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Inverness must act to alleviate Chipotle traffic woes


Halfway through the week on this Wednesday and I have a great one for you today despite a quick county commission meeting yesterday. Interim chair Holly Davis filling in for chair Ruthie Schlabach ran an efficient meeting that got a lot done with some good discussions but wrapped up. I believe around 3: 30 though. I was on my exercise bike and then my lawn mower while listening to it so by the end I was so dehydrated that even all the rain that has been falling would not be enough to reorient me.


Despite a lot of good discussion in the meeting, the board didn't leave the media much to talk about. This was in part because thankfully there wasn't a lot of conflict, but it is also partly due to the nature of the topics they discussed. One was the permitting along US 19 that is going to allow for a new 7-Eleven because of an approved vote in January, that commissioner Jeff Kinnard was not present for to absolve him of Homosassa residents wrath, but one that they earnestly took as a learning experience. Another topic was the barge canal boat ramp. I plan on getting into more of this tomorrow and commissioner Kinnard will not be as absolved of the spotlight but rather be front and center as he is quickly becoming the public face of the boating community.


Today's commentary shows just how tame yesterday's meeting was. The Chronicle's editorial this morning was about ways to learn more about military history, which was a decent, albeit what the journalism community calls evergreen type of editorial. They write these things days in advance, so I wasn't expecting an immediate reaction to the commission meeting, but you never know. Just write citrus wrote about several topics. It started with the grand opening of Chipotle, which is loosely going to be my main topic for today, and pivoted into why he is not covering the Tampa General purchase of Bravera hospital. There is a back story about Tampa General in the county, one I don't know and that is what makes Mike's decades long insight a good read despite my nearly daily disagreement with his conclusions.


Today is going to start in left field, so bear with me, but taking the scenic route will get around the bases and by the time I bring it home you'll hopefully have plenty to consider on the role of government as posed from a new perspective grounded in local current events. Lastly, before we get into the topic that uses the new chain opening, I want to give a shout out to the chopping block, a new local meat market on 491 across from the building alliance, we had some absolutely divine fillets from there the other night. I can't talk about a chain without also talking up a local location and so no paid advertisement here, just personally enjoyed our newest meat market. The chopping block. Okay. Let's do this.


If you listen to these episodes long enough, you'll hear me talk about one of my favorite sayings from a driven salesman friend who works tangentially with the real estate market and is now hitting a downturn. He always says, I just want to be rich enough to wear cheap watches. The sentiment is so fascinating to me. It's this idea that eventually there will be a threshold in which your self-worth is fulfilled by your financial worth that you no longer need to outwardly portray either. Personally, I think it's problematic. The foundation of the statement is that the only way to reach this level of being comfortable wearing the cheap watch is to be fulfilled through your economic status and to me that's only one input, and when I personally don't put a lot of weight in, of what makes up who someone is.


Fortunately, my experience with the younger generation as a college professor is that making the most money is not what drives my students. Certainly there is middle ground between providing for yourself and your family and going to any length possible, sacrificing along the way either time with loved ones or your own well-being, in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. So the fact that my students aren't blinded by the glitter of gold is to me a good thing. Unfortunately, their self-worth does tend to be tied to something of even less value than money. Social media likes.


In this way, that cheap watch saying might sound something more like this. I just want to be famous enough to not have to care about how many followers I have. And I've heard variations of this said in my classrooms. Okay, we're out of left field but here comes our first sudden turn as we round first base. When I look at social media influencers, by and large, I see people who are willing to go to great lengths for fame. In thinking that there is a magical number in which they'll no longer care about their follower account. They'll have achieved peak happiness at 2.5 million Instagram likes or whatever it may be. I don't know enough about social media influencer. Dylan mulvaney to say this is the case, but on the surface to the casual observer it is one with all the hallmarks of somebody who thinks I just want enough followers to be able to not care.


I was a Bud light drinker on the quarterly or so occasions per year that I would drink so I was apt to give them the benefit of the doubt in making the misstep of hiring mulvaney. I don't have a problem with bringing media representation to traditionally marginalized groups, even though I suspect mulvaney's intentions are less genuine than other members of that group, so I am the epitome of a moderate that Bud light shouldn't lose. A previous consumer with an open mind. But where Bud light lost me was in a statement that it is time to replace the Freddy culture with one of inclusivity. To me, the statement itself is contradictory. You are excluding a previous brand. That's not inclusion, that's a roll reversal.


Okay, let's round second base. This idea of saying something is about one thing but it actually being about a roll reversal is the basis of today's topic. The Inverness Chipotle opened to much fanfare yesterday, but it also caused a traffic backup as pictured on the concurrent Facebook and photos tab of the app, and even partially led to a traffic accident as micrite detailed this morning and I'm glad he and all the other drivers are okay, sorry to hear that happened. Mike.


And obvious question surfaces at this point. What is the city of invernesses role in mitigating the traffic backup in front of Chipotle so more crashes do not occur? Short answer: I don't know. Three stakeholders emerge in this situation. You have the private restaurant who's responsibility it might be to provide a clear traffic pattern and sufficient space to navigate. You have people who have a personal responsibility to work with one another provide a safe location such as slowing. If the cars are stopped and not gunning it. Although too Mike's credit, he took the blame and received a citation for his crash. But then you have third stakeholder. This is the city of Inverness as the new location is on main Street and squarely in the city limits, not the county. I define the role of government in one sentence: to protect it s citizens.


This is where it gets complicated. Take health care, for example. Democrats will argue Medicare for all and that health care is a right, but the realities of that industry are that the expenses make a single pair government ensure all but infeasible. Is the cost of healthcare also costing human lives in this country? Yes. But how many lives are saved by the innovation that are capitalist -based incentive system produces? Short answer again: I don't know. But I'm willing in the meantime to pay what I consider exorbitant premiums to keep us on the cutting edge.


And so too we have a similar basis for our question in the city of Inverness. As stated several times in the commission meeting yesterday which applies to the city just as much as the county, our area is upside down when it comes to its tax base. Just to use round numbers, we are roughly 60 % residential funded and 40% commercial funded, but these are really rough estimates. A healthy local economy is the inverse of this, 60% commercial and 40% residential. The reason for this is simple. Residents cost governments money. In fact, the government collects less money per resident than it needs to provide services for that resident and this difference is offset by commercial taxes. With this in mind, I understand why Inverness welcomes Chipotle with open arms and little regulation. Corporate national names like this sign long leases, build new buildings that impact fees can be collected on, and are all around good for the economy even at the expense of mom and pop restaurants.



So let's frame this like the healthcare question. Are the taxes collected from Chipotle worth it to offset the quality of life burden that would otherwise fall to the residents without the city getting involved in Chipotles traffic woes? Final short answer as we round third base: I don't know, but on this one I have an opinion. I think Mike writes accident yesterday and as one concurrent Facebook commenter pointed out that we are not even close to snowbird season yet. Demonstrates that to protect its citizens. The city does have a n obligation to step in however possible and help. Chipotle figure out this traffic mess. Active governments are permissible if they never lose sight of their role. Bud light lost sight of its role and it cost him, but if the city doesn't act here then it is trying to keep its hands clean of a situation that is at its base, the soul form of government. The city can't afford to wait until this reaches some imaginary threshold like my friends, finances to wear cheap watches or my students social media accounts to not care about followers. These incidents are going to start racking up. The time to act was months ago but the second best time is now.

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