tampa is totally off anyone’s radar? A fast-boat loaded with a ton of coke would ride a little low in the water to be navigable in 20 ft. seas, so this quantity would have to be sent in using a few boat trips, and it is way too easy to intercept fast-boats and light aircraft, especially all the way from Colombia. Cruise ships, of which Miami has many, are a different problem, because no cruise operator wants to be associated with a major coke importer, so we are back to the freighters. If you take Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Miami, Naples/Ft. Myers/Port Charlotte, Daytona, Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Ft. Lauderdale, it is easy to come to the conclusion that Florida is using at least 7 to 8 tons of cocaine per month. And Florida certainly has enough banks and investment advisory firms to help manage that coke profit. So what about the rest of the East Coast and Washington, DC? Add a few tons for Georgia, another couple tons for So. Carolina, another couple for N. Carolina, and at least 10 tons per month for the DC-Virginia-Philadelphia area [New York has its own situation and adequate harbor facilities] and you see the magnitude of the problem. It isn’t possible to run that much coke into the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. by small aircraft. So it has to be coming from ships, freighters, and cargo-handlers, all under the legal radar. And what government agency has the horsepower to silently approve massive coke imports at the harbor here in Tampa? And are you still wondering why “they” are so crazy in Washington, DC ?
Drug Use at County High
What is the Hills. County Commission doing about drug use in the County Administrator’s office? If there are around 4000 employees working under the County Administrator, around 10% of these, or 400 people, will be drug users of some kind, either occasional or fairly heavy. If you have 5% or 200 employees in the moderate to heavy drug user category, and perhaps 1/4 of these use either coke, smack, crack, or a combination, you could have 25 people who are regular cocaine users, most likely in management positions, simply because coke is just so expensive. And employees in management positions at County High are paid very well, mostly to keep them quiet. So there you have an explanation of why managers and department heads at the County are sometimes irrational and abusive to their employees. Its the drugs……and its another good reason to NEVER give a Director or Department manager [or County Administrator] a lifetime job; these people need to “go” after 2 or 3 years, no matter how well they seem to be doing. Once an individual becomes embedded in a Director’s position in government, corruption almost always follows.
For the current Board of County Commissioners, we have yet to see how they will manage the problems left by Empress Bean. They have their hands full. In case you didn’t click on the link above, Pat Bean is now a Director of the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry. They change jobs, but they just won’t go away.