BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Daytona Beach commissioners dove into a list of around three-dozen charter changes for over two hours at their last meeting. The changes came from the city’s Charter Review Committee and input from Daytona Beach residents. The commissioners agreed with many of the ideas, which will go before the voters in November.
There were some disagreements about should be brought before voters in November. One focused on changing the districts of Daytona Beach from six zones to four.
Dr. Willie Kimmons, a Daytona Beach resident who sat on the Charter Review Commission, explained to the Daytona Times why he believed there should be four zones instead of six.
“When I said we should reduce the number of zones from six to four, it was to assure the citizens in the two poorest zones in our city – Zones 5 and 6 – more resources. Resources in the areas of clean streets, frequent garbage pickups, more police protection and better response times, more live-in communities with less commercial and small businesses in these communities such as liquor stores, dollar stores and payday loan stores,” he explained.
Breakdown of zones
“Zones 5 and 6 have a tremendous number of home foreclosures and abandoned houses.
There is a proliferation of young people loitering on street corners daily. Zones 5 and 6 have fewer elementary, middle and high schools. The vast majority, if not all, of our public housing units (Housing Authority of Daytona Beach) are located in Zones 5 and 6.
All the major growth and development in our city is located in Zones 1 through 4, he added. “That is where we have gated communities, condominiums, streets with sidewalks and other safe and decent family amenities. The list goes on and on. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.’’
“When you can drive through a zone/neighborhood in our city and recognize that you are in a majority Black or Hispanic community, this isn’t progress. This racial makeup is what we have in Zone 5 and Zone 6. The major hotels, condominiums, gated communities, billion dollar industries, new construction and a variety of cultural events in our city, are all located in Zones 1 through 4,” Kimmons concluded.
The city commission did not accept the idea.
State of the City
Commissioners will take a final vote on what they would like to see on the Nov. 4 ballot at the Aug. 20 meeting. The commission will then have until Aug. 25 to have the language sent on to the supervisor of elections office.
Such changes as having a yearly State of the City to be delivered each January was addressed and lamented.
Mayor Derrick Henry made it known that if the event is to be held it would not be a grandeur affair and not used for any sitting mayor to use as a campaign platform and charged to the taxpayers. Instead, it would be an informative event that could include mailers and technology to deliver the current state of Daytona Beach.
For that reason and others, the commission decided to have the charter specify the event to be held in January and not November as the Charter Review Committee had suggested.
No five-year charter
Another topic that will go before the public concerned changing the number of signatures required on a petition to initiate ordinances from 20 percent to 10 percent. Additionally commissioners discussed whether some of the suggestions would better serve the city as resolutions and ordinances that can be voted on in regular meetings instead of making the change to the charter.
The charter is the official document that lays out how the city will be run.
Another idea the commission did not accept is to have the charter review every five years instead of 10. Commissioners decided that the process was too lengthy and unnecessary to have more frequently.