By Jake Scully
If you do not want to read this whole letter, that’s ok – just VOTE in the Primary on August 23.
That especially goes for you No Party Affiliation voters and Independents—those of you registered neither as Democrats or Republicans–where for once, you will have a choice in one of the County Commission races and the school board and, if you live in the city, Palm Coast City Council races.
My parents moved to Palm Coast in 1982 and my wife and I have owned the same house since 1993. We are happy and proud to say our two children had an excellent Flagler County educational experience from kindergarten through 12th grade. We are even happier that our grandkids are now fourth generation Flagler residents.
We owned a retail establishment for 18 years in Palm Coast, my wife volunteered in the school district for 20 years, and I have volunteered with the City of Palm Coast for the last six years as an appointed member of its planning board.
As a family, we have seen a lot and can say with some confidence what the perspective of 40 years in this community brings:
The upcoming primary and general elections are critical.
The leadership of the single-largest and two of the largest employers in Flagler County will be decided this election cycle. The School District employs 1,620, the City of Palm Coast in March employed 477, not including 65 part-time, seasonal and temporary employees. The county employs 355, not including the sheriff’s ranks or other constitutional officers’ personnel.
These employees, neighbors and friends are responsible for our infrastructure, our water supply, responding to medical emergencies, fighting fires, and of course the education of 13,000 of our community’s children.
Chaos in leadership, whether in the public or private sector, leads to many problems. By far the most damaging is employee attrition.
We have endured unprecedented chaos in local leadership over the past few years. Extremism, buffoonery, lack of basic understanding laws and ordinances by our elected officials have caused embarrassment and headlines not missed by anyone–particularly companies considering our county. Some candidates for office have been disturbing as well, some with pasts that should be disqualifying from the outset, let alone undeserving of a vote from informed voters.
The abuse of position and process (particularly by school board members) is egregious. The wasted hours in all three boards’ meetings on ridiculous, petty–or worse: imagined–problems has been sickening to endure. How much more sickening and disturbing would it be if you or I worked for of one of these three?
Unemployment is low, and there are critical shortages in most of the professions led by the School Board, the City Council and the County Commission. To top it off, we do not pay the best wages for most of these professions in comparison with surrounding counties.
Simply and sadly, our very best and brightest will leave if the chaos does not end.
They can easily find employment within or outside of their current professions and take that bus right out of the Crazy Town that we have come to be.
If that comes to pass, all 115,000 of us will pay for it, one way or the other. Please try to remember that one out of every six of us are children who cannot vote.
For those children, and for all your friends and neighbors, take the small amount of time it takes to research your choices—our choices– and vote in the coming primary and general.
Jake Scully, a data architect, co-owned PC Bike for 18 years and is completing his second term on the Palm Coast Planning and Land Development Regulation Board.
Sally Hunt, District 1
Jill Woolbright, District 1
Lance Alred, District 2
Will Furry, District 2
Courtney VandeBunte, District 2
Christy Chong, District 4
Leann Pennington, District 4
Janet McDonald, District 2
Greg Hansen, District 2
Denise Calderwood, District 2
Palm Coast City Council, District 2
Theresa Carli Pontieri
I watched a show on Michelle Obama this morning, and what a beautiful woman in spirit, manners, heart, intelligence and compassion! She would say “When they go low, we go high.” Yet, such a large chunk of our population are adamantly drawn, and loyal, to meanness, nastiness, ignorance, name calling and corruption. They go low. They thrive on theories and false statements, some so far off the charts that I wonder how an adult could possibly believe any of it. They claim proof of such craziness, yet never display it and now claim their proof is hidden by the opposite side even though the courts have dismissed them. They’ve gone to book banning, which is barely a step above witch burning though they claim witch hunts.
Our country has gone mad.
I truly wish we could go back to manners, to logic, to sane communication and stop all this crazy nonsense, but I don’t think it will for awhile. The thing is that our country has to outlive this trend towards fascism for us to have any hope of becoming admiral in the world again.
My husband and I are NPA and will vote against this awful trend, and will hopefully aid in getting these ignorant people out of office.
Deborah Coffey says
Beautifully and accurately stated. Thank you for writing and thank you for voting.
Jack Howell says
I read your post with interest. In politics today, we have become a divided nation. I listen to all of BS rhetoric about what party is better than the other. Sometimes these arguments are based chiefly on misdirected facts and other nonsense. But how does an individual come to believe this crap? Indeed, the likes of Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Bob Beck, plus many others attempt to sway our minds to accept some of the most outrageous lies they can conjure. My advanced degrees are in Psychology. I also know a lot about PSYOPS from my experiences in the military. So going back to this question about how an individual can be programmed to believe in this crap brings to mind an experiment that took place many years ago in Minnesota. I think you will find this to be interesting. I make both my undergraduate and graduate students in my Terrorism and Counterterrorism classes view the following:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mcCLm_LwpE&t=143s (A Class Divided)
Jack Howell: I completely remember this experiment from many, many moons ago! I think I was fortunate to have a mother who made sure I had empathy for other people, and made sure I had a mind that was not closed to the world around me. I am also fortunate to have a husband whose mother also taught him to think on his own and to be empathetic.
Since this has been my way of thinking since grade school, it still perplexes me why it is so easy to convince people to go against nature. What I see around me are people who are desperate for acceptance. How else can a grown adult be so swayed? These people love, and I mean love the nastiness and hatred that has become acceptable. Acceptance. They high five each other after watching Fox. It’s a club. It’s an occult. They are in agreement, and therefore accepted by their peers.
I remember when I was around 18, and a kid in all white approached me and we sat in the mall while he proceeded to explain how wonderful his group people were, and how I should join his group. Because of my background, I out did his rhetoric with logic. I walked away me, and he walked away confused.
So I guess your background is your backbone of support, but putting on blinders for acceptance is still crazy to me, and unacceptable. Somehow, I think that deep down inside, these folks know this.
That’s the nature of cults, crime gangs (organized or not) and now it appears political groups.
Their leaders seek out potential members and “groom” them by giving them a sense of belonging that on some fundamental level fills a gap or shortcoming in their past personal experience. Can it be anymore obvious then say the use of the term “Godfather” to refer to a leader of a “family?”
James: Yes, I agree. What’s really disturbing, besides politicians using their rhetoric to sway people simply for their own personal agendas, is that the media is very much involved as well. I used to listen to Bill O’Reilly at work, and realized how he slickly used his words to strongly put across a thought that he pretended to be unsure of. Watching Morning Joe became very tiresome with Joe pontificating and Mika shaking her head and tisk, tisk, tisk all the time. But Fox Entertainment, and these far right *news* shows are off the charts irresponsible! They are the groomers for these cult leaders. I think they want to be the one and only state news stations for the fuhrer. Shameless!
Jim Dana says
We are with you – we are also NPA – have read their interviews – and keep up with the daily happenings here in Palm Coast – we have been here for 7 years and love it here – and we have filled out our mail in ballots – because by voting – we can make it better – let’s get back the respect among us all – get rid of all this angst and anger. Vote.
Diane Hartnett says
At the risk of sounding ignorant, what is NPA?
Pierre Tristam says
Diane, NPA is No-Party Affiliation, more commonly known as independent, a sizeable group in Flagler and Florida: 24,000 in Flagler, compared to 26,300 Democrats and about six billion Republicans, though pedants will pounce on that designation (independent) and tell you that there’s an Independent Party, so NPA’s should not be called such. It’s true, there is an Independent Party. But it’s “Independent” in the sense that the old German Democratic Republic (East Germany, to us ancients) was democratic. The American Independent party is one of those white supremacist effluents left over from the days of George Wallace. They usually run a Plessy for President, Ferguson for Vice, ticket, and get eight votes scattered between here and Saturn, the supremacist vote these days having gone mega-maga mainstream (see the column above). So I don’t think our local AIP’s members (that’s American Independent Party, if you’re still keeping score) would mind very much if there’s a reference to independent voters. It’s the only cleansing publicity they ever get.
Deborah Coffey says
Ha! Quite an excellent explanation, Pierre! We don’t laugh enough these days….
Diane Hartnett says
Thank you for that Pierre. Best regards to Cheryl and the family.
I have hope that most people feel the way you express.
I experienced it just lately when my husband was in the hospital…
No politics…just a bunch of caring people…staff and patients and patient’s families.
It’s out there.
This town is a mess, I haven’t been to a town meeting, but I was talking to someone who has, they said I should go. It’s a circus
Will Repubs and Dems work fir the common good of the people like they use to. Time will tell. Did my early voting for the primacy. Am looking forward to voting in Nov. Would like to see people win who care for the common folk.
R Boggess says
My hat goes off to Mr. Scully…It’s the first thing said in the past 15 years I have lived in this county that makes sense without evoking partisan rhetoric. This in fighting and back biting has got to STOP! It does no good. There needs to be meaningful, calm, thoughtful discussion without one-upmanship.
Michael & Diane Cocchiola says
Jake didn’t say it so I will. The buffoons, extremists, and book-burners are from the hard-right MAGA Republicans. Inspired by Trump, the Moms for Liberty and other extremists, they do not seek good government. Instead, they use their taxpayer-funded positions to bring their culture war insanity to Flagler County. You know the names… Joe Mullins, Jill Woolbright, and Janet McDonald. Add to that the new candidates like Cristy Chong, Will Furry, and Alan Lowe.
Their craziness has to stop now. We need to unite our community, not divide and destroy it. Your vote in this August primary counts immeasurably. Some races will be decided on August 23rd.
Vote for Sally Hunt, Courtney VandeBunte, and Trevor Tucker for our all-important school board. Vote for Sims Jones for the PC city council. And, save us from Janet Mcdonald and vote for Greg Hansen for the board of county commissioners.
Thank you, Jake.
Fred & Edith Sanders says
How about that……Joe Mullins, Jill Woolbright, and Janet McDonald. Add to that the new candidates like Cristy Chong, Will Furry, and Alan Lowe…… All the names of Canidates who I voted for. And will continue to vote for as long as they are on the ballot.
Mike Cocchiola says
You have our sincerest condolences .
Michael and Diane, What about Leane Pennington, Crazy JOE GOTTA GO
Thank you and God Bless us all
Michael & Diane Cocchiola says
Sorry we forgot Leann. She’s got to win. We support her.
Joe’s gotta go.
Celia Pugliese says
Mike I have to say even still a registered REP that does not vote for totalitarians, ( what my party colleagues call Rino) that I mostly agree with you, but this time I disagree about Hansen, simply because we need a new FCBOCC. The Mcdonald’s a local level been always fighting for the preservation of our quality of life (fought to save our destroyed Oaks canopy in Palm Coast Parkway, against our tax dollars wasted in the purchase of the contaminated hospital and safeguard of our elections, against the intended violation lately of the FL Statute 70.001 (2) with the city planned locations of 150ft cell towers next to our homes to be devaluated by proposing an exception to the original residential zoning) , safety and value of our homes in Palm Coast and for that we need Janet McDonald in this county.
Mike Cocchiola says
While I don’t agree with your choice, I do honor your opinion and your vote. Democracy in action.
Good answer Mike. I wish more voters felt the same way. All the acqusiations, and name calling have got to stop! Any discussion I have about political parties, candidates and whatever else comes up political, I always agree to disagree. I have my opinion and they have theirs, but we still can be friends and respect one another.
Regarding your district 2 endorsement….
Nothing could be further from the truth regarding your beach renourishment comments . Check out your declarations at the April 2018 HCA meeting. Your on tape… permits for dredging , renourishment underway… imminently filed, You did not support those who live in back of big corporate entities, who are exposed.
Plus you take cover under the flawed “I’m only 20%” vote thus can’t do anything about what constituents want in the Hammock. Get a grip Greg , you are a ribbon cutter for non critical issues only. I will never vote for you.
Maybe you can change something that is not right??????
Buses leaving from Texas ,traveling to DC, NYC maybe you could hop aboard.
We are challenged in our County!
ULTRA MAGA says
Interesting article, but more important we must realize the Chinese Communist Party’s Campaign of Censorship and Disinformation(via Big Tech and Mainstream Media) to DIVIDE Americans(Racism, Riots, Anti-Gay Rights, Climate Change, Anti-Police, Anti-Patriotism, etc, etc)! We are ALL Americans and we must Work TOGETHER to KEEP our FREEDOMS! What FREEDOMS would you have if you lived in Communist China, Russia, Iran, and N.Korea?? America First WELCOMES all Americans to join us to KEEP America FREE! Peace Thru Strength! United We Stand, Divided We Fall!
Been There says
What freedoms do we have under your chosen affiliation? When the government can guarantee freedoms for ALL LAW ABIDING people regardless of whether you like them or agree with them or not, then it is failing. Time for a change.
I always am so confused by what it is that scares your all so much about inclusivity and equity? Just because (pronoun) “they” are doing things a little differently than you, doesn’t change how you are living your life. Why so threatened?
Live and let live.
Vote for individuals who are smart, decent, educated, show their worth by the kindness and goodwill they put forth in the world. Don’t vote for people who are subversive, aggressive haters who are known criminals.
Old Guy says
Florida needs an open primary system. More voters are becoming disenchanted with the two majors parties due to the extremists in both. Moderates from both sides of an issue are able to debate honestly and reach common ground thereby getting things done. Unfortunately the moderates are being pushed to the side and the potential for autocracy to take hold is increasing daily. I have lived in Flagler county for 32 years and bear witness to what Mr Scully has described. Crazy town is not a sustainable mode of living.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Hi Old Guy – I simply cnnot agree with you more… I am an NPA so voters think I am not a viable candidate because my name does not appear on the county commission primary ballot choice for District 4.
Confusing fact: All NPA candidates run only in the GENERAL ELECTION November 8, not in the primary… Whomever wins the Republican primary August 23 will be on the General Election Ballot as Republican,and my name will appear on the ballot for the same seat as an NPA. If we had an open primary the final choice could be made by the voters in just a few days for the District 4 seat ( currently held by Mullins) as well as the District 2 seat – currently held by Hansen ) but we are a closed primary state ( unlike Virginia which is an all around open election state)….. What is more confusing is that all 3 candidates for the County District 2 seat are all Republicans which makes that choice an ‘open primary for all parties since there will be no opposition November 8 by an ‘opposing’ or NPA party candidate.
Confused enough? So am I . Calls, e-mails and face book messages asking why my name is not on the primary ballot are being received continually. I have asked Kaiti to try to emphasize the insanity of our state mandated screwed up process and could she speak as clearly as possible in her announcements to help the voters comprehend a little of this insane system in Florida.
Be that as it may ; the good news is that all county voters have until November 8th to make their final choic as to which of two candidates they wish to vote for as their ( our) next District 4 Commissioner.
Hate to compound the issue, but what if there were more than one NPA candidate running? Would you then be in a pseudo primary race with that candidate? Or since there is no NPA party by its very definition, there would then be four candidates in the general?
Gee, what a difference a night of sleep brings.
I said “would there be four candidates in the general,” which presupposed TWO other candidates. One more NPA, but also a democratic party contender. But there is no democrat candidate running… which now leads me to wonder why you aren’t running as a democrat? How are you different from BOTH of these groups. I wouldn’t put you on the spot like this, but times have changed and we’re at a crossroads now… MAGAS claim not to be of either party as well. I think it’s time for you to make your positions/platform/message formalized and explicit now that early voting is starting.
We don’t need a pseudo candidate that’s just on the ballot to give an appearance of choice to the other non republican voters here… we need real ones.
And I don’t want to seem like I’m calling you out in particular, not at all.
I was thinking of voting early, but then I noticed that there’s the “nonpartisan” race for PC city council. Besides Alan Lowe the perpetual candidate, who’s Pontieri, Jones and Kanter?… I’d like to know a little more about them, I think I’m entitled… since I’ll be paying them more thanks to Alfin.
Denise Calderwood says
Nice opinion piece Jake. It’s true. It is up to the voters to do their part and their research and not to listen to any one particular source. I have advocated for voters no matter what their affiliation is…is to do their own homework and to not re ok t on others. Voting is one of our last but most important rights and we must use it or else we will lose what is important to us. Our future!
Woke NPA says
The only research of the candidates I need for the forseeable future is if there’s an R next to your name on the ballot, you ain’t getting my vote. You don’t get to put your party over country and push through some of the most deplorable, disgusting people imaginable and come back around crying Why can’t we all just get along? I don’t think so. Back to your rocks from whence you came.
PC Resident says
As a fellow NPA who leans left of center, please don’t do that. At the local level, at least ask:
1. Is the candidate actually informed, despite sounding confident in his or her messaging? (Look up what he or she says. At least one candidate keeps arguing about something that’s completely not factual, for instance, but it would make any citizen upset)
2. Does the candidate use clear logic and reasoning?
3. Does the candidate understand what actually HAS worked well, rather than presenting himself or herself as the victorious hero who will fix everything because everything is awful and bad? Red Flag.
Please vote, even if you have to pick an “R.” Pick a decent “R.”
Woke NPA says
“Pick a decent “R.”” Are you kidding me?
Doesn’t exist. The latest example is from today’s Senate vote that brings more affordable healthcare for retirees and those truly in need – what is that? 50% of Palm Coast? Does at least something to try to keep our kids and grandkids from cooking to death. Makes the disgusting millionaires and billionaires at least pay something torwards the betterment of our society. And all of it is paid for, while at the same time actually reducing the national debt. 100% OF REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST IT. Party over country. Plain and simple.
That’s just the latest example. Could go on and on and on with this. Tell me one goddam conscionable thing a modern “conservative” stands for that makes yours or my life better? That’s rhetorical of course, as it simply doesn’t exist.
Been There says
Your local vote counts as much as any. Local offices are the breeding ground for future state offices.
I was R, early on in my life. Left that party after I left the army. Then I was NPA for a few years. Now that I am all grown up, have traveled the world and lived in various countries and states, love my fellow human and care to minimalize the margin, I am a D. I used to vote non-party lines, “hey, I know him and he’s a good guy.” They weren’t good guys. They aren’t good guys. I have been personally hurt by them. They’ve crapped all over our democracy, belittle our veterans, demean and abuse women and children, and the ONLY things they worship are their pocketbooks and inflated egos. I will NEVER vote for another R.
Glad to see some Independents responding. I am an Independent also. I like the freedom to vote for whom I think is best because of the person they are, not the party they belong to. I think Hansen needs to go also and we start to get a clean slate on the board and, with the exception of Andy Dance, the others should get voted out when their term is up. Denise Calderwood appears to be a normal person and isn’t filthy rich or a realtor , is a native Flagler County person and has been very involved helping others and helping the community in general and has a lot of common sense. JMO
Celia Pugliese says
I do not agree with Jake’s critique of the school board while they are fighting for developers impact fees. You are one of the members of our planning board that has become a rubber stump for any building project presented by developers or contractors as in one of the city council meetings Eddie Branquinho correctly said i1. For residents to attend the planning board meeting in opposition to an exemption or changing of our original zoning plan is most the times a waste of time. How could you dare take a stand against our school board ? “The abuse of position and process (particularly by school board members) is egregious”. I admire the courage of Colleen Conklin , Trevord Tucker and Janet McDonald on the impact fees needed for our students. They will have my vote for anything they will run for office!
Bill C says
All those “FUCK BIDEN” signs and flags all over town tell you who the real crazies are. Not only do they degrade a neighborhood with their crudeness but also set a poor example for school children who pass by.
Agree, it also shows their low IQ’s.
You are so right Bill C. All “those” aka trashy some are new arrivals displaying their profane flags in some of our communities among our children. The typical abusive distortion of our First Amendment by the usual crass class and the insulr to our starts and stripes displayed next to it!
Sorry meant : insult to our Stars and Stripes displayed next to it.
I ‘cringe’ when I see those horrible flags and signs. I am a Republican, and I am embarrased by them.
Bill C says
Rita Mae- Cure the “cringe”. Perhaps you could send a message, at least at the local level, and vote for some Democrats this time.
Old Guy says
Also very offensive to me is the truck running around with a big flag that is half US Flag and half Confederate Battle Flag. I bet that person wouldn’t drive around in Germany with a half National Flag and half Nazi Flag. But still this is Flagler “Crazy Town” County so I guess it will continue to appear around our community.
Robert Joseph Fortier says
OK, I am a lifelong Republican and I am embarrassed by most Republicans in Flagler County. Mullins was a bad disease that got elected because most voters didn’t really know much about him.
Way too many extremists are joining out ranks…people who should NEVER run for office.
I was a commissioner up north for many years, a Republican, and I worked with the Democrats on many subjects.
We even went out for a couple drinks after our meetings…no problem…we are not THAT different.
I was going t run against Mullens, but had too many concerns about what he may try to do to trash my reputation.
So now I am thinking of running for some position in the future, as a Republican, and as a member our OUR community.
Let’s turn this monkey show around…I think we can…I know we can.
Someone had to do it... says
Someone had to do it, she did just to break this cycle of buffoons as well stated in the article by Jake Scully.
Vote for Leann Pennington against Joe Mullins for civility and the people of Flagler County!
ULTRA MAGA says
Agree, RINO Mullins(the Developers BIG GUY) must be Voted OUT of Office! He is a CARPET BAGGER from GA who BULLSHITTED his way to get elected 4yrs ago! Have Y’all seen Joe’s(the Smiling Used Car Salesman) Campaign Post Card with his Bullshit Self Glory!
Celia Pugliese says
Since 1991 that I live and vote in Flagler County I could say that when we had few women in the FCBOCC and in City Council our pleas were heard and satisfied more than now (I bet Holland and Shipley missed). So we need more ladies in local government! So girls go get them in city and county! In one School Board seat Trevor Tucker still has my vote just like courageous Colleen Conklin! And yes lets keep it civil as we should agree to disagree and show respect for each other and be good neighbors or friends no matter who we support!
Diane Hartnett says
When I googled NPA political party, I came across a Letter to the Editor in the Orlando Sentinel’s July 19th, 2022, edition. I agree with Mr. Perkins. We are doing more damage than good when registering independent, or No Party Affiliation, because the extremely important primary elections are closed to independents in Florida. This leaves OTHER people’s choices of candidates for NPA voting in the general election. Please read it and reconsider. I was unable to screenshot or print the article, but it can be found by Googling “NPA Political Party” and clicking on the link.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Catch 22 here on your analysis. Maybe one day Florida will copy Virginia which state allows everyone to vote in all primaries but yes in Florida one must register either Democrat or Republican to vote in a primary – unless all candidates for a seat are of the same party. However when dealing with local NON-CHARTER county seats, including constitutional officers, our insane state mandates a two party system . What choice does a candidate have who knows very well that local issues in non-charter municipalities are no different from issues in charter cities and municipalities which are all NON PARTISAN- in other words party registration is non existent altogether. After living in a charter county for 26 years I never heard of a sheriff race between a Democrat and Republican sheriff candidate until I (we ) moved here.
Please someone tell me how the job requirements, including laws to follow, differ between a Democrat sheriff and a Republican Sheriff.
After 20 years living here nobody has been able to explain this to me. So there you have it; people like myself unfortunately are locked out and punished from voting in primaries in FLORIDA just because we adhere to the truth and the reality that local county issues have no party difference whatsoever and therefore are independent thinkers or NPA.
If anyone knows of just one single county responsibility which has a party difference please let me know; I am ‘all ears’. Maybe one day Florida will join some of the more civilized states regarding elections regulations
Diane: I have always been Independent or NPA, as it’s now called, and will continue to be so. I’m not crazy about the Democrats or the Republicans, and neither party really defines me. Therefore, I totally disagree with your logic, that my decision is “…doing more damage than good.” and will not let it influence me. Do what you feel is right for you.
The dude says
I simply refuse to declare to the state what I intend to vote for.
It’s really none of the state of Florida’s dang business how I intend to vote.
If it ends up that we have bat shit crazy politicians running the county, city, and state governments (which we do), so be it.
I certainly don’t want today’s State leaders tallying my name up on their voting lists, since we’re just a hair away from the MAGAt version of the night of the long knives.
The state’s only enumerated responsibility when it comes to my voting habits, is to provide me a place and time to safely and privately vote, not tell me how I can vote.
Hey, you may have a point there…
… I donno what’s with those folks in Georgia? I don’t want to sound cruel, but I have a feeling this poor woman would be sleeping on a cardboard box somewhere in the subway back in “good old NY.”
We can be in Florida registered in any of the two major parties to vote in the primaries and we can still vote against that candidate we do not want in our party to win “by voting the less likely to win” works well. The in the general elections we support whoever we like best.
Well, it’s nice to hear Jake still lives here, I was under the impression he was leaving.
One of the “signs” that PC was no longer what it was (at least by the time I got here) was hearing that PC Bike closed… that was about the same time they cut down those old oaks on Old Kings and pumped enough filler under “Lake Checkers” to prevent a large sinkhole from swallowing up the place and taking the Dollar General with it.