Elect a new leader on Nov. 6
When I read of the multitudes of foreclosures; when I see children, and adults, with health problems; when I hear of a plant closing or a mine shutting down; when I hear of overregulation brought on by the federal government; when I hear of hard working immigrants being looked down upon; when I see women who are extremely talented yet not utilized in management, I ask a simple question: Can’t we do better? Of course we can. In my 60 years in the military, industry and local government, I have seen marvels worked by a combination of good leadership and individual determination. I don’t care if you are Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Socialist or anything else, what we have had in the last four years has not worked sufficiently. Logical sense says get a new leader, turn the people loose to maximize their ingenuity and enjoy the prosperity that it will bring. Just common sense!
Blame Congress for the deficit
Just to get back to basics, Congress controls the national purse and Congress currently spends a trillion dollars more than it collects in tax money and refuses to collect taxes from the large corporations and the rich who pay little or no taxes at present due to our “rigged” tax system. President Obama signs these deficit bills (all presidents love to spend money). But let’s put the blame where it belongs — your representatives. Talk to them about this, or replace them if needed, so somebody will raise taxes needed to run the country without a deficit, and also possibly attack the waste and fraud at the Pentagon and in Medicare.
Forget the presidential election – think locally
My family’s official last day as Winter Park residents is Nov. 5, although we will continue to be Winter Park-centric, living just outside the city’s limits and with a student at the Ninth Grade Center. This is my swan song.
I have long felt Winter Park could be a much better town if its management wasn’t so in-bred. There is a long history of the Peter Principle through promotion to key management roles. There are several department heads who in addition to being lackluster have only the long-term perspective from being on the inside looking out. Whereas I have the perspective of being on the outside looking in.
The city epitomizes the joke about the Easter ham: “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” If I were running the show I’d put several department heads out to pasture and bring in some dynamic folks with contemporary thinking – thinking being the operative word.
I recently reflected on the remaining Welcome to Winter Park signs (e.g., Orange Ave.) that are old and faded. These are actually a metaphor for the state of affairs in Winter Park.
I have long been an advocate of bringing Winter Park traffic safety – largely pedestrian and bicycle related – into the 21st century with little success. As an example, I have repeatedly “complained” to Public Works for a very long time about the dangerous and unnecessarily inconvenient maintenance of traffic on Lyman and New England avenues around the Winter Park Library, Residences condominiums and the under-construction Rollins College Alfond Hotel. This is a department that I find inexcusably reactive – not proactive – and that doesn’t really seem to care or understand how things work in the real world, in part because its staff are not residents of Winter Park. And perhaps because we don’t have a lay committee – like Parks and Recreation has – other than the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Board “helping” them.
Last December, Lyman Avenue – one of the main feeders from Fairbanks Avenue to our downtown – was closed for about a month – sanctioned by the city during the Holiday shopping season for maintenance on the residential condo building.
More recently have you tried to visit our Library? What a mess! Rollins for years allowed Library parking on their long-vacant future hotel site – that is now prohibited. Furthermore, during this many month construction program, critical on-street parking was cordoned off, and more recently, the road westbound is closed for over a week. Clearly the city is more accommodating to the college than residents/visitors and should have required the construction entrance to be on the less-used Lyman (which has also been intermittently closed for construction).
The last straw? Last week I was driving to the Library in the dark and rain. I waited at the traffic signal to turn left from Fairbanks onto Chase Avenue to enter the Library parking lot from New England. When a break in traffic finally came – which I had been intently focusing on – I turned and unexpectedly came face to face with a closed road causing me to stop dead in my tracks with my car blocking Fairbanks and nowhere to go. If there was a warning sign eastbound on Fairbanks, I sure didn’t see it.
Note: after my bringing this incident to the city’s attention, they appropriately closed off this left turn lane, as they should have originally. And last year the same thing happened to me on Lakemont with no warning.
The problem, universally in the city, is huge and systemic. But I don’t run the show.
— William Shallcross