It’s time once again to turn a jaundiced eye toward the newsmakers of the day – the winners and losers – who, in my cynical opinion, either contributed to our quality of life, or detracted from it, in some significant way.
Let’s look at who tried to screw us – and who tried to save us – during the week that was:
Asshole City of Ormond Beach
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
— George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
There is never a dearth of things to fume about here on the Fun Coast.
Each week I am faced with the dilemma of selecting who, or what, to opine about in this space. From the petty to the profound, sometimes I get it right – sometimes I miss the mark entirely.
My editorial sieve is based on a weird ‘unreasonable man’ standard – a simple assumption that if something bugs me, it probably bugs you.
So, here goes:
Over the past week I have watched Granada Pointe – much of which remains an unsightly weed-strewn blotch on Ormond Beach’s main thoroughfare – a place where 2,061 specimen hardwoods were clear-cut and ground into splinters to accommodate a Wawa and drive-thru car wash – transform into an urban campground and commercial parking lot.
What the developer promised would become a tony retail complex with a specialty grocer, posh “shoppes,” upscale retail outlets, a bank, restaurant, and other amenities – advertised as being no different from any other commercial development on Granada Boulevard – has dissolved into an ugly unimproved veld – complete with a mudhole that rivals a Namibian warthog wallow – an overgrown stain that now serves as the centerpiece of Granada Boulevard – a highly visible monument to the malleability and acquiescence of the Ormond Beach City Commission.
Inconceivably – five-years on – much of the 32-acres (including 1.3 acres of “mitigated” wetlands) that were publicly sacrificed on both sides of the street remain vacant – with tall grass and a washed-out dirt road replacing the “reforestation” we were promised.
For nearly two-weeks, a large conversion van has been parked on the shabby lot with a hand scrawled placard on the side announcing, “Need Help with Auto Repairs.”
Each time I pass a gentleman can be seen sleeping soundly behind the wheel while his traveling companion tends to housekeeping duties through an open door.
Look, I don’t know if our new neighbors are in legitimate need, or merely practicing a variation on the age-old “stranded traveler” ruse, but how much longer before they declare permanent residency?
If you’ve lived in the Halifax area for any time, chances are you have become anesthetized to the plight of beggars plying their trade, but this is different.
This isn’t about panhandlers – it is about broken promises – and a disturbing lack of pride in place and appearance that continues to lower the bar in Ormond Beach.
The citizens of Ormond Beach lost something of real substance in this lopsided trade – a long-standing natural buffer of old-growth suburban wildlife habitat was sacrificed at the altar of progress – on the assurance of an up-market retail center that would complement the character of our community.
In my view, it is time for the City of Ormond Beach to begin evaluating past performance before rubber-stamping additional projects for developers with unfinished business elsewhere in the community – and hold those who have been granted extraordinary latitude for shaping our main commercial corridor accountable for their broken promises.
Asshole Gannett Co., Inc.
Earlier this week, those precious few who still subscribe to The Daytona Beach News-Journal learned from executive editor John Dunbar that the newspaper will no longer allow reader comments on its website.
After explaining that “public discussion and civil debate are crucial to our society,” and the importance of media engagement – which I think means listening to the diverse opinions and perspectives of readers and the all-important competition of ideas that can lead to social and civic change – Mr. Dunbar wrote:
“But for all their benefits, we also know that comment sections across the internet can quickly devolve when they’re left unmonitored. We wanted to be different. Involvement from our journalists in the discussion and moderating when things got off track helped us provide a better experience.
Now, it’s time for a reset and we are hitting pause. Starting Feb. 1, the “View Comments” button will disappear from our articles.”
The fact is, Gannett, the corporate media behemoth that owns hundreds of paid daily and weekly newspapers across the nation – including The Daytona Beach News-Journal – made the decision for Mr. Dunbar.
Last year, the failing news giant reported it was cutting editorial content across the network after “research” found that “…editorials, guest commentary columns, op-eds and letters to the editor have lost relevance in an age when opinions overflow on social media.”
In addition, Gannett’s crystal ball also suggested that “contemporary audiences” are too stupid to differentiate between objective reporting and opinion content. . .
The fact is, this was a purely cost-cutting move for a media conglomerate that has been awash in red ink, laying off veteran reporters, selling buildings and assets, eliminating Saturday editions, then homogenizing and regionalizing newspapers while keeping the masthead and lightly peppering what passes for the “local page” with just enough area reporting and headlines like “Roach activity found at (insert Daytona Beach restaurant here)” to keep it marginally relevant to Volusia County.
There appears to be a move afoot across our most sacred institutions to silence citizens – from the machinations in local council and commission chambers to the Fourth Estate that once served as an effective watchdog – our sacred right to participate in our government, and express our individual thoughts and opinions, is under attack.
Increasingly, small-minded politicians and entrenched bureaucrats go to great lengths to quash dissent and civic activism by cloaking their overweening censorship in “civility ordinances,” “rules of decorum,” and other asinine suppressive measures eerily mimicking those of the Khmer Rouge. . .
It has become obvious that some local governments would prefer citizens acquiesce to orchestrated “public meetings” – choreographed shams where predetermined policies and expenditures are rubber-stamped – while the ‘people’s business’ is hammered out behind closed doors and shaped by insider influence, far from the prying eyes of us tax strapped rubes.
Now, Gannett – the nation’s largest newspaper owner – has decided to ignore the thoughts, concerns, suggestions, and opinions of its readership as a mean of squeezing more profit for some private equity firm or global hedge fund by pushing those of us who consume the “news” deeper into the static and chaos of social media.
Is it simply the end of an era?
Or the beginning of something more sinister, darker, and more suppressive, where our ‘powers that be’ pay lip service to our right to free expression, but effectively remove the soapbox from the public square?
A place where We, The Little People receive governmental diktats through canned “press releases” spun by “Community Information Directors” – regurgitated word-for-word by a handful of “journalists” who are handcuffed and gagged by their corporate overseers in Tysons Corner?
Angel Main Street Merchants
For the first time in a long time, beleaguered Main Street merchants – and Halifax area residents – have real cause for hope.
In an informative piece by business editor Clayton Park writing in last Sunday’s Daytona Beach News-Journal, we learned that Teresa Doan – the long-time owner of numerous historic commercial buildings on Main Street and beyond – has sold some seventy area properties to CTO Realty Growth, LLC for a reported $5.4 million.
The sale includes fixtures like Dirty Harry’s Pub & Package, the Full Moon Saloon, The Bank live music club, Biker’s Den building, and the Hog Heaven Bar B-Q restaurant, a residential property on Wild Olive, and several vacant lots currently used for itinerant vendors during special events.
In addition, Ms. Doan sold the former Corbin Building to the City of Daytona Beach last year for a reported $3.1 million.
According to the report, Doan has entered a lease agreement with CTO which will allow her to operate the current businesses “for the next few months,” which means most of these classic spots will be open for Bike Week 2023 in March.
Then, the sky’s the limit.
Because things can’t get much worse. . .
For decades, residents and long-time observers have watched as the economic stagnation that devastated much of our core tourist area spread like a malignant chancre.
As the smart money moved west to Boomtown Boulevard, much of the beachside came to represent an old, ugly, and intractable problem, an embarrassing shrine to human greed and government ineptitude – a turnip squeezed dry – a grotesque thing no longer worth the effort and expense of saving.
Over the years, revenue generated from the “Main Street Community Redevelopment Area” went to bond big ticket items – like the Ocean Walk Shoppes – with many beachside residents complaining that the investment east of A-1-A hasn’t had the “trickledown effect” they were promised.
Another issue has been storefronts that remain vacant most of the year – only open during Bike Week and Biketoberfest – leaving several blocks looking shabby, abandoned, and depressed.
Most agree that the piecemeal strategy of redeveloping Main Street one dilapidated building at a time has been a painfully slow process – but year-round businesses like the popular World’s Most Famous Brewery have proven that Main Street can be more than the twice-a-year epicenter for motorcycle events.
According to the News-Journal’s report:
“Tom Caffrey is the co-owner along with business partner Krista Goodrich of The World’s Most Famous Brewery at 816 Main St.
“Any new blood and new businesses in the area I’m happy for,” he said regarding CTO’s plans for Doan’s Main Street properties. “Hopefully, those buildings don’t get torn down. There’s a lot of history there, but I’m happy that she sold them and welcome any new businesses that come in. I’m super excited about the future.”
Anything is possible with the right vision.
With any luck, the City of Daytona Beach will get out of the way – eliminate the bone-crushing red tape and syrupy-slow pace of the traditional “redevelopment” process that has sent many potential investors to surrounding communities – and allow intrepid entrepreneurs to transform Main Street into the vibrant draw our beachside so desperately needs.
Quote of the Week
“The tolls were budgeted to bring in about $5.5 million this past fiscal year, continuing a recovery from the big hit they took during the pandemic. How big a hit the county will take from last year’s hurricane damage remains to be seen.
Since the start of county beach management in 1988, this money was always meant to supplement the costs of running the beach. It doesn’t come close to paying for everything.
Free local beach driving would likely wipe out about $1 million of beach toll revenue. That means the money would need to be made up somehow just when the county is scrambling to pay for storm damage along the 47-mile beach and toll collections are down because of beach ramp closures.”
–Columnist Mark Lane writing in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “The return of the endless beach toll debate in Volusia County,” Sunday, January 29, 2923
I’m a huge fan of the venerated columnist Mark Lane.
His Footnote column is the first thing I turn to each Sunday – the last vestige of purely local flavor in what remains of our regionalized ‘hometown’ newspaper.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the “endless beach toll debate” – he got it wrong.
Mr. Lane is not a beach driving enthusiast – preferring to visit traffic-free sections of the beach – and that’s okay.
To each their own, I say.
But I disagree with his basic premise that Volusia’s Atlantic coastline somehow needs to be “run” by demonstrably inept bureaucrats who have turned the beach I grew up on into an overregulated, uninviting, and sign-polluted money grab that bears no resemblance to the great natural resource we all enjoyed before the county assumed “management” in 1988.
To be clear, the current debate is not over beach driving – but the right of Volusia County residents to enjoy vehicular access to our beach without being forced to render unto Caesar twice – once in our exorbitant property taxes and again at the toll booth.
A free and open beach was a major draw for families visiting the World’s Most Famous Beach before Volusia County erected gates at approaches – with toll booths staffed by contract tariff collectors – who lecture beachgoers with a litany of rules, regulations, and a final admonishment to follow the confusing mishmash of do this/don’t do that signage, wooden poles, and traffic cones.
Many long-time locals that I talk with cannot tell you the last time they enjoyed a day at the beach – turned off by the double-taxation of a $25 annual duty to Volusia County for the privilege of participating in our century-old tradition of beach driving – and legendary run-ins with officious county wardens.
Others are still righteously pissed over the pernicious gifting of 410 linear feet of our beach as a cheap spiff for the developer of the Hard Rock Daytona.
In 2018 when Sons of the Beach – Florida’s premiere beach driving and access advocacy – stood up for our interests and filed suit to challenge the removal of cars behind the Hard Rock – Volusia County flexed its muscles and sued taxpayers with our own money while confederating with a private entity to limit our access to a public beach.
That abject greed and bureaucratic aggression left a festering wound that has never quite healed.
With the Volusia County Council now comprised exclusively of self-described “conservative Republicans” – ostensibly committed to the freedoms and liberties only possible with smaller government, lower taxes, fewer fees, and less regulation of our everyday lives – why such a hurdle to talk openly about this prominent issue at a public meeting?
The decision to discuss removing beach tolls for residents resulted in handwringing from Councilman Danny Robins – who mewled that eliminating tolls would cut off a prime source of government revenue – namely the $5.5 million that is shoveled into the greedy maw of the insatiable machine each year from beach tolls – before trotting out the boogeyman of raising property taxes to cover the loss.
Not a peep about cutting the thick rind of fat off that bloated hog. . .
Unfortunately, Councilman Matt Reinhart signaled his own opposition to removing beach tolls, saying “Let’s get our beach back before we worry about [a] free beach,” before claiming that most people he speaks with say they want the county to keep the fees.
At the end of the day, the vote to merely discuss this hot button issue passed on a 4-2 vote with At-Large Councilman Jake Johansson and Danny Robins voting against even talking about fee relief for their strapped constituents.
Where does District 5 Councilman David Santiago fall on the issue?
Good question – he’s still on vacation. . .?
Hey, I’ve got some ideas!
How about we get Volusia County government off our beach and allow the coastline to heal itself naturally – then pare down the bloated Coastal Division and eliminate those parasitic six-figure salaries, limit their scope to access maintenance, lifesaving, and sanitation services – remove barriers to free entry, limit building east of the Coastal Construction Control Line, and stop spoiling the natural beauty of the shoreline with ugly poles, signs, and barriers.
While we’re at it, how about we move toward a more open and transparent government in Volusia County – and become a place where We, The Little People get the values we voted for – then demand that those who hold themselves out as ‘conservatives’ put this swollen bureaucracy on a diet, reduce fees and taxes, “right size” county government, start holding highly paid senior administrators accountable, and limit regulatory intrusion into a day at the beach?
Food for thought: Knowing what we know now – I wonder what the result would be if the 1986 referendum that granted Volusia County control of our beaches were placed on the 2024 ballot?
And Another Thing!
Welp, another season of rubber chicken galas celebrating the contributions of our civic elite is well underway and it appears that, once again, your intrepid scribe has fallen short. . .
Look, I don’t want to burst your bubble, John Q. – but when the haughty “awards season” comes to an end – you and I won’t be standing atop the podium, rubbing shoulders and slapping backs with the Halifax area upper crust.
So, don’t look for your name (or mine) to be called when the illustrious “J. Saxton Lloyd Distinguished Community Service Award” – or the coveted “Lou Fuchs Outstanding Leadership Award” – is bestowed. (I’m pretty sure Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Fuchs would be mortified if they could see the condition of the community they helped build. . .)
Nope. Not this year.
Or any other year, for that matter.
Because it’s not about us – and it never will be.
The point is that those who think they so richly deserve these ostentatious accolades (mainly our “Rich & Powerful” overseers) get to pass the same “awards” amongst themselves year-after-year-after-year – much like they pass the same nickel around – while you and I, the great unwashed hordes who are expected to pay the bills and keep our pieholes shut, look on admiringly. . .
Last week, the exclusive Civic League of the Halifax Area – Volusia’s stodgy Old Guard – which bills itself as “a non-profit and nonpartisan group of community leaders dedicated to civic engagement,” bestowed the “Cici & Hyatt Brown Lifetime Achievement Award” on our High Panjandrums of Political Power, Forough and Mori Hosseini, at the organization’s annual soiree at the equally private Oceanside Country Club.
(Don’t get too excited about adding your voice to the Civic League’s discussion – membership is by invitation only…cuts down on the riffraff, I guess)
In a recent article by reporter Jim Abbott writing in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, we learned:
“Forough and Mori are two very special people,” Cici Brown said in presenting the award. She praised Forough Hosseini for her dedication to Food Brings Hope, the non-profit that provides food and educational resources to 1,500 underprivileged children in 32 schools in Volusia and Flagler counties.
In his remarks, Hyatt Brown focused on Mori Hosseini’s accomplishments as chairman of the Board of Trustees of both the University of Florida and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In accepting the award, Mori Hosseini called education “the fuel to the fire of our democracy.”
Unless, of course, you happen to be a child living in abject poverty in the tiny hamlet of Pierson who went to bed hungry last night after the omnipotent House of Hosseini pulled Food Brings Hope’s nutrition and educational programs following a David and Goliath powerplay with the Town Council in December.
And if you are one of the 35% of children living below the federal poverty line in Pierson – I will bet you remember it too.
Every time your empty tummy rumbles. . .
Screw that maudlin crap, Barker! Not NOW!
This is the time set aside each year for our ‘movers & shakers’ to don their finery and fawn, preen, and celebrate the success of all the right last names – namely our godlike oligarchs who control everything but the ebb and flow of the Atlantic tide here on Florida’s Fun Coast – not be reminded of hungry and homeless children, okay?
On Tuesday, the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual awards banquet at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort beginning at 6:00pm.
Interestingly, the evenings “feature presentation” includes a Q&A with Senator Ben Sasse who was recently named president of the University of Florida.
According to reports, Senator Sasse will give his first address at the Chamber gala – not in Gainesville…
Because he was told to. That’s why.
According to the News-Journal’s business editor Clayton Park:
“Mori Hosseini, chairman of UF’s board of trustees, confirmed Sasse’s public remarks at the event will be his first as university president.
“I asked him if he would do it and he agreed,” said Hosseini, who lives in Ormond Beach and is the owner, chairman and CEO of Daytona Beach-based ICI Homes.”
I’ll bet he did…
In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Hosseini’s daughter, Nellie Lupoli, will be installed as the chamber’s 2023 board chair.
Here’s hoping Ms. Lupoli will be the first Chamber Chair to finally get some movement on the long-promised (by every previous chair in recent memory) revamp of the tragically blighted East International Speedway Boulevard gateway.
Now, here’s the big news:
According to the Daytona Chamber’s website, this year’s “J. Hyatt Brown Enterprise Award” – the Big Enchilada of Halifax area accolades – will be presented to…
Wait for it…
No. The winner is not your small business that kept local families employed during the darkest days of the pandemic, or a Downtown Daytona shopkeeper who struggled mightily to keep the doors open and lights on during the interminable bridge project, multiple streetscape “improvements,” and fought to stay afloat as the floodwaters rose during back-to-back tropical storms.
Sadly, it is not the intrepid Ted Teschner, who kept the torch burning at his iconic family-owned restaurant Mr. Dunderbak’s for 47-years as the Volusia Mall crumbled around him.
No. Not this year.
On Tuesday, the “J. Hyatt Brown Enterprise Award” will be presented to – Volusia County Emergency Management…
Yeah. I know.
Last week, a dear friend – anticipating how completely devastated I would be when the recipients of this year’s various civic awards were announced and, per usual, Barker’s View wasn’t on the list – presented me with this coveted honor to recognize my continuing penchant for jousting at political windmills:
Under the circumstances, it was completely appropriate.
That’s all for me. Have a great weekend, y’all!
Please join me on the latest edition of The Smoking Truth Podcast with Dana McCool and Eric Raimundo for a raucous and wide-ranging discussion of the issues with the irrepressible political strategist Mike Scudiero which is out this week!
Please find Episode 20 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ_DImpGR2M
11 thoughts on “Angels & Assholes for February 3, 2023”
Journal subscription canceled due to new policy. They don’t get my money.
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I drive past the Ormond Beach eyesore (formerly home to a lovely hardwood forest) on Granada several times a week. So sad and so wrong! During a recent goal setting session for the OB Commission, not one commissioner mentioned doing anything to force Paul Holub to reforest or improve the barren, ugly landscape he created.
A developer made a commitment and the local government did not hold him accountable? Didn’t even think about anticipating his predictable short term failure? Shocked. Just shocked. Maybe they will be smarter on his next applications? Lol.
I totally agree with your position on Gannett. I am a big proponent of print media. But to me the News Journal is a shell of what it once was. Therefor I am down to Sunday only, why? The obituaries that’s the only reason. News is light, sports are a joke, their big section is the commentary comprised of non News Journal journalists. Just liberal writers from USA Today.
I now get the Observer. Better local news and sports in my opinion.
It’s sad what has become to our local print media.
Great reading today.Paul Holub has a history of doing what he did at Wawa as I believe his property on Nova next to Chicken salad store will be another empty car wash in Ormond.Anyone notice this week is undriveable sitting in traffic from Lowes to Yongue Street for almost half an hour at 1PM .Hand Avenue is closed westbound from Chelsea Place to Williamson as another giant rental community goes up and as usual road widening after construction.Daytona news Journal is useless garbage as is the Palm Beach Post and the other Gannett rags like their Saint Augustine paper.They all share lots of the same stories. Left leaning Gannett like lots of the media plans to get rid of paper and internet at $2.35 a share of stock for Gannett.Their main agenda is reporting about restaurants and not what is important to these cities.More firings coming and I give DBNJ a year .Liked the Ormond Beach Observer but they are using the left leaning News Service of Florida for news and very little local news as you see DeSantis in these rags all the time now as the agenda is to stop him from running for President and take him down early.Last but not least shame on all those that run and ran Bethune Cookman and God bless the students who get abused by either incompettent or crooked employees.Hope they can keep their accredidation and get rid of all the mold and hire competent people.
I loved your opinions on the assholes! Dead right as usual! You’re not being fair to Namibia though lol. FYI I’ve never darkened the door at the Wawa after what the Ormond Beach Mayor and City Commission allowed to happen on Granada! I never will! I avoid driving past there as much as possible (and the traffic is horrible!) as it’s so depressing. My neighborhood now has bears, raccoons, possums, armadillos, etc., who were all displaced from their homes as a result of that mess. Such a shame.
I’ve completely given up on Gannett; I haven’t read a paper newspaper in a long time and now I’ve given up the online publication as well. Screw ‘em!!
As for the awards, perhaps these knuckleheads should donate the money they use for the gala to the people they allegedly help rather than get dressed up, have dinner and drinks at a fancy venue and collect their award to put on a shelf? The money would be much better spent that way, no?
I also think it’s a great idea to put the 1986 referendum on the 2024 ballot! Do you have any idea how to go about that? There are a few things we need addressed….
Thanks as always for a great blog!
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Lori we residents of Ormond Beach are just puppets that are controlled by politicans and builders.The traffic has never been as bad as this year and than of course we have bike week and truck week and since it is a Daytona sponsered thing keep them in Daytona and out of the loop and Route 1 going to the bars and destination daytona.Daytona building only yards from the Ormond Beach line is horrific as Derrick Henry loves it but midtown is still a shit crime filled hole.11.000 Avalon and DR Horton homes coming as they are cleatrng out all the trees.
Agreed, Peter. The traffic is horrendous and it’s going to get worse with the development of Avalon (while they take our water as well, which we can’t afford to provide! ) and what exactly do they expect to see from the Hand Avenue extension other than diverting already existing traffic and further traffic congestion from Avalon? Plus construction in between? It’s a nightmare! Oh yeah and spending tons of money on it when they could do something useful with it (like putting the beachside hospital back on the table for instance – and don’t get me started on the condition of the roads! Potholes much? But no, they roll over and give it to the handful of developers who fill their campaign coffers!)
Was it last year or the year before when the traffic was backed up on US#1 to Harley Davidson all the way to Granada? I think it was the year before and they were thrilled because the year before that was COVID-19 so the economy took a hit and they would be happy with any situation, as long as people brought their business to the area. It’s Bike Week Daytona Beach but with Harley and all the bars, we have a lot of traffic in our city. I used to enjoy Bike Week 20-30 years ago, but now it’s out of control. They need to put police out there to control the traffic to continue. Especially our Loop!
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I call Ormond Beach’s development and Volusia County’s development as part of that syndrome, “the Charley Brown” syndrome. That is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. Voters re-elected the same politicians who screwed them over, expecting them to stand up against this egregious desecration of their environment. Yes, they voted For them. I think that they don’t see the issues, they just vote for the familiar name. The fallacy of the repeated assertion goes back to Socrates. Oh well (Charlie Brown would say) maybe things will change the next time.
Robert lets see if the mail ballot hider Derrick Henry gets re elected again as demograhics have changed in Daytona.The man elected twice but midtown and areas close to it are still filled with drugs,shootings and other crimes as those people are his voters.Time for change .Daytona is an embarrassment when family come to visit and want to see Daytona.
Hi Mark. A few months ago, I sent the following letter to Mr. Dunbar at the News-Journal. Never received an acknowledgement/reply. So disappointing how the quality of this newspaper has deteriorated. While Pat Rice may have had no more control over Gannett’s policies than Dunbar, at least he would respond to correspondence.
Hello Mr. Dunbar.
A while back, shortly after you were named Executive Editor over the News-Journal, you had a column in which you introduced yourself and spoke of your desire to know the community and improve the paper, etc. To date, I’ve not seen anything from your efforts. The paper’s content continues to be less and less local and instead, more and more regional to national. It is dominated by AP and USA Today columns (many of which are opinion columns rather than factual news).
My suggestions for you: First, in the Sunday edition, rename the “Community Voice Extra” title used in that section. There is nothing community-based about the content. It is always some USA Today column written by someone not affiliated with our area. It is also always so obviously anti-Republican/conservative week after week, which seems ironic given that this community (and most of the state for that matter) leans heavily majority Republican.
On to the opinion pages: Again, please change the header that currently states “The independent Voice of Volusia & Flagler Counties”. The content is rarely ever written by locals or about local issues. The editorial is typically some anti-Republican column from the Palm Beach Post or some other Florida region’s editorial board. The main feature is typically written by someone from the Tallahassee Democrat and again leans toward the left. And any “cartoon” in this section is always anti-Republican, anti-conservative, anti-Trump, anti-DeSantis, etc. I challenge you to disprove that and also to demonstrate how these opinions reflect the voice of the people of Volusia and Flagler counties.
Lastly, and again why the Opinion header should be changed, is the fact that you no longer allow local citizens to voice their independent opinions via published letters to the editor.
Anyway, not really sure what you’ve accomplished since being named Executive Editor, but action on the above mentioned suggestions would show some sign of being tuned in to the local community and possibly save one subscription from cancelling.