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Opinion
Palm Coast Wednesday, Jun. 17, 2020 3 weeks ago

3 letters: On moratorium, impact fees, McDonald, Barbosa, Morton

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Here's what your neighbors are talking about.
by: Guest Writer

Moratorium and impact fees show Palm Coast is not friendly to businesses

Dear Editor:

This week the Palm Coast City Council wrongly voted to continue the moratorium against Dollar General type stores, while at the same time voting to dramatically increase impact fees on both residential and commercial new construction. Unfortunately, these indefensible actions will only serve to increase our city’s anti-business reputation and reinforce the message that Palm Coast is an unfriendly business community.

Yet, no doubt these same leaders sit around City Hall and wonder why new businesses won’t relocate here and some businesses are leaving.

Considering the damage that COVID-19 has caused our community, we should be sending a new and positive message, one that says, “Welcome to Palm Coast – a business friendly community.”

Once elected to City Council, I will fight hard to repair our city’s damaged reputation and send a new message that Palm Coast is finally open for business, appreciates business and will work with businesses to help them succeed. 

Ed Danko

Palm Coast

Editor's Note: Danko is a candidate for Palm Coast City Council.

 

McDonald is anti-vaccine, Barbosa is 'anti-science'

Dear Editor:

There is too much past and present controversy, questionable mindsets and unethical behavior within the Flagler County School Board attributable in good part to two board members, Janet McDonald and Maria Barbosa. Both of these board members, who play an important role in our public education policies, should have the highest regard for science and fact-based learning and exemplify the highest ethical standards, but they have clearly failed.

As pointed out in the recent article in the Palm Coast Observer, McDonald, the board’s chairperson, was recently embroiled in a controversy involving her tweets and retweets of various debunked conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, controversial alt-right misinformation, downplaying the coronavirus crisis and even its recommended preventive measures and claiming that the pandemic is a plot to take over the government. She has also taken a stance against school vaccinations irrespective of their solid scientific foundations. 

And last year, a Florida Ethics Commission investigation into McDonald concluded that in 2014 and 2015 she violated ethics laws and was fined for filing inaccurate financial disclosure forms.

Maria Barbosa, during her initial run for the School Board, and as cited in a 2014 Flagler Live article, was caught plagiarizing her written responses to policy position questions posed to her during her School Board member campaign. According to the county's Code of Student Conduct, plagiarism is a violation that warrants strong disciplinary action. Barbosa has also held herself out as being a “licensed clinical counselor,” but she had no such Florida license.

She also holds similar views as McDonald regarding student vaccinations and last year the respected head of the Flagler County Health Department accused her of being “anti-science and anti-vaccine,” adding that “it’s a real shame you are a member of the School Board." Barbosa is running for re-election this year.

These two problematic board members have not held themselves to the same standards of sound evidence-based learning and ethical behavior expected of the very students they oversee. 

Robert Gordon
Palm Coast

Editor's Note: Barbosa said, in 2019, that she was not anti-vaccine but was interested in getting more information before she would support having HPV vaccines administered at schools.
 

How has Morton 'exceeded expectations'?

Dear Editor:

Your headline in the June 4 edition of read, “City Manager Morton rated as exceeding expectations,” and it has me perplexed. I had expected, as I read the article that he had aced his performance for the first year on the job, but that is not the case. 

He was rated 3.67 out of a possible 5. If that score was exceeding expectations, then how low were the original expectations when Mr. Morton was hired? The rating is only mediocre at best. It would equate to a 3+ in the academic world. No student would have earned a reward for such a performance.

Sometimes when a city manager pushes aside resolving issues that affect departmental shortcomings, that sits well with the governing body, because then they don’t have to face distasteful internal practices that have been in place far too long without needed review that have caused harm to the taxpayer while benefitting unscrupulous contractors.

The City Manager’s base salary is $145,000 plus additional perks giving him a gross compensation package of $177,356. He declined a raise of $7,250. I think that it is important when reporting that the whole picture is displayed so that the taxpayers are aware of the payout package for this position. 

Phyllis Robbins-Scheffler

Palm Coast

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