Here's what your neighbors in Palm Coast and Flagler County are talking about.
Why have Whiteview Parkway costs quadrupled?
If you are tired of reading about Whiteview Parkway reducing two lanes of traffic to one lane, you can stop reading now and open your wallet and smile. Otherwise, please read on.
In January 2018, the former city manager proposed spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million to take the two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction.
Fast forward to Sept. 17, 2019, when I asked at a City Council meeting what the new estimated cost would be. Palm Coast Stormwater and Engineering Department Director Carl Cote said the new estimate was $4 million, but other items were added in, including increased lighting and sidewalks.
According to Mr. Cote, the project was continuing. He also stated 90 trees would be either removed or replaced.
The former city manager may be gone, but his spirit lives on.
Mr. Cote also mentioned that city employees would be doing the landscape design, and he did not provide any details of the cost of the city’s staff cost.
The bottom line is I did not get an answer to the question I asked at the Sept. 17 meeting regarding the new estimated costs for Whiteview Parkway. Instead, that cost was somewhere hidden in the augmented $4 million total.
Now move up to the City Council special budget meeting held the very next day, Sept. 18, when I addressed City Council and said the cost was hidden in the $4 million amount. Councilman Klufas took umbrage and said the cost was not hidden. So Mr. Klufas, is the new cost of reducing the size of the Whiteview Parkway still in the neighbor of $1 million or $4 million?
Please everyone that has read to here call, write or email City Council members or the mayor.
Here is the contact information, https://www.palmcoastgov.com/contact/council.
Don't miss an opportunity to keep kids healthy
I commend Robert Snyder, director of the Department of Heath in Flagler County, in his effort to quite literally save the lives of children.
As a longtime Rotarian and having been involved with our organization's efforts to end polio in the world both in time and treasure, I know firsthand the impact of vaccinations. I suspect a number of the School Board members got their polio vaccination at school. I don't believe our parents or school board were lining up in protest; they were, however, limiting our access to swimming pools and other common areas prior to vaccinations in order that we would not contract polio. This effort continues in the two remaining endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Since 2014, near 60 health workers and their security teams have been assassinated by those against the vaccination of their countries’ children, due to misinformation and feared loss of power. Yet, mothers continue to volunteer to administer the vaccines. They are, in fact, willing to give all they'll ever have in an effort to save a child.
I urge the School Board to lead in educating parents of this HPV vaccination opportunity, at no cost, to save their kids from contracting some cancers. Administrator Snyder offered to provide said education materials. Some members of the board stated the parents are too busy to make such an informed decision. Seriously?
It was also stated that general counsel should be consulted first. This from a board that had a member make a unilateral decision, without informing the balance of the board, to open a meeting with prayer. Subsequently, she forwarded the possible challenges this might create, to the general counsel. Apparently consulting the general counsel is a solution both before and after a decision, depending on the circumstances.
Please consider the offer of the health department to keep our children safe. A parent can always say no.
Government overreached with ‘mandatory evacuation’ orders
The Flagler County government handling of Hurricane Dorian was overreach. We have seen government at all levels want to become God or our parents more and more and guess what? They aren’t.
In the name of safety, they seem to love to tell us what to do and where to go. While there is a time and place for government to act in emergencies, the power of the state gives them power in our land of liberty that much be used with the utmost discretion. It is far better for government to under-reach than overreach.
Some of our residents chose to leave the area early when the predictions were dire. That’s understandable, especially for those near the beach or other water. But most others chose to follow the news and decided not to go anywhere, which turned out to be the smart thing to do. Government too often uses the “S” philosophy, which is “better safe than sorry.” Instead they should also try to use another “S” (smart).
First our government should acknowledge that there is no such thing as a mandatory evacuation. The government cannot make you leave your home, period. They certainly can tell you that there will be no help should you need it, and that is understandable.
Yet even though they had better and more updated information on the storm than we did, we, the citizens, saw that there was no reason to leave. Yet the county still ordered a mandatory evacuation, even for some areas west of the river. To compound their error, they issued a curfew for those areas where most people had not even left. Thus the county made these citizens virtual prisoners in their own homes and for what? Most people didn’t even lose power! It wasn’t until some 20 hour later that they lifted the curfew (in the middle of the afternoon).
Give me a break!
This has to remind you of the saying, “We’re the government and we’re here to help you.” Hardly!
The power of the state must be used only when absolutely necessary, and this was certainly not one of those situations. If there is a close call to make, it should always be on the side of liberty and freedom.
Save space and put gas prices on the water tower
Palm Coast motorists have to notice how all filling stations in town display gas prices prominently and identically.
I suggest that they install one large neon sign, maybe on the iconic water tower.
They can then announce the current and common prices, save on labor costs, while donating their now redundant numbers to The Little League.