On Volusia: Sturm und Drang

“Engineers said the coaster’s design along with excessive speed and wear on the coaster were likely factors in the accident, according to reports. The engineers also said they found evidence that the coaster had traveled too fast many times and had an extended history of derailments.”

I found a loose analogy in News-Journal reporter Frank Fernandez’ informative article on efforts by Daytona Beach Boardwalk honcho George Anderson to have the hulk of the ill-fated “Sandblaster” roller coaster removed from the haunted ruins of the once popular tourist area.

Anyone paying attention to what passes for governance here on Florida’s fabled Fun Coast will see it immediately. . .

The long-suffering taxpayers of Volusia County have been trapped on this rickety chute-the-chute for years – nauseated by the constant ups, downs, twists, turns and loop-de-loops of an out-of-control bureaucracy operated by a troupe of clueless carnies drunk on greed and power.

The centerpiece of a Carnival of the Absurd that no longer bears any semblance to a participatory democracy.

Next week, the storm and stress that has marked the no-holds-barred push by that consortium of millionaires over at the Volusia CEO Business Alliance to saddle every man, woman, child and visitor with a half-cent sales tax increase will come to an unceremonious end – as these things always do.

There will be no “winners and losers” on Tuesday.

So, put that quaint notion out of your mind and prepare yourself for the crushing realization that, whatever happens, the outcome will not be good for Volusia County residents.

If the tax increase passes, it is expected to result in a $42 million annual windfall to a horribly compromised county government (with a percentage broken off and hand-fed to the municipalities, who are barking like trained seals at the hand of their masters) – cold hard cash that will ultimately be encumbered then passed through to those individuals and corporations who concocted and funded this pernicious initiative from its inception.

Our bought-and-paid-for politicians, and their uber-wealthy political overseers, will crow long and loud about what a great “Victory” it will be if We, The People succumb to the scary stories, fear-mongering and half-truths that have been used to sell this shameless money grab to the masses and self-inflict a tax increase.

They will preen like peacocks – call the win a “mandate” to continue the status quo – then set about doing exactly what they have always done with our hard-earned tax dollars – following the same failed policies and corrupt processes that have brought us to this incredibly low point in our history.

A visionless “No Plan B” strategy in the face of unchecked sprawl along the spine of Volusia County, where speculative developers rape the land, ignore environmental regulations and the ecological impacts to our water supply and get wildly rich in the process – while hapless residents face the specter of gridlocked traffic, overloaded essential services and the very real prospect of consuming our own sewage in a few short years – a gluttonous all-or-nothing mindset that continues to ignore the myriad problems that got us here.

That’s why I voted “No” – and I hope you will too.  But, regardless of the outcome – I fear our near future is grim. . .

If voters reject doing the same thing over-and-over again while expecting a different outcome from these uninspired shitheels we elected to represent our best interests and deny the increase, where are we then?

Does anyone really think if this local option tax initiative fails our ‘powers that be’ will put a moratorium on new development – finally say “No” to the developers who feed their political campaigns – or implement austerity measures to shrink the size and scope of that grossly bloated bureaucracy in DeLand?

Do you think our doddering fool of a County Chair, Ed Kelley, has the strategic vision, leadership skills and basic intelligence to drive a workable solution to the crushing tsunami of infrastructure, utilities and environmental overburden that is just over the horizon?   

In my view, we – the long-suffering residents of Volusia County – are about to reap the whirlwind that invariably results when a disinterested electorate (where just less than one-in-four households could be bothered to check a box and drop a postage paid ballot in the mail) is set upon by greed-crazed oligarchs who use their massive resources to openly buy elections, corrupt the system of checks-and-balance and continue to openly control the destiny of this sandy piece of land like a fiefdom while you and I pay for it.

As my literary hero Hunter S. Thompson said, “In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught.  In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”




3 thoughts on “On Volusia: Sturm und Drang

  1. Hunter S. also famously noted that “the scum also rises,” as the politicians in Volusia County amply illustrate.
    Mike Gardner


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