Also in letters: Library needs political support, county praised for attention to dunes
Why attack prayer? Get real
I was so amused at the two Palm Coast residents who so vigorously damned prayers before School Board meetings!
The first, a rabbi (tell me what church so I can avoid it). And does the second man not believe there is something more powerful than man?
These men with such delicate ears that it offends them so much should just leave for the few seconds when the invocations are read, or perhaps, put their fingers in their ears and hum softly to themselves.
Are they suffering from the prayers in a public meeting that is held under the auspices of the government of a nation that is “one nation under God”? Get real and worry about the direction this country is going.
As my grandmother used to say, "This country is going to h--- in a hand basket,” and the opinions expressed by these two aren't helping to stop the slide!
School Board could use some prayers
There are two anti-prayer letters in the Sept. 5 edition. The first letter mentions circuit courts that have heard cases about invocations at school board meetings. Here's a little background on these courts: Obama in 2008 promised to transform the U.S.A. He delivered on one front by reshaping the federal judiciary. When he entered office, liberal judges controlled one of the 13 circuits of the courts of appeals; 55 successful Obama nominations later, liberal majorities controlled nine of the 13 courts, so don't tell me about constitutional rulings made by these people when 70% of their decisions that reach the Supreme Court are overturned.
The supremes haven't ruled on prayer in school, yet. The First Amendment says the government may not establish a state religion; it does not outlaw religion. Congress has a chaplain who delivers an opening prayer and the supremes begin with an invocation to God to save the United States and this honorable court.
Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a god or gods. It is a cause, principle or belief. It's all very confusing.
I know a lot of people who are believers, and I hope for their sake they are right; me, I dropped out long ago, but praying before school board meetings is, in my opinion, necessary. They should be asking their deity for wisdom and guidance, being as they appear to lack the good sense and judgment to manage this aggregate of public schools that is under their misguided fallacious administration.
This letter is not written to humiliate our School Board members; its purpose is to let them realize that with the help of the almighty they can provide our students with a better and cheaper education.
Library needs political advocates
On July 15, the chairman of the Library Board of Trustees presented the library’s Annual Report on the status of our library system to the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners.
In brief, in the words of the chairman, the library system is struck in neutral.
The presentation included commentary and 13 exhibits. One exhibit detailed that the library budget has been flat at about $1 million for the past 10 years. Now during this time frame, the population of Flagler County has increased from 88,088 to 112,067. Also, the county’s total annual expenditures increased from $159 million to $186 million. Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to properly fund the library with an adequate infrastructure.
On March 2, 2012, the Flagler County administrator convened a workshop with the county commissioners to review the need to extend the half-cent infrastructure sales tax, which would expire at the end of the year. Details were offered on three potential capital projects to be funded with the extension to the tax:
Sheriff's Office Annex - $5 million
Jail Expansion - $10 million
Library Expansion – $1.5 million for 9,000 square feet, plus some parking
On October 2012, the County Commission passed the extension to the half-cent infrastructure sales tax on a 4 to 1 vote with the following preamble to "maintain public facilities and maintain acceptable levels of service.” It became effective Jan. 1, 2013.
In December 2013, the library director led a tour of the library for all five members of the County Commission, most members of the Library Board of Trustees and Friends of the Library leaders to review the benefits of a expansion to the existing library.
On May 16, 2016, a County Commission workshop was held to discuss the needs of the Flagler County Public Library system as to expansion of the existing facility at a cost of about $2 million and/or a new southern branch at a cost of about $5 million. About this time, an unnamed donor offered to donate about $1 million over five years to help fund the expansion. As a show of good faith, the donor has made two $100,000 donations, which sit in a restricted bank account controlled by the Friends of the Library. A short time later, both the library administration and the Library Trustees decided in favor of a new branch library vs. an expansion to the existing library.
Last year, the county purchased an 8.4-acre parcel for $546,000 to serve as the future site of a new southern branch. It will be near the county government buildings in Bunnell. At this point, the design phase of the new southern branch is underway. The $500,000 cost will be funded with revenue generated by the Passport Application Service at the library, not tax dollars.
A library is a unique common good. On the one hand, it is a cost center for citizens, on the other hand, it is a producer of wealth for these same citizens. As a cost center, the library has a cost of about $25 per year for the average homeowner. At the same time, each time, as a library user, one accrues benefits in “free” books, DVDs, etc., and other library offerings such as classes, plus children’s, young adult and adult programs.
The library now has a software application that gives you the value of items that one checks out with a checkout receipt. On a personal basis, as of August of this year, I have saved $1,361. For the community as a whole, the savings are in access of $6 million for the calendar year.
As Andrew Carnegie said, “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”
On the positive side, Flagler County Library patrons have benefited from a very capable library director, a library staff that meets and exceeds the requirements of patrons, an amazing cast of over 100 volunteers and, finally, the support of the Friends of the Library since 1979.
What is needed now is political and business leaders to act as advocates for the library.
Ronald E. Pokigo
20-year volunteer at the library
Thanks for caring about the dunes after the hurricane
The following message was sent to Flagler County Engineer Faith Alkhatib, Public Information Officer Julie Murphy and Assistant County Engineer Richard Gordon:
Your caring so much about the county, as seen in the photos taken Sept. 4 by the Palm Coast Observer is the most refreshing post-hurricane reassurance to me.
Although I am also very grateful to our emergency responders, our sheriff and deputies, you braved the winds to check on your hard work as you would check on a family member or close friend.
Mark and I are grateful and appreciate your taking time away from your own families and homes to make sure our county made it through this one.
I hope all the citizens of Flagler County appreciate you all as much as we do for your dedication.
I know I b---- a lot when things don’t go my way, so I must equally be grateful and happy when things do go my way. Thanks again.
Jane and Mark Youd