One letter writer asks for the community to lend teachers a hand.
The following is a sampling of Facebook responses to Toby Tobin's analysis of the affordable housing market in Palm Coast. On the Palm Coast Observer's Facebook page, we asked this question: Does Palm Coast need affordable housing?
Kristi Culpepper There is something incredibly ironic about arguing that the government needs to provide affordable housing options for government employees. (1) The government creates its own economic inequality. They seemingly have no problem approving contracts for a quarter million dollars with lavish golden parachutes for administrators while teachers and first responders live like paupers. That is not an accident; that is them making poor policy decisions. (2) You can't artificially suppress housing prices in a town located on the ocean in a state that is attracting 1,000 new residents a day. Basic economics is against you. (3) Even if you could, that would not be desirable. The government is funded through revenues derived from real estate. You cheapen real estate and you decrease money to the government. That would mean the government has even less money to pay employees with and their quality of life declines even more. If you want to improve the quality of life for these populations, change how the government allocates its resources. It is also absolutely bonkers to think that major employers use cheap housing as a metric, unless you are talking about people who will bring more low wage jobs to the area. No corporation that compensates its employees well is looking for areas with low quality housing stock. "Hey, look, this is an area of concentrated poverty. Let's invest in doing business there!"
Mark Woods How about just some quality smaller homes? Not everyone wants to buy a house and not everyone wants or needs a four bedroom house. If we're using teachers as an example, that profession can be very transient (especially for the first 10 years). There are plenty of single young teachers who would happily occupy a small two bedroom house or apartment.
Patrice Koch No, they need to raise the pay to a livable amount. How do they expect to have quality teachers and first responders if they can't afford to live in the county that they are serving.
Robbie J Carroll LOL.....if one can't live on $40k a year as a 22 year old they have serious problems. Most military members earn much less, there is no such thing as overtime pay, and most are of very good if not better quality than any teacher.
Brett Snider Raise the pay, the cost of everything increases as well. Well intended, but does not work in reality.
Jo-Ann Rafferty How about we use some of that property tax money to raise the salary for teachers and first responders?
Barbie Mattocks Bembry There is an apartment complex to be built next to the theater. And another to be built on Bulldog Drive. It’s coming.
Staly is getting results
Previous letter writer Mike Cocchiola clearly doesn't know Sheriff Rick Staly or his style. With Don Fleming rejected in the primary in 2016, Staly was the only viable candidate.
Does Staly consider Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and former sheriff in Arizona Joe Arpaio to be productive, powerful role models? Likely yes, and that's a good thing. Do these likely role models preen and strut? The real question should be does that add or detract from their public image and effectiveness?
Is Staly tougher on staffers than never-a-career-lawman Jim Manfre, whom he beat? I've asked a dozen current detectives and higher staffers; all said yes and insist tough rules that must be followed are far better for overall department success.
Here are official facts:
Arrests by calendar year are up from 2,732 in 2016 to 3,206 last year. Average daily jail population was 129 in 2016; it’s 202 in 2018.
Under Staly, crime rates are substantially down — by 22% for 2018. That is great for all of Flagler's non-Green Roof Inn candidates!
I personally love the Green Roof Inn sign. It was created with zero budget. An amazingly high percentage of Flagler residents, both never arrested and those with a demon like excessive drink, drugs and uncontrolled anger know what its message conveys. That's not disdain, it is humor used effectively.
This past week an extremely well attended open first meeting was held with briefings by a couple of Green Roof Inn's great former tenants who have been "clean" for many months because they are taking new meds to permanently conquer their past demon. I'm really proud of these first-time public speakers for their willingness to help others by standing up and telling their experiences and success path. Sheriff Staly attended to learn new ways to help his jail tenants beat their demons. What better way to show respect and care for Green Roof tenants?
To clarify, Staly and I greet each other at meetings, but don't socialize.
Just one item to convey his fast reactions: At a huge turn-out supper meeting, a lady sitting about three tables away from each of us choked on her food and couldn't breathe. A half dozen of us reacted. Staly already was successfully giving her the Heimlich maneuver.
For 15+ years, I've volunteered to help local homeless. Maybe 20% are blessings from the Lord. Maybe 40+% are serious challenges. I know about our jail and its residents because of that stressful effort.
Stop funding private schools with tax credits
Katie Hansen, president of the Flagler County Educators Association, is spot on with her observation that our schools are being starved by Tallahassee lawmakers who refuse to adequately fund the public schools that have helped create our great country. Those lawmakers are too busy sending our tax dollars, this year $873,565,674 of our hard-earned money, to private, mostly religious schools around the state through the Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship scheme.
These funds go, for example, to schools like Delphi Academy, in Clearwater, to be used to teach the principles, beliefs, practices and values of Scientology.
If the Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship scheme is halted in its tracks, as it should be, and the funds the state of Florida gives away under the scheme redistributed to public schools on a per pupil basis, Flagler Schools would receive an extra $4.1 million to pay our highly deserving teachers a decent wage and help attract more high quality applicants to fill vacancies.
Let’s raise our voices together to end the Florida Corporate Tax Scholarship scheme.
Try sunscreen and sprinklers instead
It's no mystery that Palm Coast can't solve the simplest of problems without relying on money as the first resort. Now we are going to spend $2 million on splash pads at Holland Park so the little darlings keep cool. It isn't enough the will also have a canopy for shade! Poor babies!
How about sunscreen? Ever hear about that? As for $2 million to keep them cool? My parents solved that problem years ago so $20: They bought a garden hose and a sprinkler! Problem solved.
Thanks for reporting on the ‘illusion’
I just wanted to thank Toby Tobin for his extremely informative letter on the “Illusion of affordability” and the Palm Coast Observer for publishing it.
Housing is becoming extremely expensive for people just entering the workforce and it isn’t just Section 8. The rules and regulations allowing Palm Coast to bypass affordable housing coupled with the ‘NIMBYism” of the residents smacks of selfishness and snobbery. It’s almost as if Palm Coast was one big country club.
I can only pray that people will read this and change their attitudes and soften their hearts.
Letters policy is too restrictive
In your April 4 edition, you reiterated the Palm Coast Observer's policy about letters regarding Donald Trump, stating you only want matters of local interest. Restricting dialogue is, of course, your prerogative, but we regularly see letters commenting on, critiquing or applauding local and state politicians and policies. Sure, these may be of local interest, but so are national politicians and national issues that impact every local resident. These issues are the one's a lot of us are equally or probably more interested in. We have very controversial national politics now in play, and we should not be precluded from a healthy respectful discussion about them, as well.
Firefighters helped my family in need
I have received the most amazing help from three gentlemen in the Palm Coast Fire Department. I called the nonemergency number for some help my husband and I needed.
The competent young lady said “yes,” took my address and told me she would relay the message to the department. Within 15 minutes, three firefighters were at my door, and solved the situation.
The three — Lt. Don Driscoll and firefighters Angelo D’Souza and Anthony Pederson — could not have been more efficient, kind and competent. I am so appreciative of their help.
And, come November when it’s time to pay real estate taxes, I hope to remember the kindness, efficiency and competency of these firemen and maybe not complain so much about paying taxes!
Lend teachers a hand
I have noticed that many local business establishments offer discounts to various groups, such as veterans and first responders. I think that this is a very generous and appreciative gesture by these establishments and hope that the number of businesses making these offers will continue to grow.
However, I would really love to see one additional profession added to this group. It’s a group of people who have been given the task of planting the seeds of knowledge into the minds of the children who will be leading our country in the years to come.
These people choose their profession because of their love of educating our children and, as pointed out during the past midterm elections, certainly not for the salary. I could drone on for pages about the overcrowding, the outdated materials, the having to use their own money to supply their classrooms, but we are already too familiar with these topics.
You may say that our veterans and first responders risk their lives in carrying out their duties and are therefore more deserving; sadly, we have come to a place in time when our teachers are also encountering armed assailants while in their daily routines and subsequently forced into situations where they must protect themselves and their charges.
I’m sure that by making it financially easier for these folks to make a purchase or to go out for a family meal would go a long way in promoting good will and in expanding the customer base of any business willing to show their appreciation. The old adage of, “if you can read this, thank a teacher,” still rings true.
Light the turn signs in on Palm Coast Parkway
How many times have I witnessed vehicles traveling on Belle Terre North make an illegal right-hand turn onto Palm Coast Parkway West? Instead of a painted sign for no right-hand turn, a sign that’s lighted 24/7 needs to be the reminder.
The cross streets between Palm Coast Parkway East and Palm Coast Parkway West on the east side of the bridge have lighted signs. Don't tell me they ran out of lighted no right-hand turn signs. The incidents are a great way for me to test if my horn still works.
Act of kindness at dinner
Many people have written regarding issues that trouble most of us these days. It is most difficult to find a true act of kindness that restores one’s faith in the goodness that is all too often hidden from all too many.
On a recent Friday decided to go to Metro Diner. A couple was seated at the table next to mine. They are young (well, 60s is young in my book), and the wife turned to me, and we began talking about our places of origin, and that became our connection; the cities were different but life’s experiences with “eateries” were the same.
The time flew by and we laughed and talked endlessly – what fun. A moment later, the check that had been put on my table by the waitress was scooped up by my new friends. I was so surprised and tried very hard to make them reconsider their generosity to a total stranger. After much back and forth, I asked the husband why they were doing this for me, and his response was, “Because we can.” Hers was, “Because we love you.”
We hugged upon leaving and, although we did not exchange personal information, I know that one evening we shall meet again. I would love to reciprocate their kindness – but if that never happens face to face, I would like those reading this note to know how their random act of kindness affected my belief in the fundamental goodness in mankind – and they are the best in all of us.