The Mayor tells citizens "you're done" – Is the Mayor arrogant? What do you think?


To: Mayor Green, Dr. Bob Ford, Drew Bastian, Dennis Kennedy, Vice Mayor Burnette: …
arrogant2The watching public at the CRA meeting, both in council chambers and at home, was appalled at the treatment concerned citizens were given by the mayor over this boondoggle that is going down in front of us over the Riverwalk Development and the 50-50 split of TIF for Buddy LaCour. Telling a citizen “you’re done” when he attempts to exercise his right as a citizen and taxpayer to speak to elected officials about his concern that this is a financial disaster in the making.   Excuse me!!  Not so fast Mr. Mayor.  I am a voter and taxpayer and now am far from done on this issue.  If anyone missed this exchange between the mayor and Candidate Scott Stiltner, it can be seen by going to Port Orange City website, clicking on agendas, clicking on Town Center Meetings and then clicking on video for May 20th.  The “you’re done” comment occurs about 1 hour and 5 minutes into the CRA meeting.  That citizens were allowed to speak at all on the issue only occurred because of Dr. Bob Ford’s insistence that the public be able to speak.  I hope everyone will watch the entire video.  Very instructive. And shocking.
So let me see if I am clear on this: we are giving the Master Developer a 50-50- split on TIF to develop prime river front land in the city of Port Orange??? And this prime riverfront property is/was somehow blighted and qualifies as appropriate for “TIF” monies now. And Buddy needs 50% of the tax monies that will be generated by his efforts at development on this blighted land, i.e prime riverfront if he is to build anything “nice.”
And this blighted status somehow makes Buddy LaCour deserving of my tax dollars for his three 17 story condos, restaurant and marina.  I live at 618 Ruth Street, part of the CRA. We are not a bastion of affluence here.  If the council goes through with this outrageous idea, then I and my neighbors, the po’ folks on Ruth Street,  will be subsidizing Buddy LaCour and the Riverwalk Partners with this 50-50 split of TIF. Glad we could throw you a rope and be a “Lifesaver” for this struggling developer. (Oh yes..there will be that so called “halo effect” for us here on Ruth Street. I feel much better now.)
And no Mr. Mayor,  I am not an investor in any sense of the word. That implies free will and a choice. I am an extortion victim.  No sane investor would have continued with this council and mayor or previous councils and this same mayor as their financial advisors on this Riverwalk Project.  How many millions have been wasted to date of the taxpayers money?  You have more than a losing track record.  And your record continues.
A quick search of data on the internet shows how the misuse of the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) concept has destroyed cities, deprived taxpayers of their constitutional rights, their property and their tax dollars.  How is what was north of Dunlawton on Riverside any particularly more blighted than what is south on Riverside? Port Orange City government and well connected developers wanted that land for private development and they took it. They could not do that today thanks to strong legislation that occurred in the State of Florida after Kelo vs New London. An abomination decided by the Supreme Court on June 23rd, 2005.  In Kelo v. City of New London, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld seizure of private property because it was part of a “comprehensive redevelopment plan” that would provide “appreciable benefits to the community.”  (Suzanne Kelo speaks on You Tube.)
Naturally Americans were outraged.  And they took action.  Local action.  After that decision, 44 states passed legislation that would prevent such egregious acts by government. The land taken by the city of Port Orange under the eminent domain clause and as “blight” would be illegal today in the State of Florida.  If the City of Port Orange wanted your riverfront property today, they would have to do it the old fashioned way.  Make you and offer and see what happened.  Or Buddy LaCour could make you an offer.  Back in 1998 that option was not available to the owner of the little trailer park or the homeowners on Riverside north of Dunlawton.  Folks with no political connections in this city.  The City of Port Orange took their land.
In case you have no idea what TIF is and how it has been bastardized and misused by well connected developers, their lawyers, etc. than please have a look below.
TIF districts have attracted much criticism. Some question whether TIF districts actually serve their resident populations. Here are further claims made by TIF opponents:

The designation of urban areas as “blighted,” essential to most TIF implementation, can allow governmental condemnation of property through eminent domain laws. The famous Kelo v. City of New London United States Supreme Court case, where homes were condemned for a private development, arose over actions within a TIF district.

  • The TIF process arguably leads to favoritism for politically connected developers, implementing attorneys, economic development officials, and others involved in the processes.
  • as investment in an area increases, it is not uncommon for real estate values to rise and for gentrification to occur.
  • Although generally sold to legislatures as a tool to redevelop blighted areas, some districts are drawn up where development would happen anyway, such as ideal development areas at the edges of cities.California has had to pass legislation designed to curb this abuse.[8][9]
  • Normal inflationary increases in property values can be captured with districts in poorly written TIFs, representing money that would have gone into the public coffers even without the financed improvements.
  • Districts can be drawn excessively large thus capturing revenue from areas that would have appreciated in value regardless of TIF designation.
  • Capturing the full tax increment and directing it to repay the development bonds ignores the fact that the incremental increase in property value likely requires an increase in the provision of public services, which will now have to be funded from elsewhere (often from subsidies from less economically thriving areas). For example, the use of tax increment financing to create a large residential development means that public services from schools to public safety will need to be expanded, yet if the full tax increment is captured to repay the development bonds, other money will have to be used.[10]
Just a cursory review of data on the internet about TIF can display to anyone the abuses of TIF.  And make no mistake, Mr. Mayor and Council, this is what is happening here today in Port Orange.  There will be 3 monstrous condo high-rises on our Port Orange riverfront.  3 walls.  Just take a quick look at Halifax Landing in South Daytona or Marina Grande in Holly Hill.  That is what we will be looking at in our Riverwalk Park.  And Ben Talluto is right.  What will occur is essentially all the land south of what is now Ocean will be privatized in a de facto manner.  Public lands will not be contiguous. This is deliberate.  Who wants to sit in the shadow of three 17 story condos while looking out through a forest of moored boats.  Not me.  We will lose our waterfront.   I am asking our City Council to take many steps back from this project.  Stop the project. Put it on hold.  At a minimum, have a well publicized workshop on this open to the community.  Do not tell citizens “you’re done”.  Let them speak and listen and vote your conscience.  Please.  Three 17 story condos on “our” waterfront.  A 50/50 split of TIF dollars for Buddy LaCour.  A pathetic legacy for the Council of 2014.
Dianne Templeton Gardner
618 Ruth Street
Port Orange, Florida 32127

One thought on “The Mayor tells citizens "you're done" – Is the Mayor arrogant? What do you think?

  • May 22, 2014 at 10:05 am

    The mayor is quite arrogant and we can’t get him out of office soon enough. He must be either clueless or underhanded. I live about a block away from the Riverwalk mess and the last thing that I want to see from my back yard are high rise condos. I say no condos. Keep the waterfront. I want access to the river. Condos are ugly and intrusive. It’s like having a turd in the punch bowl.
    Why do a 50/50 TIF split to destroy the beauty of our city and waterfront? If the developer is determined to ruin the waterfront then let them pay for it. The city should do everything in it’s power to stop the construction of the high rise condos. Look at the shores ocean condos. Talk about ugly, shadow casting, view blocking buildings. That’s blight.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.