One reader also challenges the city's spending limit.
‘Beginner’s wage’ has its purpose; vote no on Amendment 2
Recognizing the importance of the many small- and medium-sized businesses in our area, I hope our voters will take the following into consideration when voting on this amendment.
Over the past few years, some have evolved into believing that minimum wage translates into a “living wage,” versus that of a “beginner’s wage.” Looking at minimum wage in 1990 versus today, we have actually outpaced inflation at $8.56 per hour in Florida. This is a wage that enables many of our children and grandchildren to obtain beginner jobs that benefit them and their employers. We also provide opportunities through our schools, colleges and universities to develop greater skill sets enabling them to improve their lives and earn a living wage as a result of their hard work. Additionally, employees have the opportunity to expand their skill sets through on the job training.
We need to remind ourselves that a short time ago our economy was so strong that many wage earners in our area were earning more due to their skill sets in job sectors in high demand, with minimum wage essentially a non-factor for many; and some sectors continue to do so today as our economy recovers from the pandemic.
One of the biggest challenges for employers over the past five years has been finding employees with the right skill sets, and that remains today in certain job sectors.
Let’s focus on quality solutions without re-writing our Constitution, and work with our educators and employers to connect with those who need assistance in developing greater job skills. In turn, through hard work and job performance, $15 an hour can be in the rearview mirror as they earn even greater wages.
If only Lowe’s past had been revealed sooner
I was astonished to read the revelations that were reported on by the Palm Coast Observer, FlaglerLive, and the Daytona Beach News-Journal that surfaced last week regarding Palm Coast mayoral candidate Alan Lowe.
The stories paint a disturbing picture of a candidate with past philosophical and political leanings that are counter to the very tenets our country is based upon. As was reported, and as the recently discovered county court records show, he was aligned with the “sovereign citizen” movement, a movement whose actions have been defined by the FBI as potentially violent “domestic terrorism” with reported roots in white nationalism and antisemitism.
This movement’s adherents profess extremist anti-government beliefs that include disavowing allegiance to the US, rejecting citizenship, contending they are not subject to laws, and rejecting taxation. Lowe declared these to be his beliefs as well.
This was evidenced by his own statements that he actually filed and recorded with the county referring to himself as a “sovereign citizen” during a time when he was harassing, threatening to sue and bring criminal charges against IRS agents who put liens on his properties for not paying income taxes.
It’s unfortunate that this information about Lowe's past is just now coming out and was not uncovered earlier before a lot of us have cast votes. There needs to be a much more thorough and earlier process of vetting candidates, and the press needs to take the lead in that effort.
In my review of the court documents referenced in the reporting, it took only minutes to find them just by typing in Lowe's name. These records, as well as others regarding his various financial problems, were in plain sight and have been for many years.
So now, so late in the game, we are faced with the possibility of unwittingly electing a mayor with such a questionable background that he probably would not have even made it to the primaries had this stuff been known. Unfortunately Florida, unlike other states, will not allow you to change your vote after you send in your mail-in ballot.
Editor's Note: Alan Lowe said in a previous story that his decision to renounce his citizenship was a temporary feeling and was not legally binding. He said it was based on a spiritual awakening as he was reading the Bible, but he later concluded that he could be a citizen and a believer at the same time.
Limit City Council’s authority to spend money
As a Palm Coast resident since 2001 I am both curious and confused about the way our City Council and city manger spend untold millions of residents taxes without seeking their input or approval.
To the best of my memory recollection that last time the city placed a project on a ballot was for a new City Hall, which voters did not approve. Since that incident I cannot recall the city asking the citizens to vote on any major expenditure of taxpayer funds; for example: the Town Center City Hall; James F. Holland Park; the new Community Center; the new proposed Utility Department building, street lights on Belle Terre Parkway and other major thorough fares; placement of signs on major though fares; traffic lights; a city employee fleet and maintenance and fuel costs; technology innovations and internet contracts; purchasing and supporting failing golf courses and tennis center.
In conclusion, there must be an established funding threshold that mandates the mayor, City Council members and city manager must place planned projects and large procurement expenditures on a ballot for residents’ input and approval. Open government is supposed to be transparent and listen to those who pay taxes and work to support it. Our government is supposed to of the people, not for a selected few.
Orville W. Troesch Jr.
Editor’s Note: The Palm Coast Charter allows the City Council to spend funds up to $15 million without a referendum. The text is as follows, from In Article VI (3)(e): “Unless authorized by the electors of the city at a duly held referendum election, the council shall not enter into lease purchase contracts or any other unfunded multiyear contracts, the repayment of which: extends in excess of 36 months; or exceeds $15 million.”