ON RED LIGHT CAMERAS
+ Word of advice to all who complain about red light cameras
I'm amazed at all of the people complaining about red light cameras as a way for the city to raise money. Hey folks, it's simple: Don't run red lights, and they won't collect a dime! It's not rocket science.
+ On living with red light cameras
I now become nervy when I drive in my hometown of Palm Coast. Approaching a green traffic light on Palm Coast Parkway or for that matter any picture-taking light in town makes me edgy.
If the light is green as I approach, will it turn yellow, and will I then have time to stop? If the light is yellow, and I start to stop, will I be rear-ended? When I feel it is safe to go through a yellow light, did the setting on the camera think it was not safe and takes my picture?
I guess I have been lucky so far; however, there are days when I think I will have my picture taken so the cameras can be justified. I have seen sheriff or Citizen Observer Patrol cars make right turns on red without making a full stop. Don’t we all do that? Sometimes it is OK to creep through the turn, and they must also think so. But does the camera think so?
+ If you don’t like it, why didn’t you vote?
For weeks I have been reading complaints from residents about the traffic cameras and the city water rates.
Back in September of 2011 there was an election for the mayor. Of the 49,500-plus residents, only 2,848 voted for Mayor Netts. Only 2,145 voted for Charlie Ericksen.
Let’s not forget, there is early voting in Florida. There were no excuses for not voting. If you didn’t vote in 2011, you have no right to complain.
My advice to the unhappy residents is to start drinking Ensure and mark your calendars for the multiple voting dates of the next mayoral election.
+ I now do my shopping elsewhere
Note: This letter was also addressed to State Rep. Travis Hutson.)
Thank you for the opportunity to write about Palm Coast's intersection cameras. I am only one person, but I am a quilter with money to spend on fabrics, a housewife who buys groceries at Publix and Walmart every week and a grandma who frequently buys toys, books, clothing and shoes for my grandchildren. I also enjoy meals out a few times a week and I have a car that requires gasoline to get me around on my merry way.
On more than one occasion while driving on Palm Coast Parkway, the person behind me has honked his horn because I had slowed down while approaching an intersection when I still had a green light to proceed. I was reluctant to drive the speed limit while anticipating the light about to switch to yellow and I didn't want to get caught by the camera. I don't need this aggravation!
My solution is to go elsewhere so now I drive to St. Augustine or Daytona Beach to spend my money.
I don't consider Palm Coast Parkway with its intersection lights worthy of my time or money and the relief I feel in bypassing that whole area justifies driving farther for my needs and wants. Additionally, now that the cameras are appearing on State Road 100 in Flagler County, that shopping is about to lose me as a customer, regardless of the close proximity to my home.
As I stated earlier, I am only one person with the willingness to drive farther to spend the time and funds I have at my disposal. Multiply my situation by thousands of other Flagler County residents every day, and it becomes obvious that the local businesses are losing a lot of revenue and by default, city and county taxes, while Palm Coast continues its efforts of making money with their cameras. I sympathize with those who, because of job or time restraints, must travel the main roads of Palm Coast every day. I certainly wish them safe driving and avoidance of a surprising and unwelcome camera citation in the mail!
+ Response to letter about Mobil murder
The murder of a woman, a mother, a father, a son, a grandparent or anyone is not related to the status of a town. It’s due to what I refer to as human waste. I find it truly amazing that some feel that people are no longer responsible for their actions.
Let me guess this one, the neon light made him do it, the affordable hotel was beckoning him, the gas station was calling out his name.
A woman lost her life because some human waste made the decision to do it — nothing else. She was working for a business that is part of the Palm Coast community. Keeping Palm Coast hidden under a canopy of trees is not going to shield the businesses or residents from crime; eliminating ignorance will.
+ Sequester cuts are mostly scare tactics
I read with some amusement the My View article, "Federal budget cuts will hurt Florida." The author is Katie Hansen, the president of the Flagler County Educators Association.
Ms. Hansen's article is nothing more than a regurgitation of the administration's exaggerations put forth to scare the American public into believing we can't make some modest efforts to decrease the startling rate of increase in the country's debt.
How about some logical thought? We now know that the $800-billion-plus stimulus package had little discernible impact on job creation. The teachers unions and education associations were crying poverty before, during and after the stimulus spending. Conversely, how could the $40-billion reduction in nondefense spending possibly create the kind of havoc Ms. Hansen advertises when 20 times that amount in spending provided virtually no benefit? There are now fewer people in the workforce than before the stimulus.
So, immediately after increasing tax rates for middle- and high-income earners, we're supposed to enact further tax increases to allow Washington to spend more and continue to pile up the burden of debt our children are inheriting. That makes no sense to me.
I believe we, as citizens, would be better served by keeping more of the tax dollars we now send to Washington and fund our education needs locally. The federal trough that the Flagler County Educators Association feeds from consists of dollars that flow into Washington from residents of Florida and other states, are processed through the D.C. sausage-making machine, with some amount coming back to us in the form of "federal largesse." The further problem is that the dollars the feds provide are heavily supplemented by borrowing from countries like China, with the retirement of that debt left to future generations. Does that sound like smart policy to you?
The sequestration is an unfortunate, less than optimum way to stem the tide of excessive spending. The administration proposed it and Congress accepted it. But something I read recently by George Will gives me consolation. He made the point that bad small government is to be preferred over bad big government. Sign me up for that.
+ Federal education spending is at an all-time high; restore local control
Katie Hansen, you're out of your tree!
Under President Bill Clinton, funding for public schools nationwide was raised to an all-time high. President George W. Bush increased that amount by 50%! How much more has President Obama added?
So, stating that education spending is “set to decline to its lowest levels on record” is an absolute crock!
More money is spent now, per student, than ever before. Indoctrination curriculum, i.e. Common Core, and tenure for failing teachers is what is responsible for our children’s declining academic achievement across the board.
Here’s a cut that’s long overdue: Abolish the Department of Education and the educators association, and bring control back to the parents, teachers and principals.
+ Spring forward, fall back
I have just completed the twice-a-year ritual of resetting my 100 clocks. I wish I had a magic wand.
This bright and beautiful Sunday morning will bring the usual gaggle of silly geese arriving late as I am leaving church. It’s always funny to see the varied expressions on their faces as I greet them with “Good Morning!”
I wonder about the many things affected by this change-of-time event. Is this why cruise ships always depart on Saturdays? I would hate to miss a much-anticipated and expensive sea-going vacation, just because the ship left on a Sunday one hour before my set time.
I have a solution: Set all clocks one-half hour ahead permanently. Why not just have a happy medium?
+ This would have been news: Flagler Schools asks for less money
Far be it for me, a rank amateur who can barely put two coherent words together, to tell a professional wordsmith how to run a newspaper; but I believe the above-the-fold headline about Flagler Schools wanting to raise taxes should have been on Page 16.
Now, if the article had been “Flagler Schools to ask for less money,” it would be a banner headline printed in red ink.
As I have written on this page several times, there is not enough money in Flagler County to satisfy this School Board! We are paying for a Rolls Royce and we are getting a Yugo (ask your grandpa).
Douglas R. Glover
+ Revenge of the recyclables
I have put out recyclable items every week for years.
A couple weeks ago, the guys who pick up took out all the grocery plastic bags. They have a little recycle triangle on them. Following the directions of our city government, I called our waste pickup company to help me understand what I had done wrong. The person I spoke with said I must return those recyclables to the grocery store. No reason, just do it.
Next the pickup guys picked out a strip of packing material. It was clear plastic and consisted of a row of 4-by-6 inch compartments with some air in them. They also had a recycle triangle on them. For these, the waste pickup telephone person told me those items were made from recycled materials and they do not recycle things made from recycled materials (that lets out the Budweiser cans).
And the latest items from my recyclable bin to be left on the lawn are the clear plastic bags that the Palm Coast Observer comes in! I could not restrain myself to politically correct verbiage so I did not call the waste pickup telephone person.
Cannot recycle things made from recycled materials! My limited vocabulary and my limited frustration tolerance have now collided and my comments are one syllable and unfit for print. But I can say: My recycling days are over!
+ Palm Coast Parkway traffic is already a nightmare
I read with considerable interest that Palm Coast is finally getting around to widening Palm Coast Parkway for a distance of 1.2 miles, from Florida Park Drive to Cypress Point Parkway — some 10-15 years too late.
The limited land-taking leads me to believe it is being done “on the cheap” in the sense that the new third lanes will apparently come from the current third lane used to make right turns onto Old Kings Road, north and south, as well onto Boulder Rock and Cypress Point.
It is quite frustrating for five or six cars to have to wait to make that right turn on red while the first car in line is going straight. Traffic on the parkway is a nightmare now; just wait until the construction starts. Oh yes, we are told the work will be done at night. What will happen on the overpass when the breakdown lane becomes that third lane? What about the pedestrians and bicyclists? Will all the barriers be removed completely by 6 a.m.?
Is the planning being done by the same person who designed that extra lane to Walmart and the new medical plaza, a road that ends at the first entrance to the plaza? Or the exit leaving Walmart where one must make a right turn, even if one wants to take a left turn? What about the extra traffic when the new restaurant and dollar store open?
By the way, when will Palm Harbor Parkway or Frontier Drive be repaved? The parkway near the Tidelands and the drive near the convenience store sound as if a tank has gone over then. Palm Coast wants to attract more visitors and new business; it should think about fixing the infrastructure as soon as possible. As the Observer informed us last week, the quality of life has gone down; in my opinion it has done so since Palm Coast became a city.
David W. DiNardi
Editor’s Note: The headline about the quality of life was misleading. It said quality of life was down, but although the 10-year trend is down, the quality of life actually went up last year, from 67% approval to 70%.
To clarify a few other statements in the letter, here is Carl Cote, construction manager for the city of Palm Coast:
“Most of the roadwork is not being done at night on Palm Coast Parkway. Most of it will occur in the day. The project has multiple phases, and there is some night work, but it’s limited.
“We’re requiring the land that is necessary for that additional lane. We’re taking the minimum necessary to complete the project. We wanted to minimize the impact, but we didn’t change the design at any point to avoid property.
“The new project will provide a dedicated pedestrian access way across the bridge; now there is only a shoulder. At all times during construction, there will be pedestrian access on the parkway.
“The new design will have dedicated turn lanes, to replace the multi-directional lanes (straight or turn).”