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Palm Coast Monday, Mar. 24, 2014 7 years ago

On red light camera appeals, unemployment and 'the czars'


Red light camera appeal process is unfair

Dear Editor:
I am a law-abiding citizen of Palm Coast and have been for four years. I am 72 years old and until a month ago, hadn't had a red light violation since I was 17 — only two traffic violations in my life, both before my 25th birthday.

One month ago, I received a red light violation letter. With it came pictures of my car making a right turn on red on State Road 100 going into the hospital. I was late for a doctor’s appointment, did not come to a complete stop, and, as a result received the violation letter with $158 fine. I was in the wrong. I paid the fine plus a $4 "convenience" fee because I paid via the Internet. Total: $162.

Because of this, I have been ultra careful when approaching red lights.

This week I got another violation letter, this time for going through a red light on Palm Coast Parkway West, at intersection of the Interstate 95 off ramp. The picture did not show the red light. Rather, where the light was supposed to be, it was totally blurred out for some reason, possibly due to the sun late in the day. I have zero recollection of that incident and with the red light not showing in the picture, I thought I should request a hearing. After researching the pros and cons of a hearing, I found out that few of them result in a reversal. If the hearing does not result in a reversal, the driver is subject to up to an additional $250 fine on top of the $158 violation fine. That's a bit much! I have subsequently been told the additional court fee is $50 in Palm Coast.

Why should it cost an additional fee for someone to plead his case? Guilty until proven innocent! I thought in the good ol’ USA, we were supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

In this particular instance, I tried to see the video that was supposed to be available on the computer before I requested a hearing. If I actually went through the light, I should and would pay the fine. My computer wouldn't bring it up, so I asked my son who owns a computer software development company to look at it for me. None of his state-of-the-art computers would bring it up. That being the case, to go to a hearing to review the video was a gamble of an additional expense if the video showed me in the wrong.

Long story short, I decided to pay the fine and get on with life. Because I am so intimidated coming up to a red light, I have had two close calls in the past two days. Both times I stopped quickly, and both times I almost got rear-ended. Crazy. I may even receive another fine — who knows?

Last, I believe our city fathers and mothers are trying to attract new residents. Word is spreading fast around town about the "big brother" red light cameras. This absolutely takes away from the desirability of living here. If the facts could be known, I would be willing to bet the presence of these cameras and their resultant affect causes more accidents than they save.

Think about it, City Council members! Do you really think the cameras are fair and they cause fewer accidents? Or, are you in it to rip off your law-abiding citizens of their hard-earned dollars?

I've gone by an awful lot of red light rear-enders lately. This city is very well patrolled. Let the police officers do their job, not spy cameras. Last I knew this was not a communistic country. It’s about money, and that’s it. If any city councilman or manager says different, in my humble opinion, they are lying or simply not tuned in!

James Fisher
Palm Coast

Unemployment rate is bad news for the city

Dear Editor:
Palm Coast’s 9.3% unemployment rate is the most abysmal statistic in the state of Florida and casts a pall over the city’s ability to attain a preeminent position in Central Florida economic development, and growth.

On March 19, our great Gov. Rick Scott announced on Neil Cavuto’s Fox News program that Florida has one of the lowest unemployment rates (6.3%) in the country.

Yet a public official, when interviewed by the Palm Coat Observer, mentions that the second highest unemployment rate (9.3%) in Florida is symptomatic of de facto economic progress. That flies in the face of delusion and fantasy.

What a great advertisement for this 50-square-mile city in one of the most beautiful parts of Florida!

Where are these imaginary, high-tech, highly educated, future employees who are supposedly flocking to our city in such numbers, supposedly sending Palm Coast’s unemployment rate “necessarily skyrocketing"?

Show us the jobs. Where are they located, and how many have been created in the past 18 months?

The problem rests directly with Palm Coast’s city officials and their ever-increasing regulations, tree hugging environmental whackos, and political correctness wierdos.

Remove these bonds of economic slavery, and Palm Coast could be the model of business expansion.

Arthur M. Alex
Palm Coast

City czars show true colors with City Hall decisions

Dear Editor:
I'm a retired Army officer who has been a resident owner in Palm Coast for 11 years. I recall when the czars first conceived the idea that we had to have a new City Hall. The czars were prevailed upon to put that idea to a vote, which went down to a humiliating defeat. The czars learned their lesson: Votes are bad, no more of that nonsense.

The czars decided we needed a city-owned tennis complex. Now, it operates at a loss every year. Next, the czars decided they should try their hand at golf, since tennis was such a great success. Again, the czars didn't put it to a vote, and annually we hear the sucking sound of more money down the toilet.

Following the last countywide election, one of our council members was elected to the County Commission, creating a vacancy in the city. Did we have an election? No. The czars decided they knew what was needed in a candidate. They selected a relative newcomer who, in my opinion, has contributed little but goes along with the czars on most every topic.

The czars decided that we needed major construction on Bulldog Drive — no matter that the city doesn't own it. Work needed to be done, and they had a fistful of the citizens' money. Let's get it done, and we'll sort out ownership later.

The czars’ actions that really rile me center on their commitment to a new City Hall that I have come to call the Jon Netts Memorial City Hall. No need for a vote, since the czars lost the last vote. Mr. City Manager (with the bloated paycheck), find us some money for a City Hall so we don't have to burden the poor taxpayers. Well, son of a gun, Mr. City Manager came up with $6 million that won't cost Joe Taxpayer a thing. Well, yes, we'll lose the nice 5% interest we draw on 5 of the 6 million, but not to worry.

Now, come to find out, our new City Hall is going to have nine conference rooms. Let's see: Nine conference rooms times 40 hours a week equals about 360 one-hour weekly meetings that can be held. Sound excessive? It does to this old soldier who was told by a wise general that any meeting that went beyond an hour was a waste, not to mention the splendorous gym (excuse me: “wellness room”) going into the new City Hall. Anyone really think that our City Hall will come in on budget? Not this observer.

My solution is simple. I will never vote for any current incumbent city official. Not one of them has earned my trust or my vote.

Gerald V. McKiernan
Palm Coast

If you don’t like the Observer, publish your own free newspaper

Dear Editor:
When I read any paper, the only color I'm interested in is the color of the ink being used to print the articles. I'm more interested in the facts and information provided to the community as a whole. In general, I would like to thank you for doing the best job you can in keeping us informed of what is happening in our community, free of charge.

I also would like to remind those who feel that the Palm Coast Observer is an unfair, biased or racist paper that nothing is stopping you from publishing/printing your own paper and providing it to the community — hopefully, free of charge.

Ana Pratts
Palm Coast




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