On Volusia: Another Sad Day for Volusia County

Another piece of our heritage died today.

Our “Rich & Powerful” political insiders – the paymasters who shamelessly purchase the souls of cheap political whores with malleable ethics and massive egos, and strategically ignore the base ineptitude of an out-of-control county administrator, to further their own self-serving goals – have taken away another 410 linear feet of beach driving in their horribly failed strategy of “incentivizing” the one amenity that made the Daytona Beach Resort Area unique.

This morning at 5:00am, under cover of darkness and the personal supervision of Beach Chief Ray Manchester, a series of hideous chemically-treated poles were driven into the sand behind the slapdash Hard Rock Hotel – completing the pernicious pact between Summit Hospitality, Hard Rock International and their elected corporate shills in DeLand.

I am often asked by well-meaning people “how does this happen, Barker?”

My best answer is – the uber-rich power brokers who have seized control of our government accomplish this by appearing before their elected Muppets on the dais of power in DeLand – as J. Hyatt Brown did when this sinister scheme was hatched way back in the spring of 2015 – or funnel secret directions through their utterly compromised bag man, County Manager Jim Dinneen – instructing their chattel to hand over more of our limited beach access in exchange for dubious promises from the speculative developer du jour.

Then, when grassroots advocates like Sons of the Beach, attempt to challenge these despotic edicts from on high – they are blocked by lawsuits filed by weaponized county attorneys (using our own money) to silence any opposition or legal arguments.

Invariably, a jumbled appellate court process determines that the long-suffering taxpayers of Volusia County, who are increasingly asked to pay-up and shut-up, have no “standing.”

As I have written before, under this bastardized oligarchy we call governance in Volusia County, We, The People, no longer have standing in much of anything – except, of course, when it comes to footing the bill for a new “synergistic” shopping center for ISC or subsidizing a ten-story phallic monument to Hyatt Brown’s self-importance – oh, and to serve the dual purpose as headquarters for his billionaire insurance company.

Our elected officials have given tens-of-millions in tax incentives, infrastructure improvements and other inducements to these slimy puppet masters and a slew of itinerant developers – and this morning, they made good on their “inducement” to a gaudy “theme” hotel built on the bones of the haunted Desert Inn Hotel – a place that will forever remain notorious for the atrocities against children that were committed within – when they drove a phalanx of ugly utility poles into the sand and blocked vehicular access forever.

In May 2015, in a piece entitled “A sad day for Volusia County,” I wrote a prophetic line has finally come home to roost:

“We are now at the cold mercy of these goddamned grifters – smug shitheels in expensive suits and Gucci loafers who play with other people’s money and openly fuck with our beachside lifestyle.  And when they go belly-up – as they always do (just ask Bray & Gillespie, remember them?) – we are left holding the bag as they trot back to South Florida, Canada or Russia.” 

It’s cold comfort to say I told you so – but, welcome to our future.

The fact is, we are in the grip of a system so abominably corrupt that it may well be impossible to correct without outside intervention.

Apparently, those who are paid to monitor, detect and investigate the conduct, integrity and ethics of sitting public officials are asleep at the switch – or have been equally co-opted by those with a permanent place at the public tit – despicably complicit by their inaction in a ruse to monetize our public beach, manipulate our system of governance and alienate the many to feed the ravenous greed of a few.

That “ill wind” I talked about so many months ago continues to blow across Volusia County – and on it is the foul stench of quid pro quo public corruption and corporate gluttony.

I still believe in my heart that we are better than this – that we fundamentally deserve fair and equal treatment under the law and basic representation by those we elect to protect our interests.

I also believe that there remains one fundamental mechanism which, if used properly, will allow us to prevail over the self-serving insiders and well-heeled Donor Class that seem intent on shitting on our century-old heritage and handing the right to the traditional use of OUR beach to outside interests and speculators for backdoor personal enrichment:

It is the ultimate power of the ballot box.

 I like to humor myself into believing that we still have some fragments of a democratic process remaining – like the sacred tradition that permits one person, one vote.

I believe that if enough like-minded citizens hold firm to the basic belief that we can control our destiny by electing strong, ethical and visionary members of our community to high office – servant/leaders who will tell powerful self-interests to go fuck themselves, and stand firm in defense of the rights, responsibilities and privileges of taxpaying residents who work hard to carve out a life here on Florida’s Fun Coast – we can once again balance political power and restore transparency, fairness and the spirit of democracy in Volusia County government.




10 thoughts on “On Volusia: Another Sad Day for Volusia County

  1. You obviously don’t work in Daytona…seeing once again our streets thrive with people who in fact have a couple a bucks in their pocket. The roads are once again buzzing with bodies and not the zombie walking drug addicts that over ran them. Once seeing abandoned buildings may once again be occupied due to the fact of a big name comes to this town. Your words of poles being erected on our beaches…I say why not .cars allowed on the beach leak oil and gas on to our beach which made them look dark and uninviting. Daytona is rising once again, and giving hope to the service industry.


    1. Lemme guess – you’re a speculative developer? Enjoy the “service industry” – because I fear that’s all we’re ever going have.

      Thanks for reading,



      1. What industry do you propose that would benefit from beach driving? The only industry on the beach is the service industry, and the incoming business from these new companies are bringing more money than beach driving ever will


  2. The county denied us our 1st Amendment right to Petition our government for a redress of grievances when they told us we are not allowed to vote on the matter of beach driving, after we gathered 22,000 signed petitions to bring the issue up for a referendum on the ballot.
    They will be called to account for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do recall one of the members of the County Council saying “we were elected to make the tough decisions” when explaining why he would not vote for the issue to be put on the ballot to be voted on by the people he was elected to represent. Words that a good Christian should not even think filled my head. I really like to think the best of everyone and I really do appreciate those who have chosen to serve the rest of us. However, my disdain for members of our County Council and some of those who fill some of the highest positions within County Government has grown stronger and stronger. Our government is not supposed to work against us, it is supposed to work for us. We elect people to represent us, ALL PEOPLE, as a whole and not a few special interests. There was absolutely no need to take cars off of the beach, the developer would have still renovated the hotel. When I think of my County Government I think of being misled about ECHO, the propaganda campaign to raise the Fire Services tax increase, remarks such as “we looked the ones who are complaining the most pay the least” demeaning the views of lower income, yet contributing, citizens, SunRail and the fact we are now going to be paying 40+ Million a year of County funds to take cars off of a State Highway and that money could have been used for local roads, the push for the 1/2 sales tax when nearly 60+ million of our tax dollars have been given away to developments that would have been built with out the “incentives”, and the idea of building a 260+ million dollar courthouse. It is time for the citizens to stop voting against themselves. He who has the most signs and advertisements has gotten the most money and has probably been bought and paid for thus do not vote for him. All we got when we replaced Jason Davis with Ed Kelly was shorter meetings. There is NO representation for the working class in Volusia County.


  3. The Golden Rule in life is “He who has the most money makes the rules”. Is it wrong for me to feel our politicians who were elected to represent us have been bought and paid for by the millionaires, billionaires, and developers? Is it wrong for me to feel the 50+ million of our tax dollars that have been given away is payback for the large campaign contributions? Am I wrong to feel this way? Should I be upset over the fact our County Council does not want to raise road impact fees on the developers in order to help solve the traffic issues caused by their new developments? And to think they really want me to vote for a ½ sale tax increase.


  4. Paved Paradise and Put Up a parking Lot … ( Yep, Lived there Too )

    Any comments belittling the Amazing PRIVELEDGE of beach driving NEED TO MOVE ! …
    You do not understand the uniqueness of what you have !

    Volusia beaches from Apollo to Ormond are the ONLY beaches in the USA you can drive on with a regular car.

    It is what Daytona Beach IS !
    Besides this simple and unique priveledge, Daytona is just another beach front Condo Strip !
    ( I will omit Ormond and Smyrna )

    Take away AMPLE ON BEACH PARKING and Daytona WILL drift away as well as it’s tourism dollars.

    GET A CLUE or just move.

    I’m 62 and the JOY of carrying everything i need for an enjoyable day at the beach in my vehicle to a spot on the beach is PRICELESS !!!

    See you at the Shore


  5. What is with this fixation with beach driving?
    No where else in the US is there a beach community so run down then in daytona.
    And daytona is just about the only city that allows beach driving and bike week.
    Notice any correlation?

    All beach communities I visit have ample free parking.
    Not so in daytona, try to find free parking near the Ocean Center?


    1. Gee Mark, You Don’t get around much…

      Lets see… Miami is no cherry and how about Panama City fl ( Been there recently ? I have.)
      Ocean City N.J., Coney Island N.Y., Atlantic City, N.J., Myrtle Beach , N.C. Can get a bit rough..ETC…
      And that just the East coast.. No Beach parking in these spots… Correlation … Thinking … NO ..

      $25 for a seasonal, unlimited beach parking pass for Volusia county residence is the best bargain I have seen anywhere for Ocean Access Towns .. another $ 20 for all the parks. Try that anywhere else..

      Like i said, Move if you don’t appreciate it.. Try Flagler beach.. Nice and quiet..
      I love beach parking.. One of the reasons i live here .

      Beach parking is Priceless !!

      See you at the coast..


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