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Recently, there have been several comments on our news site about articles associated with annexing South Apopka, and we feel compelled to respond.
First, we say 'thank you' for your comments. Whether they support or disagree with what we publish, I appreciate you taking the time to weigh in. We will always promote dialogue among Apopka's residents.
One of the comments said The Apopka Voice was biased in its reporting of this issue. Bias is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, and sometimes its definition is misunderstood. In journalism, it's a claim we take seriously.
According to the Oxford Dictionary (online version), bias is defined as:
prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
"there was evidence of bias against foreign applicants"
The Apopka Voice can say, without reservation, that we hold no bias against anyone on the Apopka City Council or its administration. We support annexing South Apopka and forming an economic development department. We support fully funding the Apopka Fire and Police Departments to allow them to appropriately staff their fire apparatus deployed into the community and reach statewide standards of officers per 1,000 residents. If the Council or administration shares those core values, then we agree. If they don't, then we disagree.
We call them as we see them.
However, the Apopka Voice does not publish articles because we think they will advance or harm a politician, local leader, business owner, or elected official. We report on issues and events that are important to our readers. We offer opinions in editorials or OP/EDs from outside our staff when we think the subject is important enough to state our point of view. When we do, we take the extra step of proving our viewpoint in the editorial and offering persons with differing opinions the chance to respond in comments or OP/EDs of their own.
The Apopka Voice started covering and supporting the annexation of South Apopka as early as 2016. There is no bias fueling this opinion, and nothing our news site will gain if it happens. We believe it's the right thing to do... that South Apopka is a natural fit in the geographical scheme of the city (take a look at a map), and instead of looking at the cost to Apopkans, consider the massive savings Apopka has experienced in the last... well 100 years or so.
I am also well aware of municipal budgets, tax rates, and fiscally-wise spending. I am 100% in agreement that math and finances play a role in any transaction, purchase, or annexation a municipality pursues. It has to. It is, after all, the taxpayer's money.
But while math and money should play a key role in decision-making on the City Council, they cannot be the only factor.
Money was not the only factor when the City spent $4.7 million (plus $3 million in upgrades) to purchase Camp Wewa.
Money was not the only factor when the City proposed trading two parcels of land on Harmon Road to the Rock Springs Ridge community for the appraised price of $2.45 million (with an offer of $6.5 million a few weeks later) to allow the RSR HOA to purchase its defunct RSR golf course lands.
Some things are just too important to let money be the only factor.
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