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Opinion
Palm Coast Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014 3 years ago

LETTERS: If we can't do laundry, suspend uniforms policy

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Suspend uniforms policy when doing laundry is forbidden

Dear Editor:

After the flooding that started on Friday, Sept. 26, residents were asked to avoid doing things that produce wastewater, such as washing laundry or cars.

In order for my children to receive a public education in Palm Coast, it is required that they wear clean uniforms to school. Rather than compromise my children's education, I chose to wash laundry over the weekend, so that they would have clean uniforms, despite the fact that they had closets full of clean clothes with stripes, unacceptable colors or no collars.

In the future, I think that the officials should contact the School Board and ask that the uniform policy be suspended during times of severe water conservation. In my case, and probably that of many other parents of school-age children, it would improve compliance with wastewater conservation requests.

Robin Lacey
Palm Coast

 

Thrasher maneuver may cost voters over $1 million

Dear Editor:

According to recent interviews from the St. Johns Supervisor of Elections Office and Elections Experts, John Thrasher’s potential re-election may result in a special election that will cost citizens of District 6 over $1 million.

On Sept. 23, John Thrasher was named the next president of Florida State University. However, he has decided to continue his run for state senate until officially ratified by the Board of Governors. When Thrasher is ratified as FSU president, he will not serve, if elected, his term in the Florida Senate.

If Thrasher is elected, a special election will occur. Leading figures within the political community have said that this special election will be incredibly costly for taxpayers in District 6. In a recent article in the St. Augustine Record, St. Johns Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes has estimated that a special election would cost over $330,000 in St. Johns County alone. Further, Jerry Holland, an elections expert, reported staggering numbers for the entirety of District 6 in a story published by WJAX- TV (actionnewsjax.com). In the article, Mr. Holland stated, “I’ll tell you, these special elections are very expensive.” He continued by saying, “Four counties, other potential races, easily over a million dollars.”

Kathleen Trued, Thrasher’s opponent, has voiced concern about these recent developments. Trued states, “Thrasher’s political maneuver will not only hurt citizens financially, but it misleads voters. It seems wrong that someone would be on the ballot, if, in fact, they are not going to serve their term.”

Trued is the Democratic Party candidate opposing Thrasher. Trued stated, “If you are not going to serve the citizens, your name should not be on the ballot. If elected as state senator, I intend to serve all of the citizens of District 6, work across party lines, and tackle our most challenging problems.”

Dawson Roebig
Campaign manager for Kathleen Trued

 

Voting: why the Palm Coast Community Center matters

Dear Editor:

Over the past several months, it’s pretty easy to find some local news story surrounding the absurd battles over the Palm Coast Community Center as a new early voting site. Due to the numerous (and quite ridiculous) nonexistent issues our supervisor of elections has raised, Judge Melissa Moore Stens suggested we might need to re-evaluate whether we should use the Community Center for early voting after November. If you ask most people in the area, they will probably tell you that “nobody votes” and it really doesn't matter, but I strongly disagree.

If you look at just our local and non-presidential-year elections, yes, we have very weak turnouts. But in presidential years, we tend to have decent voter turnouts. For instance, in 2004 and 2008 about 82% of the registered voters in the county voted. In 2012 we had about 72% voter turnout. The important piece to this is how many people are taking advantage of early voting during those elections, and the fact is that early voting has become mostly the time people want to vote. In 2008 and 2012 more people showed up during the early voting period than on Election Day itself.

We are now over 71,000 registered voters. Yes, mail-in (absentee) ballots are increasing in popularity, but they are still far less than early voting turnout. Our elections office should be leveraging that increased exposure opportunity during presidential election years to drive awareness in the other elections by creating the most positive experience and continued interaction with voters afterward.

So we have far more voters today, we know we have high turnouts in presidential election years, and early voting draws almost as many voters as show up at the polls; but our elections supervisor is putting us in a position that in two years from now we may once again only have two early voting sites as we did in 2012.

Remember, in 2012 our supervisor of elections made the conscious decision to reduce the number of early voting locations, which made no sense at all, and there was no excuse for it. Although the Community Center, under the law at that time, was not able to be used, Flagler Beach City Hall could have been available, but our supervisor chose not to make it available. Now that the Community Center is available due to recent changes, that additional location will be extremely important for voters in just two years from now, with the 2016 elections.

This year was the perfect opportunity to put focus on a very positive change and making voting easier. It was an opportunity to attract more voters in a year that typically has poor turnout. It was an opportunity to get more exposure to this year’s elections with the foot traffic that goes through that building. Instead it became nothing but negative absurd childish arguments over nonexistent parking, signage, and room-size issues.

It's to the point where our supervisor of elections is suggesting she will not be making that location available going forward. We can not allow that.

Our Supervisor needs to truly listen to voters, and voter behavior by the numbers is saying they will turn out in 2016 and they will mostly be voting during early voting. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that you must then provide the maximum number of locations possible for voters to vote during early voting. You do not reduce and restrict access for voters when historical trends show that you will have a high level of traffic. Enough is enough, and it is time we are truly heard as voters and demand that the Palm Coast Community Center be made available to us for early voting in 2016 and all future years.

Brad M. West
Palm Coast

 

Old wounds on display at Canvassing Board debacle

Dear Editor:

In an old Paul Newman movie, “Absence Of Malice,” there’s a classic scene in which Wilford Brimley, playing an attorney, enters the picture and proceeds to take the leading characters to the woodshed for their asinine conduct in a federal criminal case. It had grown so out of proportion that all concerned had succeeded in totally embarrassing themselves.

When I read the article describing the antics that took place at the Canvassing Board meeting concerning the draft proposal for voting arrangements that set off the fireworks, all I could think of was that Palm Coast needs a Wilford Brimley to “woodshed” the supposed adults in that meeting, as well as the claque masquerading as spectators to the spectacle that was supposed to be a meeting attended by civil, responsible representatives of the people of Palm Coast.

There has to be an adult somewhere that can look into the basis of the dispute that is bringing such shame to our community, and can cut through the pettiness and childish attitudes. Methinks there exist old wounds from prior battles, thus the need for revenge, etc., that are really obstacles to settling the matter. What should be an orderly meeting seemed to dissolve into dueling personalities, as opposed to good faith interaction, creating a fiasco of monumental proportions.

I am not talking merits in this commentary; my objective is that all concerned step back, forget their prior real or imagined slights or hurts, and reconvene with an intent to settle the thing, without seeking total victory or the humiliation of their opponents. A real Wilford Brimley urging reason, so to speak.

Christopher J. Hoey
Palm Coast

 

Way to go, Palm Harbor Academy!

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to the Palm Harbor Academy!

Did you really read the Sept. 18 front-page article, “From F to A”?

It read more like a begrudging acknowledgement than a sincere congratulatory statement to one of our own Flagler County charter schools.

For the past six-plus years, great strides in educational service to our community have been accomplished through the Palm Harbor Academy. Research, mutual collaboration and determination are evident in the school’s academic achievement: an A rating. Supreme dedication to the responsibility of giving its students the nurturing environment guaranteed to bring out the best in our youngsters.

Apparently, some in the Flagler County School Board are still stuck back in 2009. To School Board member John Fischer, I say to you, they have succeeded; they earned and deserve the three-year contract extension.

A hearty “well done” to those responsible for helping the Palm Harbor Academy and Flagler Schools shine.

Vivian Richardson
Palm Coast

 

Don’t blame the kids for the country’s financial woes

Dear Editor:

I am not one to take food out of a child’s mouth, but those opposed to the school meal programs seem to be missing the hard cold facts of what life in the good ol’ U.S. of A. has degraded to.

Close to half of the country pays no income tax, as they do not earn enough; as a whole, two-thirds of the country lives check to check and are barely scraping by, and most glaring is the fact that the top 10% of the population own 90% of the wealth.

You don’t have to be a math wiz to understand that the vast majority of our population is getting the short end of the stick, so when I see that over 60% of our children qualify for free school meals, welcome to the most current version of life in the United States.

I am well aware of our enormous budget deficits — currently over $17 trillion and quickly closing in on $18 trillion — but let us not take it out on those most vulnerable among us.

Jose Vasquez
Palm Coast

 

It’s not just free lunch, it’s free everything

Dear Editor:

I read Tony D'Amico's letter about free school lunch. I'm with him, but this letter isn't going to help. Maybe the milk of human kindness has gone sour in both of us, or maybe we are just fed up with this whole mess.

Entitlements were once called “welfare,” which had a demeaning connotation; now it's something you are entitled to, like life, liberty and section 8 housing.

Sixty percent of Democrats have benefited from a major entitlement program. You should claim government money; you have money waiting!

SNAP cards replaced food stamps, you get an EBT card which can be used to withdraw money from an ATM to pay a drug dealer's bail (it happened), and if we are dumb enough to pass the pot bill, it can be used to buy pot (it's legal).

Welfare (oops — entitlement) spending has increased 41% and food stamps (oops — SNAP) enrollment has gone up 70% since Obama has been in office (or on the golf course).

Hungry? Well, you shouldn't be. We have a lot of free food programs, here's a few: CSFP, FDPIR, TEFAP, CACFP, FFVP, NSLP, SBP, SMP, SFSP, SNAP, WIC, FMNP, SFMNP.

We do all this for the low cost of $76 billion per year. Oh, by the way, you can be an undocumented or illegal immigrant and get a SNAP card. See, Tony? It's worse than you thought.

Douglas R. Glover
Palm Coast

 

Someone stole my donations to the veterans

Dear Editor:

On Sept. 19, someone took the box from my driveway that was clearly marked for AmVets. Whoever did this should be totally ashamed. This pathetic act of theft is the most distressing to me in my 24 years living here.

Muriel Levy
Palm Coast

 

Keep the Belle Terre pool heated for Synchro Belles

Dear Editor:

Those of us who are members at the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club have the pleasure of watching the Synchro Belles display their athletic prowess during their practice sessions. Watching them swim laps and then express themselves in their award-winning swim routines makes one realize just how awesome our youth are.

These young ladies are one reason to assure that the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club continues to be a viable facility. According to an article on flaglerlive.com, May 12, 2014, there was a suggestion from Deen Wall that the pool might be closed from Thanksgiving until March as a cost-saving measure, so that there would be no need to use the heaters during this time. This would force the girls to find another facility where they can practice, or practice in cold water. No one gains, we lose.

Although the facility falls under the auspices of Adult Education/Community Services and is currently in a financial slump, there must be a way to channel some funding to the facility to keep these girls in the water. If my information is correct, they make not only a positive youth contribution, but also a monetary one to Belle Terre.

Hopefully, a way can be found to keep the pool open during this time period, as it has been in years past, and keep it heated, so that not only the Belles, but others who want this exercise experience can continue to have it.

Mary Lipa
Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: According to Superintendent Jacob Oliva, there are no plans to close the pool at this time. He said, “We are encouraging people to sign up for classes and join the pool. We are open for business.”

 

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