Editor's Note: Last week, a reader criticized the newspaper for failing to include any person of color in our Jan. 2 Best Advice edition. An editor’s note explained that The Observer did reach out to people of different ethnicities, but did not get a response from people of color — or from most whites, for that matter. Morever, The Observer doesn’t use race as a criterion for including or excluding people from being covered in the newspaper.
In response to that editor’s note, two people commented on www.PalmCoastObserver.com.:
I presume that your newspaper is in the business to sell ads and make money for the owners or shareholders. And for you to report that you are not concerned about the racial diversity of your readers and/ or subscribers is either a lie or professional malpractice.
The author of the original letter is correct for a different reason. Your failure to consider a diverse population of readers reduces revenues for businesses which buys ads in your paper. And this explains in part why newspaper are following the same path of the dodo bird.
Don’t kid yourselves. Racial diversity matters. And smart businesspeople know it.
— Adrian Smith
If color is not an issue for you, then you are either not a person of color, or very fortunate. For those of us who are brown, black or yellow and have experienced disparate treatment, it will remain an issue until fairness and equality overrides racism.
My concern regarding the articles in the Palm Coast Observer, which are usually fair and balanced, is that you did not include any minority as a “Person to Watch in 2013.” Many of us have accomplished a lot of positive things in the Flagler community. We participate in civic events, volunteer our time and expertise to numerous causes, and make every effort to enhance the quality of life in Palm Coast/Flagler.
I believe that that was a tremendous oversight on the part of the paper.
— Linda Sharpe Haywood, President, Flagler County NAACP
Editor’s Note: Our track record shows that we generally do a good job of being racially diverse in our coverage. We will continue to strive to be inclusive of the whole Flagler County community in the future. Thank you for your readership.
The following letters were written in response to the story, "Order Canceled":
+ How can inspectors be qualified to inspect work?
I was in a Florida state and Flagler County licensed plumbing company from 1979 through 2007 and had many unhappy contacts with our uncompetitive plumbing and building supervisor and inspectors. How can one building inspector can wear so many hats without any experience and be qualified to inspect every building contractor’s materials and installations?
I have found the city of Palm Coast has never been business friendly. We need professionals with top-gun track records of accomplishment. The only way that can happen is to start by removing the existing officials and replacing them with experienced people.
+ If it’s a common complaint, why isn’t something being done?
Our city has lost its way under current management. The sad part is they think they are doing well and will just keep powering on.
When I started to read your article on why Panera Bread wasn’t going to build here anymore due to the city’s screw-ups on permitting and inspections, I was struck by the mayor’s first comment: “We hear about this all the time.” What?! If the mayor and the city manager hear about this all the time, why isn’t something being done?
+ Why doesn’t the city reach out address complaints?
Just read Ms. Hoye’s article. It’s mind boggling to me.
The mayor states: “Somebody needs to come to me and tell me where the city’s falling short, but nobody’s done that.”
Why does anyone have to come to him? Here’s a novel idea: Why doesn’t the mayor just pick the phone up and ask Charlie Faulkner and the project manager for Schmid Construction, the company that headed construction for Panera Bread directly why Palm Coast is not business friendly, instead of drinking the staff’s Kool-aid.
+ If there are perceived problems, it’s the city’s problem
This sounds a little arrogant to me. The mayor’s reaction to losing construction jobs and business development is, “It’s easy for contractors to blame the city when it’s actually their problem.” No! Mr. Mayor, if the city is losing business because of a perceived problem within the process, it’s your problem.
Why don’t you stop passing the buck and actually do something to find out where in the process there is a problem, rather than saying that we are dealing with “innuendo and third-party concerns”?
Here is a suggestion: How about you get your city manager to use some type of managerial skills such as Lean Six Sigma to figure out the problem.
This city will not survive without a growing infrastructure. There are Panera Bread bakeries all across the country and they have a market cap of $4.79 billion, with 16,000 restaurants and 18,000 employees. That’s almost a quarter of the population of Palm Coast. But it’s their problem with the permitting and construction process here in Palm Coast, not ours. Please!
I’m a young retiree with a wife and kids, and the employment prospects in our county are shameful to say the least. If the leadership of our community is not doing everything possible to entice new businesses to increase the city’s infrastructure and create jobs for our citizens, they are derelict in their duties as public servants.