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As Voting for Palm Coast Mayor Begins, Netts and Ericksen Duel More Sharply

| August 31, 2011

Hard core: an audience of 50 turned up for the last of the serious candidate forums in the Palm Coast municipal election before the Sept. 13 primary. The forum was organized by the Palm Coast Civic Association. (© FlaglerLive)

Early voting for Palm Coast mayor began Monday with well over 100 votes at the public library in Palm Coast (the only location for early voting). Maybe that’s why the audience of 50 at the Flagler Palm Coast Civic Association’s candidate forum Monday evening was less than a third that of a forum a week earlier at the Hilton Garden Inn, though the Civic Association’s questions were more sharply focused and its audience, unlike the one last week, was invited to ask its own.

The candidates were somewhat sharper, too, their messages now honed and on auto-pilot, if almost equally humorless than they’d been last week, though humor wasn’t the point: knowledge of the issues and the ability to answer questions with relative objectivity and some command of the facts—disagreements aside—was. In that sense, every candidate proved again what has been a distinguish feature of Palm Coast municipal elections for years, relative to other local governments: candidates tend to be older, but also more educated, more experienced, and significantly more conservative.

There were also fewer candidates at Monday’s forum. Mayoral candidate Joe Cunnane and council candidate Dennis Cross were out of town, reducing the field to five men: Mayor Jon Nets, the incumbent, with challenger Charlie Ericksen to his right; Jason DeLorenzo, who had no challenger with Cross’s absence; and incumbent Holsey Moorman, with challenger Bill McGuire to his right. Cunnane’s absence took away the only comic relief these encounters have provided, but his absence also helped keep the distractions to a minimum, helping both remaining mayoral candidates make their points more clearly.

The five sat, like an all-male commission, along the dais in the chambers of the Government Services Building, and took questions on economic development (three variations on that one), commercial vehicles in residential areas, desalination, and whether they favor changing Palm Coast’s elections to even-numbered years. They’re split on that one: Netts and Ericksen say no because it would diminish the attention given the city’s elections in off years. The others are all for it because it would save money. If Moorman is re-elected, he would also get a fifth year on the council (so would Netts), in order to get the new schedule in sync with council members’ terms.

Much of the interest focused—or should have focused—on Netts and Ericksen, being first up on the voting verdict in what is essentially a two-man race for mayor, Cunnane being the perennial candidate for any city office who, in more than a decade so far, has not polled better than 8 percent, his obvious intelligence having never matched his skill as a campaigner. It would be a surprise if he polled more than 8 percent come Sept. 13, the day of the primary, just as it would be a surprise if the primary doesn’t decide the race then and there, with one of the two candidates polling better than 50 percent. Absent that showing, the two remaining candidates will face each other in the Nov. 8 general election. That’s also when the two other council races will be decided.

The cabdidates: from left, Bill McGuire, Holsey Moorman, Jason DeLorenzo, Charlie Ericksen and Jon Netts. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Netts has never lost an election in his seven races (three in Palm Coast, four in New Jersey). Neither has Ericksen, for that matter, though this is Ericksen’s first run.
Ericksen appeared more purposefully aggressive at the beginning: he alone dropped pretenses of talking about his family and his background in his opening statement, choosing to go on the attack with a list of projects he said the city started only to put on hold in the last several years—Old Kings Road’s four-laning, desalination (which he opposes), the new city hall (which he opposes), Bulldog Drive’s expansion in Town Center. His point was that the city spent millions developing those projects only to hang them up, though his numbers, at least as far as Old Kings Road and city hall are concerned, were exaggerated. Old Kings Road south was four-laned. No money is being wasted putting the rest of it on hold. Ericksen mentioned “three to four hundred thousand dollars for city hall planning and design. This was without voter approval and behind the scenes, and at present it’s on hold.” Clearly, he was referring to this year’s city hall planning, not that of 2005, when voters defeated the initiative in a referendum.

Netts didn’t address the claim during the forum, but did so the next day during a city council meeting. “That’s not my understanding,” he said, at first correctly citing Ericksen’s figures on city hall. He asked the city manager directly: “Could you tell me what we’ve spent as a city?”

“I don’t know about the old stories, way back, but the current, since we’ve been in this building,” City Manager Jim Landon said, “when city council asked us to evaluate our options and the fact that we’re spending a quarter million dollars in rent, and is that the most efficient way to spend the tax dollars, or what are some of the other feasible options for city hall, we have spent virtually nothing. Maybe, I think there were some advertising, about $1,000 or something.”

“So $500,000 that this council has spent, that is either erroneous or a misstatement,” Netts said, himself, by then, exaggerating Ericksen’s figure by $100,000.

“It’s amazing how those rumors or misinformation gets out there,” Landon continued—particularly when council members amplify the misinformation they’re aiming to correct. “Staff time? Yes,” Landon said, without specifying a number, “but that’s about it.”

Candidates at the forum got the obligatory city hall question, and each answered with relative support and opposition: yes to an eventual city hall, no to doing it now, and no to doing it without voter approval. They also got a series of questions or variations of questions on economic development.

Here’s how Netts handled one: “What makes this place attractive is the unique environment that Flagler County has. When you try to recruit business, we’re focusing on the wrong person. We’re focusing on George when we should be focusing on Shirley. Typically, the wife says, I want to live here or there because it’s got good schools, it’s got amenities, it’s got the environment I like. George says, typically, yes, dear. George is not quite ready to retire. George can bring bh8is small business here or create a new small business here. You heard the old song, accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. We’ve got plenty of things to brag about here in Flagler County. We have beaches, we have golf courses, we have boating, we have all sorts of amenities. That’s our base that we need to talk about. Mr. McGuire is absolutely right. With the millions of square feet of Class Ax industrial space in Jacksonville, we don’t need to be competing with that kind of business because we’re not going to get it. We need to focus on attributes that make Flagler County special, use that to attract people here.”

And here’s Ericksen’s answer to the same question: “I would agree that tourism right now is our number 1 attraction, but one item that I want to bring up here is one of our somewhat not mentioned all the time assets: the hospital. That particular hospital is the incubator, in my opinion, for further growth opportunities in this area, to include any type of business that is associated with it, whether it be research, whether it be employment activities, medical appliances, technology, we already have a neighborhood over there, we have assisted living centers, we have a memory care center, I think that that particular area could be the impetus to get Palm Coast up, up and away, along with Flagler County. That to me is the biggest opportunity we have on attracting businesses to our area.”

Florida Hospital Flagler currently is the second-leading private employer in Palm Coast, with 900 employees, to Palm, Coast Data’s 1,000 or 1,000—assuming the company’s numbers, as relayed by the city about a year ago, were accurate: Palm Coast Data is shedding employees, and the majority of its employees are much more lower-paid than the hospital. Sometime in the next year, the hospital will likely overtake Palm Coast Data as the leading employer, not counting the associated businesses Ericksen was referring to.

On another budget matter, candidates were asked to cite what budget priorities they had for the cities. Ericksen gave a concrete example of money-saving potential: reduce water-reader reading by half by going to every other month readings. But that gave Netts an opening for one of his themes: experience. By serving many years, he said, “you learn to understand the unintended consequences.” If customers are having a hard enough time now paying their monthly utility bill, imagine the difficulties they’d have paying twice as much, he said.

One of the questions from the audience was about the city manager: how do you rate his performance? Ericksen gave Landon a backhanded compliment: “Mr. Landon meets the particular standards that the council has set for him. IO think that if in fact we have such an experience individual, we should expect more from that particular individual than a person with less experience. At the present time I would rate Mr. Landon as meets standards, because he is doing exactly what the city council wants him to do.”

Netts, who’s taken some criticism for leading behind Landon, began by crediting Ericksen’s answer: “Mr. Ericksen is right on target,” he said. “The city manager is a professional credential who is hired to do two things: offer his experience and his advice to city council, and then to administer the city departments to achieve the goals that the city have set for him. Some of those goals may not be readily achievable in the short term. That’s one of the reasons that I always talk about vision. City council develops a vision for the city, city manager’s job is to move us in that direction. When times are tough, when the economy is tough, obviously we’re more limited. But I rate him very highly. He does what we expect of him.”

As he has with most questions posed to him publicly, McGuire answered more directly: “Here’s the thing. If Jim Landon didn’t make more money than the county administrator and more money than the governor would make if he took a salary,” McGuire said of Landon’s $183,000 pay, not including benefits and deferred income, “I don’t think anybody would care other than the city council what kind of job he did, but again and again Mr. Landon’s salary becomes a focal point of discussions. If Mr. Landon is doing what the mayor and the council are wanting him to do, and he’s satisfying the requirements that they set out for him, than they should rate him highly.”

The forum produced no debating moments: at no point did a candidate directly challenge another, question an answer or even look at his opponent, except in deference, while one was answering, or to offer a courtesy. Ericksen’s opening salvos by the end of the forum had modulated to statements of purpose and ideas—until his closing statement, when he dropped a surprise that Palm Coast is looking for “a hands-on administrator mayor who can better understand budgets and operations”—a direct attack on Netts—and the proposition that “the city council needs to take control and better represent the residents and the businesses”—a rephrasing of an Ericksen criticism that the council is too deferential to the city manager.

Netts didn’t take the bait. “I bring to city council integrity, I bring vision, I bring experience, and I bring proven leadership,” he said, citing four priorities—jobs, low taxes, the environment and infrastructure—he and the council would be working on in the coming years.

The two mayoral candidates summed up their differences necessarily without spelling them out. Netts isn’t looking for change, as Ericksen is, but preservation–“accentuating what we’ve already got,” in his words. Ericksen isn’t thrilled with what Palm Coast has got, particularly its state-leading unemployment.

The 130-minute forum had been long when it ended, but never boring. “Hopefully we weren’t too wonkish with what we did,” McGuire said at the end, a reference to the very wonkish, shorter, but also duller larger forum a week earlier.

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28 Responses for “As Voting for Palm Coast Mayor Begins, Netts and Ericksen Duel More Sharply”

  1. Jana DiNatale says:

    I really want people of Palm Coast to make a stand and vote the incumbents out. I am so sick and tired of the hold “hat” crap that comes out of Netts’ mouth. Get RID of the old and bring in some new blood. Obviously, Palm Coast is not the “retirement capital” that some people want it to be. Let it be flourishing with new business and JOBS! Get rid of the Pay to Play in Palm Coast mentality, and let the businesses provide job opportunities. You want to retire, I hear Boca is really nice.

  2. Penni Knapp says:

    Voting the incumbents out would be the worst thing to do. Having been at the forum, it was apparent that Mayor Netts, and Holsey Moorman, along with Jason DeLorenzo were the standouts among the group. Bill McGuire never once looked up at the audience – he talked down to the desk the entire forum ( I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust someone who can’t look me in the eye) , and Errickson didn’t seem to know what he was talking about and started out and kept a very arrogant attitude the whole time. While I didn’t agree totally with everyone’s answers to all the questions (everyone has their own opinions), it was evident that the most knowledgeable and best choices for Palm Coast are Netts, Moorman & DeLorenzo. Also, the incumbents have been doing a very good job for the city and have a good vision for Palm Coast.

  3. Mr Anon says:

    I will be very surprised if the voters come to their senses and vote out Jon Netts and Holsey Moorman.
    A low voter turnout will benefit Jon Netts, who I characterize as a professional politician.
    The lesser number of people who vote the more easily it will be for him to attain the 51% threshold.

    Holsey Moorman, who usually has less to say during meetings than Clarence Thomas, has more money to spend than his opponent. And in small town politics that is often a determining factor. A low voter turnout will not necessarily help him largely because of voter discontent. And he is not the proverbial professional politician.
    The odds I would lay for his reelection are longer than Netts.

    I won’t vote for either one.

  4. Layla says:

    Jana, I couldn’t agree more with you about voting the incumbents out. Netts has been on the Council since 2001 and if he wins, serves FIVE MORE YEARS. Everybody is screaming about term limits yet here we are with a Mayor who could serve 15 years.

    You are also spot on about the Pay to Play mentality in Palm Coast. It is all about who you know and how much money you have to offer. Small businesses in Palm Coast are going under at a record rate with little or no help from the city or the chamber. We have become a community of empty business complexes and acres of empty lots.

    Why do the people of Palm Coast have to be at war regarding what kind of city it is? If you want jobs, start a business. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else do it for you. Whether you like it or not, it IS a retirement community. The bulk of the taxes are paid by retired citizens. Why does that have to be a negative? Go with it! We can be a city of many things.

  5. Yogi says:

    Vote out the incumbents, then what? You still have the charter to deal with and this is what defines this government, along with thousands of ordinances and resolutions that your elected neighbors have passed so you would be taxed into submission. This is what drives small business away. Nothing will ever change unless you get rid of the charter. You people have been lied to repeatedly that the charter government is good. Look around you and see how good it is.

  6. PCer says:

    I get the impression that Netts just wants more of the same. He is betting that there will be another unsustainable housing/construction boom to make him look good again. Bring in the wife, she will like it and the husband will buy a home. They will start a small business – maybe. What will small business do for our unemployment rate? Nothing. I like Ericksen’s ideas of building on what we have. Let’s use our hospital to bring in research and other medical facilties that will sustain us over the long run. With that in mind, create a research facility for geriatric patients. In time, that can grow to other research areas. We have the population and the need for it, why not build on what we have!!! Ericksen will have my vote.

  7. palmcoaster says:

    Why I won’t vote at least for 2 incumbents;

    Netts said the new interchange will allow the “ultimate development” of three proposed mixed-use communities west of U.S. 1: Neoga Lakes, Old Brick Township and Sawmill Estates.
    On link below.
    I personally don’t care for any of Jon Netts interest expressed above to benefit more wealthy developers on our pockets, as we don’t need any more empty housing in this city/county. Enough is enough.
    We should switch those funds, if can be done (good research job for opposing running candidates) for proper lighting and more sidewalks in Palm Coast. Our kids safety demands it
    Sorry Mr.Mayor I do not agree.

  8. Lin says:

    Please citizens of Palm Coast, read the questionnaires filled out by the candidates and posted on I AM NOT a tea party member but like to get answers directly from the candidates. I attended the 1st mtg at the Hilton but could not attend this one., If you have any questions, please call the candidate directly. We had a question for Mr. Ericksen & called — he returned the call promptly.

    Regarding Mr. McGuire, sometimes public speaking is difficult — I look down when I am thinking seriously about my answer (rather than giving the pat response) — I won’t hold his “looking down” against him. It is the content of his answers that is important.

    We need a more responsive Council than we have now.

  9. palmcoaster says:

    I would like to be given the assurances by the new running candidates as Republicans and probably with an aggressive conservative agenda that they won’t create more unemployment by having the wrongful idea for cuts, to lay off of our city employees including our fire fighters or promote to send any of those services under the county authority. I been there before 1999 and was awful and that was the reason why we voted to incorporate as the City of Palm Coast 2 to 1. The about $200 in taxes increased was totally justified then as we became more in control of our services.

    Our city workers are very dedicated and courteous as I see them in our streets working hard under our scorching Florida sun, also they do a great job when we call for services.. These workers have even learned how to build our own neighborhood names monuments and the lighting around them, something that in the beginning we paid to outsiders to the tune of 58,000 plus each, now we do in house preserving jobs and $$$. Our firefighters risk their lives for us all, with every firestorm every so often and in any emergency. Our Fire equipment always in tip top condition not unmanned or in untimely repairs. (FCEMM helicopter). We need to preserve their jobs as these city workers deserve every penny we pay them for the services in our taxes and also we should not create any further unemployment by lay offs. Cut the fat to the elite and not hard working peoples lively hoods.
    This is the one issue that I would like to know, from the non incumbent candidates to reassure me about, preservation of our city employees jobs, as they are our neighbors and contribute to the local economy. I do not mind Republicans running (as we do not have much choice in this city election)as long they do not have the Tea Party embraced Cantor, Bohenner, Ryan destructive agenda for our American workers and middle class.

  10. Layla says:

    Penni Knap: Interesting choices…the Chamber lineup! I don’t know about you, but I cannot support DeLorenzo because he is the chief lobbyist for the Builders Association. There is no way I will put a lobbyist on that Council. Many people new to the area may not be aware that the Council is a part time job. If elected, DeLorenzo would still be the chief lobbyist for the Builders Association. His wife is #2 at the Chamber.

    The builders interests are already put ahead of the people in this community. I’m not going to put one on the Council.

    And something folks need to know about Netts….if elected again, he will serve on the Council for 15 years. He has been a politician here since 2001. Wouldn’t leave anybody on that long, no matter what the Observer recommends.

  11. Justice for All says:

    Ericksen is correct in trying to understand the City budget. The City’s credit rating dropped and that was downplayed by staff. I am concerned that the hospital will put the press on him to consider a tax like they have in Volusia and other counties to help pay for indigent care. Hopefully Ericksen will not be swayed once in office.

    Too much of a conflict of interest for Di Lorenzo to be in office. The fox will be guarding the hen house.

    Not sure what to make of McGuire. Was turned off one evening at the Flagler Performing Arts Center when Moorman was seated in the VIP section because he’d accepted tickets from the night’s sponsor. I don’t think council members should accept those kinds of gifts.

  12. Donna says:

    I do believe that Ericksen will do a better job for our youngsters. He seems to be more business friendly, and the young teens are counting on working part time jobs as they are attending school.

  13. PJ says:

    Vote Ericksen for change vote De Lorenzo for change then you can work on our wonderful charter. Did I mention get rid of our over paid City Manager too?

  14. VoteEmOut says:

    “palmcoaster” seems determined to make the PC election a partisan one even though candidates do not run by party affilliation. Since 2 of the Mayorial candidates are registered as Republicans and one with no party affiliation, I assue Mr. palmcoaster will be sitting this one out isf he is an honorable man. My name says it all as far as incumbents based on their performance. I know its a cliche but does “putting the fox in the henhouse” seem appropriate concerning voting for Mr. Delorenzo?

  15. Will says:

    I support Jason DeLorenzo for Council for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that our community needs to nurture younger people to participate in all parts of government. With due respect to Councilman Frank Meeker who works for the St. Johns River organization as Ombudsman, the other four current council members are all retireees. Of the other seven people running for Mayor or Council now, DeLorenzo is the ONLY one under 45 !

    I see absolutely no conflict of interest, as some have suggested, in a young businessman running for council. Yes, he is the government relations director for the Flagler Home Builders, but because of that position, he understands more about our city codes and requirements than most. He does not “own” the Home Builders – they’re his employer. I know him well enough to believe that as a council member he would use his independent judgement on issues before council and not simply vote for his employer’s position. After all, he’s raising his family here and might find different employment some day.

    DeLorenzo is a hard worker, has a sharp mind, and takes his public volunteer work very seriously. He’s part of the business commmunity and understands the need to balance clean growth with the lifestyle dreams of people here now and future residents too. I think the community will be very well served if DeLorenzo is elected to City Council in November.

  16. Layla says:

    Will: I appreciate your comments re DeLorenzo. In any other city I might even agree with you, but not this one……not as long as we have acres and acres of empty land we have been stuck paying for.

    What we need here is a moratorium on building, until we get our water situation straightened out. The more housing permits that are being issued now, the lower our property values are going. We are overbuilt and adding empty neighborhoods is not the answer. We are not taking care of the ones already developed. We have too many builders in bankruptcy. We have too many empty shopping centers and office buildings here. That also hurts us.

    This Council never met a builder they didn’t love, especially the big ones. As long as that is the prevailing attitude, it would be suicidal to put their lobbyist in office here.

  17. palmcoaster says:

    @Votethemput; I just want to be reassure by Mr. Ericksen of what I asked above. The preservation of our city employees jobs needed to fullfil the services we pay on our taxes upfront, as they do a very good job and we need NO more unemployed around. The reason to mention party on the city election is for obvious reasons not a negative one. I am still a registered Republican but NOT a Tea Party one because they are extreme. De Lorenzo won’t get my vote but at the same time I am very sorry and regret that Mr. Cross missed the last debate meeting.

  18. Linda says:

    I too am very sorry Mr. Cross missed the last debate. He is in Wisconsin visiting his ailing brother. He could not be persuaded to call off the trip.

    According to what I understand, the date of the debate was changed and he had already made plans for his trip. He was told they likely would hold another debate as the November election gets closer. Let us hope that is the case, as I understand it was a good debate.

    We need more of these in Palm Coast giving the citizens the opportunity to ask the questions. I stood today outside the Library, listening to Mr. Ericksen while he spoke with people going into vote. I learned a lot.

    He reads Flagler Live and likes to comment here. Keep the discussion going.

  19. Charles Ericksen, Jr says:

    Palmcoaster….I have seem many City employees, putting forth a great effort to keep the City in top notch shape. I usually stop and talk with them about working conditions and what they might need to succeed even more. I’ve visited the water treatment plants to better understand, what makes them work. Many of my grandsons, have visited the firehouses, ( something my Dad did for me) and have received a firehat , a tour and even a look see at the equipment. Mike B does us well in the management of the Fire Services. I bicycle alot, and get to see problems at a slower speed, and write emails to Public Works and within days, the pot hole is fixed, the water leak at an abandoned house is shut off, or a tree leaning on a power line is removed. I thought initially, the response would be, “Oh another one of those old people writing with nothing better to do” attitudes, but Richard Adams people, even look forward to my comments. They miss them if they don’t come in, and I get asked at City Council meetings, “have you seen anything we need to fix?….I learned early on, that if a manager ( which I was ), doesn’t talk with his people, and get their input, he’s NOT a manager..Good workers are never let go…Management is/should never be just bottomline $$ driven. Employers can help employees work smarter, with training and up to date equipment. and all of that goes into real budgetting, the tax $$ and fees raised…But let’s have fun doing a tough job, and keep smiling

  20. Lin says:

    City election is Sept 13 with early voting going on now.

  21. tulip says:

    In response to MR. ANON’s post—- I would think that a lower turnout would benefit Mr. Ericksen, as I’m sure he’s making it very clear that he needs “his people” to get out and vote as this could be a very close race, and maybe Mr. Netts “people” think he’s a “shoe-in” and won’t bother to vote–no candidate wants the people to think he/she is a winner and therefore not cast a vote–that’s how they lose sometimes.

    Being that Mr. Ericksen is the first serious and knowledgable contender Mr. Netts has had to run against, I would assume that he is also heavily persuading his constituents to get out there and vote for him.

    I am surprised early voting isn’t a lot busier than it is–either that or residents want to hear more from the candidates before they make their decision–or they don’t really care and will gripe later.

  22. VoteEmOut says:

    Thanks for the mostly reasoned reply to my post palmcoaster, however I do question your statement “…NOT a Tea Party one because they are extreme.” The local Tea Party has as its core values: Constitutionally Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility, Strong National Defense, Free Markets with the objective of Electing public servants committed to uphold the United States Constitution. Could you please explain how that is extreme? If this position as opposed to European style socialism is extreme then I guesss a lot of Americans are extreme.

  23. Bob says:

    In response to Will’s posted statement “…DeLorenzo is the ONLY one under 45.” Are we now entering discrimination (age) into the city elections. Alll of us were or are under 45 at some point in our life. Those over 45 hope that the experiences of life have taught leasons that lead to wisdom and understanding of how the world rally works (i.e. undue influence on elected officials by special interest groups like the Home Builders Association chief lobbyist serving on City Council). As Ronald Reagan would have said “I know the voters of Palm Coast won’t hold his youth against Mr. DeLorenzo.” But I do hope he can explain how he can serve 2 masters – the residents of Palm coast and his employer.

  24. palmcoaster says:

    Dear VoteEm…I am glad we can have a respectful exchange of different opinions. Maybe the “local” Tea Party is different from the rest of many in our country. Even still being a Republican I guess, I am a more “flexible one” not as conservative and I never have been. Extreme, I consider these newly elected and supported Tea Party governors Representatives and Senators that like Ryan want to privatize and do away with our SS, Medicare and Medicaid. No valid reason for that other than getting more Wall Street boys paws into our life contributed programs besides the shameful fees and gambling so far done to these workers 401k’s, my children among them. I never chose one. Look what we have for privatized health coverage today. Our sick bodies have become money making machines for hospitals, many medical professionals, labs and pharmaceuticals, thanks to the insurance rip off and thieves in entities like Columbia Health System billionaire fraud abuse of Medicare by no other than our current governor. I sure do not want anymore privatization like this. There are some services in our country that should not be privatized ever, in order to preserve the well being and safety of all Americans. Conservative equals privatizing to me lately and I do not agree. I have myself, my family and some of my friends pressure to avoid unnecessary surgeries, treatments and or dangerous side effects meds by second opinion that most can’t afford. I know our bodies have become money making machines often for the industry..

    I also consider extreme these new governors (Walker, Scott, Kasic, Christy and others) wedging a war against our public employees and their unions, the private one’s will follow suit if we let them get away with it. Our public employees provide our services and do it well and we do not need any more unemployed in this country. People out of work do not shop, buy cars, clothing or take vacations! Can anyone realize here that is not the wealthy that makes America great but mostly the middle class and its workers? If other than sparring all the time both wealthy and middle class and workers will collaborate more then the US has it made! These internal quasi civil wars allover again keeps us in this economic muck and benefiting special interest.
    Mr. Bhoener, Cantor, Ryan and the others need to get off their corners and collaborate with this President to find jobs for the over 20 million unemployed and stop the bickering that I also consider very super extreme. When we elected Bush the country collaborated with him even with some of his several wrong deeds. Why this all out war now against this man (reasons I am ashamed to mention) why the current disrespect for our President that was as well, elected by the people, as Bush was? Very very sad….and extreme.
    In another note, I totally agree with Bob above.

  25. palmcoaster says:

    Looks like you got our vote Mr. Ericksen. Thank you for your reassuring reply.
    If elected, please do not lobby to increase our county sales tax to fund ED, as will take away more sales from our local businesses.
    My appreciation also to FlagerLive for giving us the opportunity to express our thoughts, exchanges and information here.

  26. YoungResident says:

    Here’s the biggest problem I see, and I know others won’t agree, but Palm Coast was originally supposed to be a retirement community, such as The Villages. Unfortunately, that didn’t work and now you have thousands of families living here, raising their children, yet our voices are not heard at all. It’s all about what the elderly community wants for this town. It may sound crass, but they are going to pass and that’s going to leave all these young residents, whose voices have never been listened to, and then what?

    We need to allow businesses to come here without so many restrictions so that our teenagers have places to work. We need to encourage the hospital to continue to grow to employ more people at a higher wage than a retail/fast food job. We need to have things for our younger kids to do, instead of having to drive to Daytona, Jacksonville or Orlando all the time. What do these candidates say to all of that?

  27. Layla says:

    YoungResident: I understand how you feel. I retired here. I want the same services you want. Nobody is listened to in this community except the builders, which is why many are working so hard to bring in new candidates to run for the Council.

    If you have noticed, we have acres and acreas of empty office complexes. EMPTY. Must be one hell of a tax break to come in, build a large complex and then it stand empty. Then they build another and another and another. We have more banks, large drug stores, mortgage offices and nail parlors than any community I’ve ever seen but not the services we can use.

    We have developers who have cleared acres of land to put up houses, the new Home Depot on 100. We end up with empty land (Town Center), no new Home Depot and empty model homes. We are becoming a ghost town. Failed construction is what we excel at.

    We have a council that discourages businesses from coming to Palm Coast because of issues like signage. We have a state and federal government that have overregulated business so badly it is easier for them to just close than to fight it. The only ones who CAN stay in business are the wealthy developmers building all this empty stuff that is lowering our property values.

    What makes you think it is the seniors that get their way? That’s wrong. You have to be vocal, you have to speak out, write letters, VOTE. If this community is not what you want it to be, you must step forward and get involved. There is early voting right now for the Mayor’s race. Have you voted?

    And yes, your comments about the elderly do sound crass. The built the damned place for you. Try and remember that before you blame them for your problems now. Instead of complaining, get involved. Start a business of your own. We did.

  28. YoungResident says:

    Well, let’s see, I did vote (and have) and I do own my own business. So, thanks, but again, the young in this town are NOT listened to. You actually proved my point for me. Yes, you helped build Palm Coast up, but you aren’t what’s sustaining it. It’s being sustained by those young families who would like nothing more than to spend their money in Palm Coast on their kids’ activities, but instead have to travel 30 minutes one way to do such a thing.
    Do you realize that unless I want to throw my child a McDonald’s birthday party (which is fine, but not what my son wants), I can chose the bowling alley on Old Kings, that hasn’t handled our last two baseball parties well at all, or I can drive 30 minutes to Ormond and Daytona and have a skating party, Daytona Lagoon, bowling party at a more modern bowling alley, or all sorts of stuff and if I go 45 minutes the other way I can have a party on a Pirate ship or at a Chuck E cheese. THOSE are the things I’m talking about.

    Also, I didn’t blame the seniors for my problems. What I said was, we need some younger representation so that the thousands and thousands of young people in this town can be heard. If you fail to see how we’re not heard, then you’re probably one of those old people I’m talking about.

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