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Opinion
Palm Coast Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 9 months ago

Is affordable housing really necessary in Palm Coast? Is opposition 'classist'?

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Also: Kudos to a deputy from one reader, criticism of FCSO 'wasting' resources by another.
by: Guest Writer

No ‘affordable housing’ necessary

Dear Editor:

So, our mayor is dreaming of bringing more varieties of affordable housing to Palm Coast? And it will all be pretty and glorious. After all, she states: “We are Palm Coast, a community built with high development standards.”

Taxpaying citizens do not live in a dream world. We are awake enough to know what affordable housing looks like. We have seen it in places we moved away from. We have seen it in sections of surrounding cities.

Contrary to our mayor’s bragging about these high standards, this city was, in fact, built to some of the lowest standards in the country. There was a complete absence of the basic amenities that even backwoods villages might reasonably expect:

No street lights in residential neighborhoods, no street curbing, no sidewalks, no real stormwater sewer system, no underground utilities, and a quaint, primitive septic tank sanitary sewer system.

Palm Coast is known for cheap lots, and econo-box houses. This city is about as affordable as living can get. There is no compelling reason to try to shove Palm Coast further into affordability by advocating for housing projects.

Jerry Columbus

Palm Coast

 

Kudos for professionalism of deputy

Dear Editor:

I would like to praise and commend your Deputy Diego Gonzalez for the professionalism he displayed during a traffic stop this weekend. I was on my way to church yesterday when Deputy Gonzalez pulled me over on State Road 100. We pulled into the Woody’s parking area. He came to my vehicle and explained why I was stopped. I have never seen such courtesy, respect and professionalism from a police officer as Deputy Gonzalez displayed.

I explained that I was unaware of the infraction but had proof in my office that the infraction was false. Although I did not have the proof with me, he gave me every leeway possible and cautioned me as to what not to do. I promised to get the infraction rectified with the DMV, which was done this morning.

If this is the kind of officers Flagler County employs, I have the utmost confidence that Palm Coast, where I live and work, is protected by your men and women in green. They are truly Flagler County’s finest.

Steven Scifo

Palm Coast

 

You gave a platform for Democrats but not my rebuttal

Dear Editor:

You say the Observer is not politically biased and you just made "mistakes"? I don't think so! A few months back you gave a platform for the Flagler County Democratic leader to spout her views that cried out for a rebuttal. I submitted a rebuttal countering her point by point. You refused to print it. The Observer is most definitely politically biased.

Martin A. Noyes

Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: Flagler County Democratic Party Chairwoman Stephanie Capehart's editorial in May was in response to an editorial by Danielle Anderson, of the Flagler County Republican Party. We give space to all who submit, regardless of their politics. However, we focus on local issues of general interest, so national arguments are not a good fit for our publication. Apologies for failing to respond to your original submission.

 

Why so little space for Temple Beth Shalom event?

Dear Editor:

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, more than 100 residents of Palm Coast gathered at Temple Beth Shalom for a beautiful service of unity and healing. There were Jews and Christians, those of different races and ethnicities, more than a half dozen clergy representing multiple faiths, our county sheriff and a political candidate who grew up in Pittsburgh. We all came together to pray, to grieve, to shed tears, to sing songs of peace and hope, and to begin to heal. We came together as a community. 

And yet, despite the presence of one of your kind and caring photographers/reporters, the mention of this significant event, regarding the largest anti-Semitic act in U.S. history, was placed in a briefs column on Page 11 after a few lines and a picture at the bottom of Page 1.

Together we sang John Lennon’s words from “Imagine” about a “brotherhood of man” and those of Bob Dylan, trying to respond to the questions of “how many deaths will it take,” singing, “the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.” And we praised a higher power together with a heartfelt rendition of “Amazing Grace.” There were words of prayer and comfort from the clergy and dignitaries who attended. This was an evening devoted to peace, caring, comfort and love.

Perhaps the fact that this coming together of so many with differing belief systems in solidarity received such little press is a symptom of what is ailing our great nation. Perhaps we need to see more coverage of stories like this in the future.

Phyllis Wolff-McDonagh

Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your feedback. The event happened late in our news cycle, so we did what seemed best given our time constraints. But you’re right: You’re right. More space would have been better.

 

Please stop telling us your recommendations

Dear Editor:

I read your response to Alice Losasso’s letter (same title as shown above) and am dismayed to see that on your future election schedule, your endorsements are still included.

I recommend that before the next election you take an independent poll and add stats to your “not popular” “others seek” opinion. That way you will publish real news and I am confident you will find that you publish your recommendations not because they are desired, but because you have personal need to do so.

It is my guess that, unasked, you wouldn’t dare to tell your spouse how to vote. He or she will tell you, in a high state of emotion — I’m guessing again — that they have a want and the right to decide on their own based on candidate information. I believe as readers, we demand that same right to decide.

Don Bach

Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: Thanks for your feedback. A poll is a good idea. We will work on that! Anecdotally, we do know that some people want the endorsements: Every two years, we have people come to our office asking for extra copies to bring to friends. One candidate recently told me that while he was knocking doors in a past election, a reader was filling out her mail-in ballot next to a copy of our endorsements. That said, we don’t tell readers how to vote. We make recommendations, and we trust that readers will make up their own minds, just as you do.

 

Bus drivers also need to improve driving

Dear Editor:

OK, so you now have reported on the “car initiated” vehicle incidents/complaints  involving school buses in the Oct. 25 edition of the Palm Coast Observer.

Let’s now talk about the school bus drivers and their infractions.

1. Speeding on Belle Terre, after dropping students at the schools.

2.  Grouping in numbers eight or more, all in the same lane, or both lanes at 50-60 mph, and then blocking up Belle Terre/State Road 100, left turns.

3. Turn right on Belle Terre (south) to Easthampton, while bicyclers and walkers have to wait even though they have a “walk” signal.

4. Handicapped bus stopping on middle of street (Essington). Bus driver leaves bus running in middle of road, no ER lights, walks to house and escorts student to bus, sometimes up to five minutes-plus

5. School bus stops on Easthampton, at first intersection, which is only four car lengths from Belle Terre, causing following cars to now block Belle Terre.

6. Students (many of them with their parent) at bus stops, blocking sidewalk to bikers and early walkers.

I realize bus drivers are under the gun to get to and away from school quickly, but they are at fault, perhaps as much as car drivers.

Let’s not just emphasize the “poor bus drivers.” Let’s also recognize the bad car drivers on Belle Terre.

Charles F. Ericksen Jr.

Palm Coast

 

State Road 100 is a nightmare

Dear Editor:

Driving on State Road 100 is no less than nightmarish when it’s dark and raining. Lets have the lines repainted and road studs to illuminate the way.

Glenwrick Elliott

Palm Coast

 

What a waste of resources by the Sheriff's Office!

Dear Editor:

It is too bad that our elected officials decided to give the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office 10 additional deputies and six new additional patrol cars. One evening in October, a simple little occurrence in my neighborhood saw two fire vehicles and, count them, not one, not two, but six patrol cars surrounding the "nothing" scene. What a waste!

Bill Nelson

Palm Coast

Editor's Note: The following is a response from Flagler County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Brittany Kershaw: "There were 10 patrol deputy positions added last fiscal year by the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners. This is because the Sheriff’s Office has been historically understaffed. Before these deputies were hired, FCSO had 1.3 deputies per 1,000 residents. Today, we have 1.52 deputies per thousand — still significantly below the state and national average. For comparison, there are three sheriff's offices that have a service population similar to that of FCSO. Their service populations and corresponding law enforcement officer ratios are as follows: Indian River Sheriff’s Office, 1.57 deputies per thousand; Leon County Sheriff’s Office, 2.38; and Bay County Sheriff’s Office, 2.97. The International Association of Chiefs of Police recommends 2.5; Florida averages 1.9.

"The community is growing again, now with over 110,000 residents, and service demands are increasing. Our calls for service are projected to be up 4.7% this year alone. With the additional deputies and Sheriff Rick Staly’s initiatives, traffic fatalities have been reduced almost 2/3, violent crime is currently down more than 30%, and property crime is down more than 10% so far this year. 

"Multiple units have to respond to incidents for the safety of the community as well as the safety of our deputies, such as domestic violence, suicide threats, car crashes with injuries, reported burglaries in progress. Without knowing the specific incident in question, we cannot speculate on why multiple deputies responded. In looking at the incidents that occurred on your street on the evening of Oct. 22, I can find one traffic crash with injuries. Our records show that three deputies responded to the scene as well as medical personnel in order to address the injuries. For calls for service where there are many unknowns, FCSO policy allows for nearby deputies to respond. In this case, deputies were unaware of the number of people injured or the severity of their injuries. Three responding deputies to such a call would not be considered excessive."

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