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BEWARE THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN

John Dryden

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POP Editorials:

3/28:

Quick Mingle Mangle:

There is a City Council meeting on April 2nd at 7PM. I have the link below for you to check out. Click on the blue links to read the background material.

Things are happening in DeBary: businesses being talked about around town are in the wind - one is on the agenda at Glen Abbey with Ray Hagood. Check it out. It's mentioned that the piece of land Mr. Hagood is interested in doing something with has a future land use designation which permits convenience commercial uses. Funny, the Splash Pad had a future land use designation for commercial uses - not Public Institutional - so when the Council did that they violated the Future Land Use Map. That violates the Comp Plan. It was never the "vision" of the Comp Plan to have that land used as Public Institutional - that is to say, for it to be used as a park.

There will be talk about sidewalk repair as well as paying for the new fire truck pumper.

There will be a City Council workshop on April 16th.

Check out the full agenda:

Click here for full City Council agenda

 

3/11:

Did You Know?

I have three articles from the Sentinel. One is from March 5 th and the other from March 8 th. Two are straight articles and the third is from Beth Kassab’s column.

Did you know that people aren’t able to buy passes online? The online process is not up and running. You have to buy them at community events and workplace events.

Did you know the commercial that was made was widely panned by enthusiasts on Facebook? They hated the commercial.

Volusia County Council members – especially Pat Northey – are worried that too many people don’t know about Sunrail. Kassab mentions that people think it goes to the airport, Tampa, Miami. No. No. No.

Did you know Sunrail DOES NOT run on the weekends? It’s only running during the weekdays.

Did you know the train runs from 5:30-10AM. One trip at noon. Then 3:30 to 8PM.

Did you know FDOT is paving I-4 for 2 billion bucks? Did you know the following was written in the Sentinel, March 5 th:

The work (paving) is expected to last at least five to six years, and Sunrail is designed to serve motorists fleeing the inevitable backups and congestion caused by the construction.

So, after the six years, Sunrail’s business will go down? Talk about government spending: spend 2 billion to push people to use a 1.2 billion dollar train. Wow. I remember a few years ago when Sunrail was being voted on the second or third time, people like Mica were saying we can’t pave our way out of this problem. Now we do both.

Did you know Nick Koval showed up at the February 19 th workshop and urged the Council to move quickly on the police/fire station? Talk about cojones. This guy loses conspicuously and then goes to the Council to tell them what they should be focusing on. Um, Council, if you want to hear from the people, as you said at the same workshop, do not listen to Mr. Koval. The citizens you want to hear from spoke at the last election and soundly rejected three years’ worth of spending.

Did you know that the City is maintaining the park at Alexandra Woods in Glen Abbey where Carson and Koval live? Did you also know the City is paying HOA dues to Glen Abbey on those same parcels where the park is? We are maintaining and paying to maintain the parcels in Glen Abbey. Council, please address this. Does anyone know if Koval was on the HOA at Glen Abbey when he was voting for a City Park in Glen Abbey?

Did you know Saundra Gray was on the St. John’s River Water Management board from 1985-1993? From their website:

Saundra H. Gray
DeBary

Dates of service: 9/26/1985–3/1/1993

Governing Board responsibilities:

Secretary, 12/1987–4/1989

Vice Chairman, 5/1989–10/1989

Chairman, 11/1989–10/1991

Personnel Committee

Represented the Middle and Upper St. Johns River basins

Occupation: Owner and operator of Gemini Springs Ranch

Did you know River Oaks with the Bayou problems was built around 1993? Did you know that land was originally ESL (Environmentally Sensitive Land)? Did you know that to get that changed so it was buildable required a vote by…drumroll….the St. John’s River Water Management Board of Directors…sometime around 1988-1991 or 1992? They had to sign off on it. Did you know we’re going to be stuck with a bill for the Bayou when we didn’t cause the problem? Did you know that we could “lend” them the money and then tax the people living there much as we’re doing with bringing water to the folks on Fort Florida Road – they want to pay their way. Will the River Oaks, folks? We’ll see.

Did you know that Ashleigh Hart and Dawn Pizzo are running for Seats 3 and 4 respectively? Now you do. This is an election year. It’s time to speak out on the spending that has been going on the last 3 years. Let me share a headline with you from the Beacon Newspaper:

DeBary debates where to put police, fire stations

This was from the February 19 th workshop where CM Dwyer asked all kinds of questions about the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent for a fire station. I mean a police station. I mean both. I mean only police. Get the picture?

Here’s the article to back it up:

Council Member Rick Dwyer questioned why the rest of the City Council was ignoring the advice of experts, including a 2008 Volusia County Fire Services study that “with orders of clarity” listed sites best suited for station construction.

Dwyer said the study determined the city’s best option would be to rebuild on the existing Fire Station 33 lot; if not there, then on the old City Hall site, now the home of a splash park, and so on.

Dwyer’s questions prompted Council Member Dan Hunt declared, “My priority is a police station, not a fire station, if I have anything to do about it.”

Vice Mayor Chris Carson countered, I believe we need both fire and police,” to be housed in a joint structure. Carson said neither of the current fire and police stations near Highway 17-92 and Colomba Road “meet today’s standards.”

Although the City Council has discussed police and fire stations many times, Dwyer’s opening statement deplored the lack of discussion about the joint structure’s placement.

So, did we want to get around the study by forcing the splash pad at its current location? The past Council, Mayor excluded, spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and didn’t really agree or know they disagreed on what they were spending it for or on.

From the article:

Dwyer said this (a study) would “ensure they choose the best available option and not waste taxpayer dollars on a bad site.”

No dice. Current Council not interested.

CM Hunt and Handy-Peters spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and then debated where to put police and/or fire stations somwhere. Seats 3 and 4. Hart/Pizzo. It’s time to finish what was started last November. After that election, Carson helped to embarrass our City in front of no one less than the literal world with his no-stance on the chicken issue with JJ. He voted it down. Said he wanted to help the situation. Came to the table with no solutions. Happy with that vote for Carson? It’s not often we get a second chance to get it right. That second chance is November 4 th this year. Hart/Pizzo. Seat 3 and 4.

Norm Erickson

 

2/22:

The Mingle Mangle from a Muckraker

What a workshop it was on February 19th. It was started with Mr. Koval stating from the podium that the City needs to build the buildings on the purchased property, formerly Rumors, sooner rather than later.

CM Dwyer then went into a discussion about the fire services being situated on that very same land. It goes against the 2006 study. CM Dwyer wanted to know why the Council ignored the study’s experts. CM Handy-Peters stated that not much has changed since 2006 – CM Dwyer countered that is why it doesn’t make any sense: if not much has changed, why go against the recommendation of the study? Ultimately, in my opinion, the previous Council just wanted it. CM Hunt didn’t think fire services were being included. CM Handy-Peter’s presented a Powerpoint about why she was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for the property: fire services. Huh? Anywho, no further studies on whether or not the land purchased really fits the needs of what is to be built on it. It is purchased, so lets move forward. CM Carson’s response to all of it was garbled and made no sense.

Next up was VM Carson saying we need a visioning session to find out what to do. He wants to hear from the people. Mort Culligan’s response from the podium was, “I’ll tell ya what a consultant will tell you – what you pay them to say.” Carson says he wants to hear from the people - didn't I hear in December concerning the whole JJ's Chickens thing that it's the Council's job to educate the citizens - which Council member stated that it was the Council's job to educate the citizens? I know it was stated...now they want to hear from the people.

Compliment to Council members Carson, Hunt and Handy-Peters: you don’t need a visioning session. You’ve spent well over a million dollars the last three years on parks and acquiring property for police/fire services. It didn’t flow from hundreds or thousands of people saying, “Spend money!” It’s didn’t come from a visioning committee or workshop. You knew what you wanted, there was opposition from the podium and you did it anyway. Now you want a visioning committee? You want to hear a vision if it’s the vision you want to hear. Carson’s football stadium: it didn’t come from a visioning session. I think this is an attempt at some fence mending for the upcoming election. There has been no hesitation in the last three years from these three to spend big bucks on their vision.

Clean water is coming to the Ft. Florida area of the City. The City will front the roughly 500K worth of work and the residents will pay an assessment fee via their taxes to repay the City. Sounds like an excellent plan for River Oaks and their Bayou project: we’ll front the money and they can pay the money back via assessments on their improved properties which will result in higher values, taxes, etc,. Sounds fair. Also, and I don’t recommend this, but even if the City paid for the improvements at Ft. Florida road for say, 700K, it would be a true investment with a return of development, higher home values, and higher taxes. After all, the previous Council spend 500K on a splash pad that is only open five months of the year and NO return on the “investment”. So even if the City just paid for the Ft. Florida improvements, the City would see an actual return on this actual investment. I can’t imagine living on Ft. Florida and seeing your Council spend 500K on a splash pad that no one asked for and did not come out of a visioning session. I’m glad the residents down on Ft. Florida will finally be getting some clean, potable water.

VM Carson stated that Mr. Koval is popular in the City - he might be able to run the visioning committee.

VM Carson stated that he is not, NOT a member of the Gateway Center for the Arts. It states on the City website that " He is a volunteer umpire for the DeBary Little League as well as actively support many of organizations such as the Gateway Center for the Arts, Community Partnership Program..." Ok, I got it. So when he says he supports the Gateway Center for the Arts, he means he supports it with YOUR money. Also, if I were Sandra Wilson, I would be insulted that VM Carson ISN'T a member of the GCA. Why isn't he a member? VM Carson: Putting YOUR money where HIS mouth is. Incredible. Is VM Carson a member of CPPI, Inc. ? Or does he just support it with YOUR money? Also, I'm going to post and shred like a head of lettuce VM Carson's information on the City website. Apparently no one as really read it...I've saved a copy as I'm sure it will be corrected in due time. Wait for it...also, Joyce Cusak is not someone I can get behind for County Office...more on that later.

In other news: The West Volusia Athletic Club(WVAC) is in trouble. I have emails and phone calls saying how they are looking for sponsors. Also, team sponsors for financial support cost 325$. Team Banners cost 499$. Also, parents are not happy with the way things are being run. Get this: it costs 85 dollars to join the WVAC. Then they had an “Extreme Team” and everyone made it. Cost: 40 dollars. Maybe they will have an “Extra-Extreme Team” level where everyone makes the team and that will be another 50 dollars. Players met and then just two days later they started playing. It’s not going well. It was not done the right way and the “partnership” with the City was insulting to make this kind of change and not tell your “partners”.

And that’s the mingle mangle.

Norm Erickson

 

1/19:

I want to talk about the short, ugly, fat woman in the white SUV that put a flier on Rick Dwyer’s car - Rick Dwyer witnessed it and although Rick Dwyer did not call the woman fat and ugly – I am. The person in question was at the last City Council meeting and was perhaps wondering why people were looking at her.

This fat, ugly woman – a Koval supporter – wrote on the flier some ignorant responses to what were printed on the flier. Of course, as mentioned before on this website, it was addressed, “Dear Dickhead” – which is so telling of the individual putting the flier on the windshield – what kind of father would raise a daughter to act in such a way -

Nick Koval - voted against a reduction on a fine against a soldier who had been stationed in Iraq, in response to that fact, the fat, ugly woman wrote: “…being overseas you still have to maintain your property.” I think the individual leaving the flier kind of helped to make the case for Nick’s callous disregard for this soldier’s situation.

In response to Nick Koval’s continued financial support of CPPI with taxpayer dollars even though Nick knew it was never to take taxpayer money, the fat, ugly woman wrote this:

“All city council members supported this – even the Mayor – maybe you should go to some events.”

Well, Nick was the one running for office. That others also voted to use taxpayer dollars in support of a non-profit that was never to take taxpayer dollars…well…I’m sure that this issue will come up again in about 8 months.

Lastly, as it related to the vote to censure Mayor Garcia, this is what this fat, ugly woman wrote:

“Censured him because he did not act professional. And he was an A **.”

Wow - using that criteria...

Ok, well…I guess this supporter of Nick Koval had the inside information. So that is why Mayor Garcia was censured – had nothing to do with principles or rules or anything – other than what this fat, ugly woman wrote. Oh, did I mention Nick is running for Mayor this year? Can’t wait.

What a City! But you know that Lenny Marks and Norm Erickson…such mean people writing those words on POP. They are the ones to watch out for. The people putting fliers on windshields, calling people “Dickheads”, ejecting Mort from a public evet paid for by the public in a public building, people sending letters from lawyers to shut people up – these are the actions of the people complaining about how mean other people supposedly are.

There are people in this City acting in worse ways than the ways they say they detest. People who dislike editorials are doing far worse actions to citizens who simply share their opinion. Incredible. It's an effective tactic: look over there at those people so you don't see the real problem in my actions.

It’s an election year…I can't wait...

Norm Erickson

Ps. The flier ended with: “YOU SUCK! GO TO O.C. (Orange City – Norm)” Well, Rick can’t go to Orange City – he won the election in a landslide victory so he has to stay here.

 

1/16:

WHAT A MEETING!

At the podium for public speaking Mort Culligan spoke passionately about spending at all levels of government. There was also an issue at DeBary Golf and Country Club that was brought to the attention of the Council. It was discussed that Rick Dwyer is on the HOA and there may be a conflict of interest. I doubt it, but we must be cautious. We wouldn’t want a Council member voting on an issue that they may directly or even indirectly benefit him or her. For example, we wouldn’t want VM Carson, and Koval voting to expend taxpayer money to support a non-profit that family members and a spouse sit on – would we. We wouldn’t want VM Carson voting to spend taxpayer money in support of a non-profit and then VM Carson receive an award for his work in conjunction with that same non-profit, would we? So, yes, let us make sure that Rick Dwyer has no direct or indirect conflict of interest in his voting on this issue…you know…perception is reality.

Oh, but wait a second. Chris Carson and Nick Koval voted "Yes" on a 100K park in Glen Abbey where they live . Doesn't Nick live near there and he enjoys it with his grandchildren? But, did anyone raise the issue or suggest they recuse themselves? Too funny...

Next, the brownfield issue. 4-1 with CM Dwyer dissenting. Here is my take: I thought we were told…wait…we were told that Sunrail was going to bring development to the area. That developer were going to want to build and provide jobs. However, it works like this: we use taxpayer money to build Sunrail and then more taxpayer money to give credits and breaks to developers and then more and more taxpayer money to maintain the Sunrail. I would have given Sunrail a year to give the free market a chance. People with no contamination are now labeled as a brownfield. I commend CM Dwyer for being the lone “No” vote as it always shows principles at work rather than just following the votes. There was a discussion about the brownfield not being the CRA. CM Hunt spoke against the CRA at the time it happened – but that did not stop the Council from appointing Mayor Carmen Rosamonda as the Christmas Parade Grand Marshall – Mayor Rosamonda still voted in favor of the CRA against the 500 people who showed up to say “No!” How we forget.

Next, flood projects are moving forward. 75% in FEMA money to help pay for the projects – this is a good thing.

CM Carson screws up – again. CM Carson, after being elected to four terms in office, can’t handle appointing a citizen to the Historic Preservation Society. He had an application from a citizen the Society wanted to be on the committee. But Carson thought aloud about putting someone else one who had not been asked much less had filled out an application. It is so difficult to get volunteers and VM Carson blew this one. Merry Sussman has lived in this City for over 40 years. What VM Carson did was so insulting. She filled out an application and VM Carson didn’t even call her.

Lastly, it was announced by the Mayor that there is a rumor about Gambling coming back to DeBary via Costa. Mayor Garcia also mentioned that he will be talking about DeBary Little League – seems the people that say they love DeBary so much, leave it. I love DeBary and I’m staying.

CM Hunt let the cat out of the bag: Nick Koval still has it in him to run for office again…

These were the relevant happenings at the meeting.

Norm Erickson

1/9:

The Election:

How do we explain Koval being removed by the same people who voted to keep Carson? I don’t have a handle on that truth. Many reasons I suppose having to do with popularity, unpopularity, friendships, special interests. I wonder if voting records and actual issues figure into it?

Harts, Koval, Carson and Lawyers/Censorship and Cojones/Mort’s incident at GCA:

It seems that VM Carson’s misused wording of “cojones” made its way around the whole City. Carson’s lawyer sent a letter to Mr. Conoley trying to silence him. It didn’t work. Mrs. Koval sent a letter to the Harts trying to force another apology concerning fruit trees or legal action may be pursued. It seems that expressing one’s opinions is a right reserved for only some people – witness Mort’s ejection for trespassing at a public event to which he had been invited. Sandra Wilson told me she just didn’t understand why someone who has said the things about the GCA as Mort has would want to be there. So she talked to the police about what steps she could take and she took them. That’s it. That’s justification for trespassing in DeBary – thought crimes – that's an expression from the novel 1984 by George Orwell - his real name was Eric Blair.

Raising Taxes:

They were raised. There was an attempt by Mr. Koval to say taxes did not go up because his taxes did not go up. That’s because the value of his home dropped significantly. Oh well. 1.6 million on Parks and Recreation – I don’t know who asked for that spending – other than friends and family members of three Councilmembers one of whom was voted off the dais.

I don’t see taxes going down given the commitment to spending that occurred during the last three years. This Council has spent money in a way and manner that commits the City to a level of spending that will never stay the same or go down. It will forever have to be maintained and/or upgraded. Meanwhile, they took 3 properties off the tax roll on the main avenue which doubles the hardship.

Looks like I've worked through my list of topics for 2013 save R. Van Conoley and the woman in the SUV handing out fliers...stay tuned faithful reader...

Norm Erickson

 

1/2/2014:

Key Democrat and impeached judge Rep. Alcee Hastings:
“All this talk about rules. There ain't no rules here. We make them up as we go along.”

On December 18th at the 1:49:32 minute of the meeting, CM Hunt had a little meltdown. Look, I know he was probably frustrated about how the chicken issue went sideways and around the world. He listened to the public speak for over a half an hour – sometimes with a “thousand yard stare”. However, he also had time to think about this issue while reacting to what was said at the podium. What he said was this, in essence, :

“We don’t want any rules. Let’s get rid of all these silly rules. That’s what I’m hearing.”

Well, that’s not what people were saying.

Actually, the Fair Housing Act is all about implementing the rules. It’s about following the rules. It’s about JJ exercising his rights. People were saying “Follow the rules.” The Council had no choice but to grant JJ his chickens.

CM Hunt’s commentary, perhaps born of frustration, once again illustrates his inability to really grasp the issue.

But let’s go further:

The time for CM Hunt’s rant to be expressed was on December 4th when the RV exemption issue was before the Council and the resident was saying, “Let’s not follow the rules.” That is when CM Hunt should have said, “We don’t want any rules!” Because that is what he was hearing from the resident and all his neighbors: don’t follow the rules.

When Dollar General was looking for approval of variances during a workshop instead of the quasi-judicial proceeding that is legally called for, CM Hunt could have yelled: “No more rules!” Because variances and waivers and exceptions and exemptions are all “No more following the rules!” We want to be exempt from the rules.

When VM Carson added two minutes to Mr. Maquire’s time with no motion or discussion – I told you this on Dec. 18th – no response – in essence you were saying, “No more rules!”

What CM Hunt said was the right act but for the wrong show on Dec. 18th. Anytime a waiver or exemption comes up, then CM Hunt can call out what he said on Dec. 18th – if he wants to. Fact is, Councils exist to grant waivers and exemptions, in other words, not to follow the rules, because to follow them would be onerous on the resident. It would be unjust and an undue burden not to grant the waiver. A burden to follow the rules – hence an exemption from the rules. Now, whether or not it really is a burden on the resident is the up to the Council - they can say yes or no.

But for CM Hunt to say what he did on Dec. 18th just goes to show how wrong he was in understanding the issue and how governing works. He was wrong and he was wrong at the top of his voice.

I know he was being sarcastic and satirical – intentionally or not. But CM Hunt, if he’s to be taken seriously, should ask himself the following: why is January 15th the first meeting for the City Council? It should be, according to the Charter, January 1st. Ok, New Year’s Day, we get it. So, January 8th right? No. No more rules – especially when CM Hunt has a union meeting that night. So we change the rules for one person. Why did the Council do that? No more rules –especially for CM Hunt on January 8th.

CM Hunt cursed “Hell ya, let’s get rid of all these rules.” I thought Robert’s Rules called for some kind of decorum. Isn’t that what this Council talked about when they censured the Mayor? May we curse at the podium without comment from the Council?

If you watch CM Hunt’s comments on the City webcam, keep watching to listen to VM Carson’s comments that follow. He makes as much sense as Bob Dylan singing “Louie, Louie” in a wind tunnel. But hey, he was re-elected so he must be competent and proficient, right?

Finally, CM Hunt’s preamble to his remarks were: “I’m sure this is political suicide (his commentary) – I’m sure not to get re-elected.” Your commentary was not political suicide. Your total misunderstanding of the issue heard around the world will be. Your spending on personal pet projects will be your political suicide and your legacy which is committing all future Councils to service levels the People do not want – witness the last election. Your lack of understanding of basic governing will be your political suicide.

Basically if the Brady Bunch and Sam the Butcher had voted against Carson, we would have had two incumbents removed.

Next year the People will be looking to remove two more.

Norm Erickson

12/30:

Another Assault – On Our Wallets

OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS: DID YOU KNOW?

340,000 dollars for Rumors Property

300,000 dollars for the property just north of Rumors

Starting a hike in our parks ends with a hike in our taxes:

Community Park – Splash Pad:

500,000 dollars

Alexandra Woods Park:

100,000 dollars

ROB SULLIVAN PARK:

Phases I and II:

Lights: 80,000 dollars. Grant money (read: other taxpayers plus us, too): 80,000 dollars. Sandra Wilson’s mindset: “Hey, the City saved 80K that should be given to the GCA (Get Cash Abruptly).” This is what the GCA did when 600K was not spent on the skateboard park years ago – the Get Cash Abruptly crew showed up asking for that money to be given to them. Well, Sandra, there’s a lot more where that came from…read on faithful reader.

Fields, Pond and Parking: 210,000 dollars. Grant money (read: other taxpayers plus us, too): 210,000 dollars. Sandra Wilson’s mindset: “Hey, the City saved 210K that should be given to the GCA (Get Cash Abruptly).”

Phase III:

Irrigation and trail lighting: 121,000 dollars. Grant money (read: other taxpayers plus us, too): 121,000 dollars. Sandra Wilson’s mindset: “Hey, the City save 121K that should be given to the GCA (Get Cash Abruptly).”

Upcoming Investments :

Phase IV: Maintenance Building – Cost: Priceless

Phase V: Office at Gateway. Lights – I guess more lights. Bleachers. Football Stadium – all of these were mentioned by Chris Carson at the December 4th meeting – guess he forgot about them at the Political Forum a month prior.

Rob Sullivan has more phases of development and at a greater cost than most teenagers.

Total cost of spending on acquiring land and parks in the last two years: 1.651 million dollars.

Do you remember reading about any of these proposals on anyone's campaign literature?

Two conservatives on the Council: Koval – he’s out. And Ms. Handy-Peters - who ran on a conservative platform as evidenced by her writings on POP as brought out by Mort Culligan. Ms. Handy-Peters is up for re-election next year.

The amount of money due Sandra Wilson’s Get Cash Abruptly (GCA) private corporation: 411,000 dollars. Please show up January 15th to get YOUR money. That’s the mindset of Sandra Wilson – hey, that’s OUR money. When Mort Culligan told Sandra that he was invited to the Political Forum she said, “You’ve not been invited by me.” The despotic, dictatorial and domineering mindset of someone to say such a thing and actually believe it. Amazing.

1.6 million dollars on Parks and acquiring property.

1.14 million dollars (Police/Fire Facility Land Only and Splash Pad) to take property off…OFF… the tax rolls on the avenue.

This current Council actually spent over a million dollars to take property OFF the tax rolls on 17/92. VM Carson was re-elected.

We don’t have any costs for actually building the Police and Fire Facilities …yet…

What all of this spending means is that the next Council and all subsequent Councils are going to have to budget for the maintenance and maintaining these investments. In addition, we have Sunrail and those bills are already coming due from the County. In seven years we will be given more bills from the State. I know that if I were elected as Mayor next year, I would take a pro-growth stance around the Sunrail station – indeed, anyone elected next year would have to take that position to get a tax base going as the land on the main drag is being bought off or not contributing to the tax base.

But it also makes it hard for anyone running next year to honestly say they are going to maintain the mil rate much less reduce it for want of all this infrastructure in Parks and land purchases – plus building the Fire and Police Facility. While investments usually yield an additional financial return, these investments yield a different kind of return…a return to our wallets to sustain them. At best the mil rate will truly stay the same but I don’t know how a promise of not raising taxes is possible given the spending by this current Council and what is coming down the road.

Norm Erickson

12/29:

On December 18th after the Special City Council Meeting, Rick Dwyer was talking to a citizen. Mr. Dwyer felt something touch his back and then he was pushed. He nearly fell before regaining his balance. He looked over his shoulder and saw a single person walking by; Nick Koval was offended when Mrs. Hart said he had an orange tree and he didn’t, so obviously I’m not naming this person who assaulted Mr. Dwyer until there is some substantiation - it is my hope that someone saw this assault happen and will provide me with a name. I was quite shocked to hear about this assault on Mr. Dwyer – I shouldn’t have been. 

DeBary is a City where certain people, people who claim to be a “cut above others” do some pretty nasty things. The GCA and its members were integral to the false arrest of Mort Culligan. Then Sandra Wilson had him escorted and ticketed with a trespass warning out of a public forum that the public had been invited to attend. Rick Dwyer had a flyer put on his vehicle that was parked in his driveway that began thusly: “Dear Dickhead…” I’ll talk further about the flier in a future editorial. But now at hand is an assault on a Councilman-Elect in the Chambers. People who disagree are invited to leave DeBary. My daughter was even dragged into a conversation a few years ago. But the postings are mild compared to actions taken by a few lately.

Some people say that POP is negative. Nasty. Mean spirited. Well, I’ve never put a profane flier on a vehicle. I’ve never called the police to have someone falsely arrested. I’ve never physically pushed anyone. I've never hit anyone over the head with a political sign. I haven't had a lawyer send a letter demanding an apology. All I do is write editorials. I take a position – based on facts – and then follow up with some opinion. The Sandra Wilsons, supporters of Carson and Koval, family members of Carson and Koval, some members of the Gateway Center of the Arts – these people and others take actions that are beyond the pale. These people and their supporters are the actual negative individuals in this City. They actually do things to people that are not of the same opinion.

Here is Rick Dwyer – a man running for office getting ignorant, trashy fliers put on his truck and being, literally, pushed around. Says quite a bit about the supporters of Koval. Says something about DeBary as well – hey…who started that fire, anyway – sadly, only a few people probably even get that reference. We’ve only been a City for 20 years but the behavior of those who claim to be “above the fray” are shameful. – and I’m just going by the stuff in the newspaper and on record…

POP and people who voice their opinion are targeted in this City. People acting in outrageous and criminal ways are complaining about others simply invoking their 1 st Amendment Rights. The fool who pushed Mr. Dwyer would have people believe that POP’s editorials and my commentary and others’ commentary are somehow harmful and not wanted.

It was a recurring theme in 2013…and the pity of it is…these kinds of behaviors will not be confined to this outgoing year…

So, did you see who pushed Mr. Dwyer in the chamber on December 18th? Let me know if you did…thank you.

Norm Erickson

 

12/21:

Public funds have been used to further the private interests of a private corporation – Gateway Center for the Arts (GCA).  The GCA building is not a public building.  This is why Mort Culligan was able to be escorted out by police during a public political forum that the public was invited to attend in a building paid for by the public at the request of Sandra Wilson.

These are the facts of the case. And they are undisputed.

Now, some would have you believe that GCA is for the public and all are welcome but that is not the case.  Mort twice now has been escorted out of this building he’s been forced to pay for but is not allowed to enter.  If he does so again, he will be arrested.  We hear from the supporters of the GCA that it’s only pennies per person to fund.  We hear that it is for the public and it’s for the good of the community.  The GCA won’t open their books for inspections (because they are private) but they will open our wallets (because they are public) for their private corporation and private building that they are kind enough to share with most of the citizens who paid for it.

The rationale and propaganda go on and on but when we get to the end, all the magic in the world will not have been able to divert attention from the fact that public funds have been used to further the private interests of a private corporation –GCA.  The GCA building is not a public building.  This is why Mort Culligan was able to be escorted out by police during a public political forum that the public was invited to attend in a building paid for by the public.  Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” And what happened to Mort was unjust: he was not removed either time for what he was doing at the time, but, rather for what he had expressed in writing at some other time.  When Mort was escorted out of the political forum it was to the applause of some citizens.

How numbing it was for me to realize I live in a City where an opposite opinion is grounds for trespassing from a public event that had invited the public to attend, in a building paid for by the public - but run as a fiefdom by a single despot.  Mort had been invited.  He had the email. This was an event to which the public had been invited.  He was doing nothing wrong at the time he was asked to leave – I was sitting one person away from him.  He wasn’t even talking – but he was taken out by the police.  This is the GCA that was created with public taxpayer money. This is the same GCA that did the same thing to Mort two years ago at GCA when he was simply sitting there saying nothing. Doing nothing.

These are the facts of the case.

And they are undisputed.

I wonder if Council members in the past knew they were giving taxpayer monies to a private corporation that would one day have police escort a DeBary citizen out and give him a trespass warning.

Norm Erickson

ps People have been asking me to follow up on the ugly, fat woman who, just before the last election, put a flyer on Mr. Dwyer's truck and drove off in a white SUV - Mr. Dwyer witnessed this and I have a copy of the flyer with the commentary. I will be getting to it shortly...believe me...it's worth the wait. Don't get pushy...pushy people...people who physically push other people are just idiots impotent to verbalize an idea...so they physically push people around...luckily...these kinds of people...if they are elected officials...can be pushed out of office. Pushy people and fat, ugly, flyer-leaving individuals will be discussed in depth...soon...

 

 

 

11/3:

CALL RIPLEY – BECAUSE I CAN’T BELIEVE IT

I can’t believe that citizens of DeBary would re-elect Chris Carson and Nick Koval.

I can’t believe citizens would re-elect Chris Carson’s and Nick Koval’s spending on pet projects that we’ve seen over the last three years. Re-election would mean an emboldened Council with yet another blank check to be stroked by taxpayers for who knows what pet projects.

I can’t believe that citizens would re-elect Chris Carson who took the time, effort and energy to hire a lawyer to send a letter to Mr. Conoley to threaten his freedom of speech.

I can’t believe citizens would re-elect Nick Koval whose wife took the time, effort and energy to send a letter to Mrs. Hart and demand an apology (which had already been issued) or else be subject to a lawyer’s inquiry for words spoken at the podium during a City meeting.

I can’t believe citizens would re-elect Chris Carson who called upon police at a City meeting to remove Mort Culligan for using his index finger to reference a Council member.

I can’t believe citizens would re-elect Nick Koval who has exploded with anger from the dais.

I can't believe citizens would re-elect Chris Carson who said the non-profit he brougth together was not going to cost taxpayers a penny, is now costing us over 25 thousand dollars.

I can’t believe citizens would re-elect Nick Koval and Chris Carson both of whom do not listen to citizens when it came to spending over half a million dollars on a pet project.

I can’t believe citizens would re-elect Nick Koval and Chris Carson, neither of whom have any interest in listening to my commentary at the podium about simply putting the names of people running for office in the City’s newsletter, but they have no problem listing all kinds of information about their pet projects and organizations that their family members are and/or were a part of.

I can’t believe citizens would re-elect Nick Koval who showed such disrespect at the Forum as evidenced in the video which can be viewed by clicking the link below.

I can’t believe that citizens would re-elect Chris Carson and Nick Koval without really knowing what they are going to spend money on as it relates to Parks/Rec and Events.

Sadly, however, I can believe that certain citizens would re-elect Chris Carson and Nick Koval because those citizens benefit from the incumbents being on the Council. It strains credulity to think that common citizens simply working and paying taxes would defend, support and desire more of the kinds of behaviors outlined herein.

But never underestimate the power of taxpayer money to increase the popularity and support of incumbents. Only people who directly benefit from and are friends and family members of such behavior would want it to continue.

Other than self-interest, family and/or friendship, I cannot think of another motivation to re-elect the last three years of behavior and spending by Chris Carson and Nick Koval.

Norm Erickson

Link to CM Koval’s incredible display of rudeness:

CLICK HERE TO SEE CM KOVAL'S 38 SECONDS OF RUDENESS

 

10/8:

When it comes to elections CM Koval’s stance is: We do not need to inform citizens.

The Mingle Mangle from a Muckraker

When it comes to tax increases, CM Koval wants to misinform us.

When it comes to elections, CM Koval doesn’t want to inform us at all.

Why did taxes go up?

CM Koval on September 11 th said that taxes were not going up. He posted this on a Facebook page that is open to, literally, the world. Anyone can read it. Here is the text:

From CM Koval: Check the millage rate from last year it was 3.095 and this year it is 3.055 which is a decrease of .045 which is 1.29 percent. So in fact it didn't go up 2 years in a row. When giving information facts should be checked for accuracy. September 11th

What did CM Koval not say? Indeed, what was absent in all of the 30+ postings on this thread? What did Marcia Carson and like-minded supporters not write?

They never wrote or explained that the increase was due to stormwater related issues or maintenance. It was basic denial that a tax increase was in fact being passed.

But a scant week later they did. Both VM Carson and CM Koval would have us believe that maintenance issue and stormwater related issues caused the tax increase. They would have us believe that "essential services" caused the slight increase. Essential services? Splash Pads and Parks? Festivals and Fireworks? Really? VM Carson said we haven't taken on Infrastructure...well...the Splash Pad was more important. Fireworks. Events. All more important. But now the tax increase which a week prior was not an increase is due to stormwater...but CM Koval didn't say that just a week prior.

I guess it comes down to are you going to believe what they're saying or what you see being built in this City? You can decide.

The News About the Newsletter

I’m very upset with myself for not noticing until now that the City Newsletter does not list the candidates running for office. I’ve looked online at the past newsletters on the City’s website and I don’t know how I’ve missed this nor how I’m the only one talking about this.

The most important event in our City isn’t fireworks or little league games. It isn’t a Festival or art show – it’s our City’s elections. Names of candidates and information such as the web links to their information should be printed in the newsletter – period. It should be printed on the front page of the newsletter not the back. If we can tell people that Jerry Lombardi is in charge of the Book Sale at the library and Phyllis Butlien is the president of CPPI, then we can certainly afford some ink to inform the citizens about candidates running for office. But CM Koval disagrees with me. He responded to an email I sent the Council and here is, in part, his reply:

It is the citizen's civic duty to find out what is happening in their government.”

He made a long, passionate argument about why the City’s Newsletter should not tell citizens the names of the City’s candidates running for election.

To use that logic, why have a newsletter at all much less one that advertises for CPPI and the Library but not the names of candidates running for office? Book sales and Festivals – we will inform you. Candidates running for office? Well, Citizens, you’re on your own - so says CM Koval.

The Election is a month away. In 2011, 1135 Citizens voted in that off-year election. 589 people decided that Lita Handy-Peters would be a Council member. 589 out of eleven or twelve thousand registered voters put a person on the Council – this is from memory so those numbers are guesses; I have not looked up the total registered voters in DeBary. 532 had voted for Leon Cerankowski. 57 votes made the difference. Every vote counts.

This election will determine if we continue down the path of expenditures on personal pet projects that we’ve seen around town or lessen it by electing Rick Dwyer and Dawn Pizzo who will bring some fiscal sanity to our City by looking at needs for the City over wants for special interests and friends.

Restating my thesis:

When it comes to tax increases, CM Koval wants to misinform us.

When it comes to elections, CM Koval doesn’t want to inform us at all.

Norm Erickson

 

9/30:

I've gotten information from County and State sources and the results are in:

If you are an incumbent, using the word "re-elect" is optional. But if you're a non-incumbent, you cannot use "re-elect". Make sense?

An incumbent may appear as a non-incumbent. But a non-incumbent shall not appear to be an incumbent.

So it is a choice to use the word "re-elect" on signage and campaign literature.

The pages in the Handbook do not reflect this optinal use of the word "re-elect" for incumbents to use.

Why would an incumbent choose not to use the word "re-elect" on signage and literature? Why would an incumbent opt to be less than open, clear...genuine?

It doesn't seem to make any sense to allow an incumbent to appear as anything else than what he is. Just as it makes no sense to allow a non-incumbent to appear to be an incumbent by using the words "re-elect". I've had more than a few emails and people asking me about the "elect"/"re-elect" question and I don't think this answer will help much at all.

I just had a person stop by today for a Dawn Pizzo - Seat 1 - sign. He said we should have choices. Because of Rick - Seat 2 - and Dawn, we have choices. I thank them both for giving us a choice.

Norm Erickson

 

9/27:

I was going over the last document that was filed by CPPI as an amendment on 3/27/2013.  I noticed that the Principal address is now 133 S. Highway 17-92 DeBary, Fl. 32753-0214 (which is the post office' physical address and 32753  is for PO Boxes only) and it is CPPI's Mailing address as well.   

I checked with the Postmaster at the DeBary post office to confirm my thoughts. I was correct in my thoughts concerning the addresses given to the Florida Department of State ( Division of Corporations) and the USPS.  

CPPI may be in Federal and State violation because the DOS requires an actual, physical address of operation , but they may use a PO Box for mailings.

CPPI may be in federal violation for using a (federal) government address as an actual location of any entity other than the Post Office itself.

I'll be checking all future filings by CPPI with DOS to see if these addresses are addressed...

In other news, Nick Koval and Chris Carson are running for "Re-Election".

I've received calls and emails asking me about this as their signs and campaign literature have "Elect" rather than "Re-Elect". "Elect Experience..." reads Carson's handout. "Elect Nick Koval.." reads Koval's campaign door hangers. All of their signs read, "Elect...".

Many people in DeBary are so stringent on facts and reality - I thought I would clarify. Asking to be "Elected" rather than "Re-elected" is either done out of dishonesty or ignorance. Are both of them being misleading intentionally? Or was it done out of simply being unaware of what words mean?

If re-using signs was done due to frugality, well, it's nice that they can be so conservative with their money but not taxpayer's.

Norm Erickson

 

 

9/9: From Mr. Conoley's Blog:

The Dimwitted Chris Carson

Posted on September 9, 2013 by R. Van Conoley

   I met Chris Carson for the first time eleven years ago.  After I met Carson, I thought to myself that he was dimwitted.  After talking with Carson for over a decade and observing him on the DeBary City Council and listening to him in political debates I can truly state that I have never met such a slow witted politician in my forty years of political activity. 

   I do not judge individuals by their intelligence alone.   I have know many individuals who were slow intellectually, but displayed common sense and integrity.  I admired many slow witted individuals who displayed  common sense and integrity.  Unfortunately, in my view, Mr. Carson is not only dimwitted, but he totally lacks both common sense and integrity. 

   I had the high honor of being elected to the DeBary City Council in 2008, with 5,133 votes.  That is the second highest number of votes anyone has ever obtained in winning election to the DeBary Council.  After I was elected to the DeBary City Council, the city administration tried to make me a “friend” by offering me perquisites.  I had an old Gateway computer and was seeking to understand which computer offered me the best buy and would connect into a fiber optic cable.  I asked for advice from a lot of people.  Soon I got a call from city hall and was told that the City of DeBary would like to buy me a new computer.  I politely declined the offer  and informed the “spokesperson” from city hall that I was perfectly capable of buying my own computer.  After a few days, I was offered a cell phone from city hall.  Again, I politely declined the offer and stated that I would buy my own cell phone.  Yet, the “Merchants of Sleaze” tried one more gambit.  A spokesperson offered to pay for a fax line into my house so I would not have to go to the extreme trouble of driving the long three minute drive from my house to city hall to pick up documents.  I again declined the offer.  I would be delighted to go before any Grand Jury, and under oath, explain any of these offers in detail.  Also, the city stated that a Sheriff’s Deputy would deliver my documents to my house every Friday.  I stated clearly that I found this very offensive and I was quite capable of driving myself to city hall to obtain all of my documents.  I also told the Deputy that I thought that this was a waste of taxpayer’s time and that his time should be used in supressing crime.  The deupty politely agreed, but he stated that he would still deliver documents to councilmen who wanted this “service.”

   With the exception of delivering documents by a law enforcement agent, I believe that the phone, fax, and cell phone offers were both illegal and immoral.  I  made  efforts to learn which city council members accepted these perquisites.  Of course, some of the information was hearsay.  Some individuals believed that they were ”entitled” to these perquisites and made no effort to hide their arrogance and greed and sense of entitlement.   

   Additionally, as a Council Member, my salary was $400 per month.  At the end of the calendar year, I gave my yearly salary of $ 4,800.00 to help children with cancer.  Also, I did not bother taking the deduction on my federal tax form.  In summary, I made $0.00 for my public service on the city council and I spent my own money when I traveled to meet people on city business.  I truly worked very hard for the citizens of DeBary and spent a great deal of time by reading and studying documents that related to Council decisions.  Some people understood this.  Other people did not understand this.  Some people admired my honesty.  Some people despised my honesty and would have replaced me with a corrupt official if they could.  Every citizen does not want a councilman who supports open, honest, and clean government. 

   Having worked honestly for the People, it is easy for me to spot a con artist who is out to support only his own Machiavellian interests.  In my view, Chris Carson is not only a dimwitted individual who is devoid of integrity and common sense, but he is also a con artist out to support his own Machiavellian agenda. 

   Recently, Carson had an attorney send me a letter in a vain attempt to silence me.  Soon Mr. Carson and the City Attorney of DeBary will receive a letter from my attorney.  I had not planned to become involved in the 2013, DeBary Council election.  However, since Mr. Carson believes that his political agenda required him to attempt to silence me and to legally intimidate me, I have decided to become politically active.  I endorse Ms. Dawn Fitzpatrick Pizzo for seat one on the DeBary City Council.  In my view, she would be a far better choice than the dimwitted and self serving Chris Carson. 

   Additionally, this website will publish a series of articles about Chris Carson that are truthful and factual.  Of course, in a free and democratic society individuals are allowed to voice their opinions in a responsible manner.  I would suggest that the DeBary City Attorney read carefully the letter from my attorney.  In the future I shall direct my attorney to take much more forceful action against a much larger group of individuals if needed.

                                       R. Van Conoley

 

9/7: This is from Mr. Conoley's blog:

The DeBary Library

Posted on September 1, 2013 by R. Van Conoley

   As a DeBary resident and taxpayer, I was glad to see the DeBary Library re-open this past week.  It was only a few years ago that the DeBary Library was closed for re-modeling work.  Hopefully the recent work was both needed and necessary and not performed just to spend a portion of taxpayer money. 

   In recent years, I have heard very disturbing rumors that an employee of the Volusia County Library System took books home without authorization and did not check the books out through the system.  This is called stealing.  As a taxpaying resident of Volusia County,  I plan to investigate this rumor.  I will use public records requests and other means to obtain factual and truthful information.  I will then publish the results on this website when I can be absolutely certain of all information.  While the truth is not always pleasant, remember that: ” The truth will set you free.” 

                               R. Van Conoley

8/17:

“Not using taxpayer money…” Mayor Bob Garcia

Mayor Garcia and CM Koval and his wife had no misunderstanding or misinformation about CPPI not taking taxpayer money.

Take the time to watch the City Council meeting from August 3rd, 2011 – during the Presentation item. It’s at the 35 th minute of the meeting when Mayor Garcia presents a Certificate of Recognition to VM Carson and CPPI for the first fireworks show. Only VM Carson is up front receiving this award.

In March of 2011 CPPI was created to “…form events at no cost to those attending.” “Not using taxpayer money…” Watch the meeting. Everyone understood that this entity was not to be taking taxpayer money. VM Carson, as the Mayor stated, proposed the formation of this non-profit. His family members, aunt, uncle and mother, took part in it. In addition to CM Koval and his wife.

Presently, VM Carson’s mother and CM Hunt’s wife are on the Board of Directors of this non-profit.

CPPI can ask for anything they want. I don’t blame them for getting their bills paid for by taxpayers. Those in elected positions have created that situation and allow it to exist.

Watch the meeting on August 3rd to see what the true intentions of CPPI were in the beginning.

Click here for Council Meetings Online and then click on "Launch Player" for selected Council Meeting

Sometimes people would have us believe that 2 + 2 = 5. They would have us believe that VM Carson had nothing to do with the formation of CPPI. They would have you believe that it was always the intention to take taxpayer money. That the “first one was free…”. Lots of people didn’t get that memo including CPPI, Councilmembers and the Mayor. VM Carson is a lobbyist for CPPI turning to his fellow Councilmembers and asking for taxpayer money for a non-profit that has his family members on the Board of Directors.

People would have us believe all kinds of things that we know not to be true. And when we quietly state that 2 + 2 does equal 4, the response invariably becomes very angry, insulting and just plain mean. Perhaps with an invitation to leave DeBary and live elsewhere.

Nothing I’ve expressed herein is new. What is new is my viewing again of the presentation to VM Carson in August of 2011 and how it contrasts with the tens of thousands of dollars VM Carson has sent on behalf of a non-profit inhabited by a number of his family members. That’s not CPPI’s fault. CPPI or anyone for that matter, may ask the Council for anything. It’s the COUNCIL that makes the decision.

I’ve given CPPI too much abuse for poor decision making by the Council and VM Carson’s actions. I’ve spoken with the President of CPPI, Phyllis Butlien, via emails and she has been forthcoming with information, answering my questions and being amiable. We’ve agreed on a number of issues and she’s right: my concerns have much more to do with the Council than CPPI. CPPI was originally set up not to take taxpayer money.

Why that original mission statement was deserted is something only CM Koval and his wife and Barbara Sipler may know. But it was abandoned in favor of something else: getting VM Carson to get taxpayer money to fund CPPI rather than the original mission of “not using taxpayer money.” For that exchange watch the August 16th Workshop Meeting online at 1:37:37 when basically the then President of CPPI, Ms. Steele said, "No money - no fireworks" and CM Koval stated he did not like the idea of a gun put to his head for funding. So just a year later there were free fireworks at that workshop. Lorraine Koval spoke at this meeting about how the first fireworks was funded by CPPI and its supporters. Wouldn't the first one be harder to get going rather than keeping it going the second year? It's simply easier to raid the taxpayer's pocket. Watch 1:45:00 of the meeting and listen to Mrs. Koval at the August 16th 2012 workshop.

Click here for Council Meetings Online and then click on "Launch Player" for selected Council Meeting

As far as I can tell from the posted Agendas, there was no Presentation of Recognition in 2012 for CPPI - could it be because the President and others jumped ship? But on August 7th of this year, they were recognized. Not VM Carson this time around but members of CPPI.

At this time in the program, people ask, "Norm, do you have a solution?" I do: CPPI should only host those events that CPPI can afford to host - that was their reason for being created in the first place. If they did it once with the fireworks they can do it again.

CPPI should get back to their original mission statement. The Council should not have been usurped by a Vice Mayor or put in the position to send taxpayer money on behalf of a non-profit organization populated with family members/spouses of Council members.

VM Carson never corrected nor clarified the statement by the Mayor: "...not using taxpayer money." But he will try to in the upcoming months I’m sure.

Soon he’ll be asking us to believe that 2 + 2 = 5.

But we know better than that...don't we?

Norm Erickson

 

 

8/13:

OrlandoSentinel.com

Leaders get sneak peek at first SunRail car

By Dan Tracy, Orlando Sentinel

5:27 PM EDT, August 12, 2013

SANFORD — Standing next to a new SunRail cab car that cost nearly $3 million, Seminole County Commissioner Carlton Henley said Monday he is convinced the commuter train will be a success.

The question is: When?

Will it be at the start, when the first paying customer boards the train next May? Or sometime later, as motorists look for alternatives when they tire of battling congestion and delays caused by construction work on Interstate 4? Or maybe never?

Henley said he doesn't know the answer, but he added, "It's going to take a culture change. Our people are so used to their automobiles."

SunRail's future was front and center Monday as top managers unveiled the cab car and the system's rail yard and operations center for the news media, politicians and staff.

The first of 20 cab cars and coaches to be delivered to Central Florida, the car had been hidden away in a maintenance shed after arriving late last month.

A double-decker with 132 seats and a compartment that allows an engineer to operate the locomotive remotely, the cab car was the star attraction Monday. More than two dozen people crawled all over it, with a few even allowed to blow its blaring horn.

The cab offers free Wi-Fi and has electrical outlets for laptops. It also has plenty of space for people who need to stand if the seats are all taken, as well as room for bicycles.

The top floor has tables for people who want to work, while the bottom is equipped for the disabled. It has a blue color scheme with yellow highlights to mimic rays of the sun.

Assembled by Bombardier in Plattsburgh, N.Y., the contract is worth $56 million. SunRail officials expect the coaches and cab cars to arrive almost monthly.

Ten locomotives also are on order, with the first one set to arrive no later than next month. The engines, built by Motive Power, Inc. in Boise, Idaho, cost a total of $24 million.

Once enough of the vehicles arrive, SunRail will start making practice runs up and down its 32-mile corridor, which largely parallels I-4 from DeBary in Volusia County through downtown Orlando to Sand Lake Road in south Orange County.

In addition to learning how to operate the system, the trial trips will be used to get the timing down for the start of service. Right now, SunRail officials envision train commuters getting from Lake Mary to downtown in less than 30 minutes.

I-4 commuters might be hard-pressed to beat that time once the overhaul that includes adding four toll lanes through downtown begins in earnest. Construction is slated to start late next year or in early 2015 and take five years to complete.

Avoiding accidents and keeping on schedule will be the keys to operating SunRail, said Larry Breeden, the system's general manager.

"It's really critical to be safe and on time," Breeden said.

Carrying lots of passengers is important, too, everyone involved with SunRail agrees. SunRail is supposed to carry 4,300 people daily, a number supporters predict easily will be surpassed, though they will not say by how much.

That's the projection, but as Henley said, "People 40 or 50 years from now may appreciate it a whole lot more than we do."

 

From Mr. Conoley’s blog:

I spoke to City Manager Dan Parrott and he stated that no taxpayer monies had ever been transferred to CPPI. 

CPPI is the Community Partnership Program Inc which was the visionary brainchild of Vice Mayor Carson and various family members. It is now in partnership with the City of DeBary.

I believe Mr. Parrott, too. However, allow me to make the following fair comparison:

I’m going to pay for my daughter’s car insurance when that time comes. Monthly, I will send a check to the insurance company. If my daughter goes to school and tells her friends that I haven’t given her any money for car insurance, is that the truth? Is it accurate? Is it really true or is there more to it? Let’s say I’m a really nice guy and pay for my neighbor’s daughter’s insurance. I monthly send a check to her insurance company as well. If she goes to school and says Mr. Erickson doesn’t give me any money for her car insurance, is that true? To what extent is it true? Would that pass muster in your house? Wouldn't we call this one out in real life? Shouldn't we do the same in government? You decide.

If CPPI no longer pays for the fireworks vendor but the DeBary taxpayer pays for it, is it true that CPPI hasn’t received any money from the DeBary taxpayer? Isn't it just a difference without a distinction? isn't it more insulting to know that we're CPPI's "gopher" paying their bills. If we did give them the money, at least they would do the work. You decide.

I wish I could form these kinds of “partnerships”: a partnership where my partner now pays the bills I assumed a year ago…two years ago as in the case of CPPI and the fireworks. The City of DeBary in some measure has assumed itself to be the treasurer of CPPI by paying the bills that CPPI used to pay. This is a great partnership for CPPI who has gotten the City of DeBary to pay their bills and then shows up at Council Meetings to accept awards for doing a great job running events that are paid for by the taxpayer to various vendors. CPPI doesn’t even have the hassle of paying the vendors…the City of DeBary does it.

The first fireworks show followed the mission statement of CPPI. When they then saw the pot o' money of taxpayers, they went for it with their lobbiest VM Carson on the Council. Mr. and Mrs. Koval and others jumped ship from CPPI knowing that what was happening was wrong - though CM Koval still votedt to fund other events, not the one he was burned on: the fireworks show.

If the response is, "But the fireworks show is great!" I wouldn't disagree. I'm talking about process and what is the best way to govern and how this all came about is the worst way. To argue otherwise is to make the argument that the ends justify the means - and that's rarely an argument most reasonable and responsible people want to make and it should be avoided in governing not embraced as it is by CPPI and VM Carson and CM Hunt and the rest of the Council as it relates to this issue.

Defending Mr. Conoley:

Mr. Conoley states the following on his blog:

I find it counterproductive, and to a great extent pathological, if any website allows individuals to denigrate elected officials using false or “screen” names. Sadly today, even newspapers have started websites that allow individuals to submit opinions using false names.  I do not allow this on my website and I believe that all individuals should accept responsibility for their statements. 

What I like about this paragraph is that to the right of it on Mr. Conoley’s blog is a comment by someone named “Insider 7”. The irony and hypocrisy are breathtaking.

However, I do not think that Mr. Conoley is pathological.

Also, is it Mr. Conoley’s position that it is ok and not “counterproductive and to a great extent pathological” to “denigrate elected officials” with individuals' real names? The same insults with my real name are not counterproductive and pathological but they are with a screen name? Isn’t the commentary the same? Regardless, Mr. Conoley seems to be allowing what he deems counterproductive and pathological.

For the record, I don’t have a problem with “screen names” or “pen names” and I never have. I go by the content of what is being said or written regardless of the author.

Mort Culligan could list fact after fact and people would dismiss it and some people do dismiss it simply because Mort is writing it - not the content of what is being said or written. Meanwhile, that same person would believe everything “Scooby Doo” says on some blog because it is agreeable ideologically with their position or family member. But how can you believe Scooby Doo? Because they are praising my daughter about what a great job she is doing...so they must be right!

What’s in a name? Answer: Personal attacks if you can’t counter the facts and arguments being presented. Sometimes people use screen names to keep the focus on content and that really upsets people who can’t then attack the writer on a personal level - but they do anyway.

Summary:

Mr. Conoley often stated how he hated blogs; now he runs one. He writes he doesn’t allow screen names; he allows them. The City hasn’t given CPPI any money; but we pay their bills for them. VM Carson said the Fireworks Show wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny; it’s costing us 25 thousand dollars – using his style of argument he would say he was right: it’s not a penny…and he would mean it.

But here is what is 100% the truth: I won't be paying my neighbor's daughter's car insurance. Someone out there is thinking, "Well, if your neighbor has a son..." Nope. Sorry. No dice on that either.

Norm Erickson

 

5/15: Perception is reality...

As of March 27, 2013:

The following people have left the Community Partnership Program, Inc:

Marcia Steele - President

Cheri Magnum - Secretary

Teresa Marcks - Secretary

Robert Rinaldo – Vice President

Added:

President: Phyllis Butlien

Vice President: Michele Hunt – Wife to Councilmember Dan Hunt

Director: Marcia Carson – Mother to Councilmember Chris Carson

Treasurer: Jennifer Holly

Secretary: Rose Holly

Director: David Butlien

Director: Dalona Gallaway

From Section E of the Articles of Amendment for CPPI: The affairs of this corporation shall be managed and governed by a Board of Directors/Officers, composed of seven (7) members of the corporation.

So the entity receiving tens of thousands of dollars from this City Council now has the mother of a Council member and a wife of a Council member sitting on the Board of Directors/Officers.

I’m relieved – I’m not kidding.

I’m relieved that when I sat on the Council I never formed a non-profit that received tens of thousands of dollars that had my mother and Lenny’s wife sitting on the Board of Directors/Officers. Because if I did something like that, I would, appropriately, catch a lot of hell from the podium and letters to the Ethics Committee in Tallahassee. Thank God that’s not going to happen to CM Carson and Hunt.

Norm Erickson

 

4/21:

I just listened the City Charter discussions at the last workshop. At about the 53rd minute the Council was talking about how important the Charter is. It's "very" important. It's the "constitution" of the City. Well, it's not that important because it was stated by the City Manager last November that it was being violated and four members did nothing about it. So when they say the City Charter is "important" their lack of action betrays their own words.

And now this:

If T. Wayne Bailey thinks politics at the County or even City level are non-partisan, he is wrong:

Local nonpartisan elections make sense for Volusia

T. WAYNE BAILEY and P.T. "BUD" FLEUCHAUS

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When the Volusia County Charter was adopted in June 1970, one of the most easily agreed-upon issues by the Volusia County Charter Commission was nonpartisan elections for all officials. This issue turned out to be one of the most important favorable aspects in the positive election results.

There have been four Charter Review Commissions, one every 10 years since 1970, and never has the issue of nonpartisan elections been a concern to the review commission. Nor has anyone or any organization suggested that this issue be discussed or revised. As the editorial comments, Florida state law mandates that School Board elections be nonpartisan, and for the same reason, the state law allows chartered counties to offer nonpartisan elections.

We have had gridlock in the federal government the past several years, as well as in many of the state governments, over party positioning. Can you imagine the problems at a city commission or county council meeting because the Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads, because of party positioning over a zoning or drainage problem? Certainly there can be differences of opinion, but good discussion of problems and solutions are accomplished by sensible analysis and not party positioning.

Don't mess with a good thing. Local issues are not best decided by an "R" or a "D" after a candidate's name, and nonpartisan elections work!

HOWEVER:

Northey to run for 2014 seat April 20th 2013:

Vonzelle Johnson however, speaking as the Democratic chairman, said he was "disappointed" in Northey's decision to make a bid for the seat.

"Our incumbent is a strong and valued candidate in Joyce Cusack," Johnson said. "We're disappointed in Pat Northey ... I can say that with Joyce being an incumbent and a Democrat that carries strong Democratic values — if she runs again, she will have the full support of the party."

Northey, for her part, said she was disappointed the chairman of her party would take that position.

So, there are no partisan politics at the County level. And "progressive" politics at the City level does not exist. And, lastly, 2 + 2 = 5.

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THOSE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PARTISAN CURTAIN!!

Norm Erickson

Lenny Marks responds to Norm's article:

4/22/13

Subject: Non Parmesan Cheese is still Cheese...

Just a few comments on Norm’s 4/21 editorial;

DeBary Council and Charter;

It appears that this council invokes the City Charter only when it suits them. Yes, they talk about how important that special document is. But they take little action when the Charter interferes with doing what they want or what they are supposed to do. Does the Charter have any significant meaning to this council?

On T. Wayne Bailey’s article, “Local nonpartisan elections make sense for Volusia”

If T. Wayne Bailey thinks that politics are non-partisan at the County or local level makes me wonder how he arrives at that conclusion. Most all elected officials are either (R) (D) so when an issue comes before them they will vote to a party philosophy. The thought of being nonpartisan is trumped by party affiliation. T. Wayne Bailey who teaches Political Science at Stetson University has a (D) next to his name. According to the Stetson University web page “he has held leadership positions in the Florida Democratic Party and was a delegate to the National Democratic Party Convention from 1972 to 2004, attending nine National Conventions.” Makes one think what slant he is teaching his students. Does nonpartisan count only at the County or local levels but not at our institutions of higher education?

It’s not hard to figure out a person’s political affiliation. Just by the way they vote on an issue is the give away. The big spenders have a progressive philosophy, while the ones who vote to keep spending under-control tend to be fiscally conservative.

Conclusion; nonpartisan governments do not exist in reality, they only exist in the minds of the double speakers.

L. Anthony Marks

 

 

 

2/17:

Thanks for stopping by again...and now...the exciting conclusion...

Bob Gorman who was in the lead of informing businesses and residents of the CRA in 2004 recently wrote an excellent editorial for the DBNJ:

Beware redevelopment agencies

First of all I would like to compliment Derek Catron and The News-Journal for a well-written and objective article about community redevelopment agencies.

Some may remember me as the person who started a citizens group, Citizens Against Redevelopment, that successfully went up against DeBary officials and their hired consultants who were attempting to create a massive CRA that covered almost all of DeBary's business sector and quite a bit of its older residential areas. In the beginning, a few of us raised questions stemming from an article by The News-Journal's Bob Koslow, describing what the board, mayor and council had been very quietly proposing.

I personally am against CRAs in almost all cases except where there truly is blight. The use of CRAs as a tool to generate more tax revenues for the benefit of city governments goes against their original intent and purpose. It is true that the U.S. Supreme Court (disappointingly) fell short of declaring the use of eminent domain unconstitutional, pertaining to CRAs and economic development, but at the same time, the court gave each state the power to greatly limit their use.

It's easy to walk through many of the current CRA areas and say, "Look how wonderful and beautiful the landscaping, fountains, streetlights, etc., are." But at what cost, and were there other ways of achieving similar results without borrowing millions of dollars and taking away property rights?

Many people don't know that often city governments restrict zoning in areas prior to actually implementing a CRA, in order to keep out any development that doesn't agree with their vision of what the the area should look like — hence creating blight by having dozens of empty buildings.

You probably have seen those empty buildings and think, "Why doesn't someone re-open that place, it's such a great location?" In many cases people have tried, only to be told no by the city zoning board or council.

The county government is now opposed to CRAs after giving the green light to many over the years. The county is seeing a shortage of tax revenues due to the high cost of CRAs. If CRAs were as profitable as their proponents claim, the county would have no problem allowing more of them.

I say Volusia residents, no matter what city they live in, should be very aware of all the ramifications in the use of CRAs. I believe that the majority of DeBary residents are glad their city didn't borrow millions of dollars which now would be hard to pay back after the economy collapsed.

Robert Gorman

All the positive praise from VM Carson about CRA’s falls flat with the County’s new position on CRA’s. I had written long ago that I doubted the County would turn away the tax money.
To create a CRA cities spend tens of thousands or even a hundred thousand dollars on a study for a project that is contingent on one thing: the economy. Not whether or not it is needed or a viable course of action to address a city’s needs.

From DBNJ:
Critics, however, question the effectiveness of CRAs and whether all of them are truly blighted. Definitions for what qualifies "are all over the map," Dinneen said. "It really is how you interpret these."

No reasons or deep discussion. Until now –when the County wants to say “No” to these cities so the County can have their money.
When times are good –CRA’s are good. When times are bad – CRA’s are bad.
But in too many cases CRA’s didn’t deliver in good times and makes homes and businesses subject to eminent domain for 20-30 years to be simply taken. This isn’t something I could be in favor of in good times or bad. The elected officials who voted for CRA’s years ago are now in opposition to themselves with their current position. Self imposed schizophrenia that makes perfect sense in the arena of governing.
It’s an interesting discussion being had in the newspapers lately. One I’ve not read before – the full story – both sides of CRA’s. It’s only happening because the County wants their money.
Lastly, who owns that ink of the DBNJ? DeBaryPOP has been around long enough and involved enough enough to have seen the coverage shift from “pro” to “con” to back up elected officials. It’s a different tune being banged on the drum.


Reminds me of the “water shortage” issue and articles we used to constantly read about just a few years ago and now are conspicuously absent. All the developments around all the Sunrail stations, yet not one word about the aquifer and water usage. Probably because we want that development due to the economy which is fine but, was there, is there a water problem? Was that just the economic “flavor of the month”? CRA’s good. CRA’s bad. Water wars. Water scarcity -except when the economy calls for it.


Norm Erickson

2/15:

County Council and the money from CRA’s: Can’t Really Abandon


There’s been a spate of articles in the DBNJ about CRA’s – mostly how they are not viable in this economy and they are taking monies away from programs and hospitals. However, given that CRA’s are created for 20-30 years and the cyclical nature of economics, are CRA’s, in and of themselves, a good thing –ever?
I became involved in City issues in the spring of 2004 because of the CRA being proposed in this City – at that time until this, I’ve never heard such negative aspects of CRA’s being bandied about.

The EDAC in 2004 was being used to get GAI to simply call our City blight regardless of reality. GAI was the only one willing to call us “blighted” because that’s what the certain individuals wanted at the time. Three other companies said there were non-CRA ways of dealing with our issues. Morgan Gilreath commented on this recently in the DBNJ:

Without singling out a specific CRA, Gilreath said it appears some cities have used the designation more as an economic development tool than a fix for truly slum-like conditions.

"Legally, they have to have a blight study," he said. "Some of the blight studies don't pass the common sense meter on what is a blighted area. You can hire a consultant to tell you just about anything you want to hear. In some cases, it looks like that might have been done."

That was certainly the case with GAI who was then hired as our planner by the Council of 2005 and GAI were terrible in their presentations and lack of preparedness. Eventually they were gotten away with after we spent millions on their less than stellar performance.

Diverting public funds from County projects, hospitals, etc,. The lack of really correcting the problems that CRA’s were created to address. The slippery definition of “blight” and its capriciousness has been raised by the County Manager.

From DBNJ:

Of the 12 CRAs that have been around for at least 10 years, only half experienced growth rates that were as good or better than the county or city as a whole, giving ammunition to critics who say the usefulness of CRAs is overstated .

Definitions for what qualifies {for blighted} "are all over the map," Dinneen said. "It really is how you interpret these."


Did our EDAC (Economic Development Advisory Committee) hear these facets of CRA’s when it reviewed the issue and ultimately recommended our City Council to adopt a CRA? Did they hear the drawbacks of the CRA’s? Did they hear anything or any of the negative aspects of CRA’s?
Daytona Beach, it was reported back in 2005, lost 60 million over the 20 year period of their CRA’s.

From DBNJ:

Former County Councilman and radio show host Big John has a blunter way to describe the transfer of tax dollars from the county to the cities' CRAs.

"I prefer to say 'stolen,' " said John, who served 12 years on the council and believes he was voted off in 2002 in part because of his opposition to CRAs. "Cities have been using the stolen money for their own slush funds for years."


Are CRA’s something we only create in a good economy? Do we create them anyway when we know that a “good economy” probably won’t last 20-30 years?


Good economy or bad economy my position has been the same since 2004: No.

Norm Erickson

Thus ends Part I of this editorial. Part II will be published this Sunday.

Same Bat-time. Same Bat-channel.

2/11:

WHEN THE FAUCET LEAKS, REPLACE THE WASHERS

The other day my thoughts wandered to that age old question, “Does Government work for the people?” I wondered where a good starting point would be to find an answer to the question. I started by rummaging through reams of papers before I stumbled onto the City’s Organizational Chart.

As I looked over the City’s Organizational Chart I came to this conclusion: there is a major disconnect between the City and the public.

At the very top of the Organizational Chart is “Citizens of DeBary” followed by “City Council” and then “City Manager”. You would think that the “Citizen of DeBary” being at the top of the organizational chart should have a say in their government; however, that, my friends, is not even close when it comes to being part of having a say in DeBary. There is a major disconnect between the “Citizen of DeBary” and the city government. The only connection is that between the taxpayers and the tax collector.

This City Council has just passed two years of being in office. It has been a rocky two years for both the Council and for the citizens of Debary.

The City Council passed more than $500,000 for two parks to be built with little or no public input. This figure does not include the annual maintenance fee of thousands of dollars per year. A better deal for the taxpayer would have been to sell the property on 17/92 (Splash Pad Park) to a developer. This way the City would have received monies from the sale price of the property plus a yearly tax income. And now, they are working to build a mega buck football stadium with little or no public input. Who knows what the cost of this will be? Remember the “Citizens of Debary are on top of the chart”.

Will the Council leapfrog again over more important public projects that are needed, fire station, police station, fire hydrants and a host of others including tornado sirens? How will they pay for the above mentioned football stadium? Will they get grants for the stadium or will they get grants for the other capitol improvements? I feel they will not go for the grants for the stadium because they may not receive any grants. So they will pay for the stadium the same way they paid for the parks: cash. The other capitol improvements can go through the grant process and by having the taxpayer vote on a referendum for approval of bonds to get these capitol projects done. “Citizens of Debary are on top of the chart”.

Let us look at other instances this Council has disregarded the citizens of DeBary. Lets begin with the 6008 voters who were disenfranchised from their vote. In 2008 a referendum was placed on the ballot for the voters to decide if they wanted to change the term limits of the City Council from 3 years to 4 years. A resounding 6008 voters voted to leave it as it is and keep it at 3 years. Less than three years later this Council reintroduced the exact same ballot referendum with 716 voters (low turnout because this was a non presidential or gubernatorial year) voting to have the term limits changed to 4 years. So, 6008 votes were trumped by 716 because someone was not happy with the outcome of the 1 st vote. Remember the “Citizens of Debary” are on top of the chart?

When Councilman Hunt asked his fellow Council members at the 5/18/11 workshop, “If it is typical to have public input at a workshop and suggested that they discontinue the practice,” it appears to be a terrible choice of words. Although the Council is within its right not to have any public input at workshops, it gives the perception of attempting to quiet the public. There was no objection by any Council Member at the time.” This is just another way to use the system to avoid hearing from the citizens. Remember the “Citizens of Debary are on top of the chart”.

When two citizens volunteered to serve on a City committee and were denied, it appears because they did not agree in the past with the Council’s opinions. You would think that open discussions and different opinions would make for stronger committees. It gives the perception that they are only looking for YES people. What a shame! Remember the “Citizens of Debary” are on top of the chart.

When Mort Culligan came to the podium to speak and VM Carson had him escorted out because he pointed. Big deal! Others have done more egregious things than that. Remember the “Citizens of Debary” are on top of the chart.

The night when Councilmember Koval was so upset when a citizen said he had an orange tree in his front yard when he didn’t. And he felt that maligned his reputation. The citizen apologized right then and there. His wife then sent a letter asking for another public apology or she may sue. First you whine, then you intimidate by threatening to sue. That is a very old tactic. What Councilmember Koval should be upset about is the way he and the Council are spending taxpayer money. Once again he’s upset over an orange tree. Big deal! And you’re from New Jersey!! Remember the “Citizens of Debary” are on top of the chart.

When “Larry the Cable Man” (a well-known comedian) was presented with a “Key to the City” for being in a movie that was filming in DeBary. There were so many better choices that they could have bestowed this prestigious award upon. It would have been better if they gave this award to someone from the community. Remember the “Citizens of Debary” are on top of the chart.

When the Council voted to have Mrs. Teresa Marcks to be the Grand Marshal of the DeBary Christmas Parade. Mrs. Marcks was the principle of the DeBary Elementary School at the time. Mrs. Marcks did not live in DeBary which meant another citizen got the snub by the Council. This honor was always kept for someone within the community. Remember the “Citizens of Debary” are on top of the chart.

These are but just a few incidents that this Council has done to its citizens.

It makes little difference what direction the people want the City to go in when the Council will say NO. The people are supposed to have a say in their government, but they (the Debary Government) will always have the last say. No matter how many citizens want or do not want an issue to take place in their City, this Council will push their agenda even if it goes against the will of the people. The public has been shut out, not eliminated, from the political process. This Council must have a hearing problem because they have a hard time listening to the people. This Council is treating their constituents like the common herd. Some of you were voted in by the people, some of you slide in without any opposition, regardless which, and you are there to serve the people.

Please, take a step back and remember who you are working for before you make decisions. Is it the people of DeBary or agendas that may be yours or someone else’s? Remember the “Citizens of Debary” are on top of the chart.

Lenny Marks

One of the 6008 disenfranchised voters

 

2/3:

It's ok...really...

Few people know that my wife and I have been going to Traverse City, Michigan for the last ten years. My wife’s family have property there going back to 1929. My daughter is the fifth generation to live in our home here in DeBary – my wife’s great-grandfather bought the home in 1954. Few can claim such a history in this City while at the same time raising a three year old and wanting to be involved in the City and its future direction; as a family we’ve had and have more at stake than most when it comes to DeBary.

Traverse City is a premier, signature City known far and wide for its incomparable National Cherry Festival. Traverse City is a progressive City that is a known entity where they not only embrace full first amendment rights to freedom of speech but encourage it. They are not afraid to question as the excerpt below shows. They are not afraid to dissent or change their minds – perhaps this is why they are progressive. Recently the following was in their newspaper, that I read regularly, as I own property up there:

TRAVERSE CITY — The board for Traverse City Light & Power pulled the plug on more than $30,000 in donations to six non-profit groups while it reconsiders its policy on charitable giving.

The board referred to committee a review of its policy to give half the revenue it collects from a $5 fee for shut-off notices to charities that provide home heating assistance in winter. But proposals for a $5,000 sponsorship to the National Cherry Festival and $11,000 to sponsor the Grand Traverse Conservation District’s native plant sale didn’t even have enough support for a vote.

The city-owned utility had sponsored the National Cherry Festival for more than two decades and the plant sale for the last 13 years.


“I don’t see anything in our goals that line up with the Cherry Festival,” said board member John Taylor.

It’s ok to change one’s mind and ask, “Why are we doing this?” It’s ok to stop doing something even if you’ve been doing it for five, ten, even for “more than two decades”.

VM Carson more than anyone else I’ve ever known loves to reference Orlando, Altamonte Springs, Winter Park, Winter Springs, Heathrow and any other city where they are doing something there that he wants to bring here. Indeed, freedom of speech and the accepted practice of dissenting and changing one’s mind are ok. Of discontinuing doing something just because we always have but now we have better reasons not to do it, is something I’d like to see happen in this City. So I find myself in the same kind of territory of VM Carson: let’s do here what they are doing there.

Link to full story: Pulling donation plug

Norm Erickson

 

1/27/13:

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

The Hypocrisy in DeBary

Part II

Gerald Lombardi and Sue Lombardi have gone on record at various Workshops and Council meetings for and against assorted issues. Anything from strongly arguing against the hiring of Ken Weaver years ago to the Book Share Program just last month. Gerald Lombardi even spoke out against the Splash Pad as well: poor location and the process was just too fast. These two people love this City and want to protect it. They don’t want even a lone bookcase at City Hall infringing on the DeBary Library that they cherish and want to protect. The bookcase would have been with the Book Sharing program where books are simply exchanged for free.

As I understand it, the bookshelf was in place as this was a done deal. However…things changed. This, the Lombardis argued, threatens the DeBary library that has been around for, what, 15 years? 20 years? More? One bookcase? But they made a stand. They took a position. Great. Seems improbable that a lone bookshelf could threaten an entire library building but, as they argued, it starts small and then grows and more and more and more…kind of like funding for CPPI. I totally got their point.

Mr. Lombardi actually joked about asking for money then stated he prided the library for paying its own way. It’s the only library in Volusia County paid for by the citizens.

No one has posited that the Lombardis should not speak out. That they are negative. That they are against literacy. That children should be reading more rather than less even if those books come from somewhere other than the library. That books should only be available during library hours. But other people who raise questions and concerns about other issues such as spending and various projects are attacked for being negative. For not seeing the big picture.

Chris Carson’s mother Marcia Carson is Gerald Lombardi’s sister. In the past Marcia Carson brought my wife and daughter into the political fray by stating that neither my wife nor my daughter have a husband or a father that they could be proud of. This drawing of first blood was obviously not in reference to any City issue but an inability to combat the facts at the time, being brought forth. A personal, very personal attack. And that’s fine. No, my wife did not send a letter threatening a lawsuit if a public apology was not issued. Not necessary as there was no produce involved. And now from our sponsor: Hypocrisy:

Recently Marcia Carson said the following to Donna Cheney on Facebook:

Marcia Carson:

10:56pm Jan 5 2013

Thank you for the suggestion have shopped around .As for your comment about the council I do take offense at writing remarks about a councilmans personal life in a recent blog especially when we do not know them individually surely you understand this with a daughter of your own.

Here’s Marcia Carson lecturing Donna Cheney about what Donna can’t write about an elected official but Marcia has no problem bringing my wife and daughter (private citizens) into the mix when she feels so inclined. This can be an effective tactic until it is exposed. The person doing the attacking, Carson, keeps the other person going from one foot to the other so they don’t notice that the person doing the attacking is really the one employing the policy that is being condemned. Marcia states in another posting that Donna Cheney’s letter was some “editorial on POP” (Incidentally, I don’t want to hear this “no one reads POP”; everyone reads POP). Unlike my wife and daughter, her son is an elected official and all that it entails being in the public arena. Two sets of rules: Mine and Yours, John Q Citizen.

Please read this recent exchange from Facebook:

Donna Davis Cheney:

10:21pm Jan 4

You're property value went down but your taxes went up! Thank you City Council for voting that millage increase!

 

And the response from Marcia Carson:

Marcia Carson:

7:44pm Jan 5

I noticed a $84.00 increase in my taxes but house insurance was increased by much more .Should I blame City Council for this?

 

 

Leave it to a Carson to falsely compare home insurance with City taxes and then smugly ask if the City Council should be blamed for raising the price of home insurance. Clear as mud and it reminds me of conversations I’ve had with her son which when concluded I realized they made as much sense as Bob Dylan singing Louie Louie in Farsi. Nevertheless, Marcia Carson did admit that her taxes went up so I give her credit for that. Sorry to be so negative and protective of issues that concern me. Just pretend it’s a bookcase in the City Hall…then it will make sense why people are complaining about the waste of money and people like CPPI coming to the Council for money again and again…for more and more. Soon the Little League will be asking for more money as they did last year. Don’t doubt me…

If Citizens complain – it’s negative and not wanted. When the Carsons or Lombardis complain – it’s noble. It’s for a cause. It’s to improve the City.

People say, “If you don’t like DeBary move!” Well, I love DeBary. And to those individuals referenced herein or anywhere attempting to strip my or others’ 1st Amendment Rights while exercising theirs, I say you should move to a place where you can be the dictator you plainly want to be.

But it’s time to pivot away from this topic to something more relevant…

Please click on the link below to a Citizens’ Editorial by Lenny Marks –we need to get back to the actual issues facing this City as we approach this year’s election - hopefully some people running for office will get in and bring some change to what is going on.

A recent CNN/Quinnipiac/USA Today poll had “Anyone else” ahead by 8 points for both Seats 1 & 2…so we’ll see…

Click below to read Lenny Marks’s latest:

CITIZENS' EDITORIALS

Norm Erickson

 

 

1/26/13:

TAVARES — Lake’s libraries and parks will be put under the microscope next week as county commissioners look for ways to trim the budget.

Commissioners will hold a workshop at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to look at what kinds of cuts can be made to help balance the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, which starts Oct. 1. They called for the workshops after all but one commissioner voted to slash property taxes in September and raid the reserves to make up for the $4.5 million budget hole.

One of the county’s busiest libraries already saw significant cuts. Lake officials were forced earlier to eliminate two full-time positions and cut back hours by four on Friday and Saturday at Cagan Crossings Community Library after neighboring Polk pulled out more than half of its funding. Polk residents now have to pay $20 for a one-year library card to continue to use the library's services after the county reduced its contribution from $200,000 to $78,000 for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1.

More cuts could be in the works at that library, Lake officials warned.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/lake/os-lk-news-briefs-122812-20130103,0,5258780.story

********************************************

As the state has grappled with budget shortages in recent years, Florida libraries haven't been silent about funding cuts. Neither have patrons, who've carped about reduced hours and outsourcing hiccups. While access shrinks, the need for what libraries offer — Internet connections, cheap entertainment options and social services — grows.

In an email interview with Sentinel Editorial Writer Darryl E. Owens, Faye Roberts, executive director of the Florida Library Association, discusses funding woes and library transformation. Here's an excerpt.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-front-and-center-faye-roberts-libraries-20130123,0,2199273.story

 

1/7/2013

The Mingle Mangle from a Muckraker

From Wikipedia: Before World War I, the term "muckraker" was used to refer in a general sense to a writer who investigates and publishes truthful reports to perform an auditing or watchdog function. In contemporary use, the term describes either a journalist who writes in the adversarial or alternative tradition or a non-journalist whose purpose in publication is to advocate reform and change. Investigative journalists view the muckrakers as early influences and a continuation of watchdog journalism.

On December 19th CM Parrott informed the Council that the County was “signaling” a “No” to the formation of a CRA. I figured that the County was not going to allow taxes to stay in DeBary to use for any number of reasons perhaps primarily to build a stormwater system on the South end near the Sunrail. No the County wants the tax money even though Pat Northey said “…things are looking up” for this year at the January 2nd Council meeting. Now, the CRA study was going to cost 100K or at least that was what it was budgeted at, so I’m not complaining about the City Manager saying no need for the study. But I have to ask: how can the County “signal” a “No” before the study is even started? How can the County Council signal this on or before December 19th when four members are not installed until January?

From DBNJ:

Andrew Gant

Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 6:34 p.m.

On the Volusia County Council, new members Jason Davis, Pat Patterson, Deb Denys and Doug Daniels become official as soon as the calendar turns to Jan. 1, according to the county charter — but they won't be sworn in until the first meeting of the year, on Jan. 10.

So unseated, unofficial County members have signaled a “No” to a 100,000 dollar CRA study that hasn’t been started much less read? Matt Damon is right for getting out of politics: it’s a rigged game. How can a “No” be signaled without the benefit of a 100K study and what does that say about the study? About the people signaling “No” without any study? The creation of CRA’s is solely contingent on whether we’re “in the economic bubble” or not – period. If the economy is great, spend the 100K. Does the County ever signal “Yes” before the study? Interesting.

The dollar stops here…and, maybe, there. Ok, this is a confusing one and I got it wrong in emails to City Staff and Council. South of Wong’s restaurant and on the West side, trees have been removed for a Family Dollar store. This went through the Development Review process and I read the notes – 15 emails – about it. No problems. However, right across the street on an undeveloped piece of land just north of the DeBary Nursery Dollar General is looking to set out a shingle. On December 19th, Mr. Mark Watts represented Dollar General to see if the Council would approve some variances. This should not be done in a workshop – the Land Development Code calls for a quasi-judicial hearing wherein the Council members are “judges” making a ruling. The LDC reads thusly:

Sec. 1-8. - Variances.

The City Council may grant a variance from the strict application of a provision of this Code if the effect of the variance is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Comprehensive Plan and with these regulations and standards and where the City Council makes findings of fact, based on the standards hereinafter described, that there are practical difficulties or particular hardships in carrying out the strict letter of the regulation or regulations. Variances may also be issued in cases where the City Council determines that failure to permit the requested relief would subject the City to a claim of equitable estoppel.

(1)

Procedure.Any person desiring to make improvements to property or to erect any structure not in conformance with the regulations or standards in this Code shall apply for a variance. Consideration of a request for a variance by the City Council shall be a quasi-judicial action and shall be considered after due public notice. Public notice shall include newspaper advertising as required by state law.

END OF QUOTED TEXT

To do this during a workshop before the project even goes through the development process would be like signaling a “No” to a study before…but I digress.

The Council did indicate a willingness to grant the variances, so if this comes to an actual quasi-judicial proceeding, the judges have already judged and the expectation to a fair and impartial hearing has been removed. It makes it harder to say “No” as well. So why was it done? The developer wanted to see how it might play out before spending the money to go through review. I can understand that. CM Koval asked a great question: “Can the building size be reduced to help make it a better fit?” Answer from Mr. Watts: “No. We have our standards.” Well, the City has standards, too. They are all in our Land Development Code book. The repeating theme is that developers are more protective of their standards for development than elected officials usually are of theirs. Well, if DeBary wants to have businesses they have to bend a little. Well, if Dollar General wants to do business, shouldn’t they have to bend as well? There was no reason stated other than it was their standard to be 9200 square feet. Interesting. The center section of town was rezoned to allow larger businesses in here and already we have one business and a second taking a look – thank you, City Manager and Planning Dept. and no, I’m not being sarcastic.

COFFEE BREAK - GO GET SOME JOE -------

Absences were discussed at the January 2nd meeting. CM Hunt wanted to mark the Mayor as “unexcused” even though the Mayor had sent an email stating he was going to be out. Final vote: 3-1 to “excuse” the Mayor. So, with this precedent and medical and other obvious reasons for an absence to be excused, the only one left, I believe, is if a member simply is a no show with no email or call and they simply don’t show up at a meeting. They excused a vacation that the Mayor had told them about. So how can they not excuse some future vacation that is also noticed? Unless they want to add to the charter only so many “vacation days” to cover regularly scheduled meetings. Even if the Mayor or any member has more than three unexcused absences, that does not automatically remove them from the Council. It may but not will remove that member – Council decides.

At the end of the meeting CM Hunt reviewed what he was focused on and proud of: fireworks and he reminded us that he has a “special place in his heart” for the Little League. His tongue was placed firmly in his cheek but he also meant it and I smiled appreciating what he was saying and why. He talked about the football field. We’re moving in the right direction. And he liked the “Progressive movements” we making. Incidentally, neither CM Hunt nor any other Council member present that night talked about: crime, Fire needs, Police needs, debt reduction or Sunrail. Neither was there a mention about a Sheriff sub-station – but oh well. Now that it’s been mentioned here I’m sure these issues will be thrown around more than a drunken dwarf at a biker rally.

I’ve emailed CM Hunt what he means by “progressive” specifically if he means capital “P” or lower-case “p”. No answer. VM Carson said on the stage of GCA when he was campaigning that he is a Progressive; he also told me he’s not a Democrat. A Progressive is someone left of center but not a radical liberal according to Wikipedia. VM Carson’s statement that he’s a Progressive but not a Democrat is harder to understand than Bob Dylan reading Finnegans Wake in a wind tunnel. Of course, I’ve given VM Carson a chance to define this for me and he couldn’t or didn’t want to. They just like that word, but it is a partisan term that has no place in a non-partisan seat. I know I’m a naïve idiot (or just an idiot) as it relates to this issue but it’s a principle by which I stand. Another windmill. VM Carson parroted CM Hunt’s “vision” and wanted to put pen to paper to list some objectives and goals. It was at that moment that CM Parrot said…

That’s what the budget is for. I nodded in agreement from the cheap seats. The budget is an agreement between the Council and citizens as to how the money will be spent. That’s why the Splash Pad and Alexandra Woods and the upcoming football field are so wrong: they were never budgeted for and did not go through the budgeting process. So, on JANUARY 16 th at the workshop, the budget and upcoming goals might be discussed. Why create a budget if you’re going to add over 500,000 dollars to it for “wants” not “needs” during the year? Emergencies during the year are not at issue here; progressive movements are. What will the mil rate be this year? Prices on food alone are going up. Everyone’s paycheck amounts are going down and this Council’s fiscal strategy is often more out of balance than a drunk guy logrolling with an inner ear infection during Mardi Gras. We’ll see…

At the end of this article is a link to a great article on the Beacon website about ECHO grant money. Please read it. There is more finger pointing going on than Gov. Chris Christie in a Dunkin Donut shop. Politicians and ECHO Committee members appointed by the County are going after taxpayer money with all the restrained dignity of a wolverine on a Fatburger. The County is getting first and second dibs on the ECHO money pie and the ECHO people don’t like it. Imagine if they asked the citizens who supply it? A great read.

INTERMISSION - GO GET RID OF THAT COFFEE --

I spoke during public participation at the January 2nd meeting and here is the text:

Mort Culligan pointed at a City Council member and VM Carson sternly said, “Do not point at the Council member.” Mr. Culligan pointed at VM Carson and said, “Ok, I won’t.” VM Carson then called for the police officer present to, presumably, remove Mr. Culligan for insubordination. Being disrespectful.

Mr. Culligan is often “corrected” by Council members while he is at the podium. However, on December 5th after Mort Culligan was corrected more than twice to “stay on topic” while speaking to the Chicken issue with the Harts, Jerry Lisk came up to speak before the Council and citizens including some Boy Scouts who were present. Mr. Lisk used the following profanities: “damn” “pissed” “pissed”. Not one word of condemnation by any Council member. Nothing. Three profanities and not a word of censure or disapproval thus allowing the Boy Scouts to think these expletives are allowed and routine.

You four simply don’t like Mort Culligan and you ride him when he comes up to speak but it’s not out of some principle relating to behavior or what is actually said. It’s not to enforce decorum or administer dignity at the podium because that’s not a core belief you have or you would have said something the first, second or third time Mr. Lisk used profanity at this podium. Or you would have kept Mr. Lombardi on topic and the others when they went off topic about the Book Share issue at the last workshop and started talking about the DeBary Library’s need for an addition as well as the history of Dickinson Library as well as talking about the current status of the library system in Volusia County. But there was no attempt to get them back on task to the topic at hand. Council members, if you want certain behavior at the podium, don’t enforce it selectively as VM Carson has done.

Speaking of the Book Share program, how is it that the Book Share program is discussed as it relates to the use of this building but not the Community Partnership Program, Inc’s (CPPI) use of this building? I wonder how many of you knew that CPPI had been using - is using - this building at night for I don’t know how many months. November 14th of 2012 they didn’t have any staff members here as staff didn’t know there was a meeting – but VM Carson did – he was here as was I. Not even the City Manager knew this meeting was scheduled that night in November but VM Carson did. Did any other Council members know? Why didn’t you know? Why weren’t you asked? You were asked if books could be exchanged.

You need to put CPPI on the next Council agenda and decide whether or not to allow them in the building. Given your correct position on the Book Share program based on liability, I don’t know why you would allow CPPI to use this building.

Someone obviously thinks they have a special privilege that the Book Share Program does not have: the right to use this building and staff how and when they see fit with literally no approval from anyone.

END OF TEXT

Lastly, on the University High School website they list other athletics wherein students have to travel, like the football team, to compete and practice their sport.

Will DeBary be pushed by a couple of Council members to start building a signature, prominent Athletic Recreation Center for the following sports using the same argument that our kids go to UHS and therefore we must provide these:

Swimming – Deltona/Four Townes YMCA

Bowling – Deltona AMF Lanes in Orange City

Soccer – PFC Emory Bennett Park – Orange City

Why are these kids traveling when DeBary Government can build it all? Oh, God, did I just plant a 5.0 mil rate seed? Now is the time to do it right VM Carson and CM Hunt: offer a 6.0 mil rate – listen to the bitching at the podium – and then drop it to 5.0 where you actually need it and build, build, build. It’s what you want to do. I’ll say it. You won’t. But it’s where you want to go…this is where we need to go in a Progressive Movement which is becoming very similar to another kind of movement…but this is a family show. Disclaimer: Norm Erickson is NOT in favor of a 5.0 mil rate. But I know a couple of individuals who are…if they’re honest in explaining their vision that contains a quality of life that represents a Progressive movement…a Progressive movement of the mil rate increasing.

And that’s the Mingle Mangle from a Muckraker. Although I’m really about as rebellious as the triangle player in the Orange City Orchestra which, by the way, provides truly free concerts for all.

Link to article on ECHO Grants and the County: http://www.beacononlinenews.com/news/daily/5621

Norm Erickson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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