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Edifice Complex: Palm Coast Council Should Forget About Gang of Six’s Geezer Gimmick

| July 12, 2013

An old postcard of an even older city hall in Bayonne, N.J.

An old postcard of an even older city hall in Bayonne, N.J.

By Merrill Shapiro

First the apology.  Yup: This is another “My how quickly the world is changing” piece.  You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again.  The question arises once again because of the people who just don’t get it.  Sadly, none of us can get it for them.  They need to see it themselves. But will they?  Perhaps soon they will learn that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions.

Merrill Shapiro (© FlaglerLive)

Merrill Shapiro (© FlaglerLive)

So, the world is changing quickly.  Bricks and mortar, CDs and DVDs, permanent offices with wired telephones are all disappearing. They’re going the way of magazines and journals, 8-track tapes and paper airline tickets. In parts of the country you can order groceries on-line, have the orders filled from a warehouse in the low-rent district and have them delivered to your front door in a matter of a few hours, sometimes a matter of minutes.  On-line merchants have taken over the bookstore business and threaten to do a great deal more. More homes are going without land phone lines as mobile phones proliferate and satellite dishes help cut even more wires from entering our homes.

It appears that more and more Flagler County businesses are being run out of the garages of residents or out of trucks that are close to our neighborhoods and can be anywhere they can serve the public and make a buck in moments.  When your windshield was chipped back in the old days, you took your car to the shop.  Now the shop comes to you, in your own driveway.

Click On:

The slowest changes, however, are found in the lack of recognition of the changes taking place right in our midst.  One of those business gurus asked his audience to name the part of an automobile that still, in the 21st century is virtually the same as it was when the car was invented more than 100 years ago.  There are many guesses, but the answer being sought is “The nut behind the wheel.” 

That means change is occurring around us all the time, but we all too often don’t see it, continuing to operate as if nothing has changed at all.

Only those of us in the Medicare set are still watching the television networks at times we are told to watch as opposed to when it is convenient for us, the way others do with digital recorders.  Many still think that banking takes place in a branch from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.  We still cling to newspapers that can be used to line bird cages (although FlaglerLive readers are ahead of the curve).

The world is a rapidly changing place and we must plan today for the world as it will be just 10 years from now.

So when a “Gang of Six Ex-Council Members Want Palm Coast to Build a New City Hall” check the color of their hair and whether or not they are enrolled in Medicare. (Do those six still think a link is one element of a chain holding up a playground swing or securing a bicycle to a bike rack?)

P.S. Passing recently through a New England town, I came across a largish van labeled  “Mobile City Hall.”  Every business day it parks in a different neighborhood, bringing a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” to the people.  Let’s try that here in Palm Coast instead of yielding to those suffering with Edifice Complex.

Rabbi Merrill Shapiro is FlaglerLive’s board chairman and president of the national board of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. He can be reached by email here.

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24 Responses for “Edifice Complex: Palm Coast Council Should Forget About Gang of Six’s Geezer Gimmick”

  1. sea2swim says:

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Geezer says:

    A Geezer gimmick? I’m highly offended.

  3. What do u think says:

    Bravo. Now take the same approach to the entire City budget. Why widen Palm Coast Parkway or Old Kings Road?

  4. Seminole Pride says:

    With all the vacant stores, commercial buildings, and foreclosed homes in Palm Coast. Their is no way we need to waste tax payers money on a new building. This committee needs to be disbanded.

  5. ken says:

    Enough with the age bias!

    AGEISM, or age discrimination [1] is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups because of their age. It is a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values used to justify age based prejudice, discrimination, and subordination.[2] This may be casual or systematic.[3][4] The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism

  6. Magnolia says:

    And here I thought the Geezers were just deaf, dumb, blind and greedy. Thank you, Rabbi Shapiro. Like your idea…a mobile City Hall!

    Bet the manager, the mayor and the builder’s lobbyist won’t.

    “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, what a concept!

  7. Will says:

    A fresh look. Wow. I’m very fortunate to know this author, and am continually surprised by his creative mind!

  8. Joe says:

    Just think about this. If they build it, a few years down the road they can give another building to Palm Coast Data (just like the last one). Then they will want to build another one…..

  9. Dennis McDonald says:


    Government is the “new” religion ! Better move over and make some room.

  10. Jack Howell says:

    A well written and well thought out piece of prose. Merrill, my friend, you nailed it! Of course one has to wonder, if God forbid, the City gets a new city hall, what would the building be called? …. the Canfield or Netts Administrative Center.

  11. m&m says:

    How many different ways have the citizens said NO_NO_NO to a new city hall. What part NO don’t these idiots understand??

    • Will says:

      There’s a new group of citizens in Palm Coast now. The referendum on City Hall is 8 years old this year. Some of the 2005 voters have passed on or moved on, and new voters are here – either because young people are now old enough to vote or because new people moved in.

      That’s not to say that a new city hall will be popular with today’s voters, but people harping on the old outdated vote is simply irrelevant now.

  12. nyy says:

    Bravo Rabbi! Well said!

  13. RC says:

    So who needs cities at all, rabbi? Let’s abolish New York and run everything from parking lots in New Jersey.

  14. Bronx Guy says:

    Congrats to Rabbi Shapiro, a voice in the wilderness crying out like Isaiah or Jeremiah. Those who vote for a new City Hall should be reminded there was no future for those who pushed the Taj Mahal in the past. Even Milissa Holland found out there was no political future for her.The same will happen to the current group. This is nothing more than a plan to help the company that owns most of the land in Town Center. (BTW, I thought Palm Coast was a city.) They simply do not get it. Rabbi, please keep speaking up for us. Mazel Tov.

  15. Bill Hazz says:

    So, what is up with the sidewalk being constructed from I-95 east on Moody Blvd to the Palm Coast City Limit?

    There is absolutely NO development on that stretch of the highway!

    What a colossal waste of tax-payers money. Probably only a million or two. . .

    • Richard says:

      I wonder how much Bill Hazz think a life is worth? How much does he think we should have spent to save the people who have been killed in bike accidents over the past couple of years. That particular stretch of Moody boulevard has already lost one life in the past year because of a lack of a separate pathway. I cycle it often and risk my life when I do it. I would much rather see school kids and others encouraged to cycle safely to flagler beach rather than drive there.

  16. Common Sense says:

    Why don’t we let all of the people who want a new city hall get together and pool their money and pay for it?

    Let’s see 18% of the voters and the six , yeah that should be enough.

  17. Steve says:

    Personally, I cant wait for the new city hall to be built!

    • Anonymous says:

      These idiots in our city government and those who preceded them with this same absurd nonsense and blabber are doing everything in their powers to spend money at a faster rate than on the national level in Washington! PALM COAST IS BROKE…..PERIOD! We are so far in the red……bankruptcy is not far from a legitimate option! Until this city can actually afford to pay for it, or until the “Ancient Six” pony up the money themselves to pay for it…..any thought of a new city hall should be shelved indefinitely. Why didn’t the “Ancient Six” consider building a new city hall during the real estate boom? Then….we would have this huge building at our disposal……with still no way to pay for the damn thing!

  18. A.S.F. says:

    Feel free to pay for it then.

  19. Realty Check says:

    When the economy warrants it and the bond market is low that is the time to stop paying 20K a month in rent and move towards building a city hall. If we build it while the market is weak then we will save money over the long run, not saying it’s the perfect time to build but it is in the realm of possibilities. The city must also be reasonable in what they need (not a 20 million dollar palace) but they should take in to factor that the building should be designed with possible expansion down the road. They need to build for the future expansion and not just design for todays needs, this way if in 10-20 years its needs to expand it can in the same location. The City needs to look into building a structure that they can pay for with the same amount of money they currently spend yearly now on rent, this way they will be no further burden to the tax payers except perhaps the initial land purchase. The idea of taxes never going up is ludicrous, I am in no way supporting a major tax hike but at some point an increase will need to happen. Let’s do some quick math, they build a 5 million dollar city hall, get an interest rate of 4%, the payment is around 18 K per month right around what they are paying for rent now. It may not affect all right now, but when it is paid for the future generation of taxpayers will benefit greatly. The city hall where I grew up is the same exact building as it was in the 50s when it was built, it has had upgrades but what 60 year old building wouldn’t need updates, all I am saying is it is possible if done correctly.

  20. DMD Liberty says:

    @ Reality Check. Finally…a logical person. Lets quit making the owner of City Walk a wealth person by paying them $2ok/mo. Lets pay ourselves…otherwise we are throwing away our tax money. The other nay sayers are emotional, non-logical people who like to point out issues. Two things my first boss told me. First, problems are easy to identify, solutions are hard to come by. Second, the squeaky wheel gets oil but it is also the first to be replaced.

    City Council…do the right thing and stop wasting our money.

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