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In Field Trip Across Western Flagler, Jobs Council Learns of Unheralded Ag Power

| February 15, 2012

David Clegg at Clegg Sod Farms talks irrigation and fuel challenges to members of tghe jobs council. (FlaglerLive)

Flagler County’s jobs council went on a field trip today—the latest in a series designed to educate its members about the county’s economy—through western Flagler, for a first-hand look at the second-largest economic engine locally: agriculture.

“I hope everyone here is aware what an agricultural person has to go through,” fifth-generation cowboy Chuck Cowart at the Charles Cowart Ranch, a 500-cattle operation, told the group as soon as it arrived. Cowart wryly described himself as the boss of some 500 employees (his heads of cattle), his truck and land as his 24-hour office, and his acreage as his gated community.

“If you’ve ever heard of a cracker, you’ll now have the opportunity to meet one,” the bus tour’s guide, Mark Warren, an agriculture extension agent with the University of Florida, had told the members of the council by way of introduction to Cowart.

Chuck Cowart, fifth-generation Flagler County cowboy. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

“Y’all come visit me at my office any time. I’m here 24/7, on call,” Cowart said. “Next time you go the store, remember your agriculture people.” Cowart’s point: the food doesn’t appear on dinner tables by magic, but by what has become one of the least visible, least understood of the nation’s most essential industries.

The tour took in five farming operations to highlight the diversity and importance of Flagler’s agriculture: it’s a dominant force nationally in a cabbage production, and an important player in potato, sod farming, cattle and silviculture. There are some 100 farms in the county (out of 47,500 in the state), tending 68,000 acres in production.

The first stop was at Clegg Sod Farm Inc., owned by David and Wanda Clegg. Wanda is a member of the council—its only representative from western Flagler County. “Our two worst enemies right now is fertilizer and diesel fuel,” David Clegg told the members of the council as they huddled, crescent-shaped, around the farmer while he briefed them on the 426-acre operation’s sod, hay and cattle production (280 heads). In the near distance, an enormous linear irrigation system was slowly drenching the field, parched-brown by weeks of dry weather, and illustrating Clegg’s point: it costs $500 to $600 in diesel (at $4 a gallon) to pump half to three quarter of an inch of water on 40 acres.

Cowart was next, with a quick lesson in the art and science of raising calves to cattle to edible beef—with calves valued at $500 to $600 and a head of cattle at $1,000.

Council members were especially impressed with the cabbage operation at Hollar & Greene Produce Co., which, between its Flagler and North Carolina operations, accounts for 35 percent of the cabbage marketed nationwide. The operation in Flagler is a bustle of packaging and shipping—for very thin margins: the shipping box alone, the plant manager said, could run from $1.75 to $2.50, and the box’s total wholesale price could fetch around $6, less than a third of its retail value, where stores like Publix and Walmart charge the equivalent of $20 a box. But that also includes the cost of transportation. The plant’s power bill alone, because of the cooling system to get the “field heat” out of the cabbage, runs from $7,000 to $12,0-00 a month. The plant’s high season is ahead: “St. Patrick’s Day is the Christmas of cabbage,” Dwayne Weeks, the manager, said.

Matt Seay, holding potato gold nuggets: next crop's seed. Seay sells most of his crops before they're planted thanks to a stable potato market. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Matt Seay’s 610-acre potato operation was equally impressive: Each acre, planted in early January at a cost of $3,000 (per acre), will produce about 30,000 pounds of potatoes in 90 days, all shipped for processing into potato chips, the kind of agricultural product Americans never tire of. “I sell 90 percent of my potatoes before I ever plant them” Seay said, surrounded by trailers full of potato seed. The recent freeze though showed to what extent farmers are at the mercy of nature’s vagaries: the potatoes had just started sprouting leaves. Leaving them exposed to the freeze would have killed them. Every row had to be covered in dirt—and, yesterday and today, uncovered again. A few rows that had not been covered showed the result: brown leaves. (And how do farmers keep their rows so perfectly straight? GPS.)

The afternoon ended at Brachter Farms’s produce shop, where several members of the council loaded up, naturally, on local produce.

“It’s really important for our council members to realize that the breath of our agricultural community and how it’s not just, in a lot of cases, small, family farms, it’s a business, it’s a big agribusiness, it means a lot of money to this county,” Barbara Revels, who chairs the council, said at the end of the tour. “And also so they could see the ability of how we could do linkages to other industries that would even feed the agriculture, or the agricultural to feed the other industries. We’ve got some real creative thinkers who could come up with those possibilities.”

“What I saw out there today was the heart and soul of Flagler County,” Frank Zedar, a member of the county, said. “Most people think of Flagler County and they think of Palm Coast, because of its fastest-growing-status for a couple of years and all of that. But what we saw today is the vast majority of the land, and the heart and soul of the people that started this whole place. If we can help them with ideas from other industries to support what they do, find them places to sell their produce, find suppliers for their needs, for seed, and for fertilizer and for equipment, producing plants and shipping avenues, then it could be a tremendous boon to the county. Everything starts with brainstorming. Everybody here today probably has idea cultivation going on right now in their own head from what they saw. What that takes is once Helga gets here and we have our first retreat, we start germinating those ideas.”

Helga van Eckert is the new executive director of the county’s economic development department.

Revels gave an example of innovative thinking: “We had a company come here from Australia who made beauty products and they would have had us grow certain products to make the beauty products from,” she said. (The company chose to go to Naples in the end, because Palm Coast was not willing to risk as much incentives as the company, starting up its first American operation, was seeking). “So we’re talking about taking our agricultural community to another level, something that maybe could grow year-round, or maybe you’d be putting up hydroponics or something like that. Something they’re not doing right now. I think they probably know and have researched the best places to get their boxes or their seed, but still in fact if we had somebody come here who said, you’ve got a pulpwood factory in Palatka producing paper, and we’ve got a new idea to incubate on how to create a box without wax and we could build it here, we could sell every one of our boxes right here: those kinds of things, something that we could birth new.”

The council earlier had listened to a presentation by Jerry Mallot, president of Jax USA Partnership, formerly known as Cornerstone. That’s a regional private-public economic development partnership that represents seven counties, their governments, and some 165 private-sector member companies scattered throughout. The agency’s mission is similar to that of the old Enterprise Flagler—to prospect for companies and bring high-paying jobs. It does so on a regional basis, feeding leads to more loal agencies. Flagler County’s membership costs it $22,500 a year. The membership fee was previously paid by Enterprise Flagler (which, in turn, was mostly funded by Palm Coast and the county government). The county has picked up that cost.

Like Enterprise Flagler’s record over the past 10 years, Cornerstone’s is not stellar, and in Flagler County, it’s virtually non-existent: what few jobs Enterprise Flagler created—or, more often, claimed to preserve—were the result of local efforts rather than culminations of leads fed through Cornerstone-Jax USA. The organization changed its name to Jax USA to have a clearer imprint in the global marketplace, Mallot told the council. But the agency’s dearth of successes also argued for a name change. The $22,500 membership fee is due in May.

Jax USA’s goal, Mallot said, is to increase per-capita wealth and go after high-wage jobs, not retail or service related jobs. Those will happen anyway. “We’re primarily after projects that we have to compete for with other cities, counties, states or even countries in some cases,” he said, summing up the way Jax USA and its 22 employees do their work.

Council members were curious about what drove companies elsewhere to choose one particular place over another when choosing a new site. “It might well be driven by an available building,” Mallot said. Not having a facility that could attract a company “is a drawback, it’s a pretty good drawback.” Enterprise Flagler floated a proposal two years ago to raise property taxes and generate money to build such “spec” buildings, as bait for new companies. But the proposal foundered as the county’s various interests—Palm Coast on one side, the county on the other, businesses in between—could not agree either on a spec-building approach or a unified economic development strategy.

County government is itself divided over the build-it-and-they’ll-come approach, with Barbara Revels, who now chairs the jobs council and the county commission, and Craig Coffey, the county administrator, supporting it, but others, such as commissioners Milissa Holland and Alan Peterson, opposed. It’s not yet clear where the jobs council or its new executive director fall on the matter.

Hollar & Greene Produce Co.'s cabbage empire controls about 35 percent of the domestic market. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Potato rows by GPS. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

One of Chuck Cowart's employees. (© FlaglerLive)

Finishing the day at Bratcher Farms. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The good earth: at Clegg farm. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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38 Responses for “In Field Trip Across Western Flagler, Jobs Council Learns of Unheralded Ag Power”

  1. Yummy says:

    Sounds like an interesting tour day. Thank you Chuck Cowart, Duane Weeks (husband of supervisor of elections Kimberly Weeks), David Clegg, Matt Seay and others for making this all possible. We need to support local agriculture, and keep government (including local) out of the process!

  2. Kip Durocher says:

    Sod farms are a grotesque waste of water.
    This is an even more serious problem in states like Florida that are
    very limited on water supply to begin with.
    Local and state politicians need to think forward and start to limit the
    amount of lawn grass around new homes. Give existing homes some time
    to comply. Other states are way ahead of Florida on this.
    “Build it and they will come” is not the task of government tax money.
    Where are the vaunted “venture capitalists?”
    Real estate speculation is their job, not the job of government agencies.
    Jax USA sniffing for more tax money?

  3. Not rocket science says:

    Build it and they will come approach has proven to not work. Look at what was built at the airport, and after it was built they left! I haven’t seen anyone pushing and shoving to occupy what we already have here. We also have hundreds of vacant homes built, and I don’t see anyone coming to occupy those either. As a matter of fact, I see more and more people getting out of here. Local government needs to focus on paying off and maintaining what we currently have, and get away from looking at ways of how to create more debt!

  4. what an awesome story! it is certainly more important now than ever before to support our local businesses…thanks…they should offer a field trip for flagler county residents.

  5. No Expert says:

    Here’s an idea. Instead of all of these people who are just learning about the agriculture community (like the Flagler Jobs Council, with the exception of Ms. Clegg) getting together and coming up with great ways for these agriculture businesses, who have been around for generations, to increase their bottom lines, the jobs council needs to listen to what these experienced business people who live and breathe agribusiness need and foresee for the future of their businesses. The Council then needs to work to implement and facilitate what they need.

    These types of councils like to sit around and think of great ideas for other experienced business people to risk their own livelihoods on but seldom are proactive to implement the very things the businesses themselves need. If the Council starts listening to the experts in the field and quit trying to be experts in all things themselves and then are engaged in providing solutions and outcomes based on the ideas and needs of the industry itself, I will consider the council a success. Otherwise, I will consider them newly appointed “experts” on everything that just sit around and think of things for other people to do rather than being a contribution to the community.

    • Frank Zedar says:

      No Expert: Come to a meeting (you and your ideas/suggestions are always welcome) and see how much “sitting around” happens… And these folks did exactly what you suggest – they went to the Ag experts and asked questions… a lot of questions. They didn’t go out in their wing tips and dockers to tell the farmers, growers, and cowboys how to run their businesses. I’d say the efforts, so far, have been significantly proactive. Also, I’m fairly certain that “thinking of things” (i.e. solutions for economic development in a down economy) is still an essential part of the problem solving process.

      • No Expert says:

        What I am trying to say is that I expect the next time these agribusinesses face a challenge like consumptive use permits, and water, fertilizer and chemical usage policy changes, this jobs council will support the business people on the issues at hand. I have witnessed far too many times these government appointed agencies fail to stand up for business when negative policies are being presented and instead come out with great new ideas that could make up for the policy even when hey don’t know what they are talking about and these ideas cause more harm than good. UF spends millions of dollars and provides expert assistance to these businesses that cannot be duplicated. Let them work on the innovative solutions and let the jobs council be there when they need you the most. Then I will consider it proactive.

        Where does the Jobs Council stand on the federal EPA’s nutrient reduction policy that they want to implement only in Florida and how will this effect the agribusiness in Flagler County? I hoped these were the kind of questions that were asked on the trip.

  6. One of the HONEST ONES says:

    Yes, this was very nice to give the farmers their just due. Watch out for these County Commissioners and their agenda 21, farmers. If you think for one moment they are on your side, you are sadly mistaken. They are holding hands with the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, with all the wonderful restrictions they have on you and believe me, you are going to see more. check out Agenda 21 and you will see what I am talking about. Look up SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT under the UNITED NATIONS AGENDA 21. IT is right here in this county and throughout the United States and the world.

  7. Rick says:

    One of the Honest Ones, can you translate what these website are saying in your own words? I cannot grasp what is being suggested. It appears to be a lot of fear mongering without a lot of facts.

  8. One of the Honest Ones says:

    Rick, yes, I certainly can. Agenda 21 is a United Nations initiative to replace the United States CONSTITUTION and succeed towards COMMUNISM – CONFISCATION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY through regulations, legislation, and zoning. Agenda 21 seeks to control you and your life. It was signed by Bush Sr. at Rio in 1992 with implementation of Bush Jr. (president), Clinton and continuing into the Obama administration. The 20 year Anniversary is in June 2012, where attemps will be made to make the Agenda 21 “soft law” treaty into a “hard law” treaty. I hope this helps you to understand what is going on here in this county and the commissioners are deaf to it. You are entitled to your thoughts, but, this is not fear mongering. The news media will never give us the truth as to what is happening in our country, they are more interested with Whitney Houston. AMERICANS YOU MUST WAKE UP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. Barbara Revels is big into Economic Development (Communism) and she is in complete denial of it. Remember she is running for Commissioner in 2012. If you care anything about the FARMERS of this county and your FREEDOMS you will educate yourself and go on these websites and check it out for yourself. They are very easy to understand.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Barbara, the Argicultural Industry has done quite well for generations without YOUR creative thinking. You should support what is already here and not try to reinvent the wheel. Mind your own business. Reaching out to argriculture is one thing but for you to try to push your Economic Development on them will only weaken and detroitate what already exists. The agency that you are dealing with is the Economic Summit that the county commissioners and county administrator had in 2011 at the tune of $22,500 tax payers money. That has to do with the Federal Government thru Agenda 21 telling the county officials and Palm Coast Council how to run their government .

  10. Rick says:

    I took a little time to get through the websites. It is hard to swallow the material. Again, I think the facts are painfully lacking. Private property rights will be stripped away whether you manage the resource through a government agency or not. For example, if your neighbor enjoys the “freedom” to withdrawal all the water in the ground and you have none left to water your crops, what freedom does that leave you? If someone has the freedom to build a 20 story building next to your lot and prevents you from enjoying the sun, what freedom has that left you? This is extreme anti-government conspiracy type stuff that is detatched from reality and facts of today. If everyone lived on ten acres, twenty acres, or one-hundred acres, we probably wouldn’t have to concern ourselves with such rights. But that is not the situation of the majority of people and the minority would not have an glimmer of the lifestyle they enjoy without an advanced society that can engineer machinery, transport oil and fertilizer from miles away, air conditioning, and such.

    I think if you look at the facts, you will see that humans are overpopulating the earth and exhausting natural resources around the globe. Water bodies are degrading and drying up, animal life is going extinct. Florida isn’t what it used to be. If we cannot accept a limit on our “freedom” to breed, then we must accept other limits or face environmental collapse. To suggest that society should not begin making steps to create a more “sustainable” lifestyle is ignorant. I would suggest reading about sustainability from other unbiased websites. God gave us brains to use. The website suggest that we should ignore our impacts on the world because humans are just superior beings. I would suggest a more humble view that we are indeed part of a natural world – created by God. I find it disturbing that such content exists and that people actually subscribe to these beliefs. It proves that “society” has a long way to go in educating the public about the concept of sustainability. Pointing people to that site does an injustice and I would challenge the “farmers” to educate themselves from a broader selection of material. Wow…

    • Layla says:

      Rick, what does your posting have to do with UN Agenda 21? Do you think the government has the right to seize these farms? Is that sustainability to you? Because if it is, then you know exactly what UN Agenda 21 is trying to do.

    • Begonia says:

      I’m not sure these farmers would have been so happy to host this tour if they thought their property rights might be stripped away. Do you think it is ok for the government to come and take your house?

      Actually, Rick, in this country our population is decreasing. Yes, we must be very careful about our resouces, which begs the question: Why do we keep approving new developments here in Flagler County?

      You missed the point entirely of UN Agenda 21. It is One World Government.

    • One of the HONEST ONES says:

      Think what you want. That is our first amendment right but, people like myself that are trying to educate the public, being the fact we do not get honest coverage through the news media, any of them. People like you are in complete denial. Just wait and see.
      Volusia county is very much on their way with Agenda 21 and Flagler County is following. WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!! !

  11. palmcoaster says:

    I have to agree with One of the Honest Ones and Anonymous, as I found this agricultural trip totally out of line with what ED is supposed to do up front to create jobs…Those jobs needed, are not in our agricultural lands which so far are doing fine, but instead in our cities and empty office spaces, and malls vacant stores! They should be spending time along with Ms Helga Van Eckert trying to attract new small businesses to settle in this county and create jobs! Go into the local government agencies, local Chamber of Commerce, TDC, The Daytona Beach College and large entities like our Hospital and banks that serve our community and as well profit very well from it and ask them why they outsource our local generated contracts for services and supplies out of this county sending thousands of jobs and tax revenue elsewhere. Why some entities like the Hospital even compete and take away work and customers from the local suppliers to assign that work elsewhere out of this county. That what this ED council and Commissioner Revels should be doing instead. Revels knows well about the shameful outsourcing taking place as she organized a meeting as soon as she was elected with local suppliers and government buyers and she got an earful of the unfairness taking place then. But the special interest lobby is so strong that very little was achieved except for a couple of our local small business present like Cline and Alarmpro that rightfully addressed those undermining policies exercised by local government buyers on behalf of outsourcing and at least Cline Construction started receiving more work. I don’t know about Alarmpro. The rest of us saw a little improvement but the bulk of work still is sent out! When the good economy was here we didn’t mine so much to fight so hard, for our tax and services generated contracts forever outsource, but this work has become vital for the local suppliers to survive now.
    Many buyers cheat and lie with baited quotes request, to trick the local suppliers and succeed to assign it to their chosen destination out of this county and makes us sick knowing that are our tax dollars sent elsewhere .Other large entities like the Chamber even lobby against its members in favor of outsourcing to benefit out of area elite. Our successful Hospital plays deaf to request of local suppliers contacts for their outsource massive contracts, while their top VP’s tried to fix our ED thru defunct Enterprise Flagler. Sure none of the above help to improve the local unemployment rate and our empty stores rentals. No wonder we do not get out of this hole.
    They convince the local resident taxpayers that they have to outsource these work for better prices, what is mostly a lie and then turn around and use our tax dollars by the millions to promote ED and thru TDC, Tourism….So they hit the local suppliers twice by taking the work away from us and taxing us to promote Economic Development! What else better could be done to help our local economy?…well lets just take a trip to western Flagler County, on the Flagler taxpayers pockets, to teach our experienced farmers how to grow potatoes and cabbage. Nothing more to outsource there, as probably their entire crops are being sold by contract elsewhere as customary. Sorry so long, but this is as high a the s… piles up!

    • Don't ya think says:

      The Chamber has proven to not be of value, and only a pit for our tax dollars to go. Measures need to begin to dissolve the Chamber. This could save Flagler county hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Baxter and others have gotten a free ride long enough-don’t ya think.

  12. Layla says:

    What you see going on with Ms. Revels is exactly what The Honest Ones and Anonymous are talking about.

    She is looking for government funding AND CONTROL of these farms.

    Pull your head out of your ass, Barbara, and do what we elected you to do. However, I suppose we are dreaming to expect her to do that as long as Palm Coast is run by/and in bed with our Chamber.

  13. Homegrown says:

    Barbara Revels
    What education and experience do you possess that qualifies you to even think you should entertain the thought of taking agriculture to a new level? You are in no way more intelligent than any of these people who are involved in agriculture. There is NOTHING you can think of that they have not already discusses or thought of. Support these people in every way possible, and focus on reducing debt, and getting people back to work in the office spaces that have already been built. Hasn’t it previously been stated that you believe “build, and they will come”. So far, I am not seeing where your thought process of “build, and they will come is what is or what will become reality.

    It is also suggested that you not try to understand or get involved in the seed or box industry until you have proven experience in the agricultural industry.

  14. Rick says:

    The websites would like people to believe that land use “controls” originated from UN21 but in reality, land use controls have roots back to the 15-1600s. Modern day land use “control” (aka, zoning) originated from the zoning enabling acts back in 1920s (nearly a century before this UN initiative). The proponents of this idealogy suggest that because the same words are used throughout the nation that it is somehow linked to a national-worldwide conspiracy. But what about accountants across this nation that use the word “income, or “balance sheet”, are they also part of some worldwide conspiracy? How about the farmer who uses the words “fertilizer” or “planting”? Does that mean that they should also be questioned?

    The proponents of these theories also suggest that because sometimes regulations have the effect of making commodities more expensive (refining the lead out of gasoline) that the cause behind it is to weaken the consumer for the purposes of financial control but not the more obvious, environmental protection (or more specifically, reducing the amount of lead that enters our waterbodies through acid rain and enters fish through biological uptake). Last I checked, we didn’t want fish with high concentration of lead in them because of the health effects. NO, they say, the reason for the regulation is to simply control you and take away your rights. Should I have the right to catch fish from my local stream without some powerplant or unrestricted motorist from causing the fish to be unedible (and thus I most depend on government subisidized farm products?). Their theories are so far removed from science and facts that most are left scratching their heads.

    Last point I would like to make regarding this idealogy, is that the proponents suggest that if you are “community minded” that you are a “communist”. Again, they link regulation to restriction of freedom and therefore label such people as communists. This is merely inflamatory rhetoric. In actuality, these individuals are trying to mind control their followers who may not be able to discern the facts themselves, even though they suggest it is others that don’t know the facts. They want to suggest that they are superior to all living creatures and creatures have no right to exist under their rule. In the past decades, as a conscious reflective society has gotten away from our prejudices that “white man” is the supreme being of the planet. We have recognized women’s rights, minorities, and animal rights is a further extension of this trend. All of this is for the better yet, the proponents of this antiUN21 theory suggest otherwise. They imply that the changes linked to our modern economy and environment and continual struggles to adapt to a globalization are the result of civil rights that should never have occured. They yearn for a simpler time when things weren’t so complicated. We can all empathize with these struggles but that doesn’t mean we should reverse all the progress made in the past decades. At the end of the day, this is extremism and most people wouldn’t subscribe to such nonsense. We are smarter than that.

    • Begonia says:

      I don’t yearn for anything, Rick. I DO BELIEVE in private property rights. And I believe in a sovereign nation. I have no desire to live under UN controlled government. They haven’t done such a hot job in the areas they are controlling now.

      As as for land control, the UN plan would make most of the territory here under strict government control and we would not be allowed access.

      Nobody has to make up any facts here, Rick. It’s all there in black and white on the UN’s own website. They have published the plan for you.

  15. Rick says:

    Correction: Modern day land use “control” (aka, zoning) originated from the zoning enabling acts back in 1920s (about a century (70-80 years) before this UN initiative).

  16. palmcoaster says:

    These county commissioners are wasting our tax dollars accommodating Mr. Rawls (Coffey’s buddy ex from defunct Enterprise, as per our demands), at the tune of over 60,000/year, now they added Helga Van Eckert at over 110,000 plus all their assistants and hundreds of thousands more budget, for advertisement and publishing that will probably will be outsource as well and for field trips to farmlands and other counties (like to Volusia few days ago) etc. Hope they would not fly them to Vegas over ED.
    Instead they should call a meeting of all of these local large organizations again; government buyers, quasi government entity buyers like Chamber of Commerce contracting for TDC and Auditorium, Daytona Beach College local Palm Coast campus buyers and Mr. Ryan new PC campus VIP, schools buyers, Flagler Hospital buyer Shubert and his boss Otatti, local banks that profit so well and are so prolific, thanks to us all in this county and large succesful medical practices and labs and radiology offices and any other large corporation operating in this county. Should be invited as well all local small and large businesses suppliers of services and goods and then, this commission will find out the sad reality of the thousands of jobs lost to outsourcing. Then look for a real way to resolve the issue by promoting mutual collaboration, without lies and cover ups. In many cases find out that the buyers that reside outside this county send many contracts to their counties of residence and based on the lie of “saving taxpayers $$”. Yeah… his/her county taxpayers not ours. A meeting like this and without witch hunting follow up, could create hundreds and maybe even thousands of Flagler County well paid jobs. Also this ED council and VP’s including Carl Laundrie County IT (so he can justify his pay) should have been already very busy, seating at their desks on the phones and online targeting small businesses outside our area and out of Florida, including overseas, seriously and realistically promoting the positives we offer like “running your business in paradise” among very affordable golf courses, tennis courts, bicycling and power walking in our walkways, kayaking and boating from their backyards, sailing and surfing in our ocean and our enjoyable beaches and secluded inlets in this milder weather year around. We have also plenty of affordable commercial space available and our lower and non income state tax. Call a meeting for volunteers also to help on this task and “handsomely reward any resident or anyone” that will succeed to have a small business relocating here that will employ at least two local current unemployed workers and once the new venture is running and salaries are on their payroll, paid the reward, as I already suggested a while ago and lately also Councilman Frank Meeker wisely proposed as well. Don’t they teach this planning in these colleges to these ED professionals?…or only teach them to promote/plan/create more housing and commercial construction development paid by botched/fraudulent mortgages that we have to bail out? I apologize for any misspells.
    Maybe this county ED entity, needs to read what other counties are also focusing on, now:–128860108.html

    • Layla says:

      Palmcoaster, you make too much sense. Is there any way we can get you to run for the County Board of Supervisors?

      I am TOTALLY SERIOUS here.

  17. Clueless council says:

    This new board is a joke! Did you here in their last meeting where one of them suggested the council should approach farmers and tell them about more efficient ways to farm. That the local farms should update their skills by working with UF! HELLO CITY SLICKER…. That is what IFAS and mark warren does. Please keep your retirement self in palm coast and worry about people baking cakes in their houses. You have a major crisis in palm coast.

  18. Wake Up Call says:

    View pictures and additional information on the Georgia Guidestones at:

  19. Oh my says:

    The Georgia Guidestones states for STAINABILITY the worlds population must be maintained at 500 milliion. What’s happens to the remaining 6 billion of us? My Bible says, man has dominion over of the earth (Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 26). My Bible also says be fruitful and multiply Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 28. My Bible does not state anything about STAINABILITY or man controlling population which is what Agenda 21 is all about. Agenda 21 is now being implemented at the Local Government level. With Agenda 21 a world government thru the United Nations will own and control everything-we will loose our freedoms. The Constitution will be no more.

  20. Oh my says:

    Agenda 21 is in progress and our local government is involved whether they admit it or not thru government grants and big environmental land purchases. Check out this link:

    Is this the kind of world Rick wants to live in?

  21. Linda says:

    Only in Flagler county to we go from spending $93,000 a year for an organization we don’t want to spending $500,000 for an organization we don’t want! This is an election year, the only time politicians listen to us. We HAVE TO CLOSE THIS ORGANIZATION DOWN this summer. We must show up to the budget meetings and demand this. We need to fire Rawls and the $110,000 lady!

    Can you imagine what our community could do with $500,000.

  22. The Honest One Says says:

    Rick: Go onto Google and type in: George Herbert Walker Bush One World Govenment and click on his picture and see what he has to say. This is AGENDA 21 at its finest……..And this is what the County Commissioners throught out our country are doing to us. They are sheep being led by the Federal Government……and they are not even doing their homework.

  23. Rick says:

    The Honest One,

    Thanks for leading me down a path of discovering a new way of thinking. There are elements of this message that I do agree with. Not so much in the discouragement of Agenda 21 but in the taking of rights and individual freedoms such as the Patriot Act. At the local level, the best example I can think of is how the City of Bunnell City Council and Administration has decided to purchase and install surveillance cameras monitored by Police to spy on free individuals passing through their City. I do think it is worth being vigilant. Thanks!

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