I had a specific event in my neighborhood that directly affected my family’s health, safety and welfare and I appealed directly and repeatedly to department heads and the city manager through emails, phone calls, etc. And I got no response until I took it directly to the podium and the dais and spoke directly to the mayor and council and the courts of public opinion through our various media outlets and these blogs. And we were forced to pay big money for legal advice and then court reporters so this mayor, council and city manager knew we were going to go to legal lengths to protect ourselves. And we were prepared to do that.
This is all public record. A well documented history of what happened is readily available to any one willing to do some research. On this blog and in the city manager’s read file. And finally we got a response and a resolution. I was stunned at what we were forced to do to get help. Fortunately I had the financial wherewithal and was unencumbered by employment constraints to be able to pursue this to the end. And it’s my nature and my husband’s nature. Finally we just wanted simple justice.
Our little neighborhood fought back and fought back hard. And this is not an affluent neighborhood. Just a bunch of determined folks I am proud to call my friends. We made them pay attention.
But it was a shameful failure to respond to our little neighborhood’s concerns promptly and fairly….so……here is how I see it……the city, city manager and yes the mayor made me into the “activist” taxpayer and property owner I am today. Our issue became a firestorm that the city finally was forced to address. Didn’t need to be that way.Was not a battle we sought. But that battle and attendant research finally made me recognize this painful reality…..this is just what this city and this mayor do. It’s a pattern. They ignore problems hoping they will go away, or that no one will notice and then finally take action when those problems blow up in their faces…..what they did with the Parker mess….And all that fell out from that series of horrible disclosures… firings, resignations, lawsuits…sound familiar???…huge million dollar losses to the taxpayer…. it’s just what they do…It’s a stupid way to do business. But apparently a pro active response just is not a part of their model. Of course, its not their money.
But guess what??…..those days are gone…people are sick of it…..and we are on to it…..of quietly done administrative rezoning, consent agenda pass throughs to cover up huge financial mistakes, permits issued after the fact, secretive behind closed door fixes for stuff I know now we can only guess at….they will never tell you upfront what is really going on……..and other foot dragging non response methods to taxpayer concerns.
Social media is here to stay. Rightfully worried vocal taxpayers are here to stay. And I like you Hank urge this mayor….do not try to silence these legitimate concerns…a bad political move and it will back fire…..it is back firing. Terrible interview with Lori Brown. Will only bring more scrutiny to the mayor and the city…. to the TIF sharing with Buddy LaCour and not other CRA developers, the labeling of prime riverfront land as “blighted” so as to meet the requirement for a TIF designation, the mayor’s long term relationship with Buddy, the River walk proposed land swaps that so disadvantage the tax payer, the meter mess, the failure to reconcile the check book….it’s a litany of problems ..and that’s a short list..…
And unsubstantiated allegation-
Dianne Templeton Gardner
618 Ruth Street
Port Orange, Florida 32127