A Large Part of the Stagnation Was A Entrenched Council Majority That Was Not Open to New Ideas

 
Bob_Ford_20082-150x150
To: Bob Pohlmann
Bob:
It is always good to hear from you. While we frequently disagreed, I have always valued your opinions. You are correct there was a degree of stagnation on the part of council over the last five to six years. Part of it was due to the economy, but a large part of the stagnation was a function of an entrenched council majority that was not open to new ideas, and a necessary and new path forward.
Over the past year, the new Council has been active in exploring new directions and establishing an updated vision for Port Orange. In the coming months, you will begin to see the fruits of these new directions. It appears that after a hiatus, Port Orange is once again rising.
Let me provide a few examples of why I believe Port Orange is rising.
The new Council has moved to expand our sports programs for our youth. You will soon see expanded offerings in competitive baseball for older youth as new regulation sized fields come on line this coming spring. Councilman Don Burnette has championed these efforts. Similarly, two new soccer fields will come in line early this coming year to increase our soccer offerings. Planning is underway for our proposed Westside Sports Complex.
The new Council has acted this year to reverse the decline in the quality of our landscaping. Councilman Bastian has taken a particularly active role in assuring that Port Orange improves its “curb appeal”. He has also been active in assuring that Port Orange facilities are adequately maintained, so never repeat the “roof” fiascos of the past. In the next couple of months, new landscaping will be in place on the north sections of Ridgewood and the East sections of Dunlawton. This will be the beginning of a broader effort to upgrade the overall landscaping of our medians and city owned landscapes.
Our relationships with our employee associations, has improved markedly. Councilman Bastian has been helpful in this regard, providing Council with a better understanding of employee needs and concerns. Councilman Bastian has also been instrumental in reestablishing the Fire Department as an independent department, the first step to returning the Fire Department to the premier department it once was. This month a new Fire Chief will be joining Port Orange.
The new shopping center on Dunlawton has brought its challenges. Traffic on Dunlawton is facing increased congestion. Councilman Kennedy has been relentless in trying to find solutions to these emerging traffic problems on Taylor and Dunlawton Avenues. His efforts to find fixes such as improving traffic light timing, and modifications of intersection, should lead to gradual improvements. Councilman Kennedy demonstrates that we need to take an activist approach to our traffic problems.
The new Council is far more active in oversight over City operations. While this sometimes may make City Council meetings more contentious, it will hopefully insure that we never again experience the misfeasance we experienced in Water Billings and Public Works operations. The new Council is also more open to public discourse. While activist input may make meetings “messy”, open meetings provide more information and a broader range of opinions resulting in better decisions.
There is much more occurring such as lower taxes, improvements in code enforcement, the beginning of the Rivewalk Park, too much to cover in a blog. These examples suggest why I believe that the stagnant period you reference is over. Come join the increasing positive dialogue as Port Orange rises from the recession malaise.
Best, Bob Ford


Pohlmann2
Hello Councilman Ford.
It is good to finally hear from a Port Orange councilman. I have been trying to open up some dialogue on a positive note for the last couple of weeks. It seems this blog has taken a negative aspect from what I am reading and I have found myself defending my opinions and my past experiences on the council. When I hear all the negativity it only sours me on politics both at the local level and the national level. Moving the city forward is what a council should be doing for its residents so thank you for informing everyone, on a positive note, exactly what the game plan is for the future.
What you have included on your list of present goals and accomplishments will improve the quality of life for everyone in Port Orange. The accomplishments of the past, coupled with what you have listed, are what the residents of Port Orange should be hearing. I guess it has been easier for some to tear down the good and dwell on the negative. Port Orange is too fine a city to be taken down by the naysayers. Of course I will now be accused of pandering but I choose to live thinking of the best. Let’s keep the dialogue positive.
However, I do have a concern about the election next year. Should another retired public safety employee be elected that would mean 3 former public safety employees from Port Orange police and fire would now sit on council. How would that affect contract negotiations? Is it a conflict of interest? Should all three recuse themselves from voting on a final contract? Who will they keep in mind, the 56,000 residents or the police and fire unions? Can they divorce themselves from that reality? I would like to hear your opinion on this possibility.
The irony of all this is that I basically support unions and pensions for public employees. Take for example the profession I am in, education. For many, many years the education profession was looked down upon as low paying. The benefits were somewhat good, pension after 30 years, health insurance, steady employment. But now educators are the target, as are the police and fire unions. Reasonable pensions should be the norm, not gold plated pensions for some and not for others. I really was not that upset about losing the last election. What was insulting to me was the Volusia Teacher Organization supporting my opponent over me with 37 years in education. When I questioned the VTO as to why that happened I was told that the Central Florida Labor Council dictated who the local union was to support. I have a fear that the Central Florida Labor Council will dictate through the local unions who their candidates should be. Is that good for the city? I would like to hear from you and/or councilman Bastian and from the next candidate from the police department how they will keep and open mind on granting gold plated pensions that their respective unions expect.
Bob Pohlmann


 

9 thoughts on “A Large Part of the Stagnation Was A Entrenched Council Majority That Was Not Open to New Ideas

  • November 18, 2013 at 8:24 am
    Permalink

    COPY AND PASTE INTO YOUR BROWSER, AND SING ALONG WITH THE BOB’S
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL0Qt7IF8Q4
    “Happy Days Are Here Again / Get Happy”
    [Rachel]
    So long sad times
    Go along bad times
    We are rid of you at last
    Howdy gay times
    Cloudy gray times
    You are now a thing of the past
    Happy days are here again
    The skies above are clear again
    So let’s sing a song of cheer again
    Happy days are here again
    Altogether shout it now
    There’s no one
    Who can doubt it now
    So let’s tell the world about it now
    Happy days are here again
    Your cares and troubles are gone
    There’ll be no more from now on
    From now on…
    Happy days are here again
    The skies above are clear again
    So, Let’s sing a song of cheer again
    [Kurt]
    orget your troubles
    Come on get happy
    You better chase all you cares away
    Shout halleluja
    Come on get happy
    Get ready for the judgement day
    The sun is shining
    Come on get happy
    The lord is waiting to take your hand
    Shout halleluja
    Come on get happy
    We’re going to the promise land
    We’re heading across the river
    Wash your sins away in the tide
    It’s all so peaceful on the other side
    Forget your troubles
    Come on get happy
    You better chase all you cares away
    Shout halleluja
    Come on get happy
    Get ready for the judgement day
    Forget your troubles
    Come on get happy
    Chase your cares away
    Hallelu get happy
    Before the judgement day
    The sun is shining
    Come on get happy
    The lord is waiting to take your hand
    Shout halleluja
    Come on get happy
    We’re gonna be going to the promise land
    We’re heading across the river
    Wash your sins away in the tide
    It’s quiet and peaceful on the other side
    Forget your troubles
    Get happy
    Your cares fly away
    Shout halleluja
    Get happy
    Get ready for your judgement day
    Come on get happy
    Chase your cares away
    Shout halleluja
    Come on get happy
    Get ready for the judgement day
    The sun is shining
    Come on get happy
    The lord is waiting to take your hand
    Halleluja
    Come on get happy
    We’re going to the promise land
    We’re heading across the river
    Wash your sins away in the tide
    It’s all so peaceful on the other side
    Shout halleluja
    Come on get happy
    You better chase all your cares away
    Shout halleluja
    Come on get happy
    Get ready
    Get ready
    Get ready
    For the judgement day
    [Both]
    Happy times
    Happy nights
    Happy days
    are here again
    Are here again!

    Reply
  • November 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm
    Permalink

    Bob
    Hello Ted.
    You’re pretty funny some times. This is one of those funny moments. But to be honest with you, I’m not sure if I should call you Ted Noftall or Ted Cruz. When I speak with you personally it’s Ted Noftall. When you start to blog, the Ted Cruz comes out. I know you’re an intelligent guy. I have heard you say some complimentary things at times. Surely you know every organization has its issues to work out. Wal Mart, Publix, AT&T, Microsoft, Ford, GE, NASCAR, and even Port Orange city government all have their “behind the scenes” issues to work out. They are successful because employees work together to solve them. Private enterprise keeps it private but they still have problems. Public institutions are in the sunshine. The point is that through cooperation everything can be resolved. The Ted Cruz part of you wants no resolution but I will offer you a chance to come out of the Ted Cruz darkness and help the city of Port Orange re-gain its focus. Start each day with the following mantra “I will be less critical and more helpful”, “I will be less critical and more helpful”.
    When the Ted Noftall starts to emerge on a more frequent basis, you will have a lot to offer the city of Port Orange. It’s easy, “I will be less critical and more helpful”, “I will be less…………..”. You get the picture.
    Bob Pohlmann

    Reply
  • November 19, 2013 at 8:54 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for the suggestion Bob, but I will stick with the role I have chosen which is critiquing city government for what it actually is and not for what you spinners wish or perhaps actually believe it to be. If you and the Mayor had had your way this whole last year would have been “kept quiet behind the scenes “
    The only disclosures, and the limited reforms we have seen thus far have been as a result of CITIZEN ACTIVISM on the part of myself and others. There are enough yes men running around the Mayor with rose colored glasses. The people would not be better served if there were one more.
    I am disappointed in you personally Bob. You were doing so well having confessed to be part of a DO NOTHING COUNCIL for the past 3 years, AND then the other Bob comes along and confuses everyone by releasing his Christmas message of good-will to all 3 weeks early, Causing you to start slipping back to your old mantra that every scheme the Mayor and Manager cooked-up and that you supported was the best thing since sliced bread and brown toast.
    That being said I think in your suggestion for me you may have found a remedy for your relapse.
    I think you should call it Dr. Bob’s psychotherapy and self improvement based on optimistic auto-suggestion. Of Course You Will Need To Try it Out On Yourself First by chanting immediately before bed and again first thing in the morning.
    The Mayor cannot be trusted, I must be a realist and stop drinking the Kool-aid ///
    The Mayor cannot be trusted, I must be a realist and stop drinking the Kool-aid ///
    The Mayor cannot be trusted, I must be a realist and stop drinking the Kool-aid ///
    You should begin thinking clearer and your e-mails will likely begin to contain useful observations in about 3 weeks.
    Good luck
    Ted

    Reply
  • November 19, 2013 at 8:28 pm
    Permalink

    Bob
    Hey Ted.
    Your personal issues with the mayor should not be directed at me. I told you that the council should have kept a closer eye on the overall city operations. I believe all council members would agree with that and are doing so now. More questions are being raised at council meetings by council members as a result of the PW and Finance Dept. problems. That is a good thing.
    Yes, your activism at council meetings has been effective and the citizens have benefited by your involvement. But I’ll give you a hint that will help you in the future. Try not to be so brash and insulting. You know a lot about Port Orange Government, use that information in a positive manner.
    Councilman Ford and I disagreed on some issues but we agreed on many issues also. Bob Ford has raised many questions at council but has always done so in a professional, respectful manner. OK, once in a while his temper showed but that was fine. So if he and I want to speak civilly why is that bad? You should try it sometime.
    Finally, your disdain for the mayor and the former city manager is obvious. For us to continue a dialogue you’re going to have to separate me from them. As Chris Christie once said, ” don’t make me go New Jersey on you”.
    Bob Pohlmann

    Reply
  • November 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm
    Permalink

    Bob, I wish you the best in whatever your future plans are….…including your political plans if any.
    You should know however that I will object to any efforts to sugar coat the recent political past in Port Orange.
    The misfeasance perpetrated by the Mayor and former Manager AND SANCTIONED BY YOU AND OTHERS ON COUNSEL through your silence and inaction and that cost Port Orange residents $ millions was unconscionable and to that extent you will never be separated from these two individuals.
    If you wish me to stop noting your afore mentioned association then stop attempting to sugar coat our City’s recent financial past.
    AND Bob if you do not like receiving advice stop giving it ..… to me at least.
    Ted

    Reply
  • November 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm
    Permalink

    HankI love it! Thank you all for such insightful comments. And thank you all for opening up and sharing your thoughts with all of us. Oh how I wished we had more sincerity and openness in the years past. But we have some now, and I am grateful.
    Bob Pohlmann wrote: “It seems this blog has taken a negative aspect from what I am reading and I have found myself defending my opinions and my past experiences on the council”. I would urge Mr. Pohlmann not to despair and be grateful for the opportunity via our blogs to correct what he feels are wrong facts, speculations, opinions and perspectives. And then again, he is not obliged to enter into the fray, but when he does, he should expect contrary counter arguments. I will always remember and thank former councilman Pohlmann for being the only city council member to vote against repaying the grand master developer of the CRA project for the ludicrous purchase of the Lohlman’s funeral home on Ridgewood Ave. Thank you Bob.
    Mr. Pohlmann you want to keep the dialogue in the blogs “positive”. I wonder what your definition of “positive” is. Blogs are bold and sometimes nefarious creatures. Surely you know as we all do, that you have to take whatever comes your way in blogs. But you can counter “negative” dialogue, and when you do, we have great incipient discourses. I am afraid we were treated to too many “positive” dialogues in the former city council meetings, and everything looked rosy to some on the city council, when in fact some weeds were running rampant in public works, financial affairs and books, water meters, vacation time, computer back tracking, and you tell me what else might have been going amuck.
    Mr. Pohlmann wrote: “However, I do have a concern about the election next year. Should another retired public safety employee be elected that would mean 3 former public safety employees from Port Orange police and fire would now sit on council. How would that affect contract negotiations? Is it a conflict of interest? Should all three recuse themselves from voting on a final contract? Who will they keep in mind, the 56,000 residents or the police and fire unions? Can they divorce themselves from that reality? I would like to hear your opinion on this possibility.”
    Bob P., I Hank agree with you and think we should give second thoughts to more public safety employees on a city council, as well as real estate agents, mortgage agents, bankers, people associated with developers, people associated with construction companies, who are and do apply as candidates for the city council and the various city boards. Don Burnette and I had a series of e mails when he became city councilman, about my concerns that a mortgage lender such as he would be able to divorce himself from business considerations. And I think it was you Bob P, who in a number of dialogues assured me that Mayor Allen Green successfully kept his business interests separate from his city work for the investors (citizen tax payers). It certainly may seem “positive” not to worry about a construction company president doing work as Mayor, but is it perhaps “negative” to consider conflict of interests when public safety people are on the city council. Whatever label we might put on our perspectives, I agree with you if you are concerned about outside interests and business interests being possible drawbacks to effective city council work. I am not sure if we can find many who have no outside business or family acquaintance in business who would not benefit from being on the city council. I accept that it is part of having influence, but needs to be watched.
    Bob P. urges to start every day with ““I will be less critical and more helpful”, “I will be less critical and more helpful”.
    Bob P. seems to be adverse to negativity, but I know that cannot be true. Bob P is an educated and intelligent man, and he himself has attested to how politics works, because he has told us what was proposed to him in New Jersey when he applied for a teaching position. I think that Bob somehow got the idea that politics in Florida and especially Port Orange were not the same as politics up north. I told Bob, that if the city politics of Port Orange is squeaky clean, that it is one for the history books, and alas, in this day and age in this nation, it was hard for me not to be skeptical. I think it is fair to say, that most of the shortcomings in the past city administration were those of malfeasance and responsibility neglect. But, there were some criminal activity too, I think it is also fair to say.
    Bob P. please realize that I write mostly to you and not the others, because I find little to fault in the perceptions of others, such as Bob Ford and Ted Noftall. I guess you look upon it as a call to defend yourself, but Bob P. , it is not about you, it is about a collection of guys who get together to carry out their vision of Port Orange. Perhaps we all do not share the vision or god forbid, have negative speculations and suspicions. I know you despise such negativity.
    There are a lot of good things about Port Orange to sit around and talk about. I don’t think they are “great” things, but good things, such as we would expect a city to have for its citizens, and such good things probably exist to a certain degree in most cities. I would suggest you blog your thoughts about all that is good about Port Orange, and perhaps others would join in with you, and sing “Happy Days were Here Before”. Any way, thank you Bob Pohlman for voting not to give that money payment to the grand master developer in the CRA area. And thank you Don Burnette and Drew Bastian for voting to support proposition 11 which the citizens of Port Orange had wanted and voted yes to.
    To all the others who voted the money to reimburse the grand master developer, and to you all who voted against helping a senior avoid foreclosure on a home she or he owned for over 25 years, I have only negative thoughts and words, and for the sake of Bob P. will not voice them in this blog.
    Perhaps, again, in another blog.
    Sincerely hank springer

    Reply
  • November 25, 2013 at 10:12 am
    Permalink

    HOW TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVITY
    People face criticism from home, office and all around, we have prepared this draft to make you aware of the kind of criticism you face and how to handle them. Most critics are your benefactors as they constantly help you in improving and letting you know of your slightest faults.
    Keeping this in mind we have made this post and tried to incorporate all possible situations of negative criticism and how to deal with them.
    You may be interested in the following related articles as well.
    • Why is Social Interaction Important For a Website
    More at http://www.instantshift.com/2010/04/19/how-to-deal-with-negative-criticism/

    Reply
  • November 25, 2013 at 8:25 pm
    Permalink

    Hello Hank, how are you? I have enjoyed speaking out on a few issues that are of interest to me. I hope to continue to blog about the upcoming election and the one area I will focus on is the the potential election of another former public safety officer. While I do believe Bob Ford was not really a union guy as he was Chief of Police and as such was considered upper management, I fear with Councilman Bastian and a potential former police officer being elected, it would tilt the council as totally beholden to the unions. With both police and fire contracts coming up for renewal in the near future, 3 former police and fire employees create a conflict of interest.
    I do want to correct a comment you made concerning Proposition 11, the tax break for senior citizens. I can assure you I would have fully supported the passage of that amendment and would have supported to give the seniors that break. However, you are incorrect is stating that Councilman Bastian supported that. He did not. Mayor Green, Councilmen Ford and Bastian all voted NO on that tax break. Councilmen Burnette and Kennedy voted yes. It lost on a 3-2 vote so the senior citizens did not get the break thanks to Green, Ford, and Bastian. That was a terrible vote and a slap in the face to the seniors. That is something that our citizens need to remember for the next election.
    I could list many instances that I voted no while serving on council. I am done defending my votes. I lost 4-1 votes many times but people seem to forget that. That’s all good for me now, I know what I did.
    Hank, you are correct, I did hope and believe Port Orange politics was totally above board. I wanted to believe that as a result of the corruption I witnessed in New Jersey, Port Orange would be above that. I do not believe that any more. Port Orange city government fell apart my last two years on council. That took all city council members by surprise. Everyone learned lessons from that. The questioning of the current city manager is a direct result of lessons learned. It is probably a good idea that the city replace city managers every 5-10 years. The past is the past. I hope the same mistakes do not occur in the future. Let’s move forward but with more questioning than in the past. Have a great Holiday Season.
    Bob Pohlmann

    Reply
  • November 25, 2013 at 10:06 pm
    Permalink

    Bob, thank you for that correction. I was in error. Drew Bastian, Ford and Green voted against proposition 11. Burnette and Kennedy voted yes to aid seniors under rigid conditions to avoid fore closure in their homes.
    Glad you are for moving forward with “more questioning”.
    I agree with you. We should be cautious about electing any more civil service union favored people to the city council.
    Wish you the best for the upcoming holidays. — hank

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.