City Council should do the will of the majority
After reading the statements by the mayor and City Council, it is quite clear they knew that the majority of Palm Coast residents did not want the construction of a City Hall and that, if put to a vote, it would be rejected.
It was my mistaken understanding that they were elected to implement the wishes of the majority of the people — guess I was wrong.
They wanted a new City Hall and justified it on some very marginal fiscal assumptions. To remind us that a poor decision was made previously on a major project that should have been put to a vote by the majority is hardly justification for doing it again. It is not too late to reverse this decision.
Let’s be thankful to those who help make City Hall possible
After trying to become as informed as possible on the subject, my husband, Tom, and I attended the Nov. 19 City Council meeting which included the long-disputed topic of building a new City Hall.
For many years, we, the people, have heard and made criticisms of big corporations, the media, the press and the government. We often portray these entities as if they were enemies, demons or punching bags for our frustrations. We, the people, exercise our freedom of speech pointedly and frequently. That is our right, but I would like to suggest we pause for a bit and show some gratitude to those who have been the objects of some unfair criticism on the subject of building a new City Hall in Palm Coast.
Palm Coast Holdings Inc. had vision and foresight and did the hard work of developing Town Center as a lovely, well-planned and attractively appointed park-like setting for the businesses, homes, residents and visitors who have and will have the opportunity to use it. Don't take Central Park for granted as you stroll on the sidewalks, take a relaxing walk around the lake or mingle and have fun at the many exciting fairs, festivals, concerts, races and relays. Remember the shopping, dining and movie-viewing enjoyed with plenty of convenient parking. Don’t forget that we all benefit from the investment by this corporation in the city of Palm Coast and from its donation of beautiful Central Park and the site for what will be a new City Hall. Thank you, Palm Coast Holdings.
The WNZF family of radio stations is even younger than our city but, 24 hours a day, it provides news, opinion and more. It holds discussions on a variety of topics and hosts interviews with individuals of many backgrounds and stations in life. It provides an avenue of advertising for many businesses and it offers so much “free” time to individuals, groups and organizations seeking to get the word out about their causes and events. This member of the media is an absolute asset to our community with its wide and varied contributions, and it is entitled to express its opinions — even about building a new City Hall. Thank you, WNZF, Beach, Easy Oldies and KIX Country.
The Palm Coast Observer is younger still. Many were delighted to read its first issue and looked forward to subsequent ones. The publisher of this newspaper had the good sense to concentrate on local news, both good and difficult. The paper has well-written, timely articles with eye-catching headlines and beautiful photographs. Its stories involve the everyday lives of Flagler's residents of all ages in their schools and churches, work and businesses, and ethnic, cultural, and social organizations. The “free” (that word again) coverage it gives to groups is impressive and vital to so many with tight budgets. Today, the Observer plays a critical role in disseminating information of all kinds in our county. Our local member of the press invites its readers to contribute their ideas and it offers its own thoughtful editorial opinions, such as the one endorsing the building of a new city hall in Town Center. Thank you, Palm Coast Observer.
While the city of Palm Coast is almost a decade and a half old, it's actually relatively young. In the United States, we are so fortunate to have a representative form of government that is of the people, by the people and for the people. While we, the people, have the often-neglected right and opportunity to participate, we tend to rely on our representatives to take on the onerous tasks of government as we go about our daily lives. Over the years, the City Council of Palm Coast has not always gotten the expected results of its decisions. We must acknowledge, however, that our representatives have learned from past experiences, been diligent in their research, taken part in many meetings and public hearings, discussed, deliberated, debated and wrestled with tough topics and projects, like building a new City Hall. Each elected official voluntarily asks for the job and each eligible voter voluntarily decides whether or not to exercise the right to vote. We should take every opportunity to voice our thoughts and suggestions, but once done we must realize that our representatives have the right and the responsibility to make the final decision. Thank you, mayor and members of the City Council.
I hope that we, the people of Palm Coast, will accept the decision that was made by our City Council; that the City Council will use good oversight in the planning, designing and building phases of the new City Hall; that Palm Coast will have a substantial and permanent place that symbolizes the dignity of our local government; and that we all will continue to exercise our freedom of speech and to show our gratitude whenever and to whomever due.
Theresa M. McKeon
Be prepared for a baby Taj Mahal of a City Hall
So, the City Council is going to build a City Hall. Makes no difference that the citizens of Palm Coast voted against this several years ago.
The excuse for building this baby Taj Mahal (trust me: It will be) is we are now paying rent, but that's not the real reason; you want an edifice that reflects your status. In my opinion, that would be a circus tent.
Want to save the rent money? Go talk to the School Board; they have a building near the junction of U.S. 1 and Palm Coast Parkway that they want to unload or destroy and, contrary to what some board members say, there is nothing wrong with the building; ask the fire marshal.
If you really want to spend some money to help this town, get a police force and build a very big jail with a juvenile section. Hire a police chief who knows what he is doing; preferably one from the South and not some Yankee lawyer.
City Council shows disregard, hubris in City Hall vote
In spite of the well orchestrated support campaign mounted by the Flagler County Chamber and certain parties, the truth is that if the voters had been given a chance, they would have voted down the City Hall proposal. The council knew it, and the town knows it.
By proceeding in this manner, the council members have shown their total disregard for the will of the people who elected them. To add insult to injury, Mayor Jon Netts felt compelled to rub in the fact that they had done the same thing when they voted to spend $83 million for the purchase of the utility. They didn't want the voters input then, either. What arrogance.
It wasn't that long ago the City Manager Jim Landon was saying publicly that we didn't have the money for this. Apparently, he now says we do — again.
We must remember this in future elections when we are having to make up for the lost income from the Community Redevelopment Area loan, not to mention being taxed for the upkeep and maintenance of our new City Hall — and to pay for the cost of moving there and the inevitable cost overruns, etc., etc.
Putting City Hall on the ballot would prevent anger toward politicians
Though I personally believe that the City Hall project is ill-conceived and poorly researched, something much more important than City Hall is in play here. The most important thing to come out of the project's approval is not the project itself but, rather, an alarming trend in federal, state and local politics.
Our elected officials are abusing their elected authority at all levels by assuming that since they are ‘elected’ as representatives of the people, they have carte blanche to proceed as they see fit without further ado. Mayor Jon Netts provided the definitive proof of this with his remark, “We were elected to make decisions … for the benefit of Palm Coast as a whole.” There is nothing outwardly wrong with that remark, except in the context in which it was made.
That context was using the authority of the City Council to proceed with the City Hall project without a ballot referendum for the voters to decide upon. In other words, in the council’s mind and in Jon Netts’ mind in particular, the Palm Coast voters’ opinions on the City Hall project were not important enough to go become a ballot issue. The council knows best.
It sure seems to me that another “decision … for the benefit of Palm Coast as a whole” that the council should have made would be exactly that. Put the City Hall project on the ballot and let the voters at large decide. Jon Netts’ and the council’s decision on this project is just the kind of power wrangling that is crippling our country, and it looks like it’s come home to roost right here in Palm Coast.
If the citizens of Palm Coast voted in favor or against the City Hall project, the people of Palm Coast would be properly represented, and there would be no excuse for developing political animosity and division within the community. The political tactics used by our elected officials that pit opposing viewpoints against each other without benefit of due process are divisive and destructive to the peace and welfare of our community. This should not be.
City of Palm Coast deserves a permanent home
A house is not a home until you move in and take possession with love.
The city of Palm Coast needs a home, a permanent residence, so she can take roots in the very community she serves.
Let's grant her a permanent address. May God bless Palm Coast, her present and future citizens.