City’s codes forget that ‘being different doesn’t equal blight’
I would like to address the “pro code enforcement” letters I have seen in your paper. It seems that the “yard Nazis” are under the impression that those of use who find the restrictions severe want to live in a blighted city. This is the furthest from the truth. I, like most people who moved here, did so because Palm Coast is a clean and lovely city.
However, telling people what color they can paint their house or fence, or what type of fence they are allowed to have has nothing to do with blight. Being different does not equal blight.
As long as one’s property is kept in good condition, what does it matter what color their house or fence is? Or is it because they lack imagination?
In the town I came from, there was a stunning Victorian home painted lavender with beautiful white gingerbread. This home was definitely not an eyesore. While this might not be to everyone’s taste, it is far better than living in “Stepford,” where you can’t tell which house is yours. Yes, the grass needs to be kept neat and the exterior of a home clean and in good repair.
As far as “moving out to Mondex,” why should we have to move? Perhaps real estate agents should disclose all the onerous rules and regulations to potential buyers so they can decide for themselves if they want to live in “communist cell block” or in a free country. After all, even gated communities disclose their rules and the potential buyer must agree to abide by them before they are allowed to purchase there.
These issues have absolutely nothing to do with “garbage strewn all over the place” and everything to do with a few dictating their personal likes to the many.
I’m sure that all the “anti-regulation” writers don’t want to see blight. We just want to have the right to a bit of self expression. This is Florida, after all, so what’s wrong with “Bermuda colored houses”? What about people who are handicapped, elderly or just plain can’t afford the upkeep? Have they ever asked their neighbors who are in “violation” if they need help? Heaven forbid we should speak to them — just report them.
Punitive juvenile laws do more harm than good for students
I read with interest your April 23 article with the headline, “Arrests at school: Flagler vs. Florida.” With Cheryl Massaro, I also sit on the Department of Juvenile Justice’s Delinquency Prevention State Advisory Group.
Unquestionably, the rate of school-based arrests in Flagler County is disturbing, especially when examining minority youth over-representation. There is no single factor responsible for these statistics, and research strongly suggests that the problems of school arrests and disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in the juvenile justice system are both multifaceted and strongly related.
However, the article fails to point to the single, well-documented source of both excessive school-related arrests and DMC, mainly, punitive and unyielding school discipline policies, such as automatic suspensions and expulsions.
Does anyone believe the juvenile justice system and DJJ programs are a more appropriate place for most youth to learn and grow? Isn't the school environment supposed to be the best place to do that, even if you are troubled youth? The school-to-prison pipeline and DMC are strongly correlated with school policies that are outdated and based upon zero-tolerance for even the most mundane infractions.
Many states have focused on law enforcement as the problematic factor in this equation, only to find that officers are bound by a legally responsive approach set in motion by school policies and state laws. Flagler County Sheriff's Senior Cmdr. Steve Cole is correct in stating that law enforcement does its job without consideration of race. No amount of law enforcement training can change an officer's duty to arrest where a crime is committed and the victim (the school) insists on prosecuting.
Perhaps we should be looking to where the research and evidence does clearly show that the problem is rooted: punitive school policies and practices based on “get tough” and “zero tolerance,” which are harmful to all students, families and all taxpayers.
School districts and legislators, if they followed the research and evidence, would find that a significant part of the solution is found not in the back seat of a patrol car or in juvenile court but in the school policies and punitive juvenile laws that support them.
Law enforcement should not be the primary focus for the problems of DMC or school-based arrests. Law enforcement is likely to be a primary source of advocacy for more meaningful reform and solutions and both the state and school boards should seek their involvement before, not after, new laws or programs are rolled out.
Editor’s Note: In a story in January about discipline in schools, Superintendent Jacob Oliva noted that the district has made changes to help address concerns — changes that might not have been reflected in the statistics reported on in the April 23 story. The January story quoted Oliva this way: “We have a district disciplinary review committee, and we have made revisions to our code of conduct and implemented an in-lieu program for students under disciplinary review to reduce the number of expulsions.” No district students have been expelled so far this school year, he said.
Ronald Reagan group’s actions make me want to change to independent
Thank you for publishing Carol Mikola’s commentary, which speaks truth to the appalling demise of the Flagler County Republican Party. As a lifelong Republican, Ms. Mikola clearly articulates what I and so many faithful former campaign and tea party volunteers have felt since the rise of the radical Ronald Reagan Republican Assembly. I concur with and support the letters written regarding the RRRA’s deplorable tactics and disrespect to elected Republicans not endorsed by them, but whom I voted for. The RRRA does not represent me or my conservative values. I, too, am considering changing my party affiliation to independent. Bravo Ms. Mikola!