If you grew up in the Halifax area during the 60’s and 70’s you will certainly remember listening to Top 40 Pop on WMFJ – “The Boss of the Beach” – where the DJ’s took your telephone requests and periodically chanted, “The hits just keep ooooon coming!”
Wow. How many hours did I spend hunched over an old rotary phone, desperately trying to be “caller number six” and win two tickets to the matinee at the Bellair Plaza Cinema (“All seats 75-cents!”)?
The tinny sound of The Boss blaring from a transistor radio was as omnipresent as the warm smell of Coppertone and thick salt air anywhere on the beach.
I was reminded of this during the week that was – the hits truly do just keep on coming here on the Fun Coast.
And I don’t mean ‘Wooly Bully’ by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.
Earlier this week Barker’s View examined the curious education of freshman Councilwoman Heather Post and her painful, and very public, indoctrination into the lockstep conformity of Volusia County government.
I was speaking to a local politician the other day, and he did his best to convince me that Ms. Post will find her own way – assuring me that she will begin to exert the independence and creativity that we were all promised during a very contentious campaign.
In addition, Barker’s View was taken to task on social media for referring to Councilwoman Billie Wheeler as “hapless.”
A friend and political ally of Ms. Wheeler felt that I was being much too harsh in my assessment of her performance to-date – and took the time to comfort me, betting that Wheeler will soon break out of her shell and exhibit the leadership and strength of personality that we saw during her service in Daytona Beach Shores.
I’m waiting. . .
On both accounts.
So far, all I’ve seen from Heather Post is some desperately awkward cowering – like the brutal “Don’t hit me anymore, Boss” scene from Cool Hand Luke – as she takes a near continuous flogging from Chairman Ed Kelley, the vicious Deb Denys and “Sleepy” Pat Patterson, for her latest unforgivable transgression – like supporting efforts to end the tragedy of chronic homelessness – or attempting to educate herself on legislation effecting Volusia County in Tallahassee.
The Very Reverend Dr. Fred Lowry even got in on the action – announcing that he was “flabbergasted” that anyone would consider voting to fund operating costs to provide the less fortunate, the sick, and the wayward with basic sustenance and shelter from the elements.
No, apparently the Most Reverend Fast Freddy would rather see hordes of drunk, drugged and addled vagrants moping, sleeping, loitering and relieving themselves openly in our core commercial and tourist areas.
Look, unlike the Right Reverend Dr. Lowry, I certainly don’t have a “Ph.D in New Testament Theology” from something called the “Trinity Theological Seminary” – heck, I’m lucky to have a “HSD” from Seabreeze High School – and I haven’t been to church in so long I’m afraid to go back for fear of catastrophic structural failure of the building.
But, during my early parochial school education, I distinctly remember someone saying:
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Yes, I’m almost sure I remember that.
I guess Dr. Fred was absent the day they taught pastoral care and compassion at Trinity Theological Seminary. . .
Fortunately, Freddy – and his fellow elected officials – will have a great opportunity to redeem themselves on April 20th when the Volusia County Council will receive a presentation on efforts by the City of Daytona Beach and the First Step Shelter board to find a compassionate solution to the countywide issue of homelessness.
Let’s hope that our elected officials have the wisdom and foresight to drop the obstructionist, small-minded policies of county manager Jim Dinneen – and for once work collaboratively in the best interest of all of us – by voting to approve county funding for both construction and operating costs associated with the proposed come-as-you-are homeless shelter.
In addition, next Thursday our elected and appointed officials will make good on their threat to approve both a franchise change, and extension of the completion date, on the languishing Desert Inn/Westin/Hard Rock, etc. project.
But since when did things like performance guarantees, hard deadlines, or even adherence to functional standards mean a frigging thing in Volusia County?
No, here on the Fun Coast you simply hire the right law firm, throw some money around and get the blessing from the right insider, wave something shiny in the face of those dullards we elected, and you’re golden.
Do what you want – the rules are different here – and the bagman, Little Jimmy, makes everything happen.
Make no mistake – they are coming for beach driving, folks.
Don’t take my word for it, just watch the Volusia County Council meeting (Item #4) next Thursday and see for yourself how your representatives don’t give a trembling shit about your interests.
Better yet – join Son’s of the Beach, attend the meeting, and tell them how you really feel.
Angels & Assholes
It’s time once again for Uncle Mark to turn a jaundiced eye toward the newsmakers of the day – the winners and losers – who, in my view, either contributed to our quality of life, or detracted from it, in some significant way during the week that was:
Angel Mr. Mori Hossieni & ICI Homes
Kudos to our own Mr. Mori Hossieni, and his great team at ICI Homes, for immediately terminating the employment of that low-rent piece of shit, Travis Archer – the sub-human scum who beat a nine-month-old Labrador puppy to death in Ponce Inlet last weekend.
Not much bothers me when it comes to mans-inhumanity-to-man – I’ve seen just about everything in 31-years in law enforcement – but I cannot stomach cruelty to animals in any form. The innocence, dependence and unconditional love of dogs and pets makes the torture or physical abuse of these helpless creatures especially heinous to me.
During my career, I was taught how to kill people with incredibly efficiency. I was also taught how to control my emotions, learned restraint in the face of provocation, and I have extraordinary respect for the sanctity of life.
However, I’m afraid if someone ever intentionally hurt one of my animals, well, I might lose all self-discipline.
God help me.
For those who haven’t yet, I encourage everyone in the Barker’s View tribe to join the “Justice for Ponce” memorial site on Facebook – and please follow the prosecution of Travis Archer as our system slowly works toward justice.
We should all demand a long and painful incarceration for this scumbag.
Angel The New Smyrna Beach City Commission
On Tuesday, the New Smyrna Beach City Commission voted to join Volusia County and several other cities in passing an ordinance making possession of less than 20-grams of marijuana a city ordinance violation.
In my view, allowing New Smyrna Beach police officers the professional discretion to arrest – or issue a $103.00 ordinance citation – goes a long way to removing non-violent offenders from the jail population while respecting the public’s changing sentiment regarding the decriminalization and medicinal use of cannabis.
Look, I’m not a pot smoker – never have been – but in my view ordinances like this simply make sense. After all, how long can we continue to the do the same thing, while expecting a different result, before we realize that the “War on Drugs” is a dismal, and incredibly expensive, failure.
Angel David Vukelja – Special Magistrate, City of Daytona Beach
This week, Daytona Beach Code Enforcement Special Magistrate and local attorney David Vukelja sent a strong message when he issued accruing $250.00 per day fines against GEA Investments – in my view, a long-term slumlord whose properties continue to contribute to blight and dilapidation on the beachside.
In 2011, GEA Investments received some $90,000.00 in façade grants from the ill-fated Main Street Community Redevelopment Area to improve a dozen rental properties – many of which still look like something from the Zombie Apocalypse.
Through his good work – and tough stance – Mr. Vukelja is supporting the long-suffering residents of Daytona’s beachside, and demonstrating that the voices of those most effected by years of blight and neglect are finally being heard at City Hall.
Asshole The Volusia County School Board
My God. With a current $847 million-dollar annual operating budget – bolstered by sales tax revenues estimated at $43 million annually – I, for one, am sick and tired of school district officials crying the perpetual blues about funding for capital projects.
Let this constant poor-mouthing be a prime example of exactly what we can expect when municipal and county officials beat us into submission and finally obtain the long-awaited half-penny sales tax for infrastructure improvements.
In Volusia County government, enough is never enough.
This bloated bureaucracy feeds on tax dollars like a black-legged tick. It just holds tight to its host, sucking like a bastard until you’re literally exsanguinated.
My suggestion is that Volusia County – in all its various forms and functions – learn to live within its means and properly manage available resources before begging like an insatiable hobo for more, more, more money.
Quote of the Week:
“You should remember that we had an extra day last year in February for leap year,”
“Also, we still had a lot of properties closed because of the storm damage— the (Daytona Beach) Regency, the Holiday Inn (Express & Suites) Daytona Beach Shores and others. If we’d had those in stock, we would’ve been up. Any little pimple makes a big mark.”
–Mr. Bob Davis, president of the Lodging and Hospitality Association discussing the disturbing drop in occupancy and bed taxes in February 2016 in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
No mention of NASCAR’s slow death-spiral as a possible contributing factor. . .
Have a wonderful Easter and Passover everyone!