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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 7 years ago

Letters to the Editor

I have never witnessed a city commission so lacking in common sense.

What makes Fleet Peeples different?

As a citizen of Winter Park for many years, I have never witnessed a city commission so lacking in common sense.

Commissioner Beth Dillaha and her cronies Commissioners Carolyn Cooper and Tom McMacken (who seem to be in her hip pocket) listen to citizens at the public meetings and then ignore what is said and follow their personal agenda as evidenced by recent votes.

Commissioners Cooper and McMacken were elected in March of this year but never said they felt the commissioner’s pay was inadequate. I always thought that commissioners served as a public service, not as a means of enrichment. They, in combination with Dillaha, enacted a pay raise of 500 percent, even in the face of the city’s financial stress and the high unemployment rate. I guess they did not think the voters in the state and national elections were sending them a message also. They should be ashamed of themselves but unfortunately, they are not. If they were, they would never have considered a pay raise at this time.

Commissioners Dillaha, Cooper and McMacken have imposed an additional admission fee on people who pay taxes for the dog park because the city allegedly can’t afford the cost of maintaining it. All other parks are free to use except for special event fees. Why is the dog park different? There is a cost to maintain the other parks but no admission fees are imposed to support the maintenance. Another reason why the dog park is treated differently than other parks is that a vocal minority is against the dog park in any shape or form and continue to attack it from every possible angle. This minority may be supporters and friends of the three city commissioners. By the way, I do not use the dog park, but I believe it is an asset to this community.

Now, I read that the City Commission is going to spend $200,000 a year for Mead Gardens in addition to the $100,000 the city is already paying to maintain Mead Gardens. There can’t be any money to do so if there was no money to maintain the dog park. They also said there would be no admission fees for most activities at Mead Gardens, only for special events. Huh?

When will the lack of common sense end? Hopefully, when there are elections to replace them.

—Charles E. Gordon

Winter Park

How much will changes at Fleet really cost?

Once again, the Winter Park City Commissioners are playing the shell game in the costs of enforcing the fees at Fleet Peoples Dog Park. They have stated that the cost of new enforcement officers are in no way connected with the dog park. Well, we never needed them until they created the fees at the dog park. They say the cost was figured into the budget to enforce ordinances at all the parks.

Well, they budgeted $60,000 for the officers’ salaries. Now unless they are going to walk to the parks or take public transit, they need vehicles. The cost of two new code enforcement vehicles is roughly $30,000. If they fuel up, say three times a week, totaling 72 gallons of gas at $2.75 a gallon, the yearly fuel cost would be $10,296. That doesn’t include the $2,000 a year in vehicle maintenance. The total real cost of these two officers: $102,296 a year. Now I am sure that would pay for a few new police officers, firemen and school teachers.

Now their job is to make sure there are no dogs at Central Park and the dogs at Fleet Peoples have their paid tags on them. Now the cost has nothing to do with dog fees, do they commissioners? Like the old saying goes, ‘don’t pee on my head and tell me it’s raining!’ Citizens of Winter Park can sleep better at night now knowing the dogs are tagged at the dog park and not in Central Park. Remember dog owners, we are watching!

So is this the best use of more than $100,000 dollars of our tax money? Let’s hear all the bravo for the commissioners in saving us from the dogs. Remember they are going to take in $40,000 in fees to offset the cost. So we will only be losing $60,000 on the enforcement officers. Then again, we have to take out the cost of the vending machine for day passes and the cost of tags and installation of the vending machine.

—Mike Palumbo

Winter Park

A lesson in liquidity

She’s sitting on the edge of the couch looking over the crumpled pile of bills. The ones appear to have a rich history of travel, tattered and torn, twenties are stronger, nary a wrinkle. Through the eyes of my 11-year-old, the wrinkles imply diminished value. Not so with the wrinkles in the mirror. But there is a different kind of value — liquidity.

Back on the couch the offer is presented — daddy (that’s me) will trade a crisp new $100 bill for her $95 of wrinkled ones, fives, tens and twenties. A snap decision? Not! You see, the smaller bills, while ugly in form, represent availability, or as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would say, liquidity. Small bills can fly through the fingers of an 11-year-old with the speed of a hurricane while a hundred might just waste the day away lounging by the pool. She traded! I’m down five bucks, and maybe, should I be so fortunate, these 11-year-old fingers might grow a tad tighter, holding on to them old bills.

Isn’t delayed gratification very much at the root of what brings peace, stability and comfort? The aforementioned mirror that proudly displays the wrinkles has a mind and brain behind it. I’ve executed, and lived with, the joy and pain of the decisions to embrace or ignore delayed gratification. What a lovely gift should my wife and I pass on such a message.

Adult talk now: Twenty years ago, a buddy of mine kept his $500 Honda station wagon in excellent running condition, got his masters degree from Rollins at night keeping the ragged old bills flowing into investments. This buddy of mine isn’t in his 20s anymore, but he and his wife are doing a wonderful job raising their family with little stress. That is, unless you consider scheduling snowboarding, windsurfing and hiking trips to be stressful. Bring on the stress!

How about planting them silly oak trees in Winter Park — you’ve got to be kidding! So you want me, or me through my taxes, to plant this little, shade-less, water hungry expensive thing and for what! Fix a sprinkler, read to your young child, exercise. Or find some fool in Winter Park who, having failed basic math in the 70s, will jump at the chance to give you a crisp new $100 bill for $95 worth of old worn out ones, fives, tens and twenties.

—John Skolfield

Winter Park

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