(Editor’s note: the mis-adventures of Squirrel Poop will continue through March 1st)
Shifty has a plan to save Tampa. Would you like cream and sugar with that?
By Chris Ingram
Michael Shifty, I mean Ciftci (aka: Squirrel Poop) the Tampa City Council candidate wants you to know he has a plan! In fact, it’s not just a plan, it’s his own “Economic and Development Plan” and boy does he have the great ideas to put Tampa back to work.
Now if you’re like me, you’re probably asking yourself, what could Squirrel Poop possibly know about economic development? I mean, the guy is like twenty-something and he’s not exactly a business-savvy heavyweight.
His employment background appears to be limited to three primary things.
He helped run John McCain’s campaign into the ground when he was the grassroots field operations coordinator in Tampa. All you folks who wanted a McCain bumper sticker or yard sign back in 2008 but couldn’t get one – thank Squirrel Poop. Handing out bumper stickers (or not, as the case may be) does not qualify you as an expert on economic development. I know this firsthand as I have handed out countless bumper stickers over the years. Despite my best efforts, no matter how many Bush/Quayle or Dole/Kemp or other bumper stickers I passed out, I never turned into the next Jeff Bezos.
So I got to thinking Squirrel Poop must have gotten all that business experience working for Phillips Development Company. Perhaps Squirrel Poop was the brainchild for PDC’s latest shopping center or apartment complex. But no, he was basically just the porter for Don “GQ” Phillips — the man with the silverest tongue in Tampa Bay. Of course the company being all image conscious didn’t actually say he was a porter/bag schlepper. Officially the company website says of Squirrel Poop: “Michael Ciftci plays an integral role in the company’s involvement in the political arena.”
Basically he was in charge of going to parties and the occasional meeting when Don had to go shoot big game in Africa. His basic schtick was to go to these meetings and tell people how wonderful they are so they had a good feeling about him, his boss and his boss’s company. Nothing wrong with that, but Tampa already has one Dick Greco, we don’t need another. Regardless, it is clear this is not where he got his business experience.
So that leaves his role as founding partner of Sustainable Strategies. His position isn’t exactly spelled out prominently, but best I can figure he is an “energy savings consultant.” I think he runs around telling people to turn the lights off and other high-level “green” stuff like that.
Squirrel Poop and one of Sustainable Strategies’ partners were also listed on the incorporation papers of United for A Sustainable America (UFASA), Inc. – along with none other than Don Phillips. UFASA is the non-profit Squirrel Poop likes to brag about. Incidentally Squirrel Poop is also listed as the registered agent for a company called Governing Strategies, LLC. That company’s offices happened to be registered at Don Phillips’ offices, though oddly enough there was never a sign on the door. I still haven’t been able to figure out what Governing Strategies does, I just know I don’t want Squirrel Poop involved with any kind of governing strategies.
By the way, trying to connect all the dots to this thing made my head spin like a constipated squirrel.
One thing is certain, Squirrel Poop has mastered the political art-form of making things very complicated – complicating things makes it harder to tell what is really going on – at least until the IRS gets involved. Squirrel Poop’s old pal Bobby Thompson of the “Navy Veterans Association” did this really well. (Thompson by the way is currently on the run from the authorities after scamming millions from contributors.) What I still don’t understand is how Squirrel Poop thinks being an “energy savings consultant” for a year-and-a-half gives him the business knowledge to create jobs in Tampa.
But it gets better.
On the website of Sustainable Strategies, one of the companies Squirrel Poop founded it reads: “Our knowledge of government regulations and up to date federal policies, or, even providing you opportunities to gain access to local, state and federal officials for your products is guaranteed.” It goes on to say, “…expanding your social network in the green industry, bringing you knowledge of government regulations, or providing you opportunity to gain access to local, state and federal levels for your business.”
That sounds like Squirrel Poop is a lobbyist to me, but nowhere on his campaign website does he say he is a lobbyist. Are you Squirrel Poop? Who do you lobby for, the American Acorn Growers Association?
Regardless, even if he did admit to being a lobbyist, being one doesn’t exactly make him the next Ross Perot or Jack Welch or anyone else with business experience.
As for his government relations experience, that is something that could actually be relevant to being a Tampa City Councilman. Trouble is Squirrel Poop would take a very odd approach to being a councilman. Here’s an example of what you can expect from a Councilman Squirrel Poop – as taken right off his campaign website under the “issues” tab: “Every time a new company or firm is contemplating an expansion and job creation, I will sit in the lobby of the CEO or President until they hear the case for brining (sic) those jobs to Tampa; I have been thrown out of plenty of nice places…”
What I want to ask Squirrel Poop is, what kind of nice places have you been thrown out of? Why did you get thrown out? Were you ever arrested? Who was with you? And does Don Phillips know about this?
Folks, I swear I am not making this stuff up. It is a certifiable fact that you cannot write fiction this well. If I could, I would; and I would be filthy-stinking rich.
More importantly, I want to know from Squirrel Poop, why do you propose the approach of aggressive “sit-ins” as opposed to just picking up the phone and contacting the CEOs and presidents of companies considering moving to Tampa? Is having sit-ins what your “extensive” business and political experience has taught you?
I guess so. And you said it yourself pal. Facts are funny things aren’t they? And that my friend is in part, what makes you squirrel poop. The facts as we know them about you smell like, well, SQUIRREL POOP!
Another one of Squirrel Poop’s issues reads as follows (I swear I am not making this up. Again, this is right off his campaign website. He is actually promoting this stuff with the hard-earned campaign dollars very few people from Tampa have sent him. Note: the typos and grammatical errors are Squirrel Poop’s not mine): “I will make the Tampa City Council District 3 office the CUSTOMER SERVICE DESK for our constituents and small business community. If you have an issue that just isn’t getting solved down at City Hall, than come to my office. I will find out whose desk at City Hall your issue is held up at and I will visit with that Tampa government official and serve as their employee until we your problem solved – I will staple their papers, I will retrieve their coffee, I will answer their calls – do whatever it takes to ensure they have the resources to resolve your issue”
Don Phillips must be proud.
Now we’re finally getting somewhere. A job Squirrel Poop is uniquely qualified to handle – fetching coffee, answering the phones, and stapling papers and crap like that. Why it will be just like old times with the Donald.
In fact, Squirrel Poop ought to just keep working with Don. Because one thing is clear: Tampa doesn’t need Michael Shifty’s, er, uh, Ciftci’s brand of business – or politics.
See you at the polls Squirrel Poop!
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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