+ Church charity shouldn’t require Social Security number
I am stunned and also saddened how religion and charitable programs are being conducted with rules set up by individuals who are not even part of the parish.
I am very proud of my faith, and the matter at hand is about my church in particular. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church has decided to give Christmas presents to children who need it most. The concern is that they are requiring people to provide their Social Security number to be able to participate.
I do not believe that someone’s SSN should be needed for something that should be a generous act.
Are they not discriminating against needy children with the excuse that they are using the SSN to prevent a child from getting more than one gift? I understand that it’s about organization and keeping everything under control, but I am positive there are other ways to keep things organized and under control without discriminating or invading the privacy of a family.
Jesus does not require a Social Security Number to share the grace of a Paradise with us.
+ Lacrosse tournament put money over safety
While the recent lacrosse tournaments were viewed as a success, I have to disagree.
While there are many supporters and promoters for this type of event, they need to look at every aspect of putting on such an event. One of the biggest problems was one of safety because of the lack of parking.
I helped direct traffic and prevent several accidents by people going above the posted speed limit of 5 mph and trying to turn around a “blind” corner where cars were illegally parked.
Recently the city spent money on new landscaping at the Indian Trail Sports Complex only to have those coming to the lacrosse matches park their cars on the new plants.
Why was there no police presence to handle and enforce the parking? Why were there not tournament personnel present to control the parking and force the overflow to Indian Trails Middle School?
Thankfully, no child was hurt where it would require emergency services to enter the complex.
CITY HALL DEBATE
+ DiStefano absent from City Hall discussion
Editor’s Note: This letter was also sent to City Manager Jim Landon, the members of the City Council and Flagler County Tea Party Chairman Tom Lawrence.
I was in attendance last evening when you presented a proposal for a new City Hall. Unfortunately, our City Council representative, Mary DiStefano, was not in attendance; the reason cited was a “previous commitment.” This meeting was scheduled far enough in advance so that DiStefano could have rescheduled her “previous commitment.”
If that were not possible, in order that the entire council be informed as to the proceedings, she should have asked one of the other council members to substitute for her.
There were no written notes or recordings taken at the meeting, and therefore if a report will indeed be made regarding the happenings, that report would in all likelihood be made by Mr. Landon. Is this a conflict of interest? We were notified that there would be a council member present at each discussion. The indifference exhibited by our representative DiStefano creates an aura of mistrust and provocation.
That being said, I ask that you and the council consider the following:
You unequivocally stated that the total cost of the City Hall, including all plans, designs, furnishings, equipment, construction management, etc., would be$10 million. One can only imagine how this figure can be determined without precise building-cost contracts. It appears that an arbitrary per-square-foot cost factor was used to come up with the $10 million that you are proposing.
Given the fact that, to my knowledge, there are no concrete plants in Flagler County, all concrete, cement blocks, etc., will necessarily be imported from outside the county and that other required building materials must also be imported, I am wondering if these additional costs were factored into your arbitrary and unsubstantiated assessment of building costs.
You are suggesting that the council approve an expenditure of $10 million, and you assured all of us at the meeting that in all probability the cost would be less than that figure.
I have yet to see a municipal construction endeavor come in under budget. Cost overruns are the norm. If the council approves the construction, and the cost exceeds your estimate, what then?
I am suggesting that architects be commissioned to prepare working plans and specifications and that proposals for bids be extended to contractors. Upon receipt of bids, they can be evaluated by a construction management company, and a final construction cost will be determined.
After following the procedures that are outlined above, the council can determine the exact costs and then decide if this project should proceed at this time. To pay for this undertaking, withdrawing funds that are presently available in other accounts is, in my view, fiscally irresponsible.
+ Elected officials should follow voters’ wishes
I believe in democracy — not so much in representative government because we see many of our elected representatives to Washington ally themselves with their parties’ goals rather then serve the American people. It appears that our city elected public servants have also lost their way.
When the City Council can spend an inordinate amount of time discussing leashing cats and within a couple of minutes dismiss the requests of citizens to relax some of the codes about parking trucks at home (the codes being imposed upon citizens by a board of business people without citizen input or voting), I think the council has its priorities a bit skewed.
Now the mayor is talking about funding a new City Hall without tax dollars; however we all know that tax dollars will be involved at some point in time.
I am sure the mayor thinks he is doing what he thinks is best for the city, but he is a public servant, and his job is to serve the public and its wishes (such as the “no” vote on the City Hall). It’s obvious that in this matter, he is not serving the people but subverting the democratic process.
Maybe it’s time to recall these public servants who have forgotten what their function in local government is suppose to be.
E-mail letters to [email protected]. The Palm Coast Observer gives priority to letters of general interest about local issues and reservees the right to edit for space.