Last week, Volusia County Councilman Joshua Wagner wrote a guest editorial entitled “Volusia County has benefited off backs, dimes of Daytona’s Blacks.”
–Greg Gimbert, a community activist, wrote a response to Wagner’s commentary.
The truth about politicians is that there is only one color. It is not Black or White, it’s green. Our County Council is no different. It takes care of campaign contributors, not regular people, regardless of color.
A reread of Councilman Wagner’s editorial will show they are going for your pocket and your quality of life.
His first tells us his sales tax increase will be paid by visitors. Yes, they will pay, for the few days they are here. You will pay for it every day for the rest of your life.
Any economics professional will tell you a sales tax hits the working poor the hardest and only really benefits the wealthiest among us. Wagner would have your family go without so he can build more roads for development contributors.
What he does not tell you is that county is in a road dollar bind because of the tens of millions he already gave away, and will continue to give in our name for SunRail. Should your family sacrifice more so the county politicians can continue to prop up an Orlando train?
Next he reveals a plan to hand over Daytona’s jewel, City Island, to campaign contributors from the development industry. See a pattern here? The theory of clustering and “move down town” is that people want to live near shops, parks, libraries, and services.
So how is giving away our courthouse building, our library, and our public park going to promote moving down town? It will not.
There is already a ton of undeveloped land on Beach Street ready for this type of development if that is what the market wants. Worse we are already subsidizing these undeveloped properties through CRAs and land use changes that falsely promised this type of development.
Privatizing City Island only makes such development there even less likely, not more.
What it will do is insure we citizens will be bailing out the developers, again, even after we gave up our City Island too. Bad move.
Finally, he wants to address the homeless problem with only a Band-Aid. If we really want to solve the homeless problem, start by restoring funding for mental illness treatment.
These folks do not need a temporary mat to sleep on, they need a permanent solution.
The war on drugs destroys more lives than the drugs themselves actually do. A penny ante drug conviction is a life sentence to joblessness and poverty. Wagner does not know this already?
Councilman Wagner’s editorial is a nice story about a straight up robbery of Daytona’s green grass and your green dollars. It is designed to trick you into an angry and emotional reaction. Don’t fall for it.
Greg Gimbert is a board member of Daytona Beach’s Save Our Neighborhoods Coalition, Founding Vice Chairman of the Bellaire Community Group and Co-creator of Stand Daytona’s Charter Amendments.