On Volusia: More “Fun Water” Please!

I recently wrote a blog in anger – that happens from time-to-time.

Nearly 1,700 good folks like you read it in less than 48-hours – and more are tuning in by the hour.

I guess I’m not the only one who’s pissed off on the Fun Coast. . .

In a piece entitled “Adding Insult to Injury” I posted a photograph of a scene I happened upon quite by accident.

On Friday, I stopped by the ABC Fine Wine and Spirits in Ormond Beach to pick up a fresh handle of Tito’s vodka – “fun water” – as I like to call it.

As I was exiting the parking lot – I observed a patch of weed-strewn asphalt just off Northshore Drive that is being used by Volusia County officials to store beach traffic signs, a red lifeguard tower, and other county-owned equipment and detritus – all in plain view of residents and visitors alike.

CardinalAlthough you wouldn’t know it by looking at the dilapidated structure now, but the cracked parking lot surrounds what was once Florida’s first “shopping center” – serving the Ellinor Village subdivision.

After being vacated and languishing on the soft beachside real estate market, in 2015, the Volusia County Council purchased the property for $1.8 million tax dollars at the recommendation of County Manager Jim Dinneen, ostensibly for “off-beach” parking.

The building has been there a longtime. When I was kid, I used to ride my bike down to Black’s Pharmacy where I would buy a few packs of bottle rockets and some candy – and those of us who grew up here in the 70’s can (vaguely) remember partying hard at the Other Place, Ormond’s premiere Rock-n-Roll venue.

Now, just two-years after becoming county-owned property and vanishing from the city’s tax rolls, the lot has become a shabby, unkempt eyesore – complete with faded paint, unchecked weeds, ugly No Trespassing placards and brown wooden boards covering all doors and windows.

I defy anyone to tell me the difference in the general appearance of Cardinal Drive and A-1-A in Ormond Beach and any intersection in Ciudad Juarez.  Seriously.

It radiates a feeling of hopelessness.

After reading last week’s blog, a regular reader of Barker’s View dropped me a note to say that, until recently, he lived in a home directly behind the former shopping center.

He estimates suffering a 20% loss on the value of his property when it sold – something he directly attributes to the horrific conditions on the county’s property.

Another reader alerted me to serious issues at county facilities in DeLand as well.

Someone “in the know” wrote that conditions inside the “old jail” (I believe they were referring to the facility on New York Avenue, downtown) and former elections offices have become disorganized dumping grounds as well.

I don’t know – I’m just passing along what I was told.

Maybe one of our elected representatives could get off their ass and take a tour?

In a scene that could only come from a macabre Twilight Zone episode – or the pages of the Daytona Beach News-Journal – in February, it was reported that Volusia County and the City of DeLand were discussing swapping a municipal-owned building on West Rich Avenue for the county’s former jail property.

What’s weird about that, Mark?

Well, let me tell you:  A sticking point was the fact County Manager Jim Dinneen said he wanted a promise from the city that the property will be used for development.

“We don’t want to swap property and for them to turn it into a park,” Dinneen said.

“We are really interested in creating jobs. We want to know what kind of economic development plan they have.”

 You read that right.

The most historically dysfunctional shitheel to ever occupy a County Manager’s office had the abject temerity to give a dictating lecture to Mayor Bob Apgar, City Manager Michael Pleus and the outstanding team of city staff and residents who recently received national recognition as the best Main Street in America on how they should use a vacant jail that has stood out like a weeping syphilis chancre as the downtown area around it was beautifully redeveloped and revitalized.

How dare that chiseling shit presume to tell the City of DeLand – or any other progressive community – how to do anything?

Is it possible that Jim Dinneen has become so tragically delusional – so horribly bent by his virulent form of megalomania – that he actually believes anyone other than his highly-paid toadies and clueless elected officials care one whit about his kleptocratic thoughts on “economic development” – or anything else for that matter?

You may remember way back in 2015 when Dinneen was caught flatfooted after trying to push a $64-million plan to renovate and replace county-owned buildings and facilities that he and his staff had strategically allowed to deteriorate?

You remember the sights of weed-strewn storage lots, dilapidated metal buildings – the leaking ceilings, rodents, snakes and vermin in the Sheriff’s Office evidence facility – unkempt public works facilities and other scenes of utter dereliction – punctuated by astronomically expensive Taj Mahal construction projects for new buildings and facilities?

I do.

Apparently, Little Jimmy lives in a bizarre Fantasy Land where worker drones throw good money after bad to build replacement facilities – then allow the same government bureaucrats who trashed and neglected the former facilities to go to work on the new ones.

In one glimmer of hope – Dustin Wyatt, writing in the Daytona Beach News-Journal – reported today that our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley, is urging his fellow elected officials to sell off some of the multi-million dollar “off beach” parking lots that are sitting vacant.

In my view, Ed’s either seen the light – or he has a friend in need of some cheap beachside property.

Look – I’ve said this before – it’s time for our elected officials to begin the process of removing Jim Dinneen and restoring confidence and organization to a government gone wacky.

This walking Napoleonic complex is a foul ball – a con artist who serves as a well-paid shill for influential power brokers – who could give two-shits about those of us who pay the bills.

Sheriff Chitwood was right when he said, “Either he (Dinneen) has Alzheimer’s disease, or he’s a pathological liar.” 

The fact is, the disgrace on Cardinal Drive – an eyesore foisted on residents and visitors alike – is not the first county-owned property that has served as a “blight generator” in neighborhoods where these facilities are located – and if Dinneen has his way – it damned sure won’t be the last.

And people ask why I drink. . .







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