Tavares, FL Created March 4, 2016 by Vance Jochim -
Updated Jan. 5, 2017 - There are now 31 Florida Huckster government practices listed below and more to be added.
The short link to this page is: http://tinyurl.com/FloridaHucksterState .
Florida is a great place to live, and the people are great. But the State and local governments sometimes operate using Boss Hogg's cronyism or mis-management methods.
Did you know if you search on "Florida Hucksters" in Google Images, you get mostly pictures of Florida and national politicians? Try it! (we excluded Ford Model A "Hucksters" )
Weak fiscal and efficiency controls in government programs exist everywhere in Florida the Huckster State, and as a Lake County, FL watchdog blogger and former Fortune 500 internal audit manager, here is my growing collection of "100 Florida, the Huckster State, Oversight & Liberal Issues to be Fixed".
This is a work in progress and 2-3 items will be added per week, or read my 600+ watchdog blog postings written since 2006 at www.FiscalRangers.com. I fully expect to find and document 100+ reasons why Florida is a Huckster State lacking local & state level professional practices to protect citizens, prevent cronyism, etc.
The short link to this page is: http://tinyurl.com/FloridaHucksterState .
I was an Internal Audit manager in several large government and corporate organizations and an anti-corruption manager in Iraq in 2004-2006. I moved to Florida in 2006, retired, and started a blog FiscalRangers.com to cover local government. I soon wrote about patterns of cronyism, poor oversight and BAD management of government programs. I collected cases of "FiscalFiascos" where government lost taxpayer resources due to poor oversight or management. Thus this list is NOT in a particulare order and is based upon writing that blog for 8+ years. At some point I will reorganize the items into relative groupings.
100 Florida, the Huckster State, Government Oversight & Liberal Issues to be Fixed
(The list will grow over time, and is always in progress. I will try to add 2-3 items per week.)
The list is posted with the most recent additions at the TOP of the list. Further down, issues 1-26 are listed in descending order.
29. Florida is a Huckster State because it doesn't allow local School District Boards or administrators much control over charter schools. Thus they can flame out, make massive fiscal errors and burn out due to poor practices, poor teachers, etc. Once a charter school is approved, they siphon most State provided "FTE" funds over to the charter school administrators PLUS force the County School District to provide hidden cost services. They need to report results of conversion and independent Charter schools, including graduation rates, etc. separately from School Districts for transparency. Thus ranking reports would show two reports, one for public schools and one for charter schools. Here in Lake County, FL, the public school Board at least analyzed all the hidden costs and found they could bill the charter schools for some of them, which they do, so that charter schools are not sucking away other funds from public school budgets. I personally believe charter school competition is good, but public school District Boards should not be blamed for their results or should be given more control over their fiscal practices, teaching results, etc. The State clearly does not exercise management oversight on charter schools, so that control should be given to the local County School District. (Added Jan. 5, 2017)
28. Florida is a Huckster State for arbitrarily reducing promised 2% taxes to County School Districts from 2% to 1.5%. The legislature went back on their word and did that after many counties relied on the promised income and issued bonds to build schools. The reduced revenues put many Florida School Districts in a fiscal bind since bonds must be paid first. The Legislature needs to increase the tax allocation to school districts back to the originally promised 2% rate. (I need to research and add more specifics on this - to be added, but it is a big issue causing problems in Lake County and other school districts which approved construction debt (bonds) based upon the original promised tax rates.) (Added Jan. 5, 2017)
27. Florida is a Huckster State for many reasons cited on the www.FloridaWatchdog.org website. (Added Jan. 5, 2017)
Below are Huckster Issues 1-26 in descending order. After #26, we started posting the most recent issue at the TOP of the list, above.
1. Lack of Fiscal & Operational Oversight of County Constitutional Officers: Florida requires County governments to hold public budget hearings, post detailed versions of their budget, and allows for performance audits (if requested by the elected officials). But no such oversight is prescribed for County level elected Constitutional Officers like the Sheriff, Court Clerk, Tax Collector, Supt. of Elections or Property Appraiser. Thus here in Lake County, FL not one of the above offices have ever had public hearings over their budget, or requested publicly posted performance audits. None of them post their detailed budget on their websites either. In contrast, the Lake County Commissioners have public hearings, approve performance audits by the County Inspector General, and publish detailed budgets on their website. The Sheriff's budget is just a few pages in the County budget of 400 pages, with no detail, and yet he has a LARGER budget than the County (about $60-million). This needs to be fixed. Each County Constitutional Office position is governed by different statutes in Florida law, and they all need to be expanded to require the above oversight requirements.
2. Standardized performance metrics for County operational departments should be defined and required as part of budgets and quarterly reporting: My experience in the corporate world is that most departments have performance and efficiency measured by defined performance ratios in monthly, quarterly and annual reports. That practice is NON-EXISTENT in government. They may report activity counts like 600 emergency responses, but do not calculate or report efficiency ratios like business. So when taxpayers claim government is not efficient, they are mostly correct because most government administrators and elected officials do not measure or track efficiency of operations. I am writing a separate eBook on this because the lack of operations accountability is staggering to me vs business practices. Government only seems to track how much of a budget is left, and not how efficient the spending is, NOR do they define publicly new efficiency goals, whether it is cost per highway mile construction or cost per ambulance run.
3. County Elected Commissioners Need full control over Constitutional Officer Budget hearings, levels: As we mentioned in item 1, there is little oversight of Constitutional Officer budgets, but yet the County Commissioners approve the total budgets. They need authority to review them in detail in public hearings, require performance audits, and publish detailed budgets for each department.
4. County Departmental budgets should not be approved without publishing prior 3 years performance metrics vs the planned budget. Thus is a department badly forecasts productivity metrics or misses efficiency targets, the officials AND the public will know about it from reading proposed budgets. No departmental budget should be approved by elected officials (in any County, City or District government agency) without at least a published 3 year trend analysis of efficiency ratios in the proposed budget like business does.
5. County officials and the public should get monthly reports of department level performance metrics plus prior period ratios to detect poor trends early in the budget year. This is not done at all. There have been instances like in Lake County, FL where the Fire Department went $1-million over their total budget due to excessive overtime payments that were not monitored vs the budget plan for the entire year. The County had to siphon off that $1-million to cover the budget hole from the Emergency Services budget (which clearly had too much funding).
6. Government agencies should not be allowed to buy land without parallel budget funding for maintenance, facilities and staff expenses to allow citizens access to "USE" the land. There have been several cases in Lake County where excess land was purchased, even using a "Public Lands" Referendum, then no funds existed to develop or allow public access to the land. It is common for the Parks & Recreation Director for Lake County to give a budget talk and how they have several public lands but NO FUNDING to allow public access or provide parking, porta-potties, etc. Thus NO government agency, even at the State level, should be allowed to buy land without a specific budget allocation to develop, maintain and fund operations costs for it. This is an area where cronyism appears, based upon some "great deal" to buy land from a favored individual at inflated prices, and no funding is set aside to develop it. About the only reason to allow purchase of land before development funding is for schools to buy land for future planned schools when growth increases the need.
7. No Sole source purchasing should exist - This is one of the red flags of cronyism, when an owner of a business or product is selected for government purchases without competitive bidding. I have several examples of this happening and leading to jail terms for elected officials who pushed such deals through without competitive bidding.
8. Contribution records for public official election campaigns need more information to disclose possible cronyism: It is too easy for a Florida candidate for elected office, especially incumbents, to hit up vendors used by their agency to contribute campaign funds to them. More disclosure is needed for each contributor, including email, phone and relationship with any elected official. For instance, one current candidate for 2016 re-election in Lake County, Jimmy Conner, has amassed over $50,000 from mostly attorneys and out of County interests related to a massive land development project administered by the County (Wellness Way). Contributors need to state clearly if they have any fiduciary relationship with an elected official of the elected office being funded. If they are an individual, they need to disclose employer or spouse name and any relationship to the official receiving the contributions, plus phone numbers and emails to contact them.
9. Voter fraud prevention techniques need to be agressively required at BOTH the State AND County Supt. of Elections level. Currently, Florida Elections Superintendents follow duties specified by state Statutes. Fortunately, Florida requires a picture ID to vote. However, other defined duties are weak in the area of Voter Fraud prevention, thus a lazy Superintendent of Elections can say there is no requirement to take pro-active voter fraud detection steps, and they ignore logical steps to detect, prevent and prosecute voter fraud practices. They can say their job is following the law, and not use their position to implement aggressive voter fraud prevention methods. Examples include: 1) comparing voter roll lists to lists of dead people in the County to detect "dead voters", 2) Comparing lists of jury members who stated they were NOT US citizens to escape jury duty to lists of actual registered voters to detect lies about either status (which a TV station did in a South Florida County and found over 100 illegal voters). 3) Comparing local voter lists to national lists of voters from other states to detect votes in multiple states. Some examples are Snow Birds or College Students, or intentional vote fraud practitioners working in election campaigns. 4) Running voter list comparisons to find addresses with excessive voter counts at one address, which should be investigated on a sampling basis.
There are many more such known Florida Huckster voter fraud practices that detect and prevent voter fraud and need mandates to implement them. Quarterly reports of those oversight procedures, once defined, should be disclosed on websites within 15 days after the quarter end for the Florida Elections Dept. as well as each County Supt. of Elections.
10. Residency requirements for elected officials need more precise definitions and enforcement with fines and jail terms. Recently, in Lake County, two examples of elected officials not living in their elected district were disclosed. Research by a columnist in the Lake Sentinel indicated no one, even at the state level, would enforce expected residency of elected officials. This Huckster practice needs to be cleaned up so the public can fully expect that elected officials ACTUALLY live in the district they ran for.
11. Elder Abuse is governed by Florida State's DCF (Dept. of Child & Families), but some elder abuse is not illegal or investigated by DCF. DCF will investigate elder abuse by assigned care givers or relatives, but NOT parties like landlords. Thus we found cases where owners of some of Florida's 2700 mobile home parks can abuse, intimidate and harass elderly owners of mobile homes in order to extract extra fees or worse, force them to give up (called abandonment) their mobile home title to the park owner for FREE in order to move out of the park. In such situations, they lose all equity in the mobile home. DCF investigation powers over elder abuse by landlords need expansion.
12. Cronyism in Florida is not illegal. Florida has no law or penalties for cronyism practices by elected officials. Penalties may exist for direct bribery, but not cronyism. For instance, if an elected official takes campaign contributions from contractors, then orders staff to select that contractor with or without competitive bidding as the winner of a government contract, there is no investigation or prevention of such activities. Additionally, if the official benefits personally from a government contract, there also doesn't seem to be any detection or prevention systems. Another example is an official directing staff hire a favored person or relative bypassing competitive job application procedures. Shouldn't staff be required to report to a State angency if cronyism occurs?
a. HERE is a cronyism example of a candidate running for office who also worked for the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Dept. and was in position to direct votes.
13. Florida Constitutional Officers (Supt. of Elections, Sheriff, etc.) apparently can run their own accounting and purchasing operations, and not rely on the more sophisticated County accounting or purchasing departments. In THIS short internal audit of procurement at the Florida Lee County Supt. of Elections (population 666,000), the department was criticised for informal purchasing, even of expensive voting machines, iPads, etc. They apparently purchased iPads for voter authorization but then they only worked with the main voting day software, but they didnt' work with the early voting systems. The Supt. of Elections quoted an Attorney General opinion saying they could run their own procurement function without involvement of the much larger County purchasing system. We believe that all Constitutional Officer accounting, purchasing, and administrative functions should be run through the much larger County operations departments. It is time Constitutional officers stop running their shops like a corner mechanic without central administrative oversight.
14. Florida has WEAK follow up to implement anti-corruption recommendations. As an example, the Florida statewide Grand Jury, operating under the outgoing Attorney General Bill McCollum, published a Dec. 2010 report "A Study of Corruption in Florida and Recommended Solutions". It listed many corruption issues and recommendations to solve them. As it was published, the new AG, Pam Bondi took office the next month, and to my knowledge never implemented or lobbied for legislative changes to implement the recommendations. I do understand that TWO of the recommendations were implemented by new 2016 legislation that was passed at the 2016 legilative session.
15. Florida Amendment 1 - Florida has referendums to approve State Constitution Amendments, but in practice, allows supporters to mislead voters on intent, get the Amendment passed, then try to do something other than what the official ballot language says. An example is the infamous Florida Amendment 1 on the Nov. 2014 ballot pushed by environmentalists to seize 1/3 of existing real estate document stamp taxes ($600-million in the first year) in order to ONLY buy conservation land. However, if the ballot description was truthful and ONLY specified funds be used to BUY more land, voters might not approve it since the government already owns about 32+% of Florida land. So they watered down the wording to get passage, then became livid when the legislature actually followed what the ballot language said. In this case the liberals' attempt to spend billions of tax funds on only buying land without providing operation funds to make conservation land accessible to the public FAILED. HERE is one of many articles about the discord caused by the intentionally poorly worded ballot initiative.
HERE is the offical Amendment 1 ballot language - notice it also says to "restore, improve, and manage conservation lands..." and not just "acquire". However the liberals and environmentalists ONLY wanted land to be acquired, and erupted in anger when the legislation did what the ballot language said.
"Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites, by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years."
So whenever you read or hear an angry Florida Democrat or your local newspaper editorials complaining that Amendment 1 funds were not used JUST to acquire more land (without funding development, maintenance, etc.) , you will know the truth - they lied about their intent and are angry when their deceitful sales pitches would not be followed. Florida almost needs a ballot language enforcement division to ensure that statements made to low information petition signers, ads, etc. match what the ballot language actually said.
16. Florida still mandates use of ethanol in fuel, and should mandate dropping it from motor fuel. I thought the mandate was dropped, but it still shows upon the gas pumps. Here is an article how the ethanol mandates is mostly when bought off politicians voted for ethanol use, since no one can provide a decent reason why it is needed. It is one big con. (I just paid over $100 to replace a lawnmower carburetor due to ethanol damaging it.) Florida needs to completely remove any requirement for ethanol in fuel. READ this article.
17. Consolidation of services between a County, cities or special districts needs to be mandated by State statute. For example, the County, as well as every one of 14 cities in Lake County, FL has a fire, police, emergency services (ambulances) and dispatch requirements. But hardly any are consolidated to reduce overlapping staff and expenses. There are a few cities using the Sheriff dispatch center, and a few using the Sheriff for law enforcement, but there is no plan to consolidate them all. The procurement departments talked about consolidating their central databases and approved vendors, but nothing came of it.
However, in corporations, aimed at efficiency, they usually focus on more consolidation each year. I once worked at a manufacturer with 40 plants making large concrete pipe. They consolidated engineering, construction of special fixtures, and some trucking operations. They had a holding company that managed all the software, accounting, risk insurance, etc. Compare that to cities which each have many overlapping administrative functions.
There should be a state required plan for each County and the cities within in to have a five year consolidation plan and actually implement it in order to receive any state funding or grants. It is time government started being as efficient as industrial firms and stop overcharging taxpayers for operations that could be consolidated.
18. Enclaves are created when cities annex select properties but not others and the existence of enclaves needs to be reduced. Thus maps of cities look like a horrendously unorganized pattern of geometric shapes, with some parts in a city, and "enclaves" withing the city are still considered County operations. Until recently, annexation could only take place when a county section of land was "contiguous" (next to) a city boundary.
One result is that county taxpayers are unfairly charged to maintain roads and highways running between city annexed properties because there is no requirement they immediately take over a county road "as is" when they annex properties on both sides of the road.
Now the problem is becoming worse because a new Florida statute allows cities to annex properties that are NOT contiguous to city boundaries. A property owner deciding the develop a property usually requests such annexation. Facilities in County areas usually have their own water wells and septic tank systems. Once the property is annexed, as it is developed, they must pay for water and sanitation lines that connect the property with the city system.
So, the new annexation codes allow cities to cherry pick new annexed properties, creating even more enclaves which are inefficient. Thus a county property inhabitant must rely on the County Sheriff, code enforcement, and other services. But an enclave relies on city police, code enforcement, and their own services, causing overlap, confusion and inefficient operation. Only recently have the County and a FEW cities created agreements to have the closer early responder go to a property to minimizre response time. But that is not the case with other cities. The result is service calls that result in delayed or confused dispatch instructions.
The State of Florida recently, due to court orders, started reducing gerrymandering for state political offices. Annexation and enclave creation are the same thing, and enclaves should be reduced. If law enforcement, dispatch, emergency services, fire services, etc. were all consolidated at the County level, such unorganized annexation would not be a problem. But annexation is unorganized, and creation of enclaves should be prohibited. Taxpayers should not find out after buying property that their coverage of services has excess, duplicate costs due to creation of enclaves and lack of consolidation.
18. Transparency over County and city level taxing authorities is needed. Currently, there may be 50 different tax authorities receiving taxes from the tax collector. The authorities include water districts, hospital districts, special assessments, fire taxes, County millage taxes, School millage taxes, etc. Only some apply to separate taxpayers and their ad valorem taxes, and the tax authorities related to a specific property are listed on Trim Notices and subsequent tax bills with cryptic designations. Although a list of the authorities is on the tax collector website, there are only phone numbers that lead to general offices. There are no websites mandated for each authority which clearly explain how the tax was created, how calculated, etc. Taxpayers should be able to view separate websites for each tax authority which has documentation of the last five years of collections, relevent statutory links, etc. to ensure taxpayers can figure out what the tax is for, and verify calculations.
19. Not every County has an independent Inspector General, and they need one at a professional level. Florida should pass legislation establishing and FUNDING a County level Inspector General with adequate staffing and professional expertise, indicated by certifications like the Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Information Systems Auditor and Certified Fraud Examiner. These are different skills than practiced by CPAs. Taxpayer interests in ensuring efficient operation of government needs coverage in ALL counties with a strong, independent Inspector General Department.
20. Every government agency or district in a County should be subject to operational audits by a County based Inspector General. Cities rarely are the subject of performance or operational audits, and need to be covered by the County Inspector General (if they exist). They have financial audits, which are presented in an annual report called the CAFR, but no operational audits to review efficiency, effectiveness or economy of operations. There are only a few Counties who passed referendums after major corruption cases, and setup central Inspector Generals with authority to conduct operational audits of cities. All cities, special districts and Constitutional Officers should be required to have cycled operational audits by a County level Inspector General.
21. Florida is a Huckster State because Florida Government Officials won't listen to voters, parents, taxpayers. This Scott Maxwell column in the Orlando Sentinel discusses how parents were fed up with the Florida Education Commission not providing adequate funding or courses to students, so they SUED to get proper education. Maxwell describes other Florida cases where the Government had to be sued to do a proper job. Just another Huckster practice in Florida. Says Maxwell "Welcome to the Sunshine State — where citizens who want good government have to sue for it."
22. Florida is a Huckster State because they have more corruption convictions than most other states. It is so bad that a new "anti-corruption" bill went into affect Oct. 1, 2016.
"From 2000 through 2010, Florida led the nation in federal public corruption convictions at the local, state and federal level, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. During the period, federal prosecutors lodged 674 convictions against Sunshine State public officials, or 67 a year on average.
The lack of state criminal prosecutions wasn’t lost on government watchdogs.
Florida’s state corruption law was “notoriously weak,” the nonpartisan group Integrity Florida noted in its 2016 corruption report."
23. Florida's K-12 schools are mismanaged. I have been attending local Lake County, FL School Board meetings for 10 years, and there is a total lack of professional standards to ensure efficient and effective operations. As of late 2016, we are going through a search for a new School District Superintendent (Florida has only on District per County, so that have multiple schools per District.) I had to research and find THIS book, "Turning Around Failing Schools" to recommend to School Board members so they hopefully hire a professional manager who uses performance metrics, rather than a "administrator" who never measure performance indicators. The local school board just gave the retiring Administrator a $17,000 bonus even though school rankings DROPPED.
"Dropping a letter grade to a C and falling from 41st to 44th in state rankings, the district’s graduation rates also took a tumble. The graduation rate now stands at 75.8 percent, almost 1 percentage point below last year’s and falling below the state average of 77.9 percent.
Teacher morale also suffered with School Board members concerned about the disparity between the high percentage of administrators rated as highly effective and the low percentage of teachers who achieved that status.
A Florida Department of Education report showed the percentage of teachers rated highly effective in Lake County dropped from 15 percent in 2013-14 school year to 11.3 percent in 2014-15.
By contrast, 68.9 percent of school district administrators during the 2014-15 school year were rated highly effective. The percentage of highly effective administrators doubled from 2013-14 to 2014-15. In the 2013-14 school year, 32.1 percent of administrators were rated highly effective. Those administrators were awarded an additional $3,500 per person."
24. Florida is a Huckster State because their legislators allow lobbyists too much access to legislators (Nov. 11, 2016) . Here is a possible solution posed by an incoming Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran (Source: Florida Sunburn):
NEW FLORIDA HOUSE SPEAKER WANTS CRACK DOWN ON LOBBYISTS via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press – Richard Corcoran … set to become speaker later this month, released proposed rules Thursday that include a ban on lobbyists using emails or text messages to reach out to legislators when they are about to vote in committee meetings or on the House floor. The new rules prohibit legislators from traveling on lobbyist-owned planes, which is allowed now if they pay the same rate it would cost to fly on a commercial jet. Lobbyists will be required to disclose electronically more information about their lobbying activities, including specific bills or amendments they are trying to kill or pass. Corcoran also wants to make it harder for legislators to add new spending items to the state budget for hometown projects, a ritual that usually occurs in the waning days of the session. The new process will force legislators to file stand-alone bills that include the request. He also wants to ban legislators from lobbying local governments when they aren't in session
… The House will vote on the new rules Nov. 22, 2016 when they gather to formally install Corcoran as speaker. As Florida has grown into the third-largest state, the lobbying industry in the Capitol has also flourished. Disclosures have shown that private firms pull in more than $100 million a year lobbying the Legislature and the executive branch. The new rules constitute some of the most significant changes to lobbying in Tallahassee since the state adopted a ban on all gifts from lobbyists to legislators a decade ago. They also appear to be some of the most stringent rules in the country. It's not clear if the Florida Senate will emulate some of Corcoran's proposals, meaning that lobbyists could be working with two different sets of standards next year.
25. Florida is accused of not having any oversight over the State Attorney General's office. The matter came to light after incumbent Pam Bondi was accused of pay for play after accepting a $25,000 campaign contribution from Donald Trump. I like Trump, but a Democrat Senator in September called for a FEDERAL investigation of Bondi (who was just named to Trump's transition team) because apparently there is no Florida oversight on her office. Our point is there is apparently lack of Florida oversight over the office, not who is involved. This is similar to earlier issues above where there is no oversight or performance audits or transparency over elected Florida County level Constitutional Officers like Sheriff, Elections Supervisor, etc. We need more details to clarify this issue. (Nov. 12, 2016)
"It’s kind of scary to think that a state Attorney General would take a bribe to kill a major investigation, but even more disturbing that there’s, no checks on her elected office short of a federal prosecution – but that is the apparent state of affairs today in Florida."
HERE is the Sept. 8, 2016 Tampa Bay Times article calling for the Federal investigation.
26. Transparency over Florida County Legislation Delegation Meetings Needs Improvement
Most Florida counties have more than one Florida legislator due to district boundaries crossing county borders. For instance Lake County has three House Representatives and two Senators whose districts extend partially or wholly into Lake County. Those members make up the County Legislators Delegation, and they usually have one meeting before the start of the legislative season in November or December to hear public input and requests for legislative priorities from various agencies within the county, including the County government, School District etc.
The problem is that there do not appear to be any Florida wide requirements for ensuring printed, audio, web or video records are made of the meeting or Legislator questions and comments. This blogger has been making videos of some meetings, and requesting copies of the binders of documentation given to legislators. The videos are on my "FiscalRangersFlorida" YouTube channel. The binders are given to the Tavares public library. Just this November, 2016, I found that there was no audio record made of the Nov. 14, 2016 Lake County Legislator's delegation and I missed the meeting, so no video. The committee staff is preparing a binder (only because I requested it) which I will place in the Tavares, FL library. This problem must occur in other counties also. As a consequence, legislators need to initiate a statute describing the responsibility of Delegation organizers to arrange for archived audio recordings, print copies of documentation, or electronic, on a website. Each County legislator's delegation needs a website to provide documentation of meetings, agendas, etc. Since it is common for meeting coordination to rotate among the member offices, that is another reason for documented standards of transparency and recordings of meetings. Until that happens, this is another Florida Huckster practice.
NOTE: After issue 26, above, we started entering the most recent item at the TOP of this list.
more to come...vj