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Article from The News & Observer (November 15, 1984)Tomorrow is Eugene E. Rhodes Jr. Day in South Daytona: no ticker tape parades, no champagne luncheons, just a ceremonial tribute to an outspoken political leader who has served this city well in his six years on the City Council.
Occasionally a politician comes along who speaks his mind without equivocation, without an eye cocked towards a re-election bid, and when it happens, we who make it our business to observe government in action are the beneficiaries of a whiff of fresh air. Gene Rhodes was just such a politician, and that he spoke out with intelligence and insight is an added bonus.
Rhodes chose not to seek re-election this year. "I had been there long enough. The time had come for some new faces on the council," he says.
Rhodes will be remembered for his style. He was a fighter for what he perceived to be the people's interests. He took genuine pride in the pride which South Daytona people have for their own community. He strove to make government responsive to those people.
He is blunt with his political observations. He firmly believes city councilmen should serve only one four-year term. He doesn't care for the meaningless gestures politicians feel they have to make for re-election.
He is also a firm believer in a regional approach to regional problems for the Halifax area, an issue with which the Volusia legislative delegation is now grappling. Unlike our state legislators, he feels the regional responsibility lies with county government. Problems could then be dealt with without an additional layer of government.
The delegation is opting for an "umbrella city" proposal. We agree with the former mayor of South Daytona that the proposal has a chance of passing only if its powers are limited, and we share his skepticism that more government is an answer.
Rhodes' perceptions will be missed in the political arena. For the sake of the greater Halifax community, hopefully he won't be gone from politics too long.
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