By Jeremiah Mahoney
Let me just start by saying that I could not have more respect for what the men and women who fight fires, fight crime, and teach children do for our county. I’ve been here just about all my life, and anyone who knows me knows where I stand: in Flagler County, firefighters, police officers and teachers are under-compensated and undervalued.
In finalizing their heart-breaking decision to cancel Flagler County’s long-standing annual July 4th fireworks, the Flagler County Commission attempted to soften the blow by evoking the popular theme of “honoring our public servants.” While it’s true that our county has withstood near-record temperatures and severe fires in the recent weeks, I feel cheapened by the commissioners’ blatant tugging at the heartstrings of the citizenry in an attempt to hide the true agenda behind canceling the fireworks.
What we are watching happen, I feel, is another example of Palm Coast’s Town Center dictating what they feel is “best” for the rest of the county.
That the county is dry is not up for debate. That is obvious. For that reason and the recommendation of County Fire Chief Don Petito, it was prudent to cancel the firework display at Town Center. However, the fire chief himself said that the show in Flagler Beach could proceed provided that we get the weekend rains that are predicted. Remember, Flagler Beach’s fireworks are shot from the end of our pier, 200 yards away from land, over the Atlantic Ocean.
The commission’s response, excluding Barbara Revels, was to instead cancel all the shows. Revels proposed waiting a week to cancel the Flagler Beach show. She was rebuffed with the logic that there would not be ample time for the public to know the shows were canceled.
Are you serious? News of the cancelation had already reached employees of mine who live in Volusia County before they got to work the next day. This is a prime example of how the Town Center powers-that-be behave when they feel that Flagler Beach is getting something that they cannot have. It’s like the child who takes his ball home when he loses a game and cannot play. It also follows a pattern that Town Center has shown in recent years-holding the July 4th fireworks in Town Center last year when Flagler Beach always held them, holding a Town Center event on the same day as the Tommy Tant Surf Contest after Palm Coast knew it had been set.
Now, the county is suggesting the fireworks will go off on Labor Day weekend. I’m hoping that means Flagler Beach will be having fireworks as well, but I suspect that I’ll just be disappointed again. The last time I checked, we all live in Flagler County, not Town Center. It’s time the rest of the county gets the same respect and consideration that Town Center receives.
Dr. Jeremiah Mahoney is co-owner of Flagler Dental in Palm Coast.