+ No City Hall as long as unemployment soars
Let’s start with a shocking fact about Palm Coast’s unemployment: sixth-worst among all metropolitan areas in America and No. 1 in Florida.
To be fair, this sad state of affairs is not the fault of our city government — it is the result of powerful historical and economic forces well beyond the control of one small city to fight.
Just a few years ago, we were officially designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as the fastest-growing small city in America. When the mortgage bubble burst, it only made sense that an economically shallow city with little real industry would suffer the most — a city almost entirely dependent on the real estate bubble growing ad infinitum.
What appalls me, amid this backdrop of blight and suffering, is that our city’s management could be so tone deaf and politically insensitive as to propose a lavish, $10 million City Hall while thousands of local families struggle to put food in their mouths and keep a roof over their heads. It’s a tale of two cities: An elite group of city officials with taxpayer-funded guaranteed employment sit inside a protective bubble, while thousands of “little people” fend for their lives.
But I am a reasonable man. I recognize the city needs adequate facilities to do its essential work. That’s why our government should use the vast inventory of commercial space that now sits abandoned. European Village is but one example.
In time, if we recover and prosperity returns, perhaps our city can look forward to a brand new facility of its own. But now is surely not that time.
+ We already had a City Hall, and we sold it. No more.
We keep hearing about the need for a City Hall and the money being wasted on rent at the current location.
Let’s go back a little.
The citizens of Palm Coast were asked and voted against a City Hall building by a majority.
Then the city officials decided to sell the City Hall building to Palm Coast Data without any input from the citizens, knowing that they did not want a new building.
The city officials then moved the offices to City Walk, a complex that was having problems renting out its spaces. Who made that deal?
Now, our city manager is having town meetings to try once again to sell the new City Hall idea, saying that it is better to build than to pay rent. Well, we had a building, but the city officials sold it.
All this time, the city officials made a deal with the Town Center developers to put City Hall in there. Any money used to build a City Hall is taxpayers’ money — I don’t care where it comes from, it’s our money. The Palm Coast citizens voted against using our money to build.
The people of Palm Coast should wake up, as all people should. The city, county, state and federal officials are not listening to their citizens and continue to do whatever they want.
It’s time to replace our city officials — mayor, City Council and city manager — with people who will listen and do what the citizens want.
+ Still no accountability for Enterprise Flagler
Enterprise Flagler recently added two more top guns a (CEO and a manager) as co-presidents. I think the citizens of Flagler County would like to know some answers to these questions:
Will they have an employment contract with the county? Will it be a document for public record? Do their positions constitute full-time employment? Will they receive an annual salary, and at what amount? What benefits and perks will they receive? How many assistants are they going to employ? Should they be allowed to employ family members and friends? Have Mayor Jon Netts and City Manager Jim Landon resigned from the Enterprise Flagler Board of Directors?
In reference to Enterprise Flagler Executive Director Greg Rawls’ comments in the Oct. 28 issue of the Palm Coast Observer:
He said his organization has protected nearly 1,200 jobs. Name them. He has retained an additional 1,465 jobs. Name them. He has brought to town $280 million in economic development. Name the sources.
+ More enforcement of speed limits needed
There “shore” is a lot of speeding going on in Palm Coast.
I am not talking about 3-5 mph over the speed limit. I am talking about 10-20 miles over.
Example: There is a portion of Palm Coast Parkway westbound that is posted 45 mph from the toll bridge to Clubhouse Drive; then, it is a posted 30 mph zone. Inevitability, whenever I happen to be there waiting to turn from Clubhouse, there are vehicles coming through the intersection at 45-50 mph that do not slow down to 30. It occurs every day, all day long.
That 30 mph zone runs all the way up to Old Kings Road, where it becomes 40 mph crossing I-95.
Why is there a 30 mph zone on Palm Coast Parkway westbound? It is because there is an entrance to medical facilities on the right, a children’s day care center and church entrance on the left, along with the entrance to the Suntrust Bank. But the drivers do not seem to care; they just keep speeding along.
Enforcement? I don’t believe I’ve seen it more than once.
On the west side, on Belle Terre and Pine Lakes parkways — you take your life in your hands on those roads.
There is a miniature speed-detecting device that attaches to speed limit signs. It’s a small radar unit that lights up and shows the speed of the car(s) as they approach the signs.
This would be a great way to get the attention of these distracted drivers. Criminal enforcement and enforcing traffic laws must go hand in hand.
REFLECTING ON FREDERICK GLEISSNER
+ Gleissner funeral Mass was moving, inspiring
As a retired firefighter, I attended the funeral Mass Tuesday, Dec. 7, for Frederick Gleissner. Having been to way too many of these occasions, I attended with a heavy heart and much sorrow for his family and friends, as well as his brothers and sisters in firefighting.
The outpouring of love and support from near and far was overwhelming. The retired and active members of the New York Fire Department were nothing less than impressive.
Additionally, members from other Florida locations served their brother well. City of Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle and his support staff are to be commended for their efforts in pulling this all together.
Diane Gleissner (Fred’s mother) and the Rev. Chris Liguori were truly inspirational in finding hope out of this tragedy. Between Diane and Chris, I’ve found myself rethinking my long lost values.
Stan R. Sury
Retired captain from Atlanta
The Palm Coast Observer gives priority to letters of general interest about local issues and reservees the right to edit for space. E-mail [email protected].