It’s Friday – how about a bit of fun to end our week?
Let’s play a little game I like to call, “What the Hell?”
As always, our friends at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Beachside Redevelopment Committee and Regional Chamber of Commerce are welcome to join in the Wide. Open. Fun!
For those who haven’t played with us before, the rules are simple – study the photograph below and take a wild-ass guess if the scene depicted is in: A. The Lagos slums B. The bowels of Kolkata or C. The Daytona Beach Resort Area?
If you picked the Daytona Beach Boardwalk give yourself a pat on the head!
That’s right! The same code compliance folks that pencil-whipped a Certificate of Occupancy for a still under construction hotel have apparently given tacit approval for this mish-mash of exposed wiring and grime located smack-dab on Ocean Avenue in our core tourist area!
Thanks for playing along!
We’ll do it again soon – I’ve got hundreds of them!
Well, it’s time once again to turn a jaundiced eye toward the newsmakers of the day – the winners and losers – who, in my cynical opinion, either contributed to our quality of life, or detracted from it, in some significant way.
Let’s look at who tried to screw us – and who tried to save us – during the week that was:
Angel: Dr. Sandford Kinne
I’m what doctor’s call a “high-miler.”
Like ol’ ETC said, now that “I’m out of my prime and out of my mind,” it’s important that I have a support system around that cares enough to look after my general health and welfare – even when I don’t.
For the past 20-years, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Sandford Kinne on my team.
In an era where medical care is dictated by mega-HMO’s and faceless “insurance” conglomerates, Dr. Kinne is a physician in the classic sense – he truly cares about his patient’s wellness and provides an unsurpassed quality of care and true compassion.
He does more than poke, prod and test – he truly listens.
Over time, Sandford and I have developed a level of trust and friendship that transcends the modern homogenized provider/patient relationship. Trust me, if you don’t enjoy a similar rapport with your family doctor – you should.
Although we are close in age, Dr. Kinne sets a positive example of life well lived – running, bicycling and swimming while training for triathlons and such, then relaxing with his wife yachting on the Intercoastal – all while I slowly dry cure my aging innards with blended whiskey and Marlboros.
Despite his desperate attempts to change my horrific life choices, Dr. Kinne possesses the incredible skill, reasoning and patience to keep me in fighting trim – and that’s no easy task – even for a modern medicine man.
He has a warm, generous spirit and a wonderful sense of humor and irony – good traits that keep him reading these nonsensical screeds of mine. I enjoy his thoughtful insights whenever we have time together.
Through the years, we’ve been through everything from head colds to life-changing colon surgery – and, most recently, a pitched battle with my hateful prostate – which is now the size of a ripe cantaloupe (TMI? Whatever. We’re friends here. . .) – and through it all, he has expertly treated whatever ails me with his always kind demeanor.
I’m glad to have Sandford Kinne in my life.
If you’re looking for an old school physician that truly cares about your family’s holistic health and quality of life, please take time to partner with Dr. Kinne – now seeing patients through Azalea Health in Daytona Beach.
Angel: Daytona Beach Police Department
Kudos to Chief Craig Capri and the Daytona Beach Police Department for their highly effective Roadway Safety Program, an initiative targeting pedestrian safety at intersections.
We’ve needed this for some time now.
While Chief Capri is careful to explain that the program does not specifically target panhandlers – let’s just say an unintended benefit of the effort is helping keep aggressive beggars out of busy traffic lanes.
In the past month, I’ve traveled through several major metropolitan areas, and nowhere did I see the heavy concentration of panhandlers like we experience here on the Fun Coast.
In the interest of full disclosure – I damn near hit an ambulatory drunk square-on while maneuvering the Lone Eagle east on ISB from Nova Road earlier this week.
It was scary close.
Let’s face it, wandering mendicants weaving their way through stopped traffic has become a ubiquitous sight at intersections from Ormond Beach south.
The activity not only contributes to the seedy appearance of blight – it also inhibits the natural flow of traffic and places both the solicitor, and the distracted motorist handing over the gratuity, at risk of serious injury.
Those who argue that these programs are discriminatory or serve to “criminalize homelessness” are off the mark on this one.
This practice simply cannot be allowed to continue. There are infinitely better ways to help.
In my view, itinerant street people occupying all four quadrants of every major intersection in east Volusia is counter to our collective goal of improving the aesthetics, economic viability and quality of life in our community.
While vagrants may have a right to solicit handouts on a public sidewalk – residents also have an expectation of clean, safe streets and open thoroughfares – free from the omnipresent hobo with a “Why Lie? I Need A Beer” sign scrawled on a dirty piece of cardboard.
I hope you will join me in supporting Chief Capri and his hardworking officers and staff as they continue to develop innovative safety and enforcement programs.
These dedicated public servants are working hard to solve the problems of crime and victimization in Daytona Beach, which lays the groundwork for community revitalization, and they need our help and cooperation.
Good work, Chief.
Angel: City of Holly Hill
It’s no secret, ‘The Hill’ occupies a very big part of my heart – and it always will.
We’re the underdog. A wonderfully eclectic mix of eccentric characters with an incredible sense of hometown pride.
It seems our little city is always unfairly maligned by those who have never lived or done business there – and while we recognize our blemishes, we have never let them define our community – or diminish our willingness to overcome challenges.
Next week, the Holly Hill City Commission will take up several innovative ordinances which, in my view, will go a long way toward ending the cycle of stagnation that has hampered economic development efforts citywide.
One ordinance will authorize tattoo parlors, and several other commercial designations, by special exception in the redevelopment overlay district – essentially the commercial corridor along Ridgewood Avenue.
Another seeks to eliminate the pervasive problem of “zombie houses” by requiring that mortgage holders maintain their vacant foreclosed properties to the same community standards as occupied residences.
Nothing brings down property values, destroys a neighborhood or contributes to shabbiness and dilapidation like an overgrown haunted house – owned by some disinterested out-of-state bank – which is simply allowed to rot in plain sight.
I’ve said this before – modern tattoo parlors are not the dens of iniquity they were once portrayed to be. In fact, many local artists have established beautifully appointed spaces, many revitalizing long-vacant commercial centers, which improve the surrounding area while contributing to the tax base.
And many have a weeks-long waiting list for an appointment.
In the recent past, many of these highly regulated establishments have been forced to jump through onerous and expensive hoops – or denied a business tax receipt altogether – whenever they asked to set up shop in communities throughout the Halifax area.
Fortunately, times and perceptions are changing.
I applaud the City of Holly Hill’s inclusive “can do” approach to economic development – and the political courage and foresight of elected officials in developing a permanent solution to the last remnants of the foreclosure crisis – abandoned properties which continue to have a debilitating effect on the city’s charming residential areas.
If you’re considering opening or relocating a business – or looking for a quaint small town to call home – I encourage you to consider the “City with a Heart.”
You’ll be glad you did.
Asshole: State of Florida
The word Extinction is a stark descriptor, defined as the complete elimination of an organism or group of organisms, with the moment of extinction marked by the death of the last individual of the species.
Once that occurs, an entire genus is lost forever.
This week, the Miami Herald reported that a rare prairie bird, the Grasshopper sparrow, found only in the rapidly disappearing marshes and grasslands of southern Central Florida, will vanish from the face of the earth later this year.
The reason: Out-of-control development.
To meet the insatiable appetite of real estate speculators and developers – and to fuel Central Florida’s ravenous desire for even more “theme” communities, strip centers, convenience stores and upscale “boutique” grocery stores – we have once again sacrificed an entire species of wildlife by churning their natural habitat into muck – then filling it for flood control and covering it with “decorative pavers.”
We starved these small creatures out – then placed so much environmental stress on the remaining population that disease and predators are taking care of the rest.
If you think the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – or the State of Florida – are coming to the rescue, think again.
As always, money is the predominant factor and “budget uncertainties” have all but assured this tiny sparrow’s fate.
I find it incomprehensible that our local governments can funnel $15.5-million dollars in public funds to subsidize an office complex for a billionaire insurance company – on top of $40-million to underwrite a goofy shopping and “entertainment” complex next to the speedway – yet regional conservationists can’t squeeze $150,000 from the federal government to protect an entire species from vanishing from the planet?
When did our basic priorities get so fouled up?
When did greed dominate everything in our lives here in the Sunshine State?
With the Volusia County Council approving massive developments from Farmton to the Flagler County Line – perhaps its time we take a step back and consider the unintended consequences to our fragile environment and ecosystems before we pave over even more sensitive habitats and water sources in the name of “progress.”
Fuck the sparrows – they don’t buy houses.
Angel: CANDO II
The late cultural anthropologist Margret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
In Ormond Beach, a growing group of committed citizens have formed a grassroots civic organization known as CANDO 2 – which hopes to bridge the communication chasm between residents and their elected officials in matters of quality development.
CANDO 2 is spearheaded by Ormond Beach residents Ken and Julie Sipes, and the intrepid community activist and former city commissioner, Jeff Boyle (who, as it happens, was my high school civics teacher. . .)
Clearly, this important effort was born from the utter outrage many felt over the clear-cutting of majestic oaks and greenspace near Tomoka Avenue and Granada Boulevard, all to make way for a new WaWa.
The organization has vowed to remain apolitical – neither endorsing candidates nor financing campaigns – however, it does encourage rigorous public participation in the functions of government.
I’m told that last evening’s CANDO 2 meeting at the Ormond Beach Library was standing room only.
That’s a good thing.
Trust me, this one’s important.
Angel: Daytona Landshark Bar & Grill
Look, I’m not going to subject you to a long-winded puff piece on the attributes of our new Daytona Landshark – you can read all about it in the News-Journal’s Business section.
What I will say is: We could use 213 more just like it on the beachside.
Last week, I had the pleasure of passing a warm afternoon at Daytona Landshark’s outside bar – sipping a cold beer just off the beach and dining al fresco.
A spinach dip appetizer, chicken Caesar salad and four beers = about $44 before tip.
Politics and density variances aside – this is the kind of casual, yet upscale, option we’ve been seeking for years.
You know, most people instinctively hate me (I understand that, because I hate me too), so I tend to give folks a wide berth whenever I’m out. But I must admit, I met some truly nice people at Landshark – mostly tourists idling away the afternoon – each of whom remarked what a great addition this is to Daytona’s tired landscape.
In my view, it is clean, bright and professionally operated establishments like Landshark – places that expertly complement the beleaguered beachside’s natural attributes – that will ultimately save the Daytona Beach Resort Area from its current path, which appears hell-bent for self-destruction.
Asshole: Jim Dinneen & the Volusia County Council
This week, Daytona Beach Shores sat down with Volusia County officials in a court-ordered mediation to settle a long dispute over the county’s aggressive acquisition of prime beachfront real estate for “off-beach parking” – property Daytona Beach Shores rightfully wanted to vertically develop to support their geographically limited tax base.
The tit-for-tat started in 2015, when Volusia County – in typical fashion – slithered into the small municipality, and without so much as a phone call to City Hall, used $4.5 million in public funds to purchase two parcels of premier oceanfront real estate less than one mile apart.
That represents a potential loss of some $200,000 in annual tax revenue for the small community.
In turn, the Shores attempted to exert its independence.
In self-defense against the county’s belligerent intrusion, the city commission passed an ordinance prohibiting the construction of parking lots east of A-1-A.
As they are inclined to do – Volusia County quickly used our money to file three lawsuits against the small town, asserting its Absolute Right to Rule – signifying to its subjects that the county is subordinate to no earthly authority – and reminding us lowly vassals that nothing can restrict its Divine Right. “A Deo rex, a rege lex.”
In short, our Moronic Monarch, Jim Dinneen, will do whatever he damn well pleases, wherever he chooses to do it (so long as J. Hyatt Brown is in total control of our elected marionettes, anyway) or County Attorney Dan Eckert will be directed by royal edict to sue the citizen’s collective eyeballs out with their own money.
During the meeting, Daytona Beach Shores Mayor Harry Jennings reminded his superiors across the table that, “the city is not a colony, and the county is not the English Parliament.” Which, I’m sure, was met by maniacal howls and snorts of laughter from our self-anointed aristocracy on the county council.
At the end of the day, Volusia County is going to do exactly what it set out to do when it used our funds to purchase the property in the Shores. After all, the prerequisite to the complete removal of beach driving is “off-beach” lots – and make no mistake – that is their goal.
During the mediation – like some demented quidnunc spewing unwelcome advice – County Manager Jim Dinneen suggested the Shores consider building a “hotel over the parking lot” (?) or install parking meters to generate revenue and double-screw residents who want to use their beach.
Even our pathologically mendacious County Chair, Ed “That’s what I said, not what I meant” Kelley, chimed in, saying he’s willing to consider any suggestions the Shores may have – so long as they involve putting parking lots on the county-owned parcels.
Which option do you think will happen?
In my view, when Volusia County took control of our beaches in the late 80’s to form a “unified policy,” it marked the death knell for the Daytona Beach Resort Area.
Like everything else the county has control of – our beach policy has slowly transformed into a shitshow, one convoluted and highly expensive screw-up after another – all brazenly designed to monetize the strand, “incentivize” the developer du jour and restrict access for long-suffering residents who pay the bills.
Perhaps its time We, The People look at a different approach to beach management – before its too late.
Angel: B-CU Women’s Basketball
A great story from the Barker’s View Sports Desk: Today, just 96-hours after giving birth to her second child, Bethune-Cookman Head Coach Vanessa Blair-Lewis will lead the Lady Wildcats in the MEAC Tournament 2018 semifinals against Virginia’s Hampton University!
Congratulations, Coach! Go Wildcats!
Quote of the Week:
“It hasn’t even summoned the initiative to lie to us. It’s content to be the bad neighbor who doesn’t care what his property looks like.”
–Columnist Mark Lane, writing in the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s “Footnotes,” describing the County of Volusia’s refusal to clean-up – or even acknowledge – its appallingly blighted property at Cardinal Drive and A-1-A in the heart of the Ormond Beach tourist district, Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Have a great weekend, kids.
Enjoy Bike Week, and please be careful out there!