Letters: Flagler is not like Copenhagen street

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Nov 26, 2017

In my 68 years, I have learned not to rush to judgment when something new is tried. There have been times when something was done that I thought to be foolish, only to discover that it was actually a pretty good idea. This is not the case with the “Flagler experiment.”

As I understand it, our city leaders went to Denmark on a fact-finding mission. They returned excited about the pedestrian, bicycle, skateboarding, car-free walking mall that they saw, I assume, in Copenhagen. I’ve been there several times. It is a beautiful area. Well-designed and very pedestrian friendly. It’s called The Stroget. No cars allowed there.

Here’s the difference. Copenhagen, as in many Scandinavian and European cities, has more bicycles than cars. The cars are also much smaller. You never see SUVs barreling along with one or two people in them.

West Palm Beach, on the other hand, has many more cars and trucks than bicycles. To close down two car lanes here is beyond ridiculous — and for what? So people can walk in the street instead of on the spacious sidewalks? So skateboarders can skateboard in the car-empty street? I’ve yet to see any skateboarding.

Now add trees to block the spectacular water views and orange traffic barrels to create an obstacle course. This all is confusing enough for us who live here. Imagine what visitors will experience while driving.

When you are driving south, there is metered parking on Flagler starting at Clematis Street. When someone spots an open space, all traffic in the back must come to a stop and hope that the driver’s parallel parking skill will allow him or her to maneuver into the space with less than five or six attempts. Today, as I was driving north on Flagler, an impatient driver pulled out from in back of the car that was attempting to park. He’s now coming straight at me in my lane. We both stopped in time, fortunately.

I live here. I know what to expect and can prepare for the unexpected. Pity the person who is not familiar with this new experiment.

The season is ramping up. There will be a lot more traffic. Time will tell if this experiment will prove to be as wonderful as the planners envisioned. I hope it is but I’m not counting on it.


Mar-a-Lago: vision of

the American dream

Anyone who wants an inspirational vista need only drive south on Flagler Drive from the Royal Park Bridge and gaze across the water at Mar-a-Lago. Against the brilliant blue Florida sky, the tower of the home stands and above it the huge Stars and Stripes flapping smartly in the breeze.

This is the dream of America writ large.


Tax bill supporters

are being dishonest

They’re not honest. We all know that and I think some of them know it also. Of course, I’m talking about the congressmen and congresswomen and senators in the U.S. Capitol who are going to vote on a new tax bill that is going to affect all of us.

Many have stated time and again about trickle-down economics that most of us do not believe will ever happen. They have said that to ensure the economy grows and hires more workers and that those workers get higher wages, corporations must get a reduction in the rate of taxes from 35 percent to 20 percent. By giving corporations this reduction, we’re told, they will be more competitive and bring back jobs, build plants and have money to increase the pay of their workers.

Those who do not believe this is going to happen think there will be more stock buybacks, higher dividends and more bonus money for the executives.

One of the easiest ways of ensuring that does not happen would be to include in the tax bill two specific points: a $15 minimum federal wage beginning as soon as the new tax rates take effect and a provision that no more than 50 percent of free cash be allotted to stock purchases plus dividends. All other free cash must be invested in plant, equipment, and new product development.


Consumer demand

drives job creation

In response to the letter that asks the question, “If it is not companies that create jobs, then who is it?”

I don’t know whether the right’s propaganda has gotten the best of this letter writer or not, but I am going to take the liberty to remind him that it is we, the consumers, that are the job creators. There would be no need to create a job unless consumers create a demand for goods and services. No demand, no job created.

We are the job creators. The corporate owners hire when they need help to keep up with the very demand, buttering their bread on both sides. When the middle class has enough disposable income to create a demand for goods and services, jobs are created; period. Corporations do not create jobs out of the goodness of their heart.

Get real. Trickle-down economics is a right-wing conservative Republican scam perpetrated on the populace.


Reactions to accusers

reveal men’s character

There is no question that the actions of which Roy Moore, Al Franken and Donald Trump are accused were inappropriate and inexcusable, and cannot and should not be defended. However, they are not equivalent.

If we want to understand the difference between the three, we have only to consider the reactions of each man toward the accusers. Only one admitted his behavior, acknowledged its impropriety and apologized for it.

There is a difference between a mistake and a pattern of behavior. A mistake displays a failure of judgment; a pattern of behavior displays a failure of character.