You don’t have all the facts!

By: hank |

July 24 2013 19:33
In the Port Orange City Council meeting of 7 23 13, Corey Berman asked the council people to report about their one on one meeting with the Master Developer for the Riverwalk Project.
Ford said that he had refused to meet with Mr. La Cour. Bravo Chief and thank you for putting Mr. La Cour in his place.
I believe all that all the other city council people said that they did meet with Mr. LaCour, but not at LaCour’s office. Mr. LaCour had arranged that each council man would meet in a one on one session, in succeeding hours on a day in July.  Thank you city council people for not going to the Grand Master Developer’s office.
However, it is concerting that CRA business was attempted to be conducted not in front of the public, but in a back room someplace .
I think all of the city council people who did meet with Buddy, did not like Buddy’s offer of a land swap with the city within the Riverwalk Project area.
I remember at the last CRA meeting, or was it a city council meeting?, the city manager had told the city council members, that LaCour’s position was to keep 2/3 of the north area as property owned by  LaCour’s allies who would develop it with their business interests, and let the city keep the south 1/3 area of the project, for its park.
That did not sit well with the council members, and someone, was it the mayor?, suggested that perhaps Buddy might be willing to keep the central prime part of the land in the project, but allow the city to have the south one third, and the north one third as parcels for its park.  If I understand this correctly, then the city would have a split park, and to get from one end to the other end of the park, visitors would have to go through the commercial enterprise area located in the center of the park.
I certainly do not approve of that arrangement.
I distinctly remember being amazed that Mayor Green said at that public meeting, that he would ask LaCour to appear before the city council and the Mayor would ask LaCour to grant the city the land, south and north of LaCour’s interests. The Mayor said, if LaCour would not agree to that, ”we might as all well go home”.
So I wonder, what happened to asking LaCour to appear before the city council in a  public setting, and instead who came up with the idea to meet one on one with LaCour in private one hours sessions in LaCour’s office?
Before I start asking questions I will wait to see what is publicly stated on this issue at the next CRA meeting.
In the past week, I have had discussions with three knowledgeable people concerning the city’s problems, and they are many, and I have learned about new elements in some of the issues.  For a moment, I thought that I might give up following city politics, because it seems I never have the most accurate, current version of what had happened in issues which concern us all.  For instance, because of persistent rumors that the City Manager of Daytona Beach Shores had known about the mistake in water billing to his city, I had to revisit that issue with the DBS city manager by e mail.  This time, he clearly did not want to answer my question. I had asked him, although the city of Port Orange had incorrectly billed for water energy used by the city of Daytona Beach Shores, did Mr.Booker know that the water rate had been changed.  He got exasperated with me, and told me, for the last time Mr. Springer, the city of Port Orange sets its own water rates, not the city of Daytona Beach Shores. So there you have it.  All the information you should know, and any more you are not capable of handling?
And so, I revisited that issue with Mr. Kisela, and Mr. Kisela threw me for a loop, and even now I am hoping I got it right.  As far as I knew, until last Friday, some of the terms in this issue which are used to ask questions and find information are,  the old water rate, a higher water rate charged Daytona Beach Shores by its city, and the incorrect water rate being billed to the city of Daytona Beach Shores by the City of Port Orange.
Mr. Kisela enlightened me that the mistake in the Port Orange City billing cycle, was not that the city was billing the old, incorrect water energy rate, but that it was billing a mistaken REDUCED water rate.
I do not remember ever having heard about a “REDUCED” water rate. Did you ever hear this, before now?
Sometimes I feel like giving up.  I know I am not good at specific details, especially when it comes to numbers and statistics, but I thought I could keep a handle on the general concepts of an issue.  I have had to explore whether this is a weakness within me.
I met Mr. Parker and we had lunched served by my daughter, in my son’s uninhabited unit, on Monday, July 22, 2013.  Mr. Parker had just returned to Port Orange from a trip to Israel, and his appointments for the week were all filled, and he was willing to meet with me that Monday, July 22 at 12 pm.  It was about 945 am when we made an appointment to meet at 12 noon.  So, I had to shave, shower, prepare for lunch, (all the good restaurants in Port Orange are closed on Monday), and do all the little chores for preparing for a guest, which I like to do, but with more leisurely time at my disposal.  With my daughter’s help I was ready to meet Mr. Parker.
Mr. Parker and I were in agreement to keep our conversation on general terms and off the record.  I believe I did not venture into specifics, but did skirt some specifics, by me making comments about some happenings in the city of Port Orange. Mr. Parker was free to expound on my comments or just ignore them. In some cases, he did just ignore my comments; in others he added comments of his own. I had brought up the subject of Chief Ford as a councilman, and stated that I wish Dr.Ford would stop complaining about things to look into, but instead offer recommendations for the council members to approve or reject.
I hope Mr. Parker does not feel I am violating our agreement to keep things off the record, but Mr. Parker told me that council man Ford is a very smart, intelligent man, and when Ford became Chief of Police he was given the task of modernizing the POPD and that he did, laying the ground work for a very professional police department. I agree. Mr. Parker and I agreed that then Chief Monahan took over and fine-tuned the department and continued in advancement  to the professionalism of the popd.
I told Mr. Parker that I felt obligated to go on the record with him, on one issue, upon the request of Ted Noftall, and asked  Parker felt because of his use of sick or was it vacation time towards his own retirement , if Mr.Parker felt he should pay back to the city some money, as Ted alleged. Mr. Parker asked for the specifics of Ted’s allegations, and I was not prepared, I did not have them with me, in my haste to get ready for my luncheon discussion with Mr. Parker. So I withdrew the question.  Sorry Ted.
In bringing up issues which I commented on, you of course know that I have criticism of the actions of some people involved in the issues.   It is clear to me that Mr. Parker will not indulge in criticism of anyone, and his position is that he is out of city government work, has already stated many times that he takes responsibility for some of the things that went wrong in city government, and does not care to keep up with developing circumstances in the issues surrounding his tenure.  He does not visit the city’s web site or read the two Port Orange blogs. Fair enough, and probably a very sensible thing to do, I think.
There were some specifics which Mr. Parker was willing to get into, because my information was faulty. I am not at liberty to repeat them.
But here is the picture I now have, of my quest for information regarding city government specifics. When a question is asked, the best information at that time is given by those in the know.  If at a later time, new information comes to the person who had answered the original question, the new information is not put into the equation and the record not corrected or amended, regardless of what might have been published on a blog.
Let me stress here, that the foregoing is not a statement made by Mr. Parker, or even discussed with Mr. Parker, but this is the best conclusion I can come to, as to why I never seem to have all the facts.
I too recognize that when asking a question, most times, obnoxious as it may be, there is probably a need to ask a follow up question.  If you remember the TV interview with President Clinton, (Bill not Hillary) the TV personality asked the president about a sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. Bill answered that “that is no sexual affair with that girl”.  The next question to be asked, but was not asked,  “but was or had there been a sexual affair with Monica?.”  And you know how all that developed and had to be asked of the President again, in a court of law.  And that bulge in President Bill Clinton’s pants pocket is a pocket dictionary.
I always liked interviews  Mayor George Koch of NYC and Governor Mario Cuomo of N.Y. I did not always agree with their politics.
They answered all questions fully, and one could be sure that the chapter on the issue being discussed had been concluded and could be put to rest.  If new information had come to those two, I do not know if they amended the information that was public.
I get the sense that this is the new transparency which all governmental agencies may be engaging in regards to sensitive information sought by the public.  — Answer and reply only to the question, not the issue.  It now seems to me, that an interviewer needs to prepare his questions like a lawyer.  Ted Noftall does that, but as you see, he has to keep returning before the city council and reminding them of some of the things they had offered at public meetings in the past, which have not been followed up on, or reported back to the public.  Perhaps at the end of all meetings and discussions with our elected leaders, we have to make a request that they advise us of any new changes, developments or amendments to the previous knowledge dispensed by them.
Sometimes, I feel like we are dealing with the Vatican, where the real truths are hidden somewhere in all the hard to find and peruse books secured down in the vaults.
By the way, it was announced in the City Council Meeting of July 23, 2013 that the ITT Director for the City of Port Orange IS RETIRING. .
Where I need to be corrected, please do the right thing, and make a gesture of good will towards humanity, by correcting me. I would not mind, but would be delighted to have and publish the true facts.
Sincerely, hank springer 386 852 3178

One Response to You don’t have all the facts!

Ted Noftall says:
The monies that I believe should be returned to the taxpayers of Port Orange are those payments that were made absent the authority of law…
Both the current Manager and his firm of payroll consultants have advised they can find no Council resolution or ordinance authorizing those ICMA contributions that were made on behalf of select employees only.
It is for that reason that I am calling upon those employees who have retired including the former Manager,former CFO and former CSM to return those un-authorized contributions they received to the City.

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