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  • | 4:00 a.m. April 7, 2011
  • Palm Coast Observer
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+ Gambling event should not be used to support schools
Dear Editor:
Mardi Gras and casino night are not two activities I would associate with education — fundraiser or not.

I was passing through Flagler County and picked up the Palm Coast Observer at a restaurant. I was stunned that the debauchery of Mardi Gras and the gambling of a casino would be used by educators. If you display lack of discipline and morality in your activities, why wouldn’t you expect it of your students? And we wonder what’s wrong with education.

Ann Mann
St. Augustine

Editor’s Note:
Here is the response from Flagler County Education Foundation Director Nicole Brose: “If that person would like to make a donation for $25,000 next year, we will cancel this event. This has become a popular theme in which grownups only are in attendance; we use play money and raise much-needed funds.”

+ Teen mayor candidate is just what Palm Coast needs
Dear Editor:
I have not met Ray Minami, but I am thrilled that he cares enough for his community to run for mayor, regardless of age.

Tivoli, N.Y., elected the youngest mayor in the country a few years back, and the community loved him! His enthusiasm and optimism more than made up for any shortcomings in experience.

Holding political office was never meant to be a career. The founders considered a “citizen legislator” as someone who would serve the community and then go back to being a productive member of society. Ray’s lack of political experience may be a positive, as he has yet to be corrupted by the system. Ray may be overqualified!

As a matter of fact, it was current City Council member Frank Meeker who made the statement, “I didn’t even know what a mill levy was until I worked on the first city budget (as a council member).”

To his credit, Frank Meeker has done very well on the council, despite his admitted lack of knowledge in such areas. As with most “good people” who get elected to actually serve, Frank, as well as thousands of others who run for office for the first time, had the brains to figure it out as he went and to use common sense.

It is not rocket science, but you do need people who genuinely care and have a vision for the future of their community.

It seems strange to me that Joe Cunnane has the nerve to basically accuse Mr. Minami of having a campaign that is nothing more than a publicity stunt aimed at getting him an A in his political science class.

During our interview with the editorial board of a local newspaper in the last election, Mr. Cunnane said (in the presence of Jon Netts and myself) in so many words that he knew he didn’t have a chance at winning, and that Jon Netts was going to win. With such a premonition, why does he bother to continue to run in each election?

In his final paragraph, Joe continued his tirade but prefaced it with, “I will run a fair and balanced campaign.” My hope is that all candidates will stick to the many issues facing this community and skip the personal attacks that keep so many from even trying to serve their community.

Go Ray!

Victor Good
Palm Coast

Editor’s Note:
Joe Cunnane declined to respond to this letter, saying he did not wish to be involved in a negative campaign.

Ray Minami, 18-year-old mayoral candidate, was recently criticized in an online comment to the story at www.PalmCoast Observer.com, saying he was not a student in good standing at Matanzas High School.

Minami confirmed he no longer attends Matanzas High School and is finishing his secondary education at Flagler Technical Institute.

According to Minami, he missed about 40 days of school in the past year because of his participation in a political campaign in Orlando, enrolled at FTI earlier in 2011 and is scheduled to walk in May, in Matanzas’ graduation ceremony.

“I guess people are just mad now,” Minami said, referring to backlash he has noticed in the community since throwing his hat into the mayoral ring. “Some people look and me and say, ‘Are you for real?’ Yes, I am.”

But mostly, Minami said, the reaction he sees in town is positive. “It’s mostly just shock and awe.’”

+ How about Palm Harbor for Community Center?
Dear Editor:
In reference to the article, “No funding for new center”: Has the city of Palm Coast ever considered purchasing and renovating the property on Palm Coast Parkway and Palm Harbor that is presently for sale? The property has tennis courts and a swimming pool. It sure would be nice to have a facility like the Frieda Zamba center on the other side of town.

Cathy Beach
Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: According to City Manager Jim Landon, the “Old Players Club” was evaluated, but it would have cost $4 million, plus major renovations. In addition, any recreation center would increase operation costs at a time when the city is trying to shrink its budget.

A related question is why the city says it has no money for a Community Center, but it does have $10 million for a potential City Hall. To that, Landon writes: “The major difference is that we are currently paying annual rent of $240,000 for city offices. To build and own a building would reduce our annual operating cost that is supported by property taxes.

“It is one of the few, if not the only, capital project that would save tax dollars in the long-term.

“Also the capital costs for a City Hall can be spread out over multiple funds, such as funds we collected from construction projects during our high growth period a few years ago (funds that legally cannot go towards rec programs/facilities).

“In other words, we would not have to raise taxes for the capital costs to build a City Hall, and owning a building would reduce our annual expenses that are supported by current taxes payers.”



Editor’s Note: These letters were written by students at Flagler Palm Coast High School to state representatives, to raise awareness of the problem of texting while driving.

+ Cousin was killed in wreck
Dear Rep. William Proctor:
Eight years ago, my cousin was driving to another city. While she was doing this, she texted to her boyfriend: “Love u.” This short message was the cause of her death.

Nobody was expecting this. She had too much energy. She was so happy and in just one moment, her life ended. Everyone was so sad — our family, her friends, her classmates. It was unbelievable.

I think you should do a law against it or a project, activities, commercials — something to make people stop texting while driving.

Paula Copier

+ Outlaw texting and driving
Dear Rep. Fred Costello:
In 2008, more than 800,000 Americans were texting and driving at any given time. More than 6,000 of these people were killed.

If we keep allowing cell phone use in cars, we are practically the murderers of our friends and children. We must take initiative and make texting and driving illegal.

Ashton Crosby

+ Add rest areas, signs
Dear Rep. Costello:
We need to enforce a law to stop texting while driving.

In adding more signs about the dangers of texting will save lives. The placement of more rest areas on the highway will give people safe places to stop and answer their messages. Having police officers enforce the law on the road will prevent teenagers from killing and ending their lives to (look at a) silly message from a friend.

Heather Shear

+ Enforce law, like seat belt law
Dear Rep. Proctor:
Texting and driving is the worst thing you can do behind the wheel of a car.

I have had it happen to me before. I looked down at my phone at a stop light, as the car moved ahead I thought they went, so I did, and I bumped them. Thank the Lord it was not as bad as it could have been, but texting really takes your mind off what’s ahead.

I think we should really make texting and driving a law, not just in Florida, but everywhere. I know it will be hard to enforce, but the whole seat belt law is just the same way. There are probably tons of people who don’t wear seat belts, and cops don’t notice. I say we need to have law enforcement pay better attention, and we can try and stop kids from putting themselves in danger.

Joshua Shelton

+ Cousin scarred from crash
Dear Sen. Anthony Hill:
One night, my family and I were sitting down at dinner, when we got a call from my aunt. She said my cousin had been in a terrible accident, and they were not sure if he was going to live or not. Apparently, my cousin was in the back seat with his friend; in the driver’s seat and in the passenger’s seat were two other friends.

The driver was new to the town and didn’t know after the big hill there was a stop sign. He had gotten a text and looked down for a moment, and the Jeep flew over the hill.

My cousin was thrown 300 feet in the air and landed in the police parking lot. The driver walked away with no damage, and the passenger is paralyzed forever. My cousin is doing well now, but he has many scars to show off.

The people who still text and drive have never had a death in the family or a real heart-breaking scare. It is your duty to make sure teens understand the danger.

Kierstin Smith

+ Young lives could be saved
Dear Rep. Costello:
It is unfortunate that a generation so young and vibrant in thought, innovative in design and thoughtful on returning the gloom of our society to a natural sun, is meeting their maker at such a young age.

Texting while driving, studies show, is more dangerous than driving under the influence.

I have friends and loved ones very close to my heart who I would hate to let go of for the phrase, “lol,” or, “yeah.”

Please assist me as a lawmaker of the humble yet powerful state of Florida. Make our roads safer. Raise awareness of this ever-growing problem.

Christopher Skraba



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