ISB, Dunlawton or I-4?

highway-traffic-jam

My two cents

Newton

I agree,  there appears to be very little follow-up on many of the comments & concerns made by council members during their meetings.  They should be instructing the City Manager to have some type of an answer on the status of their concerns by the following council meeting.  Or are the pronouncement just for a show.


From:  “Newton White” <NWhite0@cfl.rr.com>

To:    Allen Green” <agreenconstruct@aol.com> “Dennis Kennedy” <DennisK@port-orange.org> “Don Burnette” <dburnette@port-orange.org> “Drew Bastian” <dbastian@port-orange.org> “Bob Ford” <bford@port-orange.org> “Greg Kisela” <gkisela@port-orange.org>

Reply To:”Newton White” <nwhite0@cfl.rr.com>

 
To All;
Reading the Sunday paper I see an article about research being done on improving traffic flow on ISB. I was just discussing the flow of Dunlawton with fellow Port Orange resident and delivery man, and daily with coworkers and customers. I know that Dunlawton is state road 421 and built and maintained by FDOT, however I have not seen or heard a direct letter or statement from our council or manager on their behalf to FDOT or our state representatives. After all of the talk at the council meetings, maybe someone could collect councils comments and draft a letter demanding review and a smooth passage from Clyde Morris through Williamson.

Again this morning I was stopped at the Taylor Road light westbound nobody was turning and nobody was walking. How long will it take to get this right or have them come explain to council and residents why our city traffic is being compared to Orlando?

Newton White

5 Opinions on “ISB, Dunlawton or I-4?

  1. Both the above observations are correct. This current council, for the past 3 years, has done just that. Nothing. Where has been the progress forward for the city of Port Orange? It has been completely stagnant. Week after week we hear the same comments from this council. They state the obvious every week. “I am not happy with this or that”. “I am angry about this embarrassment to the city.” I am outraged that this happened”. The same comments over and over but no follow up.

    It seems that some on this council, over the last three years, are there to make self serving comments. Meanwhile nothing gets accomplished. Some are on this council to follow the lead of other council members. The no votes to deny tax credits to senior citizens, after it was passed by state voters, was an outrage. I hope voters remember that vote next election. The no vote on Woodhaven because it might take away commercial business from Ridgewood Ave was ridiculous. Commercial businesses and new residential development keep our tax base low. We all like our homes in the sub divisions we live in. We all like the commercial businesses where we shop in Port Orange. I guess it’s OK for us but not new development. Sounds hypercritical doesn’t it.

    I would agree with the above comment. Most are there for just show, only there for their special interest groups. Right now it’s all a big show with no progress. We need council members that are there for the 56,000 residents, not themselves and their special interest groups.

    Next year there will be another election in Port Orange. I am hearing another retired Port Orange employee will be running for a council seat. We already have 2 council members who are retired Port Orange employees. Adding a third retired employes would be a major mistake for the city tax payers. Whose interests will these 3 council members be serving? The interests of our 56,000 residents or the interests of their narrow special interests groups. I think the answer is obvious. I hope to hear some dialogue from the residents on this possibility.

  2. Many of your newer readers may not appreciate just how much Bob Pohlmann is to be commended for his admission that the Port Orange City Council has done NOTHING for the past three years.

    Some readers may not recognize the personal courage Bob exhibited in making that observation because Bob is to modest to tell your readers that not only was he was a member of Council for 2 of those 3 years he was the Vice Mayor.

    As such Bob is uniquely qualified to point out those instances where he and his cohorts did NOTHING in the years leading up to the finance department scandals disclosed in September 2012 despite repeated warnings of system wide internal control failure.

    Now that Bob has re-entered the Port Orange political game I would encourage him to make a full confession of those instances where if he and the rest of Council had done THE RIGHT THING over the past decade instead of NOTHING those lamentable 56,000 residents would not have been taken as they were for $ millions in taxpayer losses. .

    Such a catharsis would be good for Bob’s psyche, the people would benefit from it and would certainly focus their attention on the selection of our City’s next Mayor.

  3. Ted, as usual you have your point of view and I have my point of view. You are correct in saying that I was on the council until December 2012. And during the last 2 years of my term nothing was accomplished. I state that simply because so much was accomplished during my first 7 years on council. Here are some examples of what was accomplished when Mary, George, Dennis, Mayor Green, and I worked together for the residents: Rose Bay and B-19 canal dredging and clean up, major drainage improvement for The Cambridge basin area off of Spruce Creek Road and drainage for Sleepy Hollow, expansion and 4 laning of Williamson Blvd, 2 new fire stations and a new police headquarters, LakeSide Pavillion and Veterans Park at City Center. These are some examples of what can be accomplished by a city council when council members work together for residents. All accomplished without a particular agenda except what was good for the residents. I guess you and your naysayer friends would call that rubber stamping someone’s particular agenda. I call that progress. All accomplished without major tax increases for the tax payers. We were not the enemy. So yes, I’m proud of that.

    How about bringing in the Pavillion project off Williamson Blvd. That company, CBL, would not have chosen Port Orange for their project if they thought our city was not operating efficiently. Commercial development keeps your tax rate low and of course the rest of our residents. Other commercial development has come to Port Orange which also decreases your tax rate. So yes, I am proud of that accomplishment also. Ted, I’m sorry if you think I’ll run away from those accomplishments. That was all accomplished during my first seven years on council. I would challenge the current council to match that.

    The last two years on council for me were horrible. Somehow, someway, things just became unraveled. It started with the Public Works debacle and ended up with the Finance Dept. disaster. The council hires a city manager to do just that, manage the city. In hindsight the council should have questioned the manager more, we should have investigated more, we should not have expected things would be taken care of without our oversight. So yes, all of us, as council members, share some responsibility for those failures. But to listen to you and the naysayers you would think we all had some sort of desire to fail.

    Ted, for my years on council I never had a particular agenda except to be part of a council that moved the city forward. I do not believe that any of the council members I served with for the first 7 years had an agenda either. And we did move the city forward. Those facts cannot be disputed no matter how much you want to criticize me or any council members, past or present.
    When the new council members were elected, I honestly believe some of them have an agenda. Either for their own personal advancement, to settle old scores, or to represent certain groups of employees. That is the truth as I see this council now and you know this is true also. There is no unity, no advancement for a common good. I believe the next election cycle will bring in other council members with with their own personal agenda. Our city is in for some dark days ahead and it is not getting better. You will soon see the tax rate increase to pay for these agendas. This is really where your work as a critic will increase.

    I wish you the best of luck fighting this new council come next November.

  4. Ford
    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

  5. 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.

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