LETTER TO THE EDITOR of the Daytona Beach News Journal
This unabashedly critical and uncomplimentary letter is in response to your editorial titled “Port Orange seeks sensible solutions” and to your 12/12/2015 article titled “Port Orange retiree’s $3,000+ water bill prompts city to explore options.” Both articles do an adequate job of presenting the facts surrounding Port Orange’s attempts to collect more than $3,000 from Monica Jones, a partially disabled widow living on Social Security, but neither one presents the full story. The News-Journal is guilty of that insidious journalistic sin of omission.
Ms Jones originally appeared before City Council on October 6, 2015 asking for relief from an extraordinarily high water bill caused by a leaking pipe. The City’s idea of relief was to have her sign an agreement on November 13 under which she would make payments of $50.59 per month for five years and to place a lien on her single-wide mobile home to guarantee payment. It was only after Ted Noftall pointed out the callous nature of these arrangements during the Citizen Participation section of the December 1 City Council meeting that any further action was taken.
As your previous coverage of these events points out, City Manager Jake Johansson is now looking in to other ways to help Ms Jones with her bill. What your previous coverage of these events fails to point out is that Mr Johansson’s charitable nature only appeared after citizen scrutiny of the facts. Before this scrutiny everyone at City Hall was perfectly content to bind a 74-year-old widow to five years of payments under threat of taking her home.
Some people find this a deplorable situation even without public embarrassment. Ted Noftall has set up an account in Monica Jones’ name to accept donations towards her water bill. People interested in donating can stop by any branch of TD Bank and simply say they want to add money to the “Monica Jones Water Relief Fund.” The bank will give you a receipt.
Thanks to all who have donated so far.
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