Time Is Running Out

from  Palmetto Pal   <palmettopal95@gmail.com>  6:13pm
awardsThere is not much time left before Greg  Kisela and Wayne Saunders will be leaving with the near½ million they received from Port Orange taxpayers in exchange for the accomplishments they showered on us all.
We will be forever indebted to Howard Tipton the Dean of the local  ICMA  for convincing Council to task the  Range Riders  with  short listing our last round of manager candidates, and to Dick Kelton for his un-canny ability to perceive the talent Kisela and Saunders displayed during their brief hiatus with us.
To have had not one, but two experienced ICMA super stars guiding our City at the same time has been an experience we shall soon not forget.
It is fitting therefore that the ICMA  FOA recently sought to recognize their fine service to Port Orange residents through two outstanding awards the LIFESAVER and the EXCELLENCE IN FINANCE.
My suggestion is that at the next Council meeting  Saunders present Kisela with the LIFESAVER award for saving his worthless butt, after which  Kisela would present the EXCELLENCE  award to Saunders for pointing out that bank reconciliations are overrated, and for creating a ‘higher taxes required’ budget that pleases the Mayor and his Chamber,  and gives all of us yet another opportunity to become better citizens by learning to love higher taxes.

23 thoughts on “Time Is Running Out

  • July 7, 2014 at 4:22 am

    Am afraid the mayor is “putting the band back together” to reprise this award winning scenario too…got another half million burning a hole in your pocket Port Orange???….get your wallet out……We know it’s coming..stay tuned Taxpayers..

    • July 7, 2014 at 6:40 am

      After your last post stating…”You have asked that both council and citizens bring solutions rather than problems”,
      we assumed you were on board with being part of the solution. This post shows your still willing to speculate and antagonize. Lets all stick to being part of the solution and leave the other stuff for the high schoolers. As taxpayers, we can’t demand leadership while acting like kids. We have to act as we want others to act. Lets all get drop the finger pointing and work with the mayor to improve our situation. Don’t let the social media world we live in change the goal of being respectful.

      • July 7, 2014 at 7:35 am

        A point “Onlooker”…..of course without knowing your identity I cannot know your real motives…..any chance you would disclose who you are?…My identify is known….I always wish I could speak directly with some of the folks who are critical of me and the folks I consider to be allies…love to tell you my side of this face to face over coffee at our house…and I would love to hear your side too …we are all a product of our experiences..
        ….my question to you would be this…how do we get the mayor to negotiate in good faith? I tried taking the high road on an issue last year that concerned my health, safety and welfare and my entire neighborhood…..did not work out for us…AT ALL….so we changed tactics…
        My thinking on this… If this mayor wants to stop conflict, then he needs to stop taking actions that create conflict…do not schedule a meeting on this critical topic when you know a councilman is out of town…and a councilman who frequently disagrees with you…..and then claim this is some kind of emergency…. and we must act now…….and then be indignant and somehow surprised that there is push back….its disingenuous….Bob Ford will be back in less than 2 days after this meeting is scheduled….we can afford the 48 hours to achieve fairness so this topic is fully vetted……meeting was scheduled after he left..come on..be fair Onlooker..
        …..there are so many actions this city could take that would reduce situations where conflict now arises between opposing interests….we can make a choice to institutionalize fairness…..starting with scheduling meetings so everyone can attend…except in true emergencies….and we all know what those are…provide real protections for home owners against developers with substantive buffers between neighborhoods and commercial stuff….heck.. just follow the LDC……many cities still do that……there has been revision after revision of zoning practices in Port Orange and its all moved in the direction of greater influence for developers and less protection for neighborhoods…….stop varying the rules for tree removal…..sometimes its ok and sometimes its not….depends on who you are… stop issuing permits after the fact for stuff that happens…people proceed without permits because they know there is never a consequence….just a cover up…ok… permit issued…..you are now “deemed to be in compliance”…….this is my really really short list……just some really basic stuff …I just want some uniformity in application of the rules around this joint…and fairness..
        …look…..I voted for Allen Green in the last election…I liked the guy…..I did not arrive at where I am overnight…lots of water under the dam since then…….so forgive me if I cannot do a 180 overnight…..having said all that…I do read your stuff and actually your Onlooker posts caused me to tone down my rhetoric in my last letter…BTW….that is Dianne with 2 Ns. So thanks Onlooker for the observation…I will work on it..I do certainly agree with this line: “As taxpayers, we can’t demand leadership while acting like kids.”
        Want to call or come have coffee? …Dianne 386-527-1641 Mike 386-527-1959
        we live at 618 Ruth Street 32127

        • July 7, 2014 at 8:40 am

          I generally agree with your goals. Just don’t like the social media part of it. Feels like kicking a dead horse to me. My only agenda is living in a quality city that works for everyone. Not just for the politicians or the activist. But for everyone.
          I do think your giving the mayor both too hard of a time as well as to much credit. Alan has put in 1000’s of hours to help shape this city over the past 30 years. Additionally, he only has one vote out of 5 on that council. He doesn’t have the influence he used to have on that council. Lately, Bob has more ability to change councils opinion than Alan does. The truth as I see it is that, as a whole, the council is in over there heads. Doesn’t make them bad people, just not able to figure out the numerous layers of issues. Take Riverwalk for example. You have a medical professional, retired firefighter, mortgage broker, retired police chief and a builder trying to decide how to develop a difficult piece of property. Even with Alan being a builder, that’s different than being a developer. As a group, they have no expertise is the field of development. Same conversation with the finance issues. Bob asked for ideas a few meetings ago on how to fix finance. Drew, Dennis and Don basically filled a few minutes with general statements of “we have to fix this”, but not a single idea, concept or direction was given.
          Seems like Port Orange is a business that grew so much, the folks that created it and run it are in over their heads. Not everyone can run a $100 million business. Doesn’t make them bad people, just not the best fit at this time for the size of the business.
          I think you and Mike bring a great perspective to the discussions, I just think its more productive to constantly bring positive ideas to the discussion rather than always pointing out what’s wrong. We all know what’s wrong.

          • July 7, 2014 at 9:44 am

            Agree 100% Onlooker. We are all over horsed with the many issues facing this city..certainly our council must be..and..yes …It has taken me months to grasp any of these city issues on even their most basic levels..
            ….I share your agenda: your statement… “My only agenda is living in a quality city that works for everyone. Not just for the politicians or the activist. But for everyone.”
            …to speak to your point about the differences between being a developer vs being a contractor …I understand…whole difference skill set, vast amounts of money required, multi layers of staffing required, financing needed, etc ….Mike was a contractor for 30 years. and I worked in our business for 10 years as an outside salesman so I can get this one …….
            … I live with a very bright guy …Mike is a PhD …..linear thinker..and Mike gets stuff long before I do …gets ’em on the first read ..not me ..but we both still feel overwhelmed many days trying to wrap our minds around this stuff ….there are numerous layers to this stuff ….Mike is like Dr. Bob Ford …Bob is always calm and reasoned …never a hot head..always willing to listen ..wants to hear all sides ….his manner always calms me down..and helps me clarify my thinking..
            And yes ….I in my best moments always want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem …wish there was some way we could all sit down together and talk..the mayor, the council, the candidates, us ……all of us ….communication is always the key….
            I will copy and paste this post and get it out to people whose opinions I value ..really liked it ….its reasonable and reasoned …..and I want to be reasonable …..a good starting point.. impugning people’s motives ain’t good …just hardens attitudes …I know that..hardens mine ….thanks again for writing back ..you are a bright guy …keep posting ..call anytime ..no need to write me back..I need to shut up and give some others a chance… 🙂 ..we have some very bright thoughtful folks on this blog…

          • July 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm

            Yes, Mr Green has put in countless hours but it has become quite apparent that his time has come. His attitude, demeanor, leadership at meetings has deteriorated.
            He does not have the best interest of citizens on his agenda. Also, I like the diversified makeup of the City Council. Hope it gets an even newer makeup after November.
            How they all proceed to fill the leadership vacancies will be telling and lead to our future success ( or continued failures) .

          • July 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm

            Is that you Bob?

  • July 7, 2014 at 11:56 am


  • July 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Dear Onlooker, don’t you know that a little humor is good for the soul? This whole situation is so terrible that if we couldn’t bring a little humor into it we’d go stark raving mad.

    • July 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      HA, yea I’m good with some humor. Just have to right the ship first. Diane and Mike could be the lead on bringing these conversations back to we’re they are productive. They are bright people who spend a lot of their personal time working these issues. I respect them for that. Take the Riverwalk issue for example, if they could figure out the real cost of us not helping Buddy with TIF, that would begin a worth while conversation. Mike has said that he doesn’t want to fund a private developer out of his own pocket. I generally agree with that position. What I don’t know is it more costly to pay a percentage of the TIF money to the developer or continue to pay the debt down as we have out of the general fund. On the surface, I would rather have “new money” coming in and give Buddy some of that rather than have us continue to pay out debt payments from our “current money”. Not to mention, if we got some of that property out of the cities ownership and back on the tax rolls, revenue would be increased over what we collect today. It’s a complicated financial questions as to whether we be better off giving a percentage or not. My guess is we’d be better off giving TIF from new money rather than paying as we have from stagnant revenues. We’re are upside down in the CRA budget as we speak. It’s really only a math problem. The truth for that conversation will be found in the numbers. If we could ever get that equation laid out for us, it may take away the emotions that we all tend to make decisions on.

      • July 7, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        Onlooker–On Jul 1 Tom Menocal posted an email to the City Manager’s Email log in which he includes links to three different perspectives on the use of TIF–one each from the left, center and right of the political spectrum. They are well worth reading and his email is available on the City website; or, alternatively. I would be happy to send you the texts of the three perspectives if you send me your email address (mine is at the bottom of this post).
        The problems associated with generating the types of figures you would like to see are covered in the three perspectives. Right now, my take on the figures that Buddy provided at the Jun 30 meeting remains the same as it was at then: if you believe his figures then the project will fail without public assistance and I don’t want to invest in a marginal project; or, if you don’t believe his figures then he is either deceptive or incompetent and again I don’t want to invest.
        Mike Gardner
        618 Ruth St
        Port Orange, FL 32127

        • July 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm

          Mike, I look at it a bit different. I’m not really concerned with the numbers Buddy produced. I agree with you that, as a private investor, I wouldn’t put money into a project that is $10 million short of breaking even. But, I don’t think that is the roll of taxpayers to analyze. The private sectour (Buddy and his investors) have all the risk in this deal. We already own and have debt on our dirt. We need only to look at what we are currently on the hook for and how Buddy’s project would change and ideally improve our position. We don’t make money on the sale of the condo’s, the tax payees get a return
          on the completion of the condo’s. Once they are issued a Certificate of Occupency, they go on the tax rolls the following year. That if when the TIF is created and paid out. That is the “new money” I talk about. At that point, the condo’s are owned by either Buddy’s group, a resident, or worst case the bank if forclosed on. Either way, the tax bill gets paid by someone at some point. That is really the only point I look at. The zoning for the condo’s are in place, the LDC is in place to guide the Community Development Dept on site plan issues. Likely council will approve site in public meetings.
          The whole idea that we’re “giving” Buddy $10 million dollars isn’t true. If he builds these condo’s, the “new money” will first go to paying down the debt on the dirt we bought, which will take the current burden you and I have now to pay it out of the general fund. After that is paid, whatever split the council decides would be fair would be paid to him and fund other city initiatives. It’s really simple in my eyes, no condo’s mean we pay the current debt out of our pockets, condo’s get built and the new TIF money pays the current debt, thus improving the position of our general fund.
          Understand my position, I’m not concerned with Buddy’s profit and loss, that’s on him. I’m only looking at our current debt and payment responsibility and trying to get the tax payers to have less of a burden going forward. A “do nothing plan” looks expensive to me.
          I’ll read the 3 perspectives and see if that sways my thoughts.

          • July 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

            I apologize for the 3 or so typo’s in the post above. I’ll slow down next time.

        • July 7, 2014 at 10:13 pm

          I read through the 3 papers on TIF. A few things that jumped out to me on situations when the use of TIF is not wise…
          …One paper talks about projects that would happen any way, either in the same form or slight smaller scale. My issue isn’t whether this project would or wouldn’t happen, but in the design of it and what benefit that design would have for the tax payers and opening up the waterfront for public access. We have one shot at designing a great project. If Buddy is bluffing just to try and grab some TIF revenue, I have to decide if I want his project with out a partnership. I don’t like Halifax Dr remaining in front of the condo’s for access to his condo’s. I want that area for the public to have a continuos linkage from Dunlawton to the Chamber. That element of the area is vital to you, me and most other citizens going down there and enjoying in.
          Another issue they discuss is risk when cities issue bonds and use TIF to repay those debts. Buddy’s not asking for any speculative money upfront. That would be risky for us for sure. We would be commited to more payments then. All money paid out would be generated from his project and not paid out until it showed up in the cities coffers.
          One paper discusses using TIF in one area may take away investment in surrounding areas. That doesn’t seem to be a point of discussion here. They don’t seem to be lined up on South Ridgewood to develop and all the land out west seems to have been built on.
          The one point that has some merit in my eyes is how TIF reallocates money from other taxing district. While not the best place to take it from, the entire county shares in that shortfall so locally it has a smaller impact.
          I just see it as we either figure this out now to the best of our ability or we sit as is for who knows how long. I’m not willing to get taken advantage of, but an incentive that generates new tax base and brings the waterfront into a useable state for the public is a reasonable move. It’s kind of like looking at investment property. We all have stories of investments we should have made years ago, but couldn’t pull the trigger. We look back now and say “why didn’t I do that!!” No project or investment is ever perfect when your looking at getting into it, but sometimes you just have to do it.

          • July 8, 2014 at 7:23 am

            Is that you Bob?

          • July 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

            Dear Onlooker, you do realize I hope that many people voicing their opinions on this blog are doing so with the intention of trying to force Mayor Green to quit. He won’t I think, because he is probably involved with commitments to support some financial interests still at play in Port Orange. Those kicking down Green are probably looking for support and maybe ideas how to get rid of Green so that we do not have to suffer under him for another two years. I suspect the “sharks” as a Green supporter calls them, do not know where their constant kicking on Green would go, but in all fairness, did anyone think that there would be 5 administrative resignations within a two week period?
            You brought up the reverse of an idea you posed. You wonder why Dianne and others can’t get with Green to help solve the problems, rather than kicking him around. I have wondered why Green has never reached out to see what points and issues he could accommodate the “sharks” on. My perspective is that the “sharks” have never seen people with opposing ideas
            get along with Green. I think dear onlooker, that perhaps, we are talking about a personality who prefers to play emperor, rather than play a role in a democratic community, with transparency and all that new social kind of stuff, which is foreign to Green. He is not the man of all seasons, and certainly not the one for the new paradigm of activists.
            Social media has good and bad aspects to it. There was an Arab Spring and perhaps Port Orange has had its Port Orange Spring. There are many who think that social media should be somehow tempered, controlled and maybe even censured. The truth is that in past communication medias such intentions could be carried out to some degree, but alas, it is futile to attempt to control social media, except by actively engaging in it, as you are. Most of the people whose issues we are talking about loath to get involved with social media. That is their right, and I have always thought their loss. When Hukil was Mayor she told me that she would not get involved with answering any opinions posted on my web site because the back and forth would go on and on, and on, endlessly. Social Media is like any other kind of debate or civil argument. If you don’t convince the opposition, it goes on and on and on. The opposition will not shut up. In the old days, the recourse was not engage in a debate with the opposition, if you could avoid it. But now in social media, whether you are there or not, the debate goes on without whether you like it or not. Big corporate elite, and perhaps the new world order, can insulate themselves from public debates, but governmental agencies have something called FOI and a expectation of transparency. And so, what is the answer for elected officials like Green? The answer is to be humble, honest, and transparent, and communicate with the “sharks” so that while some communication with potentials might persuade the “sharks” not to eat him alive. Green will not do that. I don’t think he is capable of operating that way.
            Thank you for all your comments. New perspectives and ideas should be respected but alas, I think the news media and the “sharks” smell blood, and it is finally their turn to steer the mood of communication.

    • July 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Humor keeps us all sane. It is a serious situation but also comical as well.

  • July 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Wow, is Allen Green bunkering down Greg Kisela to keep him away from Lori Brown and the other investigative reporter McLaughlin? They want to ask the CEO some very important questions that will throw transparency on this situation. I guess after the asinine statements Green made to Lori Brown it is clear to her that Green’s CEO has a ton of stuff to hide. They need to shake Kisela’s ass out of the bushes and let him face the music because an honest man doesn’t hide.

    • July 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      They will need to proceed on a different route. I doubt Kisela will give a tell all interview.

      • July 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm

        I can see that interview now. Kisela telling Lori Brown that he has a simple solution to this problem that he solved a similar one with his experise in Destin. Then when Lori Brown tears him an new asshole he will revert to saying well this is a very complex situation. That is always his famous last words. Allen Green can kick in with, “And that being said Miss Brown no comment”.

    • July 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      Looks like jail bars to me.


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