Normally, government plods along at the speed of an anesthetized ground sloth.
Even simple matters can take months, even years.
The very process itself is geared in an excruciatingly self-serving way, allowing adequate time for each layer of the bureaucracy to justify its existence.
For instance, the good people of Volusia County have been anxiously awaiting a compassionate solution to the problem of chronic homelessness for years – and despite some optimistic chatter – I can assure you that the ‘powers-that-be’ are nowhere near a resolution.
When a citizen takes matters into his or her own hands, skirts the myriad rules, or refuses to enter the meatgrinder of the permitting process – say, in the interest of completing a simple home improvement project in this lifetime – the sleeping bear awakes and the full might of government comes down like a bloody sledgehammer.
We, The People, have come to accept this administrative snail’s pace as the norm – and simply avoid interacting with our government whenever possible.
Dealing with officialdom, at any level, is like doing business with a massive, supernaturally obstinate, low-level clerk at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – Driver’s License Division.
You know, that mulish crone with the string wart on her eyelid that just keeps repeating in a low monotone, over-and-over-and-over, the reasons why you cannot renew, change address, replace a lost license, etc., etc. – all while offering no solutions, or even hope?
Ring a bell?
The one exception to this prehistoric crawl is when the right people stand to make a quick dollar.
In that case, I suggest you keep your hair, limbs and loose clothing away from the machinery, folks – don your protective suit before assisting others – because your government apparatus is about to spool up like a GE 90 jet turbofan and “make things happen.”
For instance, in less than a month, the City of Daytona Beach sold its long-term interest in the Ladies Professional Golf Association courses to their good friends at Consolidated Tomoka Land Company for the bargain price of $2.2 million – with some kickbacks to the City thrown in to make it seem like we’re getting a deal.
Within days, Consolidated Tomoka announced the sale of 1,581 acres west of I-95 to Canadian developer Minto Communities – who almost immediately revealed their “strategic partnership” with Jimmy Buffett’s own Margaritaville Holdings:
“Margaritaville and Minto noted that the location of their Latitude Margaritaville, Daytona Beach, at LPGA Blvd. and I-95, was ideal as a destination that offers access to the area’s world-famous beaches; championship golf at LPGA International Golf Club; Daytona International Speedway; Daytona Beach International Airport; the new One Daytona entertainment, dining and shopping destination; and much more.”
Bing, Bang, Boom.
Did any elected or appointed official ask what you, as a taxpayer and concerned constituent, might think of paving over our environmentally sensitive recharge areas for a proposed 7,000-unit residential development with a commercial component west of I-95?
Did anyone attend those public hearings and informational meetings where the environmental and infrastructure impacts of the largest residential development in the history of Volusia County were discussed?
I didn’t think so. . .
Guess you were like me – too busy picking over pretty pictures of ISB roundabouts and “dog bones,” and gushing about the incredible “synergy” of the new Bass Pro Shop, huh?
In the meantime, the Big Boy’s took good care of us:
“Hey, you fucking rube’s, here’s what we’re doing – the decisions have been made for you and your money has changed hands. Johnny Albright says it’s a “winning combination” and the News-Journal agrees. So, guess what? Nobody needs or wants your bullshit input. Go shopping, you brain-dead yokels. Can’t you see important people are doing business over here?”
Apparently, things are happening so fast at the epicenter of the western sprawl – I-95 and LPGA Boulevard – that everyone at Volusia County, and the Florida Department of Transportation, were caught with their proverbial thumb in their ass: No one bothered to plan for public transportation service – and everyone is paralyzed by abject ignorance over whether injecting thousands of 55-and-over Parrothead’s onto already taxed surface and arterial roads, “might impact transportation through the northwest end of Daytona Beach.”
Hummm. Wait! Do you think this might result in congestion? What to do?
I know! Let’s hire an out-of-state consultant to determine our future local infrastructure needs!
Hell yeah! Throw money at it, dammit!
Almost inconceivably, we recently learned that FDOT has selected California-based (you read that right) Parsons Group to conduct a phased study – projected to take well over a year – with an “estimated” $2.2-million-dollar price tag – which will be used to engineer an “ultimate” plan for the LPGA interchange.
A second phase will “address traffic spillback onto I-95, improve interchange operations, reduce congestion and increase safety at the study interchange through a 20-year design horizon.”
(“Design horizon.” I love that shit. How technical. How typically governmental.)
$2.2 million. We’re talking one interchange here. Really?
According to Michael Johnson, Parsons Group President, “This project will be a win for residents and visitors alike.”
Of course it’s a “Win,” Mike – we’re champions here on the Fun Coast!
Just ask our county manager, Little Jimmy Dinneen – or any of the high-paid shills from the half-dozen or so tax-funded ‘economic development’ or ‘advertising authorities’ here in Volusia County – we’re winning so often these days it’s hard to keep up with it all!
Now, I’m no Left Coast traffic expert (although I did try and get from West Hollywood to Long Beach via the 110 once, whoa) but I’m guessing – just spit balling – that with massive development looming like an ominous shelf cloud we might expect some additional pressure on our long-neglected transportation infrastructure.
How’s by you?
What do you think our local streets and roadways will look like when every proposed development from Brevard to Flagler finally builds out?
Ever feel like the collective needs of current residents are an afterthought?
Fuck it. As Marie Antoinette might have said, Let them drink Margaritas!
Now, return to your lives – you winners – safe in the knowledge that those who control our destiny know what’s best for us.
And if they can’t figure it out – it’s nothing a couple million dollars of our money can’t sort through with a phased study to two.
I don’t know about you, Champ, but I need a drink. . .