Also: Heidi Shipley, Public Works controversy, letter headlines
In her Nov. 1 editorial, Mayor Milissa Holland seemed to be trying to justify the construction of low-income housing projects in Palm Coast. With a typical political spin, she euphemistically referred to it as “affordable housing,” and the renters as “income qualified.” She was also intent on dispelling concerns that it would be Section 8 housing and tried to assure anyone concerned about increased crime and property value decline.
Nowhere in her commentary did she mention that The Palms at Town Center, a proposed subsidized apartment complex, will most likely soon be built in the Town Center as the beginning of that area’s vitalization effort. Granted, this complex is not intended to be technically a Section 8 project, but it is subsidized housing. The developer of this complex, instead of being subsidized directly by the government for tenant rent payments as in Section 8 arrangements, will be subsidized with tax breaks and low-interest federal loans in exchange for lower rents for lower income tenants.
Subsidized housing projects, no matter what name they’re given, are often perceived negatively. Whether these perceptions are justified or not, they exist and create controversy. The mayor clearly seems to recognize that reality when she addressed the crime and property value concerns. Given these existing perceptions, does it make sense to try to jumpstart the vitalization of the Town Center with a controversial low-income subsidized housing project?
If the intent (as it should be) is to present the Town Center as the thriving epicenter of Palm Coast and attract future development, this seems to be an ill-conceived way to start that process.
Shipley’s role was downplayed in fee story
It was Councilwoman Heidi Shipley on Oct. 16 who activated the motion which tabled the electric tax fee proposal. She correctly stated that additional research, public input and city comparisons were needed.
Yet, your article relegated her invaluable impact on this matter to a minor comment at the very end. Heidi Shipley, throughout her tenure on the council, has always advocated for the citizens of Palm Coast. Her picture should have been front and center. Thank you, Heidi.
Vincent A. Liguori
‘Fiscally illiterate’ city officials
I have lived in this "town" for some time now, and I couldn't have come up with a better term than Mr. Alan Peterson did on Oct. 16 for those running this town.
I lived here when the residents resoundingly rejected building a new city hall at taxpayer expense. A few short years later they built it without our approval, saying that it wouldn't cost the taxpayer because of how it was accomplished. They kicked a can down the road.
Now they built an $8.5 million new Community Center (not voted on), now they want to build a $22 million Public Works facility.
The failure to let residents decide these huge tax burdens is ridiculous, but given the history of elected officials here, I'm not surprised one bit.
Robert St Clair
How did Public Works survive two hurricanes?
Ms. Heidi Shipley stated on Oct. 16 that had she toured the Public Works facility two years ago. She then stated that at the time of her tour she felt it was an emergency situation at the time. The article states that most of the buildings are "pole barns" which do not require permitting!
As a resident and taxpayer, I'd like to know what it is that is so unsafe. Apparently, the facility survived both Matthew and Irma with minimal damage. I would conclude the buildings are safe after surviving both hurricanes. Two years ago, it was not a big deal, as nothing was done about it. So why now is it such an issue? The buildings survived both hurricanes!
Why did you change the headline to my letter to the editor?
I gather you did not get the point of my Oct. 11 letter to the editor submission with the title you selected: "Do Palm Coast leaders realize residents aren’t wealthy?"
I am sure there are a lot of wealthy people in Palm Coast.
My submission was about the rising costs of taxes and fees that affect people, especially those on a fixed or limited income. You edited out the important parts that showed the trend of risings costs with swale fee increases, higher gasoline prices etc. A better title would have been, “Resident concerned with rising taxes and spending in Palm Coast.” That was the point!
If space was an issue or it was too long, you should have consulted me to shorten the letter, not omit the central theme of the letter! To say I am disappointed with you as an editor is an understatement.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for your feedback. No disrespect was intended in the editing of your letter. Very rarely are the submitted headlines kept, and all letters are subject to editing for clarity and length. I felt that the part of your letter that was most impactful was your last line: “I am losing faith in the leaders of our city to truly consider all the people who live in Palm Coast, not just the wealthy who can afford these increases in taxes and fees.” The published headline was written to reflect that point.
Please stop telling us your recommendations
I read your response to Alice Losasso's letter (same title as shown above) and am dismayed to see that on your future election schedule, your endorsements are still included.
I recommend that before the next election you take an independent poll and add stats to your "not popular" "others seek" opinion. That way you will publish real news and I am confident you will find that you publish your recommendations not because they are desired, but because you have personal need to do so.
It is my guess that, unasked, you wouldn't dare to tell your spouse how to vote. He or she will tell you, in a high state of emotion — I'm guessing again — that they have a want and the right to decide on their own based on candidate information. I believe as readers, we demand that same right to decide.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for your feedback. A poll is a good idea. We will work on that! Anecdotally, we do know that some people want the endorsements: Every two years, we have people come to our office asking for extra copies to bring to friends. One candidate recently told me 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. That said, we don’t tell readers how to vote. We make recommendations, and we trust that readers will make up their own minds, just as you do.