Winds of change must blow through Daytona

Filed under OPINION

THE DAYTONA TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD

The future of the city is in the hands of those who are registered to vote on Nov. 6. It will be the Black vote that makes the difference.

Currently there are more than 12,000 Black voters registered to vote in this city of 60,000. A little more than 20,000 Whites are registered to vote.

Voters in Daytona Beach will be choosing a new mayor and voting to elect commissioners in zones 1, 4 and 6. Of the four races, the person who wins mayor can’t do so without the majority of the Black vote.

Black voters will decide
Glenn Ritchey knew that – which is why when he ran for election four years ago he was popping up at every Black sponsored event and Black church on Sunday to make sure he had their support.

Ritchey wasn’t alone. Former mayors Larry Kelley, Bud Asher and Yvonne Scarlett-Golden knew that in order to win, they would need the Black vote. But like most candidates – with the exception of Scarlett-Golden who lived in the Black community – after getting elected, we didn’t see them back in the “hood’’ on a regular basis until it was time for re-election again.

Since the inception of the Daytona Beach City Commission, the majority of elected officials have neglected or shown little interest in bringing the mainland part of the city up to standard. Streets still need to be repaved, and in many parts of the city there are some streets that don’t have sidewalks. There is also major flooding in many parts of the mainland, which is predominantly inhabited by the city’s Black residents.

Cutting jobs, taxes
Recently, City Manager Jim Chisholm and Mayor Glenn Ritchey boasted about how they cut hundreds of jobs and cut taxes and how well the city is still running. Maybe that’s true for where they are living in the city.

The jobs they have cut or frozen more than likely would have been jobs for many local citizens who likely would have been Black. The taxes they cut also cut revenue to the city, which means cutting programs, for example, in the Leisure Services Department.

Neglecting Blacks, poor
The city’s elected officials have continually looked out for tourists and the wealthiest residents of the area. Last year, they put millions into the Pier and the opening of Joe’s Crab Shack. They found $150,000 to install an ice skating rink on the Boardwalk, a venture that lost money. They even found money to put new Christmas decorations on AIA and surrounding streets on the beachside.

But when members of the Midtown Area Redevelopment Board asked for a million dollars for their part of the city, the answer was and continues to be from Chisholm and the mayor, “No funds are available.”

The deadline to register to vote for Daytona Beach’s representatives is Oct. 9. A message needs to be sent to those who want to be elected and make it known to them that Daytona’s poor and Black residents are sick and tired of being ignored.

Putting people in office who care about those of us who live year-round in the city should be at the forefront of those who vote.

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