There’s a vacancy on the board of the Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation District.
I know. I know. Who would ever step down from such a plum post?
I mean, it’s the go-to board for wet dirt in the county. We’re not talking about a piddling post on the Indian Trail Improvement District or one of the elected seats on the Journey’s End Community Development Board.
When you say you’re on the soil-and-water board, doors open for you. The orange cone holds your parking spot. The good veal comes out.
But, alas, we have an opening due to the sudden resignation of PBS&WCDB member and vice chairman Patricia “Pat” Edmonson less than two years after she was swept into office in a landslide — the best way to win a soil post — with 65.6 percent of the vote in a three-person race.
But now she’s stepping down for an historic reason: Edmonson is the first elected official in Palm Beach County to resign due to “Trump hate.”
Edmonson got into an interstate flame war on Facebook this month that led to her type some nasty things to James Plowman, a President Donald Trump supporter in North Carolina who is also a U.S. Army combat veteran.
She called the former soldier a “traitor” for supporting Trump and then went even more hyperbolic after he reminded her of his military service.
“Do your dead brothers ever visit your dreams and ask you why you’ve turned your back on them?” she wrote. “Do you smell the rotting flesh of those you’ve betrayed?”
Maybe that sort of language flies in a mosquito control district, but it doomed Edmonson.
Her back-and-forth on social media with Plowman was captured in a screen-shot and sent around locally, where it received bi-partisan criticism and calls for her to resign.
And so she said she would, “given the enormity of the reaction to my indefensible Facebook comments.”
In her resignation statement, she ended with a quote:
“As the rapper Ice -T said nearly three decades ago when speaking about free speech in America, ‘Freedom of speech, but watch what you say.’”
If I were her, I might have opted for another Ice-T quote: “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
Or maybe even reached to the words of the rapper Immortal Technique, who rhymed: “Tell ‘em the truth and they call you a traitor; Talk to ’em honestly and they call you a hater.”
On second thought, leave the rappers out of this. It’ll only make things worse.
Meanwhile, the Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation District posted a notice on its website to distance itself from Edmonson:
“Personal statements, opinions or actions expressed by individual board members in ABSOLUTELY NO WAY reflect the views or opinions of the rest of the elected board or District employees,” it says.
“Any criticism and responses should be directed to the individual who made the specific comments or references in question or to the authorities who govern the conduct of elected officials,” it continued. “The Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District has no authority over the personal views of its elected members.”
In other words, no collusion.
The task at hand now is to find a replacement for her.
If you’re interested, it would be good to have a working knowledge of best management practices for land leased for agricultural production. And you probably should understand the virtues of mini-wobbler heads for irrigation in the Nursery Overhead Efficiency project.
But mostly, just try to keep the Trump hate to minimum.
If during the interview, you get a question about “dirt,” don’t assume it’s a conversation about Trump’s Russian business ties. And if somebody mentions the word “stormy,” think “crop-sustaining rain” not “paid-off porn star.”
Also, even if you’re pretty sure you’re not a hater, promise that if appointed to the board, you will de-activate your Twitter and Facebook accounts for the duration of Trump’s tenure in office.
Just in case. In an abundance of caution.
You never know. You just might not hate Trump yet.