Also, did the city waste taxpayer dollars on the Cassen Park floating dock project? One reader thinks so.
Stolen Campaign Signs
Another sign of our devolving society: stealing campaign signs.
I noticed that almost all recently installed Biden-Harris campaign signs in our local area were stolen after being in place for only two days. These signs were among other campaign signs in support of local Republicans seeking re-election. The Republican signs remained in place.
Stealing campaign signs is a criminal offense.
While thieves steal campaign signs, they can never steal the passion behind them.
If you see someone removing campaign signs before the November election, report them. As the police say, “See something, say something."
How disturbing that these thieves don’t respect free speech and justice in our deteriorating culture these days. It all demands change. We have the opportunity to do so by voting accordingly this November.
Jerry A. Valcik
Renew Volusia Forever and ECHO
If you, like me, have found the election season exhausting, there are two non-political referenda on the ballot this fall that are, in my view, not only good policy but uplifting to vote for. The referenda seek voter approval to extend the pioneering voter-approved programs Volusia Forever and Volusia ECHO for another 20-year term; they will both sunset in 2021 if not renewed.
Volusia Forever acquires undeveloped green space and agricultural lands from willing sellers to preserve drinking water supplies, provide for aquifer recharge, to protect springs, rivers and lakes, and wildlife habitat, and for public recreation. Some 38,000 acres have been successfully protected; thousands remain to be acquired to complete the Volusia Conservation Corridor and to secure water protection for the future. Putting these lands in conservation has the secondary effect of preventing sprawling development into green areas. Once these areas are gone, they are gone for good.
Volusia ECHO provides assistance to nonprofits to create or restore public spaces for environmental, cultural, historic and outdoor recreational purposes. The list of projects includes: environmental projects like Lyonia Environmental Learning Center and Marine Discovery Center; cultural projects like Museum of Arts and Science and African American Museum; historic preservation projects such as Barberville Pioneer Arts Settlement and Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse; and outdoor recreation projects such as Coraci Sports Complex and Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Hundreds of thousands of Volusians visit ECHO projects annually.
These are the only two county referenda on your ballot this fall. Restore yourself by voting “Yes” for both.
Vote them out
In 2020, Ormond voters will decide four contested City Commission seats. The mayor and Zone 2 incumbent have been there for 17 years; the other two for four years.
Any examination of the City Commission record should begin with the refusal to mandate masks and the approval of vendor permits for Biketoberfest. With community spread of the COVID-19 virus and Volusia’s positivity rates, these decisions will cost lives. We’ve had scores of COVID-19 deaths in Ormond Beach assisted living facilities.
When the beachside hospital closed, the mayor and commissioners promised to replace it. Three years later, that promise has not been kept. We asked for a hospital, but the City Commission spent $2.5 million buying a church, a floating boat dock, and Medjool palm trees. They will spend another significant sum to move our 20-year-old downtown police station to make way for commercial development.
This commission began losing citizen trust when they weakened development and wetland rules, abolished the environmental advisory board and granted waivers and exceptions to allow the clear-cutting of 2,061 trees for a gas station and a car wash. A subsequent citizen request for a Tree Advisory Board was denied. Since 2017, rezonings for commercial development at seven separate residential locations trampled the protests and rights of adjacent property owners.
Out west, the City Commission supports a $50 million Hand Avenue extension to serve the 10,000-home Avalon Park Daytona development. Our commission has committed to selling water and sewer services to Daytona Beach, using Ormond’s infrastructure and consumer use water permit.
To the north, our elected officials annexed Plantation Oaks, ultimately 1,576 manufactured homes on the Loop that will pay no property taxes while receiving city services. The commission then approved the current election year property tax rollback ($14 on $200,000) against pandemic revenue shortfalls projected at $300,000 the first year alone.
In 2019, this City Commission attached a ballot question to an April county mail-in referendum, asking Ormond voters to extend commission terms to four years; 65% of voters rejected this for the third time.
Maximum special interest and developer campaign contributions have paid for the large incumbent commercial signs we now see on Granada Boulevard, and for the glossy mailers to every home claiming good city government.
Have doubts? Vote them out.
Boat dock was a waste of money
I’m not sure why the city thought it was a good idea to build a floating dock at a cost of of over $1.2 million for just 12 boats at Cassen Park. There certainty is not much benefit to the citizens of Ormond Beach. The citizens were told that boaters would use the dock and frequent our restaurants downtown. Maybe, but all I have seen as I ride my bike or walk around Cassen Park are the same boats that are there day and night, or worse, no boats at all.
It seems to me the $1.2 million could have been put to better use. Maybe, fixing the sidewalks around the area which are very narrow and cracked or putting in more dedicated bike trails or any improvements that would better benefit more of our local community could have been done.