I recently learned that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes and I thought, that doesn’t sound right. It is 2014, and women are still not viewed as equals in the workplace? A majority of families depend on income from men and women, making equal pay not just a women’s issue. On average, the income difference between men and women is just over $7000 a year. That’s huge!
As a co-owner of Receptor Sound and Lighting I have seen the difficulty women encounter when entering the engineering and production profession. Even with a specialized degree most sound and lighting operators start off doing equipment set up and tear down. Men are reluctant to hire women in that position due to heavy lifting and the fast pace required. I know first-hand that women are just as capable as men at doing this job. My business will never deny anyone the opportunity to pursue a career in audio engineering and you can bet we will pay equally, but fixing this problem can't just be about individual businesses doing the right thing.
I joined the Main Street Alliance to draw attention to issues like equal pay and help the community that my business depends on. Families are struggling to balance rising child care costs and student loan payments and could really benefit from added revenue. Extra money in their pockets will bring them out to local concerts and music festivals and allow them to put their hard earned money back into the community. Equal pay is good for small businesses and our community.
Andy Lytle, Owner of Receptor Sound and Lighting and Main Street Alliance member
Well it's been 4 months since I came forward about FDOT fixing tickets and here is what is new.
1. SunPass stopped issuing Toll Tickets.
2. Effective 7/3/14 all Toll Enforcement Officer positions will be eliminated. FDOT investigators will start handling enforcement. 3 TEO's except Derrick Walsh will lose their jobs. Walsh is the TEO from Miami who agreed to dismiss the UTC for Erica George. Mr. Walsh is being promoted to Investigator and will receive $25,000 a year pay raise.
3. The TEO supervisor who refused to dismiss the citation transferred to another state agency because of the constant threats she received from her superiors. Ms. Gibson was accused of supplying me information about this scandal after I went public. I wish to add that Ms. Gibson was not the person who provided the information and stands falsely accused. The funny thing is that the TEO's are being replaced because they refused to violate the law. The investigators will do anything that they are told and will not ask questions. The irony of this situation is that it was one of the investigators who supplied the information to me!
. Still no information explaining why ATLEE MERCER at the request of FDOT tried to have the ticket fixed.
5. The Grand Jury indicted Rebeka Hammond, FDOT government middleman and mouthpiece to EPass for violating the Sunshine Law. Hammond is the girlfriend of Chris Dorworth who was also indicted. Hammond was a go between between FDOT Secretary Prassad and Dorworth and EPass.
. So far 5 TEO's and 1 attorney have lost their jobs. 1 yes man got promoted and nothing happens to FDOT. Good guys get fired and law breakers get promoted. Got to love Florida government.
During this past month a property on Neptune Road was sold during a sealed bid auction with no fanfare when there should have been. There are some issues regarding this property that should be known especially since it is taking money out of our taxpayer pocket to the tune of 350,000 dollars. This means that in the past 2 weeks the county has promised up to 100 million dollars in funds of mystery money (taxpayers?)and back door dealings for stadium development as well as made some very poor decisions on real estate management. Just who are these elected officials and why are they spreading this money around when there are real projects that need help?
The property in question was taken by the county through eminent domain in 07. At this time, it was for the widening project on Neptune and was bought for 399,000 dollars. A fair price at the time due to property values. Being someone who lives in the area I knew that the purchased lot would have the home razed and when developed again would be aesthetically pleasing. A park...trees...something that would add value to the Homes along Neptune Road if it was not all used during the widening project. This was one of many properties by the way. However, It was not all used and the home remained. Not taken care of and NO taxes paid by the county since 08. If that was me or you there would be problems. Until last week when it was sold in a SEALED BID auction. It was supposed to be a public sale but the county did not do that. They even sold it with the taxes still needing to be paid when they told those bidding it was up to date. Is that legal????
The county then accepted a bid of just over 50,000 dollars for a home and a lot. What happened to making it aesthetically pleasing? Instead it is sold for an eighth of the county purchase price so it can become what..a rental? This would DRIVE down the property values of those who have lived there for so long and keep this stretch of road on Neptune a owner neighborhood with great lake views. I mean, it could become HUD housing for all we know. A home two down was built a year ago and I am sure is worth at least 500,000. Is this what they want???? Is this what you want???
I mean, one quick look on the county website shows that it was sold at less than half of the appraised value. This should have been flat rejected but instead a special addendum was added yesterday to approve it for closing early. In my mind this is so us as the taxpayer has no voice or say over the following...
1. A fair price for a property that WE as the county taxpayer own
2. What should be placed on that property after the original concept was to remove the home to bring a park to rest while those who live there jog, bike and walk with children and grandchildren
Be a voice and not a silent complainer. The county commission needs to explain why they are selling off the counties property for such a small price and to whom it benefits.
Residents in the old part of the City of St. Cloud are mystified as to why the City Council has suddenly made sidewalk/bike path construction on a sleepy side street their number one priority given that most of the main streets have been without usable sidewalks for many years, including one dangerous thoroughfare where school children are forced to walk in the street.
Beginning on Sep 13, Fifth Street residents have appeared before the City Council on four separate occasions to explain and document the hardships and property devaluation the proposed sidewalk will impose. Because of the small lot size in this old part of town, sidewalk construction will eliminate needed parking spaces for many residents including one handicapped woman (walker with oxygen bottle) who will be able to access her home only with great difficulty once the sidewalk is built. Other residents will experience increased flooding due to storm water runoff. One family already has to sandbag their home to protect it against runoff from the street and adjacent right-of-way, and the proposed sidewalk will make it much worse. Additionally, sidewalk construction will destroy residents' landscaping and a total of 13 mature trees including a 100+ year-old oak tree that shades the outdoor living area of an 88 year-old woman who lives alone in the home where she raised her family. The City has made no offers to purchase devalued property or to compensate residents.
In a final Nov 8 vote (deftly orchestrated by the Council to occur after the Nov 6 election), the City Council has voted to build the sidewalk despite citizens protests and documented evidence that the sidewalk is unneeded (very low pedestrian and vehicle traffic) and unwanted.
Residents are also dismayed over the sneaky and deceptive practices employed by the City to achieve their sidewalk goals. The sidewalk project, which includes portions of both Fifth Street and Michigan Avenue, was apparently in the planning stages for approximately 18 months beginning in March 2011, but residents were not informed of the sidewalk construction until August 3, 2012, only 10 days before the scheduled beginning of construction. Some residents received letters from the City, but most got the news from a neighbor.
The City initially told residents that the sidewalk was being constructed for the safety of school children traveling to and from school. Countless residents testified before the Council that no elementary students had ever used this portion 5th Street and only a couple of middle/high school students use it presently. The Council even ignored the testimony of Osceola County District 5 School Board Member, Tom Long, who provided detailed student proximity data and stated that there was little use and absolutely no safety issues on this portion of 5th Street. He recommended the Council focus their efforts on 17th Street where sidewalks are sorely needed for student safety. Also exposed during deliberations with the Council was the fact that the City had used bogus student usage data in order to qualify for a Federal Safe Routes To School grant that partially funds the proposed sidewalk, claiming that 300 to 500 students would benefit from the sidewalk when the real number is 2 to 3 students.
After the preposterous safety pretense was debunked, the Council retreated to the position that they were merely implementing the Council adopted City Sidewalk Plan, which had been hidden from public viewing (despite repeated requests) until a copy was finally posted on the City website two days prior to the Nov 8 Council Meeting. The Council's refusal to listen to reasonable and logical arguments supported by hard data, and their determination to cram the sidewalk down residents' throats has led residents to conclude that the Council is not being upfront with citizens about the real reason for building a sidewalk on 5th Street. Since citizens are being kept in the dark, we can only guess as to what the hidden agenda really is. (i.e., two miles west of the proposed sidewalk Fifth Street dead-ends into the Walmart parking lot)
Regardless of the Council's reasons for continuing with the unpopular sidewalk, the fact remains that they have acted shamefully by demonstrating their lack of concern for residents' problems and in the way they have deceived residents regarding the sidewalk. (the lone exception is councilwoman Mickey Hopper who has been consistent in her support of the residents)