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Opinion
Palm Coast Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 7 years ago

LETTERS: On city managers, socialism, code enforcement

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Palm Coast should learn from hiring of Bunnell’s city manager

Dear Editor:
Consider what three commissioners provided for the citizens of the city of Bunnell, in contrast to what the majority of Palm Coast City Council members provide.

Mr. Williams has 13 years of experience as a Florida city manager and is paid $67,000 per year. Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon had no Florida experience, which is proven by his extensive list of failures (can't even follow the filed City Charter for elections) and gets paid in excess of $250,000. What’s wrong with this equation?

Maybe we have a Palm Coast city manager that might just be overpaid to follow an agenda not beneficial to the citizens. Consider where else could you get a job with this pay (one of the highest in Florida and more than the governor), no relevant experience and consistently fail the good people of your city? Why would those five council members continue to employ you?

Could it be that the council and mayor have “other” interests? Like $4.8 million for the Community Redevelopment Area to waste on Town Center in 2014? Brilliant. Makes the golf carts look like a bargain.

I just wish Palm Coast had a City Council where three out of five members would actually represent the people that elected them!

Dennis McDonald
Palm Coast

 

Code enforcement is not applied equally

Dear Editor:
This letter is in reference to the city codes and why they are not being enforced equally to all property owners of Palm Coast.

In the Palm Coast Code of Ordinances, Article III. Property Maintenance Code; Section15.103. Definitions, it reads:

Vacant structures and land. All vacant structures and premises thereof or vacant land shall be maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition as provided herein so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.

The vacant lot next to my property has been a fire risk and blight against my home since we moved here in 2011. We have done major landscaping, outside maintenance, i.e., fencing, sod, gutters, etc., and the first thing people see before arriving at our home is this overgrown, trashy, nasty lot that is not maintained. The underbrush and vines in the trees are overwhelming, not to mention the fire hazard so close to our home.

Nothing seems to be done to the landowners. If the city is so well staffed that they can send out their ordinance code enforcers to give citations to homeowners that need to mow their lawn, why can’t they make these vacant lot owners clean up these overgrown lots? The emphasis in Palm Coast is to beautify our surroundings and maintain them to make us appealing to newcomers and/or future business owners. We work hard to keep up our property, so why can’t we get this lot cleaned up to remove the eyesore on our street? Come on, Code Enforcement, do your job!

Janiet Adams
Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: The city has received similar complaints, and has issued this response:

“The particular definition you reference is meant to address unoccupied houses and the property they’re on — not undeveloped residential lots. The definition that applies in the case of an undeveloped vacant lot is from Chapter 25 of Palm Coast’s ordinances: ‘An Undeveloped Vacant Lot shall mean any lot or parcel that does not contain a structure and/or improvement. This shall also include adjacent property where both parcels are owned by one person or entity, but only if said adjacent property is located within 200 feet of a developed lot.’

“Since ITT first started developing Palm Coast some 40 years ago, residential lots have often been purchased years before a house is built. When ITT platted the community, the plan included 47,000 residential lots. Today, the city of Palm Coast still has nearly 18,000 undeveloped residential lots. It has always been the community’s philosophy and policy to allow property owners to leave their undeveloped residential lots in a natural state until house construction begins.

“However, to protect houses from wildfires, the city in 2001 enacted an ordinance for wildfire hazard mitigation that may be helpful to you in your situation, and to other residents in similar situations. Our Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Ordinance, Chapter 25, Article IV, addresses overgrowth of brush on undeveloped vacant lots. Essentially, brush on undeveloped lots averaging over 3 feet tall, within 30 feet of an existing residential structure, is considered a fire hazard. Brush means plant species that by virtue of their arrangement, chemical composition, and growth pattern provide a ready path for uncontrolled fire to spread. Species included in this definition include saw palmetto, gallberry, fetterbrush and wax myrtle. Pine trees less than 5 inches in diameter at breast height (4.5 feet above grade) are also included in this definition.

“The city has two inspectors who continually map properties that are vacant and qualify for wildfire mitigation. When an undeveloped lot is determined to be in violation, the city sends the owner a letter advising the owner to clear the overgrown brush. If the property owner doesn’t remedy the violation within 30 days, the violation is posted on the property for an additional 30 days. If the violation is still not remedied, the city arranges for removal of the overgrown brush, and the property owner is billed for that work.

“However, if a resident reports a potential violation, the city will inspect that property right away. Potential violations can be reported by calling Palm Coast’s Urban Forestry Office at 986-3758 or by going online to the Citizen Issue Tracking service at www.palmcoastgov.com. Search for ‘Issue,’ then ‘General Complaint Issues,’ then ‘Fire Mitigation.’

“We look forward to working with you to ensure your property is protected from wildfire.”
Cindi Lane, Communications & Marketing Manager, city of Palm Coast


Most countries teach that their system is best

Dear Editor:
So much fear! Yes we’re taught about socialism, from one point of view. Most countries teach their way is best. I am so tired of the parroting that goes on from shows like Fox News, CNN, Rush Limbaugh and various other supposed journalists and experts. The abundance of misinformation available today is stunning, and 24/7. It’s just a nasty, unprofessional, irresponsible way to get ratings.

I ran into one of those talk show hosts who is well known in South Florida. She saw the Obama sticker on my car and said, “You’re not really going to vote for Obama, are you?” I said, “Absolutely!” She then called me a socialist and walked away. That woman had no idea who I was, that I was 60 years old and had worked since the age of 15. She did not know that I paid my own way through college, paid all my bills and rent on time by sometimes working two jobs, and eventually, bought my own house. But just like that, she dismissed me as a “socialist.” Yes, we were taught that any -ism, other than capitalism, is frightening.

I fail to see why people are so upset about helping others! We should want healthy babies to grow up to be healthy people — people who are productive, pay taxes and buy products and services. We should also help those who cannot help themselves, or simply need that boost to get going. Most everyone would prefer to be productive and independent. It’s the big corporate subsidies that bother me.

We should be more open-minded and intelligent about the way different people live, and take the best aspects of different governments and combine them into the best government possible. Thank you for writing in, Frode Nilsen. Being of Norwegian decent, I know the people there are industrious and intelligent, and you are welcome in this country!

Since quotes were popular in this thread, I would like to add one myself: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Angela Bailus
The Hammock


U.S. has been influenced by socialism, as well

Dear Editor:
I agree with Mr. Frode Nilsen and his perception of socialist Norway with the understanding that it may not appeal to all, but, in fairness, it would be difficult to find a country which hasn't been influenced in some way by socialism. Even in this country, we have Social Security and Medicare, which are socialist systems, as well as the health care system in Canada and in the U.K.

In fact, Ms. Linda Hansen's list of top 10 countries finds that most of them are heavily socialist-leaning states. Socialism is no utopia, and history is filled with the most extreme examples which trampled human and civil rights and destroyed the lives of countless millions, but at least the more positive socialist ideals have been incorporated into many modern states, to include many countries which we call allies.

As for socialized health care and the waiting time to get care, let us not forget that up until the advent of Obamacare, this country had 45 million noninsured or underinsured Americans and that 30% of personal bankruptcies are due to excessive medical bills. As for our own capitalist system, it seems we have developed short memories, as the recent unprecedented government intervention saved this system from total collapse.

For those who are quick to wave the red, white and blue, let’s keep in mind that the United States is the greatest country ever stolen from its native inhabitants and built on the back of slaves.

Jose Vasquez
Palm Coast

 

 

 

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