+ Flashing yellow lights unnecessary at Royal Palms
With regard to the flashing yellow lights/arrows: I smell money! Lots of it!
Everyone knows that a yellow traffic light is a warning: flashing, blinking or continuous. Why reinvent the wheel?
When you approach a yellow light, you are supposed to slow up and check all directions of traffic before entering the intersection. If you are waiting for the red light to change to green, you should not move until it changes to green and you have re-checked traffic.
You could put up a hundred lights at an intersection, and the same rules apply. I would like to know the cost for making this change. I smell kickbacks, payoffs, corruption — at an expense to the taxpayers.
Editor’s Note: According to county staff, the new traffic light and other improvements in the county were funded by a $2 million state grant.
+ Men should remove caps during Pledge of Allegiance
Recently I had the pleasure of attending my child’s graduation ceremonies at Indian Trails Middle School. Principal Vernon Orndorff and his staff did an extraordinary job of saluting the graduating Mustang Scholars, as they are called.
The Matanzas ROTC Color Guard was there, and “The Star Spangled Banner” was sung very eloquently and respectfully. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all attendees.
But what I noticed during the reciting of the Pledge troubled me a bit.
The vast majority of the audience showed due respect. There were some, however, who couldn’t go through the trouble of removing their hats. I couldn’t believe that grown men could stand there with their baseball caps on their heads during this time when respect for our country should be shown.
True, the number of the disrespectful hat-wearers were few in comparison to those who knew better, but even one is too many.
+ Physical education should be preserved in school budgets
Experts say there are more obese people than ever in the United States. But they are cutting back from physical activities because of school budgets. I believe that if we have P.E. and healthier lunches, we will have healthier kids.
Manatees plowed by special interests
Much has been said during the past months regarding the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s proposed manatee zones — zones recommended for the Intracoastal Waterway within Flagler County — to better protect our local manatees.
Unfortunately, the public deserved but was never given some of the most important information concerning this sensitive environmental issue, simply because the wheels of the special interests were already in motion. Their goal: to remove the teeth of the educated study presented in the FWC proposal.
For example, the mayor of Palm Coast requested and was awarded a seat on the county’s special review committee, a committee appointed in order to give what most hoped would be a fair and unbiased opinion regarding these proposed speed zones.
Any rational, thinking person would then have to ask himself what is wrong with that picture? Could not such a move be construed as possibly being a conflict of interest? After all, this same mayor also captains a local towboat service, which in fact, just happens to operate in the very same area as the FWC proposed speed zones?
Keep in mind also, that this is a person like any other elected official: someone who is placed in that office with support and contributions, often coming from local business owners and residents of the community.
This is a person whose very title (mayor) carries with it a certain amount of clout, a person that some could rightfully assume and might easily influence weaker individuals on any given board.
Residents, of course, can decide for themselves as to what did, or did not happen here, but in all fairness to our environment and our manatees, a committee position such as this should never been given to any elected public official in the first place.
However this was not the end of the story; this gentleman was not only awarded a seat at this important environmental table, but was then placed in the strongest, most influential position on the committee — that of chairman.
This was also a time when our own county officials were still not feeling comfortable, even though they had the Palm Coast officials in the corral and knew that the boating advocates on their appointed committee held a strong advantage. Apparently, this was still not enough, and they then decided to take it up a notch to further dilute any threat they felt coming from the FWC study.
So then what did our county officials decide to do to solidify their anti-speed zone position?
They took a person on our county payroll and directed that person to go out to the smaller cities within the county (Flagler Beach and Beverly Beach) in order to lobby those officials to go against this (professional) manatee speed zone plan.
Remember, this was a plan submitted by the FWC in good faith by the people most knowledgeable, those charged with, and responsible for the protection of both these unique and endangered creatures and their environment.
That’s correct. They did indeed send out a person paid by you, the taxpayers, to lobby against your environment. Outrageous, to say the very least.
FWC’s original proposal was for zones covering 6.7 miles. To date, these proposed zones have been all but gutted by these people and are presently down to approximately 2.1 miles, and it may not be over yet.
In a related issue, most of these Flagler officials do not even know the boundaries of the Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve, a preserve located in the very county they serve.
This preserve was designated in 1969, when then-Gov. Claude Kirk was in office, to receive a much higher level of protection. It is partially located in the southern end of the county, encompassing Gamble Rogers State Park, a designated and posted manatee habitat.
At the present time, however, our County Commission seems unwilling to fully protect our entire portion of the preserve with adequate speed zone protection it needs — a sad commentary for the future.
Note: The northern end of the Southern Zone should, without a doubt, start as originally proposed at South 20th Street in Flagler Beach, before these larger vessels enter into the preserve at 23rd Street.
Obviously, the county environmental planner also did not know much about the preserve, because Flagler County has during the past few years permitted an unknown number of grossly noncompliant docks to be constructed in this very preserve.
Arthur Woosley lives in Flagler Beach.
Editor’s Note: According to county staff, the total length of regulated waterway proposed by the FWC is now about 5.5 miles. Also, the county does not regulate docks.