Opinion: Learn from St. Johns County's mistakes.
I’m responding to the very short-sighted and ill-informed letter titled “We don’t want low-income housing here” printed in your Feb. 21 edition. First of all, I don’t know if Mr. Danko has a mouse in his pocket but, if not, I object to the use of the word “we.”
Secondly, I’d like to know if Mr. Danko ever enjoys eating out at local restaurants? Does he stop in to the “quickie marts” to pick up lottery tickets or buy gas? And what about emergency services staffed by police and firefighters — ever need any of those, sir? Where do you expect these people to live? Workforce housing is just that — housing for our low to moderately paid workers.
St. Johns County has ignored the need for workforce housing for years and is now suffering the consequences in the form of huge staffing problems for service workers and other working poor. In just one example, there has been a sign posted on a restaurant that has done business in the county for at least a decade reading “Closed indefinitely — can’t find staff.”
St. Johns’ infrastructure is also suffering since so many of those working in the county are forced to commute from other, more moderately priced areas. Another specific example: Several hard-working employees in the construction business are actually living behind the St. Augustine Record’s building on State Road 312, and their supervisor picks them up there each morning for work. They simply don’t earn enough to find housing.
“Madam Mayor” is right on target: Flagler County needs workforce housing, and the “not in my backyard” attitude is reactionary and detrimental to the community.
Howell won't attract high wages with low-income housing
During the Palm Coast Observer’s interview with Palm Coast City Councilman Jack Howell, he presented his grand idea of attracting high paying “aviation jobs” to Palm Coast (simply because we have a runway?). He touted the concept that these highly skilled jobs would bring good salaried folks to the area, which they undoubtedly would. Airplane engineers and mechanics do well and can afford most homes in Palm Coast.
In contrast, Councilman Howell is also a big supporter of the low-income subsidized housing project in Town Center (and, yes, it will be government subsidized contrary to what Howell has previously stated) and seems to think this will attract businesses. Yet this and other low-income subsidized housing projects certainly won’t be utilized by aviation engineers. At best it will house minimum or low-wage workers. And the types of businesses in need of these workers most likely won’t be aviation manufacturing.
Councilman Howell’s priorities seem conflicted and not well thought out. You are not going to attract highly paid skilled workers with the promise of a low income housing project to live in.
Observer's headline was misleading
I have to say that, unfortunately, the Palm Coast Observer is the only "newspaper" in a town of over 70,000 people. Should I settle for less quality because it is free? While the actual articles are OK, the constant misleading information by the editor is sad.
One such example was in the Feb. 28 edition. On the front page, the headline states "County to clear homeless camp. See Page 2." This is just one example of misleading information accomplishing nothing. When you turn and read the actual article, there is nothing related to "... clear the homeless camp." The only thing the county is "clearing" is simply the underbrush, not the camp.
This is just one of the many misleading headlines in what has become a weekly tabloid.
Michael D. West
Editor’s Note: My thought was this: The camp had to be cleared of people before the camp could be cleared of brush, so clearing the camp was still the end result. But I can see your point. Thanks for your feedback and thanks for reading.