Columnists

Fri
08
Sep

David Rauschenberger: Will local media investigate Brian Soukup’s claims?

In the interest of full disclosure, former Deltona City Commissioner Brian Soukup is my friend. I’ve known Brian and his wife, Amanda, for years. I’ve played softball, flag football and golf against Brian over the years. He’s an exemplary athlete and motivator. We’ve crossed paths in church. He’s a fine man.

What forced my hand in commenting on his resignation was how that action was reported by the local media. What angered me was that after an area newspaper mentioned Brian’s competitive spirit, that same newspaper called him a quitter.

Some said that he should take his medicine (serve out his term) and like it. They say he’s abandoned those he promised to represent.

As usual, the local media got it wrong. Brian’s nobody’s quitter. Read his resignation letter. He’s taking a different path.

Fri
01
Sep

Guest commentary: Will proposed tax increase be the ‘straw’ that breaks the Hospital Authority?

Hospital Authority

Hospital Authority

I served on the West Volusia Hospital Authority for eight years. I was chairman twice during that time. I was chairman when we sold the hospital to the Adventist Health System.

The Hospital Authority was created around 1957. It was charged with the responsibility to establish, construct, operate and maintain a hospital or hospitals for the use of the people of said district, in this case, the western part of Volusia County.

The hospital or hospitals were to be operated and maintained for the preservation of the public health and for the public good.

If we have no hospital to run and we sold our DeLand hospital and Fish Hospital in Orange City, why are we still paying this tax?

When we sold the hospital in DeLand, we signed a 20-year agreement to reimburse Florida Hospital for taking care of indigent care for the citizens in our taxing district who qualified as indigent. 

Fri
01
Sep

Letters to the Editor: On First Step shelter, Medicaid

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Not a fan of First Step Shelter

Editor, The Beacon:

Churches should aid the poor! Educate your church family!

Thousands of well-intentioned but misinformed Christians in Volusia County are proponents of the First Step Shelter. They have been misled by city leaders who provide incorrect information.

City commissioners claim the First Step Shelter is to help the homeless, when, in fact, it is designed only to provide a place outside of downtown to take them. It is for compliance with the Pottinger consent decree (which governs the ability of the police to arrest people for sleeping, etc.), and is designed so enforcement can be increased.

Many cities have taken this approach to homelessness. Unfortunately, enforcement is the least effective and most expensive option. It doesn’t help people nor solve the problem. It actually causes more homelessness.

Fri
01
Sep

Tanner Andrews: Taxes rising like smoke from a bonfire

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

It is almost September. For Downtown merchants, that means it is time to pay the business-discouragement tax. DeLand charges everyone an extra tax, varying by type and size of business, to curb commercial enthusiasm.

When you see how our governments dissipate money, you sometimes wonder if they are on drugs. However, DeLand currently bars medical-marijuana dispensaries. We have no dispensaries paying discouragement taxes, or luring people Downtown.

I mention this because September is also property-tax time, and DeLand sees the odd-numbered years as an opportunity to raise taxes. More business would mean a broader tax base, so you need less of an increase. However, city commissioners are still stumbling around as though they get better drugs than the rest of us.

I am fortunate. No disease interferes with my appetite. You can tell this just by watching me at the all-you-can-eat. Some people walk less all day than I do just going back for fresh plates.

Fri
01
Sep

Russ White: Drumpf a phony law-and-order supporter

Russ White

Russ White

Our president ran on being a law-and-order candidate. An internet meme going around this week states, “All you need to know about President Drumpf’s [my literary license] commitment to law and order is that he fired James Comey and pardoned Joe Arpaio.” That does sum it up quite nicely.

Former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a prime example of all the worst elements of American law enforcement. He, himself, called his tent-city jail, in which he dehumanized wide swaths of his constituency, a concentration camp.

He was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to cease racially profiling American citizens after being ordered to do so by the court. He is a one-man poster child for the necessity of groups like Black Lives Matter in this country today.

That said, it is the president’s constitutionally granted right to issue the pardon, whether he does it in accordance with long-standing protocol and practice or not.

Fri
25
Aug

Tanner Andrews: Playing chicken with a tank

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

The soccer fans call it an “own goal.” And the sheriff has scored one: Deputies, firing into the woods, managed to kill their own dog.

Cue up all the usual sounds of regret. Naturally, it is no one’s fault. What do you expect when people fire blindly into the woods? Well, if they had taken a gun-safety course, they could have predicted this.

There are some people who should not be blasting away like maniacs. Not many people would give me heavy weapons, and, of those, few indeed would also supply bullets. And then they would stand at a great distance.

We do not have that option with the sheriff. Some unenlightened county manager is going to give him bullets to distribute. The sheriff does not mandate National Rifle Association gun-safety classes, so you have maniacs firing blindly and killing their own dogs.

Fri
25
Aug

Mellie Jo Turner: A perfect name for Pierson Elementary

John H. Smiley

Do you remember this man?

John H. Smiley was superintendent of Volusia County Schools, an elected office he held 1957-69. He was called a visionary, as he got a bond issue passed to build five new schools and saw integration take effect in Volusia County.

Smiley was the mayor of Pierson and a municipal judge before becoming a School Board member and, later, the chairman of the Volusia County School Board.

He was also chairman of the Pierson Town Council, as well as a founding member of the Pierson Lions Club.

Smiley was a well-respected member of his community and our county as well. His interest in education continued when he served as dean of instructional services at Daytona Beach Community College, where a building was named after him — the John H. Smiley Educational Development Center. (This building has since been demolished.)

Fri
25
Aug

Letters to the Editor: On scouting, duke spraying

The Beacon’s Opinions page is an open forum for the community. Your letters on any topic are welcome. Include your name, your telephone number, and your town of residence; only your name and town will be printed. E-mail info@beacononlinenews.com, or click here to submit a letter online.

Scouting is important

Editor, The Beacon:

I would like to tell all parents in the area about the importance of Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. 

Scouting is an organization that can benefit your children in many ways. The main way Scouting will help your children is by preparing them for life. You can also expect Scouting to give your children many opportunities to meet new friends. 

I have been in the Scouting organization for about eight years, and I have met some of my best friends through Scouting.

I also have gained knowledge on many different subjects that I never would have known about through school alone. For example, I have learned photography, first aid, emergency preparedness, and environmental science, just to name a few. 

I also have learned more than 20 more individual skills over my Scouting career.

Fri
25
Aug

David Rauschenberger: There’s a lot more history we could erase

David Rauschenberger

David Rauschenberger

I’m not going to spend much time this week rebutting those who would accuse me of being a racist. Last week, I wrote that Donald Trump wasn’t a Nazi. That’s all I wrote. And, I wrote it on Aug. 14.

That was before the contentious press conference from Trump Tower. That was before the “swamp” attached the racist moniker to anyone who mentions the obvious.

That was before the left narrowed the definition of free speech again.

Democrats promote tribalism and call it diversity. And tribalism is what neo-Nazis and the whole white-supremacist bunch are about.

Antifa (anti-fascist) and leftist groups are no different. They’re deplorable. 

The evil in this country is fomented by every group that sees gender, race and creed no matter where they look. Those condoning violence are the worst.

Fri
25
Aug

Russ White: Ugliness starts at the top

Russ White

Russ White

Is it possible the Drumpf administration has already “jumped the shark” and is headed toward the political oblivion it so richly deserves? Based on the fallout from his absolutely horrible press conference last week, it is quite possible.

Let’s make one thing absolutely crystal clear. The “Unite the Right” rally at the center of the murderous events in Charlottesville was promoted and staged by groups from the alt-right. They are the fascists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other white supremacists, who make up the hate-filled fringe on the far right.

These people are scum, and no “very fine people” would march alongside them, no matter the issue. Those on the streets with them were the “deplorables” Hillary Clinton so accurately described in her poorly stated moment of honesty during the campaign.

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