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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 1 month ago

4 letters: On candidate mailers and their political stances

Also, is the City Commission really concerned with protecting the environment? One reader weighs in.
by: Guest Writer

Campaign of Disinformation 

Dear Editor:

Disinformation is false or misleading information that is spread deliberately to deceive. We have seen this disinformation being spread at the national level for a long time and recently seen it in Volusia County with political campaigns distributing misleading and deceptive campaign mailers with claims like “I Will Never Defund the Police” and others claiming that their opponent “Will Defund the Police." My opponent recently sent out a glossy mailer entirely devoted to his insistence he will not defund the police; he appears to be falsely claiming that I will defund the police which is patently false. This national issue was never a local issue and it is shameful and despicable that our elected officials would make such baseless claims. We deserve better.  

Under our current leadership support and officer salaries have not been adequate to prevent or fill six vacancies with five more officers at risk of leaving for other jurisdictions. We're undermanned and underpaid. Property crimes are very high compared to the state average, but my opponent doesn’t want to talk about that.

I am very proud of and fully support our excellent police and fire departments and I would not support defunding our police. Disinformation campaigns are used to cause confusion and fear and to divert attention away from real issues that are important to our community, like wasting taxpayer dollars, overdevelopment, traffic, property crime, infrastructure crumble and big money special interest skewing the outcome of our elections with massive special interest donations to incumbents.

Tim Grigsby

Ormond Beach

Editor's note: Tim Grigsby is a candidate in the City Commission Zone 1 race.

City Commission protection of the environment? 

Dear Editor:

With so many areas of the city suffering unmeasurable environmental damage, how can the commission incumbents claim to be protectors of the environment? Why did the commission abolish strong Ormond Beach wetland rules? Why clear-cut trees and green space in natural flood plains and low-lying areas like Granada Pointe, when our low impact land development code recommends against large retentions ponds and fill? What environmental tradeoffs did the city receive in return for the large commercial developments in the Sterthaus floodplain? 

When the mayor touts the Central Park lakes as a flood control project, is he saying flood control is the tradeoff for all the current and future development runoff from homes and streets? What is being done about the invasive weed and algae blooms that have compromised the ponds and ditches? Why does ditch management require mowing the banks and spraying herbicides? Why did the city let the Renaissance developer use herbicides to convert a small, isolated wetland into a retention pond? Will these herbicides not eventually find their way into the Tomoka River? Why is the city’s use of herbicides so prevalent? Why does Fleming Avenue still flood? 

Why have all the natural creeks that once flowed through Ormond Beach been ditched for flood control? What are we doing about nutrient runoff and the resultant algae blooms? On the Tomoka River downstream from U.S. 1, where Ormond Beach residents voted to tax themselves $1.5 million in 1997 to buy the 80-acre rivers property, why has the city allowed the adjoining marsh canals to be choked by invasive aquatic weeds and algae mats to a point where the canals have become inaccessible? 

On Clyde Boulevard, why has the city allowed scorched earth treeless development to maximum density, with runoff ponds dug deep into the water table instead of using existing cypress-juniper wet weather ponds to filter the runoff? At the airport, why did the city approve stormwater runoff through golf course retention ponds and wetlands directly into the Tomoka River? 

Why is there so much factual evidence to contradict the claims of strong environmental protections alleged by the incumbent? Let us never forget the Granada Pointe disaster.

Natalie Young Grigsby

Editor's note: The city's low impact development code recommends using shallow swales and dry retention ponds, according to information provided by the city. However, in the case of Granada Pointe, the city states that the project was in an area of high groundwater elevations "that negate the techniques used in the LID format.

A play on words

Dear Editor:

So much for the "non-partisan" political race for the mayorship of this fine city. Using the word "conservative" (7 times) in the latest slick mail-out received, Bill Partington avoided using the "R" word thereby tiptoeing around a questionable topic in this cleverly designed piece. In fact, if readers did not understand the terminology on the face of the piece, the smug message is repeated on the reverse side.

Furthermore, it was unnecessary to insert the term "socialist liberals" in the text. I am sure there are some in this city, but, to my knowledge, there are none running for city office this year. Being a "D" does not necessarily entitle one to be labeled as such. In fact, meeting and talking with the four contenders (seeking to unseat the controlling faction in our city government), they are not only downright nice individuals, but also more concerned about the welfare of the Ormond Beach citizens than those who are currently in control.  

What Ormond Proud did not deliver this year, Mr. Mayor definitely picked up their slack. You may win this election, but the good people of Ormond Beach know the real you. There is nothing conservative about anyone who takes advantage of others no matter the manner in which that deed is pursued.  

You, and your commissioners running for re-election, are bank rolled by the local developers for your election funding, which the contenders do not, and will not, do. If the local developers are flush with dinero, some should spend those additional funds on maintaining the property they own. Case in point, the former forest lands north and south of Granada Boulevard at Tomoka Avenue need some trimming as the weeds on the barren lots appear to have exceeded the 18-inch rule. Top management should take more time in properly managing their misgivings rather than patting themselves on their backs. 

That eyesore adjacent to the aforementioned vacant lots, affectionately known as Wawa, shall be your legacy.

Ed Kolaska

Ormond Beach

Editor's note: Mayor Bill Partington was given a chance to respond in 100 words or less. 

Bill Partington: Ormond Beach is a truly amazing city. Our fiscally conservative approach to government has allowed a great quality of life, while lowering taxes with no layoffs or cuts in services. Did I mention municipal reserves are in great shape too? If you remember only one thing remember this, sharp budgets and conservative fiscal policy allow residents to enjoy the beautiful community and awesome quality of life they want and deserve. Our city today is more efficient, more effective and more accountable because of great staff leadership and my hard work as your mayor. I’m honored to represent all Ormond Beach.

'Trumpism' impact on local candidates

I write from the perspective of being the son of parents who had to live under the Nazis until they could leave Czechoslovakia.

Fair minded people realize that Donald Trump is singularly responsible for the tragic devolution of our society. Our nation is in crisis. The suffering and adverse impacts reach right down to our local grassroots level.

A frightening impact is Trump’s extreme divisiveness and sanctioning hate, racism, mayhem, violence and domestic terrorism. A disturbing example in our community is the widespread theft of Biden for president signs, one of which was shot-gunned. The propensity for violence and lack of respect for free speech here has certainly increased. Make no mistake, it all flows from the top.

Also, so very frightening is Trump’s abject refusal to accept responsibility and to implement an effective scientifically-based strategic plan early on to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC protective guidance really matters. The commission’s recent decision to permit super-spreader events such as Biketoberfest is certainly not wise. Protecting public health is paramount. The support of business activities is secondary and must be approached smartly in terms of minimizing the spread of the virus.

Then there’s the ensuing unmitigated economic disaster. Business closures, job losses, bankruptcies and other consequent emotional, psychological and physical stresses have impacted families, including those imposed by the catastrophic disruption of our educational system. How severe will be the impact on our younger generation? We cannot really understand the gravity of the suffering of the afflicted until we stand in their shoes.

Now that we are in an election season, it occurred to me to seek the views of candidates seeking city commission and county council positions to see if they are helping to reverse the devolution of our community under Trump from their perspectives. I posed the following question: "Do you support Donald J. Trump and all of his pronouncements, so many of which directly impact us at our grassroots level? If so, why? If not, why?"

Only four candidates seeking city commission positions responded: Rob Bridger, Tim Grigsby, David Romeo and Ken Smith. None of the other four Republican candidates bothered to respond. Only County Council chair candidate Jeff Brower responded. The other three county Republican candidates did not.

It is up to each of us to act insofar as possible to restore our democracy. So much is at stake. We need to vote.

Jerry Valcik

Ormond Beach

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