Editor's note: This letter has been edited for content.
Here we go again with another episode of "As Milton Turns." After the city council’s predictable fiasco at the May 8th meeting with so-called certain city leaders, it’s obvious that there are some things going on that continue to raise more than a few eyebrows.
It was highly disappointing to witness the mayor and a handful of other council members ignoring all the valid concerns against the proposed free standing (no food) bars open from 7 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. Alcohol for breakfast! Well, head on over to Milton and get your day started.
With a record setting citizen turnout against the alcohol overlay ordinance, what more proof is needed to see that part of the council and Mayor Meiss do not have the city of Milton’s best interests at heart, rather those of a special interest group?
Following the historical turnout for a pre-council meeting rally by concerned citizens, one person after another gave valid reasons why the city should ditch the idea of courting honky-tonks to their quaint historic town. Those included: an increase of drugs, violence, prostitution, public urination, property values plummeting, scaring off families to local businesses and events, destroying our quaint historic community, and most importantly an increase in drunk driving.
The logic was of no concern to the handful of proponents who gave the sad excuse that more bars and alcohol would be perfect for economic development as opposed to other more family- and community-friendly options. Is this really the kind of economic development that Main Street Milton and Florida Main Street support? If so, why would citizens support that group with an additional $125,000 of hard-earned taxpayer money? Folks, pay attention here. What does Main Street have to show for its last 18 years of efforts and why are the same ole’ people still on the board?
The city was also presented with a list of 67 property owners who were strongly against the proposed alcohol overlay ordinance.
It was apparent that the tragic death of two Pace children by an out of control drunk driver just two days prior, didn’t have any effect on half the council and the mayor’s decision to eagerly increase the flow of alcohol in our community. It’s a no-brainer that now a much higher rate of impaired drivers will be climbing behind the wheel and hitting the already crowded and dangerous roads.
And, what kind of message are city leaders and a mayor, who is also a teacher in the local school system, sending to our young people? That it’s not only OK to drink, but it’s so great that we want to fill our town with such establishments. Alcohol is the answer! What a horrible example is being set. Being a city leader demands responsibility and intelligent thinking.
It’s not about the personal desires or financial opportunities of a certain few, rather it should be the better good of the entire community you serve.
To the council members who cared enough to do their job properly, listen to the citizens, and vote against this ridiculous and dangerous ordinance, we thank you.
Mayor Meiss stated in his lengthy history lesson, before casting the "yes" tie-breaking vote, that some elected officials (such as Jimmy Carter) only serve one term. He encouraged those who don’t like their current representation to make their voices heard. I guess the mayor is giving citizens their marching orders. It’s time to get busy and vote them out.
What's your view? Write a letter to the editor.