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Palm Coast Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 6 months ago

Palm Coast's dark streets need to be addressed now

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Also in letters: Laws about political polling places need clarification; and, Palm Coast's cost of living is going up.
by: Guest Writer

Dear Editor:

I read and agree with Mayor Holland and her comments concerning Palm Coast’s woefully inadequate lighting scheme.  However, I do not think her comments go far enough and I think she and the entire city council should take several more night drives around the city, if they truly intend to lead us into the light. The Lassiter study, for which I imagine we paid a significant amount of money, does identify some of the more urgent areas in need of immediate correction and glaring gaps.

It is not “unbelievably dark” out there Madam Mayor, it is dangerously and scary dark in our city and neighborhoods. I am always amused at Councilman Nick Klufas’ comments concerning our city’s issues, and the lighting priority is just another example. He seems to miss the immediate need for action but likes to conceptualize about the technological requirements with little regard for actual productive results and future impacts to our fiscal realities. A “throw it on the wall and see if it sticks” approach, in my opinion. So, the studies will continue, but when does the actionable leadership begin?

My wife and I had also had the opportunity to drive into the dark abyss to visit a family in the R-Section of Palm Coast this past Thursday night. We started our drive on Colbert Lane and then onto State Road 100 to Bell Terre Parkway and into the R-Section via Rymfire Drive and eventually to our friend’s home. Throughout the drive, we noticed how dark all the streets were, especially in the neighborhoods we passed along the way. Actually, it was quite dangerous to drive on these streets, difficult to see the houses or even the driveways.

It made me wonder, is this a third world country we are living in?

Infrastructure for a thriving city is critical for the safety of its residents and those visiting and supports a lower crime rate overall for our community. There are certainly enough studies that have been made with specific correlations between poorly lighted neighborhoods and high crime rates. The city leadership is taking steps to study these issues, but little action is taking place. 

Meanwhile, we line the streets and center medians with landscaping, irrigation and pavers, which will have to be disturbed or permanently removed for future light schemes (which means more additional costs to the tax payer because of poor planning) and installations. Basic lighting infrastructure is needed now for this community, but many neighborhoods and streets will continue to be neglected because monies have been earmarked and spent for new community centers (with inadequate parking), parks and trails, etc.

If we are going to grow, let’s grow safely, properly and with fiscal maturity and responsibility. Taxes are going up, but I don’t see that the monies are going in the right places. The safety of the residents of this city should be a primary objective.  Lighting is first required on the main streets and major thoroughfares so additional lights can be developed for the neighborhoods where people actually live.

Madam Mayor, I don’t need a study to tell me that; I can see it with my own two eyes. I want to know how the city leadership is going phase this lighting plan into action. Going forward, as a resident of Palm Coast, I would like to see how any proposed lighting plan is going to be financed, developed and implemented by the city, before the City Council’s final approval. An open public forum by the city concerning this proposal seems appropriate.

Brian Barrington

Palm Coast

 

Political advertising limited at school sites?

Dear Editor:

There are seven Flagler County schools currently used by the supervisor of election as polling locations on Election Day. To the school district’s credit, they designated this year’s general election day, Nov. 6, as a professional learning day for teachers — no school for students. With no students at school, it was a much safer and less confusing environment.

However, a baffling situation developed at one of the schools. On Election Day, both Democrats and Republicans hand out information cards about their candidates with their recommendation to the voters. I have been told that a Florida statute states that no one can be within 100 feet of the actual door of the polling location. Except, of course, if you are going in to vote.

At one of the schools and maybe at all seven, the school district’s general counsel told both the Democrat and the Republican, who were well behind the 100 feet marker, who were trying to hand out their recommendations, that they could not hand out information. Not only that, but they had to leave the premises. When asked why, the general counsel stated, “No political activities are allowed on school property.”

Keep in mind that the general counsel made that statement as voters were passing by to go vote. The school district is hosting seven polling locations. A polling place is the quintessential definition of “political activity.” What am I not understanding about this obvious contradiction?

Ralph Lightfoot

Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: On Election Day, School Board Attorney Kristy Gavin visited all Flagler School properties which were open as polling places. At sites where people were on School Board property, they were asked to move. School Board Policy 904, VII (G) states that political advertising is not allowed on school grounds. But, according to Flagler Schools Community Information Specialist Jason Wheeler, “At no time was anyone ever told they could not hand out their literature, just that they could not do it on FCSB property.”

 

Thanks for your endorsements of candidates

Dear Editor:

We've read with some amusement the complaints from two readers regarding political endorsements by the Palm Coast Observer. Here's a simple solution for these folks: If they aren't interested in this type of commentary, by all means don't read it!

Personally, we're very grateful to all local publications that offer recommendations for or against political candidates. Everything we can read before election day assists us with our voting decisions, really.

Robert and Andrea Karros

Palm Coast

 

You are influencing voters. Stop recommending!

Dear Editor:

In reference to your reply to “Stop telling us your recommendations,” you are missing the point. You are influencing voters with your recommendations.

The paper’s job isn’t to give your opinion as to who the best candidate is. Your job is to report facts and let the readers make up their own minds. You justify this misuse of power by the anecdote of a candidate telling you that while he was knocking doors in a past election, a reader was filling out her mail-in ballot next to a copy of our endorsements. This just underlines the fact that you are unduly influencing readers. Giving your opinion from a position of authority is unduly influencing the minds of your readers. This is biased reporting, slice it any way you wish, and in no way makes for a fair election.  

Stick to the facts and keep your opinions to yourself.

Alice Losasso

Palm Coast

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