"The forum will be put on by the Chamber of Commerce, and therefore the focus will be on the concerns of businesses"

fatCat
To: rhenning@pschamber.com
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2014 9:27 AM
Subject: Questions for the candidates and the Chamber

Dear Ms. Henning:
 
Several points.
 
I am against raising taxes and a senior citizen on a fixed income.  This city has repeatedly been shown to waste taxpayer dollars through fraud and incompetence, i.e. Parker, etc. and recent events.
 
The Chamber and its members benefit mightily from taxpayer dollars.  I am hoping there will be a serious transparent attempt to represent all views at the Forum.
 
Also… I am not able to give $1000 to my candidates of choice.  Toward that end, here are my questions about fairness in these various forums where are candidates will be showcased.
 
Questions for candidates and the Chamber of Commerce:
 
How does the Chamber propose to give assurances of fairness on this candidate forum since they are known to be allied with some specific candidates? Who will select the questions? How will they be selected? You folks control the content of these questions.  Please make them fair to both sides.
 
Candidate positions on TIF sharing for the Riverwalk Project and on sharing TIF with other developers from a position of fairness in the same CRA that just occurred.  Also their positions on TIF as a concept.  Many states have outlawed TIF due to abuses.
 
Several candidates received $1000 from Buddy LaCour who was just given $5 million TIF tax dollars on a 3/2 vote by our City Council.   How can we as taxpayers who did not agree with the 3/2 council vote and do not want a giveaway to developers believe these candidates will make unbiased decisions about this project and this developer as it proceeds forward?
 
Thank you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dianne Templeton Gardner
618 Ruth Street
Port Orange, Florida 32127
386-527-1641
dtgardner@cfl.rr.com






To: <dtgardner@cfl.rr.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 9:22 AM
Subject: Chamber Candidate’s Forum


 Ms. Gardner,

 I have received your email expressing your views on the Chamber’s Candidate’s Forum.  The forum on August 20 will be put on by the Chamber of Commerce, and therefore the focus will be on the concerns of businesses.  The Chamber did offer an opportunity for the public to meet the candidates and ask them questions on Thursday evening. The Chamber is an organization of the business community, and it’s income is from the annual investment dues paid voluntarily by Chamber members, and special events held by the Chamber.  Chamber members are taxpayers–they pay taxes on their homes and their businesses, and they employ people that pay taxes on their homes, so I disagree with your assertion that the Chamber and its members benefit “mightily” from taxpayer dollars.  Taxpayers benefit from a healthy business tax base.  Chamber members are business people who work hard to make ends meet, and many are employers who provide jobs for those who are not yet retired.   There may be other forums by other individuals/groups that will better address your personal viewpoints.

 Debbie Connors, Executive Director
Port Orange South Daytona Chamber of Commerce

 — 

> Debbie Connors, Executive Director
> Port Orange South Daytona Chamber of Commerce
> p: (386) 761-1601
> f: (386) 788-9165
> www.pschamber.com
> 3431 Ridgewood Avenue
> Port Orange, FL 32129

33 thoughts on “"The forum will be put on by the Chamber of Commerce, and therefore the focus will be on the concerns of businesses"

  • August 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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    I have to agree with the Chambers response. We all have direct access to the candidates and can get all of our questions answered directly from them if we choose to.

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  • August 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm
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    Seems quite one sided and scripted.
    The Chamber drinks the Kool Aid.
    Would like to see an open forum where the tough questions are asked. Oh, that is called a debate !

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  • August 12, 2014 at 9:57 pm
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    The bottom line is that the Chamber of Commerce has obviously rented out City Hall for their candidate event. The fees they have paid, or I am sure will be paying, to use the. City Hall facility gives them the right to ask whatever questions they want and that are in the best interest of the Chamber of Commerce. So let them do their thing!

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    • August 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm
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      Rented out ?
      Are you serious ?

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  • August 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm
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    Can anyone verify that the chamber actually paid anything to the city for the use of City Hall? Rumor has it that they paid nothing. I hope that isn’t the case.

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  • August 13, 2014 at 5:40 pm
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    The Chamber has been in the vest pocket of Mayor Green ever since the sweet-heart lease was made for the City owned Chamber building on the river. An arrangement that allows for the non-profit, non taxpaying Chamber to undercut the very private sector for weddings and banquets that it is now touting as representing.
    When the Mayor says he does not like non-profits he really means those he does not control … just like when he disparages those who do not want to pay higher taxes he does not mean himself with his phony agricultural exemptions on Jackson Street. .
    This past year the Chamber executive’s overt support for Green and Kisela and their handpicked candidates Laney and Junco has been hard to mistake, TO THE POINT WHERE THE CHAMBER EXECUTIVE HAS BEEN CALLING ON SELECT MEMBERS TO COME OUT AND SHOW THEIR SUPPORT AT COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS.
    Last Tuesday’s Council meeting was an emotional roller coaster for the large contingent of Chamber members in attendance to watch their guy and gal Burnette and Laney crucify Ted without so much as a rebuttal, only to find out both were so full of their own importance that they failed to consider for even a moment that Due Process dictates that Ted must be afforded his day in court.
    And what a day that should be with Ted un-doubtly playing past tapes of the Mayor calling Corey Berman a “cripple” and our senior citizens “buzzards” ……….Kind of makes “peg-leg” seem pretty tame.
    The only good thing to come out of Tuesday evening was Sonyas I QUIT resignation from the Audit Board out of embarrassment no doubt.
    The Chamber’s executive crossed the political line this year and I would expect they will be taken to the wood shed shortly after the new Council is seated.
    Bob Ford and Scott Stiltner have every right to be concerned about the Chamber’s ability to ask un-biased questions of either of them.

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  • August 13, 2014 at 6:19 pm
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    Hello Mrs. Gardner. If you are saying that some contributors are contributing large amounts in an effort to buy influence, I would agree with you. I believe that is the premise of your point. If not please correct me. Also, I could not afford to contribute $1000 either. I would ask you to give me your opinion on the thousands and thousands of dollars from the unions that went to Council member Bastains campaign account. I would also like to hear from you concerning the thousands and thousands of dollars from the unions going to candidate Stiltner’s campaign account. Do you have the same concerns about that as you do about Buddy LaCour donating to his candidate of choice? In my opinion it is the same thing as your premise of buying influence. I would also like to know if you support the unions controlling city council? Do you think that is good or bad? Do you think the unions will expect their candidates of choice to benefit their special interest group?
    I feel you and your husband are intelligent people and I support your activism. I hope you are able to see the other side of the coin. I look forward to your reply. Good health to you, your husband, and family.
    Bob Pohlmann

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    • August 13, 2014 at 7:12 pm
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      Bob Pohlmann;
      Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t Bob Ford the Chief of Police and as such he was management and by law was never a member of any union.

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    • August 14, 2014 at 10:38 am
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      Bob I guess you are trying to say that union funding of candidates is worse than developers’ financial special interest funding of candidates. Bastian I guess was funded by fire union and you had been funded by financial construction interests. I am of the opinion that both you if you had been reelected and Drew would need close watching by the public when issues come up like for you on developments and Drew on fire issues. We would want the citizens’ concerns to be the deciding issue if both of you had to vote on issues pertaining to your fund raisers. I hope finally you can let us be skeptical if we see the fire union being favorable to Drew and your voting on issues favorable to developers and the construction industry. If your point is let Drew get a pass on fire issues without suspicion and skepticism but don’t let Pohlmann get a pass on developers issues than I agree with you.
      But let us fine tune this problem of special interest having wired in favoritism from city council members.
      Developers and construction interests have the option of asking for one on one discussions with city council members and if in a city council meeting a developer does not get his way he can threaten to not build in Port Orange. A fire union also can have one on one discussions with city council members, but ultimately the contract becomes public, and during negotiations the council will not discuss the pending contract issues in public, and if not favorable to the fire union the fire union cannot refuse to work for the city, deal with the city, or even walk away from the city as did Buddy LaCour threaten to do.
      To sum it up, I would turn up whatever investigative tools I have when I see an ICI project not in the public interest approved by a city council member who had received funding support fro the ICI than I would a contract approval for a fire union by a city council member who had fire union support. Does this make any sense to you?
      Again in summary, we have to live with it, but many of us do not like our candidates being funded by any financial special interest group, whether it be ICI or the fire union. Bob you seem to be implying that it receiving ICI financial support is ok for you, but Bastian receiving fire union support is not ok for him.
      I hope my perspective somewhat helps this issue. sincerely hank springer

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  • August 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm
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    Just want to clarify that when I raised funds for my campaign, I turned to my friends, family, coworkers. It just so happens that a large percentage of these folks are working middle class people who happen to be union members. I received money from plumbers, electricians, teachers, firefighters, auto workers, etc. I had a few donations from business owners, attorneys, retired people.
    I am a proud retired firefighter, my circle of friends include many firefighters, my former coworkers are like family to me. During my career we had to rely on one another, and had to trust one another as our lives often depended on each other. I was very fortunate to have worked along side such great men and women over my 26 year career. After a short time in office we voted on a ratified contract for the firefighters, that dramatically REDUCED pensions, and also reduced some other benefits. A newly hired firefighter in Port Orange starts at $10.77 per hour, when i started in 1985 my hourly rate was approximately $7 per hour. And if anyone was wondering, when I retired after 26 years my hourly rate was $20.26 hourly.
    I would like to ask Bob if he has reviewed candidate Stiltners campaign finance reports, if he has he will see that Mr. Stiltner has not accepted any funds from the organized labor groups (IAFF, PBA, or PEA) in Port Orange. I was saddened that this years political race has gotten so ugly, but I guess thats politics. Port Orange is financially sound, and I intend to keep it that way. I truly enjoy serving the citizens of Port Orange and I appreciate all the support and kind words that I regularly receive. Have a great evening and God bless all of you!
    Drew

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    • August 13, 2014 at 8:18 pm
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      Awesome post Drew. Continue to represent the common citizen in the manner you have. Soon you will have more support when Scott takes the seat next to you. Then WE TOO will have more support. It has been great to see you grow and find your zone.
      Please don’t be afraid to hold the Mayor accountable and allow him to bully you. I have a feeling after January 1st, there may be some 3 – 2 votes on issues.
      Funny the only departments with no real turmoil are the PD and FD. I know, Pozzo left but all is fine there.

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      • August 13, 2014 at 9:00 pm
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        Is there anyone who would like to know why Pozzo left?? There is a reason and it’s not as squeaky pressed as his uniform was. Council knows why and should share.

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      • August 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm
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        THANK YOU VERY MUCH Concerned Citizen! I appreciate the support.
        Drew

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    • August 13, 2014 at 10:40 pm
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      $20.26 per hour would equal Gross Income $42,140.80
      News Journal Public Salary Database says you made:
      Bastian, Drew PORT ORANGE Fire Tech II Driver Engineer $69,727.71
      http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/99999999/MULTIMEDIA/120819889
      In retirement receives $3785.89/month plus DROP account of $122,673.34 as of 2/21/2012 minutes
      https://www.port-orange.org/documents/meetings/firepension/2012-02-21/minutes.pdf
      His poor brother made in 2010
      Bastian, Gregg PORT ORANGE Fire Lieutenant $86,235.89
      and in May of this year with
      Gregg Bastian commencement of retirement on June 1, 2014 – lifetime of retiree with first ten years guaranteed option – $4,587.57/month; rollover of DROP account in the amount of $312,502.71
      In 2010, News Journal Database,
      The poor Firefighter Tech 1 who makes, $10.77 per hour brings home at the least $33,504 per year in 2010.
      Something doesn’t add up. Talk to someone on the street making $10.77 per hour if they are bringing home $33,504. Its more like $22,401.

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      • August 14, 2014 at 9:13 am
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        The post above has Bob written all over it. Starting FF’s in Port Orange make $10.77 hourly to start, in 2010 (the year this data was pulled from) starting FF’s made a bit more, not sure what the rate was, but it can be easily obtained. Let’s not forget that FF’s are required to work 56 hours per week not 40, they are paid weekly. 10.77×56=603.12 $603.12×52=$31,362.24. these numbers are GROSS pay not take home. deduct for taxes, insurance, and pension contribution.
        My hourly rate the day I retired was indeed $20.26 hourly, take a look at my pay stubs that can be requested at city hall. I worked many hours of OT during my career, not sure how many hours of OT I worked in 2010 when the News journal article that was quoted in the above post, published the salary info. I am not certain why the blogger included my brothers info, but all the info is a public record and no one is hiding from it.
        Drew

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      • August 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm
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        Anonymous
        August 11, 2014 at 9:05 pm
        Hello Hank. There is clearly something wrong in Port Orange city government. There have been serious breaches in procedures that have cost the city millions. There is an absolute need for over site, there is a need for accountability and transparency. The way the city has been operating is an embarrassment to me as a citizen and a past councilman as it should be an embarrassment to all citizens. I am sure the present situation is a complete embarrassment to the present council. Yet, nothing seems to change. I would ask, as you have, as Ted has, as all the activists have, as all chamber of commerce members have, and as all citizens have. What the hell is going on? Why has it not been changed. So Hank, we all agree it is a mess. The public works issue was an embarrassment and Warren was released. The John Shelly issue with water meters under and over billing, and buy out was an embarrassment and John was released. The public utilities issue with sick leave buyouts was an embarrassment and Roger Smith was released. The new over purchase of water meters was an embarrassment. The list goes on and on. Ted and the activists have been critical of all these debacles as they should. Everyone in Port Orange is shaking their heads. I talk to people all over town who ask me what is going on. This we can all agree on.
        Obviously some past department heads had to go. The recent resignations were needed to move forward. But why did Shannon Lewis leave? Why did Chief Pozzo leave? That is also part of the equation. What happens when the unions control the council. That could happen soon. That is part of the equation. Why did Councilman Ford tell Shannon Lewis he would play nice if she accepted the interim CM position. What made him say that? That is part of the equation. Why do city employees feel so intimidated and fear for their jobs? That is part of the equation.
        I have no proof, nor did I know of any when I was on council, that there is anything shady going on. I know of no deal for Buddy LaCour. Everyone, the city, investors, and developers lost a ton of money down there. I think the city overpaid for the funeral home and the Galbreath properties. I am not aware of any deals for fill dirt. I did not know, nor do I now know of anything illegal going on. When that is proved, if at all, then I will change my opinion. If anybody has any proof, please tell me and I will admit to being naive. If any council member knows of anything illegal I have not heard of it. So I don’t comment irrationally on speculation.
        Now there can be a difference of opinion on city related issues but that is what they are, opinions. For instance, how can Bastion and Ford vote not to give tax breaks to senior citizens and then turn around and give a promoter from Ormond Beach, a for profit promoter, $23,000 worth of fee waivers to throw a pumpkin bash in Port Orange? We, as citizens pay that $23k. That makes no sense to me. Would you be critical of that? I guess we can be critical on what ever we choose. We can choose which council member we can be critical of. Your choice for candidates is not my choice. But that is my opinion.
        So Hank, there are many moving parts in the city operation in Port Orange. There is much more going on then meets the eye. You and the activists are 100% correct. It is a disaster on the city council and in the day to day operation. You have your opinion on what the issues are and I have mine. My opinion is no better than yours, or vice versa. But I will tell you this, while everyone is screaming about this and that, the unions are coming in under the radar and are tring to control the council. No one is even talking about it. You think that’s a good thing? That to me is another disaster in the making. Then you will start to see some special interest groups becoming very powerful.
        So Hank, I do not expect you to see where I am coming from, nor do I expect you to accept my opinions. I try not to jump to conclusions. There are two sides to every issue. Not everything is black and white. And I accept the American way, innocent until proven guilty.
        Bob Pohlmann
        Reply This post was copied and pasted from the Let he who is without sin cast the first stone thread from a few days back, I am sharing it because it shows that the blogger Anonymous signed as Bob Pohlmann.

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      • August 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm
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        I must apologize for providing incorrect information about my hourly rate when I retired from service as a FF. My actual rate was $20.24 hourly not the $20.26 I mentioned earlier, attached is a copy of my last stub, it shows the actual hourly rate, again so sorry for providing incorrect info. This stub is for one shift of 24 hours, a partial week as I retired from service after the first day in the pay period.

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    • August 14, 2014 at 10:44 am
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      Drew thank you for your comments and especially where financial support for Stiltner is not being accepted by Stiltner. That is real interesting and I did not know that he will not accept any police union funds. — hank

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  • August 13, 2014 at 8:05 pm
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    Drew you are appreciated by the majority of citizens and dedicated employees. You have served the citizens well as an employee and now as a councilman. We are impressed with your learning curve as well as your independent thinking and integrity. You have certainly stood for open governance, transparency, and the best interest of the citizens. You have demonstrated that you have the cojones to stand up to the construction mayor and Buddy Lacour. Bob Pohlmann is a disingenuous pseudo intellectual that acts like he is in the know, but in reality rarely has his facts strait. He is a groupie of Allen Green and Ken Parker and masquerades as the voice of reason and objectivity. Keep up the good work we need one more person with integrity like yourself on the city council come election time and one less passé Allen Green cheerleader like Bob Pohlmann hanging around and making a fool of himself on this blog.

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    • August 14, 2014 at 10:51 am
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      Ah Stacey you are too hard on Bob Pohlmann. Encourage him to keep on commenting so we can get insights as to how Green supporters think. I would really like to find out what influence a man like Green might have on someone like Bob Pohlmann. Could Green be influential in any future considerations of promotion for Pohlmann in Bob’s profession? Is it Green’s non existence winning personality which has made Pohlmann one of Greens most ardent supporters? Or god forbid is it that they both like baseball the reason that they have bonded together like loyal friends? — hank springer

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    • August 14, 2014 at 8:40 pm
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      THANK YOU VERY MUCH Stacy Jax. I appreciate the support!
      Drew

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  • August 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm
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    Drew,
    You played fairly and followed all the rules. Blue Collar is what makes this great Country what it is. The upper crust will never get it. They are a selfish minority. They are jealous they don’t have friends. That’s who they are. We are proud to have you as one of our duly elected officials. Keep up the good work. It has been nice to watch you grow into a well respected member of the Council.

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    • August 14, 2014 at 10:54 am
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      Poe they have business friends but I wonder how many real friends and family friends they have. It would be interesting to compare the caliber of friends among Green, Bastian, and Stiltner. Poe, what is your favorite baseball team?

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    • August 14, 2014 at 8:41 pm
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      THANKS SO MUCH POE, I appreciate the support.
      Drew

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  • August 13, 2014 at 10:59 pm
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    Hello all. All your opinions are respected. The last time I checked, the AFL/CIO was a union organization. I see $1000 checks now from unions and I have seen large union contributions in the past. I’m not talking about friends and family, I would expect that. That has nothing to do with my point.The funny thing is I have supported unions all my life and I was a former union member when I was a teacher. I am pointing out the hypocrisy of the comments on this blog. The comment by Mrs. Gardner criticized a developer who gave $1000 to someone’s campaign. So why is that ok when the same thing can said of all candidates receiving $1000 checks. Hey, if everyone remembers, I was criticized for accepting contributions from a local developer. I see some of the candidates here locally have also accepted contributions from Buddy LaCour and some from Paytas Homes, both developers, both giving $1000 to opposing candidates. Developers are a special interest group just like the unions are a special interest group. So why criticize only the candidate you oppose? It goes both ways. That is the point. I can’t help anyone if they don’t see this hypocrisy.
    As far as any city employee goes, no one has ever heard me criticize the men and women who serve our community and the jobs they do. I support and respect all employees and I support a living wage for everyone. I hope the city can afford a raise for all employees. I also think those at the bottom of the wage scale should see higher wages. I support a minimum wage hike to over $10 per hour for all employees. But, I also support reasonable and affordable benefits that are fair to employees and affordable for our tax payers. It is amazing to me that readers only see one side to the issue, their side. Let’s start being fair to everyone.
    So yes, I read the campaign reports and who contributes to whose election. I never cared who contributed previously but when I was questioned, I started to. So the bottom line is everyone is vulnerable to criticism when they are in public office or running for office. It goes with the territory. Some see hypocrisy, some don’t. I can’t help that. That is my opinion.
    Finally, I have rarely, if ever, mentioned Mayor Green’s name in any of my comments. If you check my voting record, I have cast no votes to Mayor Green’s yes votes on many occasions. I have voted yes many times also with the mayor, just like the present council. But one thing is for sure, I will never run away from my respect for what Allen Green has done for this community after 30 years of public service. That’s all I’ll say about that. For anyone who disagrees with that, too bad.
    Bob Pohlmann

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    • August 14, 2014 at 5:29 am
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      I agree with Green’s efforts and civic involvement for the past 30 years but I also see the decline in his attitude and ability to keep up with the times. It’s time for him to back out.

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    • August 14, 2014 at 11:13 am
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      Bob I guess I can agree with almost 99 percent of what you just wrote. And there is nothing wrong with being behind the building of a lovely shopping mall like the Pavilion even if it financially benefits your friends, business associates, family and even one’s own construction business. And I should write, if that may be the case. But the disappointments for me are in the details. I have written about them before and will not bore with another enumeration of the negative details. But I will write that what may be the culminating negative detail about Green’s connections to the construction industry, developers, real estate investors is the work of an alleged city partner in the Riverwalk Project. This project is not turning out well for the citizens. But among the negative details which I will not bore with enumeration is one significant recent detail that I will restate. LaCour, friend and business acquaintance of Green demanded that city tax money be promised to him, before the city elections and what looks to be the tip of balance the other way in allegiances to Green and LaCour. Bob, since you were the only member of the city council to vote against giving the grand master an inflated price for the property he owned, (the funeral home,) I will say that if you were on the board you might very well have voted against giving LaCour tax money of the citizens.
      It is disturbing to me that you previously had never cared to find out where a candidate’s funding money was coming from. But now that you have lost an election possibly because of special financial interest funding, you see the problem. Keep up on that mind bending path and you may still come to see the need for skepticism and suspicion when it comes to politics, in New Jersey, and even here in Port Orange.
      respectfully=- hank springer

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  • August 14, 2014 at 9:02 am
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    He still doesn’t get it, which is why he is no longer on the council, and will never serve in an elected position again. Is he really trying to compare Buddy LaCour to the AFL/CIO? Buddy LaCour is a private developer, with private interest. He does not represent the residents of Port Orange and the residents have no interest in him. The AFL-CIO has nearly 50,000 members in Volusia County, and almost 4 million state wide. There are 68 different union organizations in Volusia County. Thousands of those active union members are residents of Port Orange and have a true vested interest in the city and how it is operated. Thousands upon thousands are retired inactive union members who have been the back bone of working class America for most of their lives. They are homeowners and tax payers of Port Orange and to compare them and their political interest to Buddy LaCour’s private interest is simply ignorant.

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    • August 14, 2014 at 11:26 am
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      PO Rez about Pohlmann’s “ignorance”. Give him some time to learn. He is perhaps, amazingly, a slow leaner. I hope he does not teach any political courses. On the other hand Ken Parker is well suited to teach city management courses at Stetson university and I hope he does not shy away from the implications of city managers having to work with council people that have political and financial special interest ties.
      At least Bob has come to an awareness that all financial backing of candidates have issues to be acknowledged. In my previous comment to Bob I had tried to point out that a financial special interest of a councilman has to receive more investigative speculation than the financial special interest group which deals publicly with the city for a contract. Developers I think get permits, but for the most part have no contracts with the city. Like recently with Lacour they ask for a binding commitment to get taxpayers’ money. — hank spriner

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  • August 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm
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    How about a little discussion on “unions.” Unions are nothing more than an organized group of persons with similar interest. For that matter, they might as well be called “associations, organizations or chambers.” Here in Florida, labor unions do not have rights of “binding arbitration”, unlike unions in 48 other states. Only Florida and California does not have binding arbitration for labor unions. Binding arbitration is what provides the ultimate power for labor unions, but is also what can cause a lot of the historic problems seen in the northern states. The lack of binding arbitration in Florida is why labor unions in our state are relatively powerless compared to those in the northeast of our country. Here in Florida, employers can impose contracts and working guidelines, as long as they meet Federal and State Labor Laws.
    The scope of labor unions is to keep an eye out for working class Americans. What is so wrong with keeping an eye out and watching the backs of working class citizens? What, were we expecting the government to do that for us? We certainly know that without someone fighting for the working class, that many times hard working citizens get shafted. However, this discussion should be much broader than that of labor unions. Look at all of the “organizations, associations and chambers” and tell me how what they stand for and fight for is any different. Case in point. In Volusia and Flagler County there is an “Association of Home Builders.” This association requires members to be of a certain classification (builders & construction), it requires that they pay dues and the association uses its positions for political influences with candidates and elected officials. The builders don’t have time to do that all the time, so they need that association to do it for them. Makes sense to me. Take a look at the Chamber of Commerce in any community. Are they not a “union” of business owners? Do they pay dues? Are they all from similar professional interest (business owners)? Do they hope to receive benefit from their association with the Chamber? Do they get politically involved? Do they have special interest? Of course they do. I am sure you can think of many other examples, but I think you get the point.
    So what have unions done for our country and working class Americans anyway? Well, let’s take a look. There are about 25 very well known labor laws and regulations that working class Americans have come to enjoy and appreciate, whether they are union or not. All of these laws and regulations are currently in effect, largely or completely as a result of labor unions. So if you currently enjoy or appreciate any of these labor benefits and protections, you should probably be thankful, or at least appreciative, of what some unions have accomplished and stood for, to benefit the working class of our country!
    Weekends off for general employees
    Mandatory breaks and lunch breaks
    Paid Vacations
    The Family Medical Leave Act
    Social Security (that’s right . . . that came from Unions)
    Minimum Wage (can you imagine our country without minimum wage laws?)
    Civil Rights Title VII which prohibits employers from discrimination
    8 hour work days
    Overtime Pay Laws
    Holiday Pay
    OSHA
    40 hour general work week
    Workers Compensation
    Unemployment Insurance
    Private & Public Pension systems
    Employer Health Care Insurance
    Wrongful Termination Laws
    Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
    Whistle Blower Protection
    American with Disabilities Act
    Compensation Increases & Evaluations (raises)
    Veterans Employment Training Programs and Employment Rights
    Sexual Harassment Laws
    Military Leave (with pay)
    Equal Pay Act of 2011 for Women
    Now, unless you own your own private business, try picking which 10 of the laws above you would be willing to do without. It’s a tough thing to do, because it seems crazy to think they weren’t always in place, however they were not. Not sure how many working class people we have living in Port Orange, but it sure seems like a lot.

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    • August 14, 2014 at 8:44 pm
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      T o Tony, I think you are correct. If it were not for unions working conditions in the USA would be miserable. A good discussion of the nation’s unions would be extensive covering good and bad points.
      I left the state civil service where in some areas unions were strong and in other areas weak. I went to work for 9 miserable years with the U.S.Postal Service. I could not believe what my union would accept from management. From what I saw some union leaders accommodated management and were rewarded with cushy jobs. At one time there was a poster on bulletin boards of postal workers to report co workers who were calling in sick and were not really sick. I asked my union to have those posters taken down because I felt sick leave was a right earned in contract negotiations and that discovering employees who were taking undeserved time off was the job of management and not the responsibility of employees. The union was not interested in my reasoning. When I was in the post office if you earned 1000 hours of sick leave credits not taken, you were awarded a little pin to pin somewhere on yourself. And that was all. When you retired, all your unearned sick time evaporated into thin area, despite the interest earned by management in money in bank accounts to cover expenses incurred during employees sick time used. In the state of New York, sick time not used upon retirement had a formula to be applied to pay for some of the health insurance that a retired person would be paying for in continuing health coverage while retired. — hank

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      • August 14, 2014 at 8:49 pm
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        please correct in my previous commentary I mean to write ”
        When you retired, all your unearned sick time evaporated into thin area, despite the interest earned by management in money in bank accounts to
        please change to
        “your unused sick time”

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  • August 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm
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    Florida is a right to work state. Unions here don’t have much power here. Developers perhaps. Mr. Pohlman sat on Council when the City went to impasse with one of the Unions. Both sides mutually agreed to mediate with a Specific Special Magistrate. This was costly and time consuming. The Magistrate fairly made his ruling on specific items. The items that were deemed as fair to the unions was simply denied by City Council. Game over. This was totally disrespectful to the Special Magistrate, the Employees, the Citizens as well as the pure design of our system in place for checks and balances. The only message that sent was that Council carries a big stick. They are the root of devastating the City we once knew. It’s time to take that big stick and place it somewhere else. Mr. Pohlman would you care to disputed this event? Not fiction but a fact. The Unions in fact could never run the City. Well trained and fairly treated employees surely could. And most importantly a fair and transparent Council with a real interest in what is best for the masses.

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