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Opinion
Palm Coast Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2018 9 months ago

On Charter Review, Operations Center, swales, Senior Games

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Dennis McDonald's assertions challenged by Dave Sullivan and Craig Coffey.
by: Guest Writer

Protest Charter Review process by voting no

Dear Editor:

Section 10(2)(b) of the Palm Coast Charter states that a five-person citizen review committee shall be appointed to conduct a Charter Review. The city hired a consultant last year to recommend changes to the charter and conducted several citizen input sessions. At every citizen meeting, at least one citizen came forward to point out the process was not a charter review since a five-person citizen committee was not appointed.

The city attorney argued at most of the citizen sessions that the process was a charter review by an optional method. At one meeting, when he seemed to be very frustrated by the citizens’ questions, the city attorney said that the process was not a charter review.

Most of the questions concerned the word shall in Section 10(2)(b). The city attorney was initially arguing that shall did not mean must. (As an aside, when the word shall appears in the statues concerning Cooper’s being declared a dangerous dog, the city attorney argues that the word means must.)

Since the so-called Charter Review will be on the ballot in November in three questions, I am suggesting voting “no” on all three. A “yes” vote on any one of these questions will be affirming that this process was a Charter Review.

Vote “no” on all three Charter Review questions.

John Brady

Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: City spokeswoman Cindi Lane confirmed that the meetings held last year did not constitute “a Charter Review, per se, by a Charter Review committee. … Part of the review and proposed charter amendments will clarify the Charter Review process and institute a mandatory Charter Review process every 10 years.”

Who pays for repairs to Operations Center?

Dear Editor:

I was approached by a current commissioner at the 9/11 memorial, and we spoke of the previous week’s Centers for Disease Control visit to the abandoned Sheriff’s Operations Center. This commissioner told me he was informed that County Administrator Craig Coffey thinks the Operations Center can be fixed for $1 million. (See Editor’s Note below.)

I was stunned by the statement because it is a full admission and validation that Coffey failed the county taxpayers on an $8 million project. Why would this commission, led by Greg Hansen, continue down this costly dead-end road?

Coffey must be immediately "terminated for cause.” Remember, the County Commission was fined the maximum in April by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for demolishing an unused portion of the Operations Center without a permit. This commission is a mess with no clue how to fix the Operations Center.

The election is seven weeks away and counting. What we have is clearly not working for us. But the voters' remedy is close at hand. We need change.

Dennis McDonald

Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: Dennis McDonald, who is running with no party affiliation to replace Greg Hansen in the November election, also expressed these concerns during the community outreach portion of the Sept. 17 Flagler County Commission meeting. After he made these comments, he immediately exited, without waiting to hear the response from County Administrator Craig Coffey.

Coffey told the commissioners, “We have no evidence of anything wrong with the Sheriff’s Office. We know there might be some HVAC things that we need to do to better control humidity. Never once have I told you that there is a million-dollar cure out there. … If I did, it was in total error.”

If the county were to learn that major repairs were needed, Coffey said, they would be funded by sales tax revenue, not property tax revenue.

McDonald revealed to the Palm Coast Observer that Dave Sullivan was the commissioner who spoke with him on this issue. But Sullivan denies that he ever said anything about Craig Coffey to him and believes that McDonald is mischaracterizing their conversation in an attempt to get Coffey fired.

Sullivan recalls telling McDonald that even if repair costs went as high as $1 million, “I would still rather do that than spend $14 million for a new building.” But any costs are speculative, until more information is available, Sullivan said.

McDonald’s claim that Sullivan said Coffey said it would cost $1 million is not true, Sullivan said.

“As usual, that is the not the point I was making with Dennis,” Sullivan wrote in an email to the Observer on Sept. 18. Sullivan said McDonald’s accusations are “nothing more than the same old and boring song from him.”

Forget swales. Add a real sewer system

Dear Editor:

It’s time to fix the swales again — even though they don’t work or do the job that they were intended to do! Every few years, after many, many complaints, Palm Coast jumps into their fix-it mode. Too bad it’s the same fix over and over again!

A few years down the road, they have to fix the swales again, and for sure the price will be higher. Why put lipstick on a pig, when you can fix the problem one time? Since you are going to raise are taxes, take the time do it right.

The city, the cable TV folks and Florida Power and Light should undertake the greatest public works job the city has ever seen, and add sewers, catch basins, and utility wires — all underground!

Lay nice sidewalks, where the swales once were. Street lights will make the job complete.

Dennis C. Rathsam

Palm Coast

Senior Games were a great success

Dear Editor:

I am writing to applaud the staff at the Palm Coast Tennis Center for running an outstanding Senior Games tennis tournament. The entire PCTC staff — Chris Courchesne, Sheila Lewis, Michael Arrigo and Nancy Leafey — worked very hard to keep the athletes happy, fed, well-hydrated and on schedule.

And another shout out to Brandon Washington and the city of Palm Coast for the beautiful shirts, medals, bags, cups and coasters for this year's games. These are nice incentives to encourage people to participate in this wonderful event for older athletes.

While there was a better turnout for tennis this year, it's a shame that there are not more competitors in the each of the different age brackets. More PCTC passholders should participate. There's solid competition and lots of camaraderie and sportsmanship. Top finishers qualify for the state games, and the best can even go on to compete in the nationals.

This is my fourth Senior Games. I've participated in cycling and tennis and really enjoyed the opportunity to compete as a Palm Coast senior athlete. My only suggestion is that I would love to see competition in a few other sports. A paddleboarding race would be a very cool addition!

Patty Scott 

Palm Coast

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