Public Policy by Archaeology: Digging up failed ideas from the past

Legal dictionaries define the heralded “Reasonable” man or woman as, “A fictional person with an ordinary degree of reason, prudence, care, foresight, or intelligence whose conduct, conclusion, or expectation in relation to a particular circumstance or fact is used as an objective standard by which to measure or determine something (as the existence of negligence).”

Some who know me might disagree, but I’ve always considered myself a sensible person – an ordinary everyman – neither always right, nor always wrong – but with the innate ability to detect when I’m being victimized by big money interests who are rigging our system of local governance and recognize no reasonable limits in their quest for power – or more of our hard-earned tax dollars. . .

Look, God knows I have my warts – but, like you, I truly care about this mosaic of communities that we call home.

While we may not agree on everything – reasonable people can learn from the honest debate of differing opinions so that solutions are based on an amalgam of ideas which consider the needs and wants of a diverse constituency.

Unfortunately, in Volusia County, many of the uninspired empty suits we have elected to represent our best interest have been bought-and-paid-for by those who stand at the nexus of public funds and private profits – so, unless you and I can pay-to-play – we are never afforded the opportunity to be heard.

As a result, our governmental processes have become so skewed, so patently unreasonable and fragmented; marked by a complete lack of strategic vision which has contributed to blight, dilapidation and an overwhelming sense of bleakness that has caused many of our neighbors to simply give up hope and is destroying our once vibrant tourism and hospitality industry.

Don’t take my word for it:

Take the family down to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, stroll through the “attractions” near Main Street and A-1-A – the epicenter of our core tourist area – or spend some time on the beach, where for $25.00 a day, visitors can drive through a forest of ugly wooden poles and the omnipresent sign pollution that marks what passes for “beach management” – and you’ll get a pretty good idea what I’m talking about.

Consider how many of our hard-earned tax dollars have been lavished on the needs of a few uber-wealthy political insiders while other areas of our county are allowed to languish as compromised elected officials enjoy the political insulation of their benefactors while sticking to a failed strategy of publicly underwritten panacea projects – the “next big thing” – that never seem to be the “game changer” we were promised.

Contemplate the reasoning behind the “Us vs. Them” mentality that pervades the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Building in DeLand – where individual municipalities are routinely victimized by a bullying county government – where taxpayers are sued by a weaponized county attorney with their own money – and the very idea of self-determination and “home rule” goes out the window when Volusia County wants to impose it’s imperial will within a municipal jurisdiction.

Reflect on the voracious appetite of Volusia County government for more tax dollars – the seeming inability to live within their means despite the dire financial situation of the many residents living at or below the poverty line – trapped in a whirlpool of low wage, service industry jobs – a land of haves-and-have-nots – where those who truly make the rules build shrines to their own self-importance and go home to gated communities, while seeking even more tax dollars from tens-of-thousands of families who fend for themselves in an unsustainable artificial economy.

After you have sufficiently reviewed these intractable issues, ask yourself why our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley – and many of those dullards at the Roundtable of Elected Officials (where county and municipal elected officials take marching orders from their handlers at the Volusia CEO Business Alliance) – are actively exhuming the corpses of long-dead “studies,” political insulation reports and other failed ideas – which didn’t work a decade ago, and won’t work now?

I call it “public policy by archaeology” and it evidences the fact these wholly-owned chattel of our ‘Rich & Powerful’ have lost the ability to think for themselves – and exposes the fact these visionless churls haven’t had an original thought since they accepted their first campaign contribution. . .

Has Big Money clouded their ability to even consider the myriad social, economic and civic issues we face and develop fresh, innovative ideas to limit bureaucratic inefficiencies, right size government and respect the traditions and unique independence of the cities?

For weeks, we’ve heard that Old Ed, freshman Councilman Ben Johnson and a few other sitting political hacks have been trying to breath new life into outdated consultant reports, reviews, antique “studies” and pitifully ineffective “smart growth” committees – all failed “plans” that have been collecting dust for years on the groaning credenzas of county bureaucrats – yellowing monuments to a politicians natural instinct to protect themselves from criticism with the best “expert” opinion they can buy.

In my view, it doesn’t help when our newspaper of record buys into the cockamamie ideas proposed by perennial politicians who have demonstrated where their true allegiance lies.

The Daytona Beach News-Journals editorial board must understand that Volusia County government has lost the trust and confidence of their constituents – which also happens to represent their readership?

After all, they have written multiple articles and opinion pieces on our basic distrust of Old Ed and the Funky Bunch – the lies, deceit, backroom deals, gross mismanagement and haughty sense of infallibility no matter how foolish the decision – and the incredible impact our collective cynicism is having on their shameless half-cent sales tax money grab.

Yet, inexplicably, on Sunday the News-Journal once again floated Old Ed’s tired question of whether taxpayers living comfortably in the various municipalities want to – for the umpteenth time in our history – consider consolidating critical governmental services under Volusia County’s threadbare Big Top.

Although each and every time politicians use this ruse as a faint maneuver to deflect attention from much darker questions, We, The People have screamed a resounding “No!” – somehow now, with confidence in Volusia County government at whale shit depths – the newspaper lends credence to this perpetual smokescreen?


Shouldn’t Volusia County residents have a reasonable expectation that their hard-earned tax dollars won’t be squandered on yet another horseshit “consolidation study” – especially at a time our elected officials are dunning us for even more tax dollars?

My God.

When will our newspaper join the growing chorus of taxpayers who are screaming for our elected officials to get their heads out of their ass and develop a strategic vision for our future that doesn’t include ancient concepts or taxing the eyeballs out of every man, woman and child in Volusia County?

How about the New-Journal’s editorial board allow their staff to examine the important question no one in a position of power in DeLand wants to discuss:

How can we pare down this bloated, parasitic bureaucracy that is Volusia County government and eliminate its meddling involvement and influence in the business of well-managed and well-funded municipal governments who are providing quality core services to residents and visitors?

When will we stop allowing this insatiable machine to grow even larger, more unresponsive as it justifies its own moribund existence – and underwrite its own failing services – by attempting to absorb functioning municipal assets?

Despite what some highly paid shill might have said in some archaic “study” – I seriously doubt the citizens of Ponce Inlet, New Smyrna Beach, Holly Hill, Daytona Beach Shores, Ormond Beach, DeLand – or any other small community that honorably serves, protects and enhances the quality of life of its residents – want anything to do with a “three city concept” – or, God forbid – another massive, unaccountable, unresponsive, self-perpetuating bureaucratic quagmire that invariably increases costs while diminishing service delivery.

In my view, it is time the News-Journal – and elected municipal officials who know better – stop being complicit in this cheap diversionary tactic repeatedly foisted by a few horribly compromised petty politicians behind the tattered curtain who have lost the trust and confidence of those they swore an oath to serve.





One thought on “Public Policy by Archaeology: Digging up failed ideas from the past

  1. First a mini history: back in the 80’s the county did not have a fire department, it had a scattering of taxing districts, contract services, and small VFD’s, with large sections of the unincorporated area relying on the state forestry service for their primary fire service. The county took over and expanded the existing stations to cover all the rural areas, still relying mostly on the existing volunteers. They then practiced their usual neglect while the volunteer base went away. The small paid staff remained small and the cities were used under mutual aid to hide the gaps. At one time DeBary contracted with the county to run their fire station, but eventually switched that contract to Deltona FD. The cities have resisted various arrangements with county fire because the low staffing did not equal the services they were providing. The county is now facing scrutiny and needs to beef up their service, so is looking to absorb the available manpower and equipment in the city FD’s to cover their own needs. If they were to get their own house in order then maybe some cities would look at consolidation, but it is not likely the county will make the investment in fire service that is needed. They have always preferred awarding infrastructure contracts over managing employees.


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