Please excuse the expletive – but there simply is no other way to express my outrage at the back-handed, bait-and-switch machinations of those ethically bankrupt assholes who have seized control of Volusia County government.
As a long-time area resident who served in municipal government for over three-decades, suffice it to say I’ve seen some “things” in my day. But the level of open treachery to which our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley – and that pack of dullards we elected to represent our interests – will stoop to erase our heritage of beach driving has reached its nadir.
Under the terms of a 2015 ordinance – conveniently amended in 2017 – the languishing Hard Rock Daytona (a “theme resort” reanimated on the skeleton of the haunted Desert Inn – once known as “America’s Dirtiest Hotel,” in more ways than one) was required to meet a laundry list of performance standards (right down to a “Gourmet Sundries Shop” and “Lobby Barista”) and be open for business no later than February 28, 2018, or the “traffic-free zone” would not be implemented.
Fair enough, right?
Now, as evidence mounts that Summit Hospitality can’t possibly meet the conditions established by ordinance in the next 30-days – County Attorney Dan Eckert is beginning his patented quibbling and hogwash designed to convince us rubes that the performance standards set by the County Council aren’t really that important after all.
Unfortunately, Dan is being assisted in pulling the rug out from under area residents by our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley, who was recently quoted in the newspaper essentially saying, ‘fuck the performance guarantees.’
So long as the property receives a certificate of occupancy – Old Ed is happy.
But that’s not what they promised us in April.
Trust me – Volusia County will remove beach driving from the strand behind the Desert Inn/Westin/Hard Rock on February 28th regardless of the project’s condition.
In my view, based upon my personal observations of construction activities, and photographs on social media showing serious concrete spalling and structural fractures compromising the hotel’s seawall, the Hard Rock project is nowhere near ready to open.
Look, you don’t have to be that surly little bald guy from “Hotel Impossible” to know when a luxury, “4-Diamond” property is prepared to welcome guests – and, in my estimation, the Hard Rock Daytona could use a few more months to finalize some important details and complete the high-end, luxurious amenities they promised (like a swimming pool. . .)
Instead, Dan Eckert and Ed Kelley run cover – tap dancing and blowing dust in the air – while the developer pull’s some slapdash cover moves in a last-ditch effort to meet their agreed upon obligations to the citizens of Volusia County and open by the end of February.
Who do our county officials work for?
In my view, Dan Eckert should check his pay stub.
He might discover that he accepts public funds and actually serves the interests of We, The People of Volusia County – not the marketing needs of Summit Hospitality Group.
How typical. How tragic.
If anyone with two synapses still firing needs evidence of the ugly “Us vs. Them” mentality of Volusia County government, hide and watch as “our” County Attorney and his team begin the process of changing the rules mid-game.
I realize what a shock to the system it is when one comes to the sudden realization that their elected officials are bald-ass sneak-cheats and liars – but the evidence is clear – and mounting.
If Hard Rock International wants to build “buy-in” and develop an important partnership with area residents (all of whom wish them nothing but success), they can start by admitting the property remains under construction, take their time moving forward, and embrace and incorporate beach driving for the unique area tradition it is.
Folks, when you’ve had enough of this flimflammery, join Florida’s premier beach advocacy organization, Sons of the Beach, and help fight for our heritage of open access and driving on the World’s Most Famous Beach.
Find your friends and neighbors here: https://www.sonsofthebeach.org/
And remember – as we enter the 2018 election cycle – any candidate or issue these incumbent assholes support is immediately suspect.
They simply can no longer be trusted.
Photo Credit: Paul Zimmerman, January 24, 2018