“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
–George Orwell, Animal Farm
To the residents of Pelican Bay – It was never about you.
It was never about any of us.
Earlier this week, we learned what many savvy observers already knew – massive truck and employee traffic associated with the now under construction Amazon megawarehouse is coming to already congested Beville Road.
And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
Now, residents are being told to look at the coming gridlock, wait times, and property devaluation “holistically” – which is bureaucratese for ‘shut-up and accept the inevitable, peons’ – because there is one indisputable fact that governs Fun Coast politics: What certain people want, they get, and if their version of “Progress” adversely impacts our lives and livelihoods – tough shit.
Slowly but surely, Volusia County residents are awakening to the realization we are pawns in a much larger game – a weird form of predestination – an accepted doctrine that all events have been agreed to by our “Rich & Powerful” monarchs behind closed doors, those wealthy few with the wherewithal to purchase a chip in the game and know what’s best for the rest of us.
Trust me. Here on the Fun Coast, you are either in that elite circle – the same five people passing the same nickel around – or you aren’t.
For many, it became evident long ago that our destiny is controlled by all the right last names, heavy hitters who trade malleable politicians like cheap livestock each election cycle – little more than weak-minded elected marionettes who hope against hope that by pleading ignorance to their largely apathetic constituents, the resultant thin veneer of plausible deniability will buy them another bite at the apple to better serve their political benefactors.
And the pernicious cycle continues.
Last Thursday, some one hundred residents and small business interests along Beville Road learned from Volusia County and Florida Department of Transportation officials that their fervent pleas and protests to move heavy freight and employee traffic accessing the new Amazon fulfillment center away from their neighborhood had fallen on deaf ears.
According to an informative article this week by Eileen Zaffiro-Kean writing in The Daytona Beach News-Journal under the demoralizing frontpage headline, “Residents lose fight over trucks”:
“Instead the group of middle-aged and elderly residents found themselves at a two-hour explanation of how a spot directly across from Pelican Bay’s east gate was chosen for the main access road for Amazon trucks, and what that will mean for traffic on Beville Road a short distance east of Williamson Boulevard.”
But don’t worry, we’re being assured by those on the inside that no one who stands to benefit is “…trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.”
According to the News-Journal report:
“Planning started about eight years ago for the new access road and other roads that will branch off of it. But many residents at Thursday’s meeting said they felt blindsided by both that network of planned roads and the Amazon project.
Pelican Bay resident Tom Kaczka asked why the access road wasn’t shown on maps at a meeting in August about the area around the Amazon site being rezoned. Local attorney Mark Watts, who’s representing the developer, said that meeting was only about rezoning the specific building site, which doesn’t include the area around the access road.”
Sound familiar? It should.
I call it the Old Volusia County Shilly-Shally.
Wasting time, running the clock, and prolonging the inevitable is the insidious diversionary tactic that allows our “economic development” types to facilitate preplanned intrusive projects with little, if any, substantive oversight, due diligence, or community input before the massive and unwieldy rabbit is pulled out of the hat with great flourish.
All perfectly legal here in the Biggest Whorehouse in the World.
For instance, the Amazon project was initially cloaked in total secrecy, known by the mysterious cryptonym “Project Tarpon,” while the true beneficiaries of the backroom wrangling – the uber-powerful elite at NASCAR and Amazon – worked out the details using a perverse bureaucratic sleight-of-hand that has our elected officials voting in the blind on projects of significant regional impact.
When those elected officials who so enthusiastically voted to approve the development agreement – along with some $4 million in “incentives” for the wealthiest online retailer in the known universe – magically discovered that there just might be some traffic associated with a 2.8 million-square-foot 24/7 industrial warehouse, they feign ignorance of the noxious byproducts of “Progress” and cravenly commiserate with their poleaxed constituents who found themselves without a seat when the music stopped.
Sorry, Pelican Bay. You’re screwed.
If its any consolation, you are not alone.
In the aftermath of a recent do-nothing deflection dubbed a “smart growth workshop” some wholly compromised members of the Volusia County Council are now telling us our concerns of water quantity and quality degradation associated with the out-of-control sprawl our elected officials across the region continue to rubberstamp is an overreaction.
You read that right.
Of course, while we waste time debating the obvious with them – the bulldozers continue to roar across the width and breadth of Volusia County.
I damn sure hope so. . .
To them, it is just another spineless method of procrastination – allowing time and distance between necessary environmental regulations and growth management strategies and the current malignant sprawl that is making their political benefactors obscenely rich churning our natural places into more sticks-and-glue cracker boxes “starting in the $300’s.”
But lying to their constituents is a dangerous game for sitting politicians.
What happens when We, The Little People finally awake to the fact that those we trust to steward and manage growth and resources have so perverted the truth while running interference for their puppeteers that they have destroyed the public’s trust in government?
When the death and destruction of wildlife, the gridlocked traffic, topography changes, toxic soup that was once the Indian River Lagoon, dried up lakes, soiled springs, and the massive sprawl we see with our own eyes no longer comports with the “happy talk” being flogged by our elected and appointed officials?
What happens when it is too late?
I urge everyone to read the campaign finance reports here https://tinyurl.com/3khvk4wt – examine who the fatback developers and special interests are supporting (the why should be self-evident) – then vote like our quality of life depends upon it.