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Palm Coast Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 6 years ago

LETTERS: Hammock hotel, black education


Commissioners ‘pimped out’ county to developer

Dear Editor:

The Flagler County Board of County Commissioners’ approval of the Salamander/Lubert Adler hotel project is another example of the city slickers conning the Florida crackers. The BOCC (Barbara Revels not included) sold out the county for the cheap price of $500,000 (chump change in scheme of a $72 million project) and a one-acre piece of worthless property. The BOCC put Salamander on the easy payment plan for the $500,000 amount without a firm payment time frame and at no interest, and there is no agreement on exactly when, and under what conditions, the one-acre scrub property will be deeded over to the county.

Moreover, as shown during the hearing, and admitted to by Salamander President Prem Devadas, Salamander is presently pitching the sale of Hammock Beach to foreign investors (they have a promotional Chinese language video circulating) who will now have to pay an additional estimated $10 million more for the property with the hotel project approved and greatly adding value to the asset. So, the BOCC increased the value of the Hammock Beach property by $10 million in return for the payment of only 5% of the windfall they handed out to Salamander on Monday night/Tuesday morning. Amateurish work on the BOCC’s part at best (Barbara Revels not included).

Personally, I have opposed this entire project from the start. I was pleased to see that, due to pressure by Save The Hammock, Salamander was forced to abandon their attempt to increase the permitted uses on the entirety of the Ocean Hammock Golf Course to include “lodging” (additional hotel space, condos, time shares, etc.), and that Thad Crowe and the Flagler County Planning Board convinced them to drop the proposed destruction of one of the last remaining hardwood hammocks on the A1A corridor at 16th Road to build a hotel parking lot.

Salamander also won’t, apparently, be allowed to build a cart path through the dune at Old Salt Park, although who knows what some additional money offered to the BOCC might allow. We now know what the BOCC thinks the county is; the only thing left now for any developer is haggling over the price.

The BOCC (Barbara Revels not included) ”pimped” out the county for a cheap price. I guess that pretty much tells us how they view the county and its residents when it comes to dealing with commercial developers.

Jeff Southmayd

Ocean Hammock


A nationwide school system in crisis

Dear Editor:

Since arriving in the U.S. from Cuba in 1980, I have seen an increasing and mutually destructive culture of rejecting others views, not with arguments or facts, but by shooting the messenger.

Whatever flaws or shortcoming that can be attributed to Mr. Amir Whitaker presentation at the African American Cultural Society on the serious issues plaguing Afro American school children across the nation, should be reason enough for all us to be thankful to him, for sharing his expertise and his willingness to help us identify some of our failures, rather than writing disparaging articles, crude character assassination and questioning his integrity.

Christopher J. Hoey, Jesse Stoner and others who are yet to come out, are trying to debunk Mr. Whitaker’s irrefutable facts with bogus statistics. Who in this world can deny the serious breakdown of an education system in which less than 50% of some students are promoted, most have no notion of geography, history, writing or math, most schools are plagued by violence, drug addition, early pregnancy, questionable dismissals, piped to jail, police protection on premises, fear of school massacres and the historical racial bias that consumes our nation?

My family moved from Queens, New York, to Palm Coast, in 1989, because of the impressive school system we found, which guided our daughter Jennifer from pre K through high school into becoming a teacher today in St. Petersburg. Sadly, without having all the facts, I perceive the system was better then than now.

Like Mr. Whitaker, I am not interested in pointing fingers, blaming others or writing useless literary dissertations. I’d prefer to share my limited personal experience, point us to where others have succeeded and help us make our schools what they ought to be.

Having lived half of my 76 years in the United States and Cuba, where there are far more black people than in Florida, none of the social ills that plague our school system exists in Cuba. Suffice it to say, Cuba has produced one of the largest pool of educated blacks in the world, while no school children has been killed by police since 1959, violence is nonexistent and massacres in school has never happened.

Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of students from Ethiopia, Sudan, Ukraine, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Bolivia, Angola, Jamaica, Haiti, San Lucia, Ecuador, Surinam, Mozambique, Algeria, United States and many more, have studied and graduated in Cuba, proving that students can be educated, without ever experiencing the prejudices and divisions that divides communities across the United States.

Barack Obama and Raul Castro’s decision on Dec. 17 to restore relations with Cuba allows community leaders, educators, psychologists, clergy, police and judicial, health care professional, government officials and others to visit Cuba’s poor, technology-deprived schools, partially hungry students and learn how we can create harmony, improve education and save millions of youths at risk, before it is too late.

Alberto N. Jones

Palm Coast


Suspensions are the result of unruly behavior

Dear Editor:

I am a retired high school teacher from New York City and have a few comments to make concerning a letter o the editor I read in the Feb. 5 edition.

I went back to your website and found the original story the author referred to. After reading most of it, I came to the conclusion that the extraordinary suspensions and discipline were caused by poor student behavior. The proof of this is the fact that Escambia and Okaloosa school districts, along with others have instituted “student training programs" to help improve the behavior of unruly students. What I read said that some improvement resulted.

If Flagler Schools have unruly students, then the extra discipline was certainly warranted.

I hope this information answers a few questions.

William Kolesar

Palm Coast



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