Sign of the times for Hernando County School Board
BROOKSVILLE (Suncoast News) — The election might be over and School Board members are saying they want to work together as a team, but old battles came to the fore on Nov. 22 at the reorganization meeting.
In the rough and tumble of politics, papering over the county with signs is a time-honored tradition, and politicians claim they are shocked — shocked!!! — to learn that someone has taken their or their opponents’ signs, so naturally a controversy over signs erupted.
State Sen.-elect Blaise Ingoglia had posted a video online showing School Board member Linda Prescott removing signs critical of Susan Duval and being confronted. The signs called Duval a “liberal Democrat” who had “voted to mask your child.”
In published reports, Prescott said the signs violated election rules but others have begged to differ.
Duval won reelection, defeating Monty Floyd to keep her seat.
Ken Mayton, wearing a T-shirt bearing a “Wanted” poster with Prescott’s photo, blasted her for “taking private property off the side of the road” and then said she lied to him in a text message about what she was going to do with the signs.
He said it was against the law, and called for repercussions.
“I want to know who’s going to be held accountable for her actions,” he said.
Man then called Prescott and Duval “two lawbreakers.”
If she won’t admit that what she did was wrong, he said, “then you’re no better than the people in that county jail.”
He said he would never “brag” to his daughter about Prescott again.
In an email, Prescott defended her actions.
On Saturday, Nov. 5, she wrote, she had gone to the library on Spring Hill Drive to remove Kay Hatch’s and Duval’s signs for early voting from in front of the library.
“They have to be removed because it is not a voting precinct and only used for early voting,” she wrote. “It was always my understanding that candidate signs and ballot initiatives signs are allowed on county property for early voting but have never seen signs like the one I described above and with no disclaimer. I considered them to be illegal and an advertisement again with no disclaimer.”
Prescott said she saw a man named Tommy Scioles, who was removing Floyd’s signs. They did not speak, she wrote. As she got to the end of the grass while picking up Hatch’s and Duvel’s signs, she said she found three of the anti-Duval signs and removed them.
“My intent was to take them to the SOE (Supervisor of Elections) because I thought they were illegal,” Prescott wrote.
A verbal confrontation ensued, she wrote, and Scioles threatened to call the police. She felt threatened, she said, and told him to do so.
“I didn’t go to the Library in broad daylight on Spring Hill Drive to steal signs in front of a supporter of Susan’s opponent. I didn’t even know they were there until I began removing Kay’s and Susan’s signs,” Prescott wrote. “Had Tommy said to me in a non-threatening way that they were his signs, I would have returned them immediately, but, of course, that was not to be.”
As for the accusations at the School Board meeting, Prescott wrote, “I am not sure why Ken (Mayton) says I lied to him in a text message except I said I didn’t steal the signs. Tommy left with them and they never went in my car.”
In an email, Floyd wrote that he wanted an investigation of Prescott’s actions, and called on citizens to contact the Florida Board of Education and Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office.
Floyd complained of “dirty tactics” by Duval and her supporters and “other turncoat candidates from the primaries.”
He said his campaign signs legally placed on private property were stolen and destroyed. “Thankfully, with the help of GPS trackers, concerned citizens and the Sheriff’s Office, we caught one of my opponent’s supporters red-handed and are currently working on identifying two other suspects,” Floyd wrote.
He called Prescott’s actions at the Spring Hill Drive library “beyond unacceptable” — especially for a sitting School Board member — and setting a poor example for children.
Floyd wrote that he was upset that more wasn’t made of the sign issue, which he said was indicative of other issues that “occur in our woke and broke School District daily.”
He’s called on Prescott to “set an example for our children by owning up to what she did, stop with the lies, stop with the fibbing, and step down and resign her position immediately.”
Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson did not respond to an email seeking comment.