Response to “Letter to the editor”……”pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”

Springfield has obligation to protect property values

I read with interest the Dec. 8 editorial “Playing by the rules.” While Bethel Village is billed as a shelter for women recovering from substance abuse and domestic violence, the Rev. Fox made it clear at the City Commission meeting that ALL of the women were to be moved to Bethel Village and that it would be the “one-stop shop for the homeless.” All services would be offered on site, with several new houses and a barracks building, and let’s not forget the 10,000-square-foot “clubhouse.”

Does that not sound like a second Rescue Mission? Is that not a different type of facility that a simple “recovery center”?

If I am not mistaken, the judge’s decision was based on events at the current location. How do you compare the problems associated with a facility of less than 30 people to one with a population of in excess of 200 from all over North Florida, South Alabama and South Georgia placed in an area of single family homes and small apartments?

However, all of the above aside, the Springfield Commission has an obligation to protect the economic integrity of the city, the property values of the citizens and the tax base for the county and state. What? How does that possibly apply here?

In the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo v. New London, local governments were given the power to expropriate private property for development for the economic gain in the community. I’m sure many remember that New London, Conn., was taking houses of private citizens to give to a company to build some type of plant. If I remember correctly, in response to this ruling Florida passed a law limiting governments from taking private property for things other than public projects.

Even so, the precedent has been set that local governments do have the power to control the use of private properties for the economic gain of the community. If you can take property for development for purely economic reasons, you can deny development for the same reasons.

Would new development in the area be encouraged or discouraged by the presence of the new Rescue Mission? Would tax receipts not decline to the county and state as a result? Would local property owners not suffer significant economic loss as a result of this project? Do you believe that property values and tax collections have gone up in the area of the downtown Mission? Have new businesses been competing to open up in the downtown Mission area. Would they open up in the area of the new Mission?

The establishment of another Rescue Mission anywhere in Bay County should be opposed. Bay County is becoming, if it is not already, the “one-stop shop for the homeless” for an entire region. Local government has the right and the obligation to protect its interest and those of its citizens from unwarranted economic loss from excessive operations of organization like the Rescue Mission.

JAMES SAVAGE

Read more: http://www.newsherald.com/articles/village-98980-bethel-women.html#ixzz1gF8sJJXm

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” is the famous quote from the wizard in the movie classic, The Wizard Of Oz. However, when it comes to the actions of the rescue, many in Panama City seem to have taken the mythical wizard’s advice. They seem oblivious to the man behind the curtain. And make no mistake about it: there is a man (or group of men) behind the curtain. Mr. Savage in his letter to the editor shows that he is paying attention and has pulled the curtain back to see the mindset that rescue mission management operates under. Mr. Billy Fox,  director the the Panama City Rescue Mission, has a well documented history of understating the intent of his facility and programs  when trying to expand his organizations empire and skirting the truth of the impact on those communities that facilities are located. Any expansion into Springfield and Port St. Joe will bring the same toxic effects into those communities that downtown Panama City has had to deal with for years. Readers of this blog need to ask their local government official, “What part of this formula do you not understand?”

Mr. Savage ask his own set of challenging questions: “Would new development in the area be encouraged or discouraged by the presence of the new Rescue Mission? Would tax receipts not decline to the county and state as a result? Would local property owners not suffer significant economic loss as a result of this project? Do you believe that property values and tax collections have gone up in the area of the downtown Mission? Have new businesses been competing to open up in the downtown Mission area. Would they open up in the area of the new Mission?”  Tough questions that need answers. Those property owners and business owners in the downtown area within striking distance of the current mission facility can answer many of those questions. 

The last comment in Mr. Savage’s piece should act as a rally call for those who see the man behind the curtain for what he is really doing, “The establishment of another Rescue Mission anywhere in Bay County should be opposed. Bay County is becoming, if it is not already, the “one-stop shop for the homeless” for an entire region. Local government has the right and the obligation to protect its interest and those of its citizens from unwarranted economic loss from excessive operations of organization like the Rescue Mission.  Dead on correct. Take control of your community by contacting your local government officials and telling them you do not want the negative impact of the rescue mission in your community. 

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