This angry screed was first published in August 2016.
Back when I was still full of hope and optimism. . .
Imagine my chagrin when I opened the Daytona Beach News-Journal and found that our old friend Henry Wolfond, CEO of Bayshore Capital, Inc. has returned to our sandy shores with dollars signs once again dancing in his head.
Call me a ‘once bitten, twice shy’ kind of guy.
We’ve heard Mr. Wolfond’s pie-in-the-sky bullshit before – and suffered his tongue-lashing when his big plans hit the skids and sent him scurrying back to Canada.
In my jaded view, this alternative opinion to the fawning of our sycophantic ‘powers that be’ is just as relevant today as it was in 2016. Enjoy.
If I receive another arrogant lecture from a speculative developer scolding me and my neighbors because they can’t build an overpriced high-rise theme hotel, and carry our money out of town in trucks, I’m going to vomit.
The coverage by the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and other local media outlets, of the shamefaced Henry Wolfond, CEO of Bayshore Capital, Inc., and his failure to sprout the phantom “Hard Rock” hotel/condo/cafe from the sand dunes – a project that Wolfond promised was going to be the magic panacea to protect us hapless rubes from ourselves and cure every ill facing Daytona Beach from economic blight to head lice – has consumed more newsprint than the Hindenburg disaster.
Three months ago I wrote:
“Just last year our friends at Toronto-based Bayshore Capital, Inc. promised that if we just gave up our heritage of beach driving, in turn we would receive 375,000 square feet of tempered steel and sex appeal; a sweet, sweet release from all our burdens in the form of a monolithic miracle of jobs, oiled-up pretty people in private cabanas, and luxury condos for the rest of us.
Bayshore’s hired mouthpiece, Glen Storch, warned us (Like Oliver Douglas preaching to the residents of Hooterville) that if we balked at giving the Hard Rock what amounts to a private beach then our cure-all would be snatched away and we would be left to rot like poisoned rats in this hellish cesspool of economic affliction and violent street crime we pathetically call “The World’s Most Famous Beach.”
Our benevolent dictators – the uber-rich puppet masters who actually run what passes for “government” in Volusia County – immediately directed their hired hands on the County Council to give Bayshore what they wanted.”
And they damn sure did.
Gave them everything they wanted and more.
Frankly, I’m sick and tired of these people – these speculative greedheads – preaching to us about how badly we fucked-up – openly whining about how our “obstructionism” cost us the opportunity to have nice things.
Everyone who is anyone got into the act.
According to the News-Journal, “…former Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey was at the front of the line to buy a condo. Ritchey, president and CEO of one of the nation’s most successful automobile sales operations, has become a friend of Wolfond since the Hard Rock land was purchased five years ago, and he also became passionate about seeing it come to life.”
Note to Mr. Ritchey: Henry Wolfond is not your friend. He was currying favor for his project– you know it, and we know it.
The fact that he contributed heavily to the monument to your own self-importance that was erected at the Bandshell – and in doing so got the Bayshore brand on the brass bootlicker plaque – does not make him your friend.
It makes him a common whore.
Look, Glenn, we’re not buying a cheap used car here. You don’t have to put the ether to us.
The citizens of Volusia County are big boys and girls who have been screwed so many times by real estate developers, carpet-bagging thieves and outright pirates that we walk with a collective limp.
We get it.
So just stop.
And the fact that J. Hyatt Brown gave Wolfond $5,000 as a show “deposit” on a luxury condominium that he knew was never coming out of the ground is just laughable.
Hyatt Brown spent more than that on his last city commissioner – so don’t think for a minute we bought into this bullshit simply because Mr. Brown – or one of his cronies – threw a little money around. We’ve come to expect it.
As usual, now the power brokers and the failed developer du jour stand together and point their fucking fingers in our face like a demented Ebeneezer Scrooge and blame We, The People for shitting on yet another cure-all.
They stand as one and arrogantly lecture us on how our temerity in questioning the developer’s right to a private beach in return for 60 parking spaces and a weak promise ruined everything.
I’m sick of it.
Trust me. If Wolfond – or any other developer in the free world – thought that they could make a buck off this place they would do it in a heartbeat. The fact is, Bayshore was commanding Palm Beach prices in a place that can’t even support a decent chain restaurant.
I mean, does anyone do their homework anymore?
You don’t need a market study to understand the citizens of Volusia County are so beat down and deprived that a new Wa-Wa makes us feel all haughty and up-scale.
If we had the money back that we’ve given to International Speedway Corporation, Consolidated Tomoka, the “E-Zone” mess, and the countless speculative developers and “friends of friends” that have come down the sandy pike, we could revitalize the entire “Fun Coast” overnight.
These hypocritical shitheels refuse to admit that it is their fault. Not ours.
The fact that smart people don’t want to invest money in a place that has been falling apart right before our eyes for the past 20-years has nothing to do with beach driving or high-rise hotels.
The reason no one wants to throw good money after bad down this festering cesspool is that they have watched the skimming by special interests and influential insiders, and the abject corruption inherent to the process that has made Volusia County look like a fucking Banana Republic.
These big dollar financiers that kept Wolfond and his dubious project at arms-length know they have a better chance of squeezing out a profit in downtown Port Au Prince than on Atlantic Avenue.
Don’t preach to me about “uncertainty and delay” over beach driving lawsuits.
Our elected officials – and their wealthy puppeteers – have created an environment that is so unstable and flagrantly criminal that no one north of Bunnell or south of Mims wants anything to do with us.
We’ve become the wet turd in Central Florida’s front yard that nobody wants to step in.
Like working in a sewer, eventually you just become immune to the stench and waste floating all around you; and locals have been duped so many times we have just become accepting of it.
We really don’t know any other way.
As an example, rather than realize that he is a huge part of the problem and benevolently resign his post – County Manager Jim Dinneen appears in the newspaper coverage yapping in the background about a mysterious Boardwalk expansion like the whippy little shit he is.
Focus, Jim. We’re not talking Ferris wheels and Tilt-a-Carts here. Big boy time, Mr. County Manager.
At the end of the day, the proposed Hard Rock project accomplished what it was designed to do.
It closed yet another approach and set the stage for the removal of even more beach driving space. The ordinances that were passed on the back of this project – and the “Westin” (which it appears is being renovated by two guys on the weekends) – was the goal of our benevolent dictators from the beginning.
And at the end of the day, they got what they wanted.
Screw this ridiculous smokescreen.
We saw this coming all along, and the takeaway has nothing to do with high-rise condo’s or even beach driving.
We have confirmed the valuable lesson that the very institutions we once trusted – the people we elect and appoint to represent our interests – have been corrupted and co-opted by greedy bastards who have no qualm about using public resources, tax dollars and the judicial system as weapons against their own constituents to line their pockets and those of their “friends.”
And when they fail. It’s our fault.
Please remember that at the polls.
Photo Credit: The Daytona Beach News-Journal