Jim Fitch Will Run for Mayor

Jim Fitch Will Run for Mayor

Jim Fitch announced this morning that he intends to challenge Steve Leary in the race for Mayor of Winter Park. Fitch submitted the necessary documents to the City Clerk at 10:00 this morning, and the paperwork was forwarded to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections for certification.

In a statement, Fitch said, “Today, I filed to run for Mayor of Winter Park. This has not been an easy decision for my wife and me. My campaign will be limited. My website, www.jimfitchformayor.com gives details.

“One purpose of my candidacy,” said Fitch, “is to gauge the level of voter dissatisfaction with the current Commission. I am offering the voters of Winter Park a choice.  They will decide.”

At 5:00 pm, Fitch was still waiting to hear from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections, but since the number of petitions he submitted exceeds the requirements, it is very likely he will qualify to run.

Fitch Campaign Kickoff Cancelled

Will He Still Run?

Fitch Campaign Kickoff Cancelled

The Jim Fitch for Mayor campaign announced last weekend that the Fitch for Mayor campaign kickoff party, which was to be held at the Winter Park Country Club this evening, has been cancelled.

Fitch told the Voice, “There were disagreements within the campaign organization that were irreconcilable.”

Timing is a consideration, and Fitch is in the process of deciding how to proceed. He is committed to Winter Park and looks forward to serving in some capacity in the future.

Jim Fitch to Run for Mayor

Will Leary Run for Re-Election?

Jim Fitch to Run for Mayor

No matter that the earliest date you can officially declare a run for office is more than a month off, Jim Fitch has announced he’s throwing his hat into the ring. Mr. Fitch will challenge incumbent Steve Leary in the 2018 mayoral election.

The Incumbent

Communications Director Clarissa Howard could neither confirm nor deny that Mayor Steve Leary will seek a second mayoral term, but sources confirm that Leary has picked up the documents he needs from the City to begin forming a campaign organization for a run in 2018.

First elected to the City Commission in 2011, Leary resigned his Commission seat in late 2014 to complete his successful 2015 run for mayor. Leary has been an active and visible mayor, and he has represented Winter Park in various regional organizations such as MetroPlan Orlando and the Florida League of Mayors. Leary has been a leader in the effort to build a library-event center in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

The Challenger

Jim Fitch, a Louisiana native, did his undergraduate work in mechanical engineering at LSU and later received an MBA in finance and real estate from Stanford University.

After a career in industry and real estate, Fitch moved to Haines City, FL in 2011, where he began a second career in public service. He served as a member of the Haines City Planning & Zoning Board, held a seat on the Board of Adjustments and chaired the Finance Advisory Board. Fitch and his wife Doriana moved to Winter Park in 2016.

Fitch says that he and his wife were drawn by the ‘city of homes’ character of Winter Park. His plans for the city, if he is elected, include formation of a Finance Advisory Board and an Architectural Review Board. He says he plans to adhere closely to the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the City in 2016.

“The people of this city devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to developing a Comprehensive Plan for how the city will look and how the city will grow,” said Fitch, “and I want to see Winter Park’s commitment to those ideals upheld.”

The Election – March 13, 2018

In Winter Park, the only 2018 election will be for mayor. The four Commissioners have either one or two years remaining in their terms. The candidate qualifying period begins at Noon on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 and ends Noon Tuesday, January 23, 2018. Election day is March 13, 2018. If a run-off election is necessary, it will be held April 10, 2018.

Three Ways to Vote

You can vote by mail, vote early or go to the polls on election day. The Orange County Supervisor of Elections website is http://ocfelections.com/votersguide.aspx#ways

To Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

1. Call 407-836-2070.
2. Request online.
3. Request fax or mail. Send your name, residential address, mailing address, date of birth, signature, and election(s) for which you are requesting a ballot to (407) 254-6598 or P.O. Box 562001, Orlando, FL 32856-2001.

For more municipal election information, contact the City Clerk’s office at 407-599-3277 or email cityclerk@cityofwinterpark.org.

Seidel, Leary Search for Common Ground

Did They Find Any?

Seidel, Leary Search for Common Ground

Mayor Steve Leary and Commissioner Greg Seidel met early the morning of November 29 to discuss where they stand on electrical undergrounding, a connectivity plan for city greenspace, traffic management and the possibility of forming an architectural review board.

The meeting was called by Commissioner Seidel, who sought commonality and support from Mayor Leary for more systematic planning on these issues. Seidel expressed his feeling that the City needs more detailed designs against which to measure its progress.

The discussion, which lasted approximately an hour and a half, was often detailed and technical. We have included video of the meeting in its entirety to enable readers to judge for themselves where and when Leary and Seidel were able to find common ground.

To Winter Park Citizens

To Winter Park Citizens


Our citizens have always held differing views on how Winter Park should grow and what we want our city to be. We enjoy the good fortune of being entitled to our own views and being able to express them freely. Because of this we will always have candidates that run on different platforms, supported by those who agree with them.

Charter Calls for Non-partisan Elections

It is not okay, however, that some candidates and their backers fail to honor our City Charter. Winter Park elections, by our Charter laws, are supposed to be non-partisan.

Partisanship Must Stop

For the past three elections, there have been those who have not honored these election laws. Candidates make excuses by saying they did not ask for the help, the money and the in-kind contributions, but by accepting the money from political parties and their affiliated PACs, they are condoning it.

The Winter Park voters have just shown their fellow citizens that they will not be bought by any political party, nor will the pressure from Realtor Groups take control of their City from them.

And though it is not illegal for a sitting Commissioner to support a candidate, it borders on unethical to do so and is certainly in poor taste. It would be nice to think we had Commissioners who knew better.

Let the candidates run and let the citizens vote. And let us all uphold our City Charter.

Seidel Keeps Seat #1

Charter Amendment Passes

Seidel Keeps Seat #1

Commissioner Greg Seidel retained his seat on the City Commission by a comfortable 257 vote margin. Orange County Supervisor of Elections results show Seidel garnered 2,514 votes to challenger Wes Naylor’s 2,257.

The amendment to the City Charter, which provides for a runoff election in case of a tie, passed with 70 percent of the vote.

Appreciation to Wes Naylor for his willingness to serve the City, and congratulations to Commissioner Greg Seidel.

Winter Park-Maitland Observer Pulls 'Misleading Mailer' Article

Winter Park-Maitland Observer Pulls ‘Misleading Mailer’ Article


The Winter Park-Maitland Observer has removed from their website an article, published the week of March 6, that was referenced in a Letter to the Editor of the Winter Park Voice yesterday.

In an email to Commission candidate Wes Naylor, the Observer’s new owner, editor and CEO, Matt Walsh, wrote: “After extended discussions with Executive Editor Mike Eng, and given the late hour, I requested the story regarding your mailer be removed from the Winter Park/Maitland Observer website.”

It’s All Over but the Shouting

Library Hosts Final Candidate Faceoff

It’s All Over but the Shouting

Even though the election is only four days off, and most of those who vote by mail have already done so, every seat was filled at today’s Winter Park Library candidate debate. Former Channel 6 anchor Lauren Rowe moderated the sparring match between Commissioner Greg Seidel and Wes Naylor, Seidel’s opponent for Commission Seat #1.

The questions were substantive and the candidates’ answers were frequently quite direct. If you could not get to the Library today, click the link below to see the entire debate.

 

 

Sip, Shop, Straw Poll

Mark the Date – Thursday, March 2 – 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

Sip, Shop, Straw Poll

CaptureJoin the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Park Avenue Merchants Association for an early evening stroll down Park Avenue. Tickets are $25 and they’re going fast.

Stroll, Sip, Shop & Snack

Twenty-five dollars entitles you to a wine glass, which you can refill as many times as you like at your favorite restaurants, cafes and shops. Be sure to stop by Park Avenue’s stylish eateries to sample their menu items while you shop and enjoy your wine. Note: You must be at least 21 years of age to attend.

Vote Early! Vote Often!

Wait! That’s not all! When you pick up your wine glass at the Winter Park Welcome Center on Lyman Avenue, you can also cast a straw ballot for your favorite candidate for Winter Park city commission. Will you vote for crime-fighting Navy vet Wes Naylor? Or side with Local Nerd Greg Seidel?

Do you have to live in Winter Park to vote? No. Do you have to be a registered voter — anywhere? No. Can you vote more than once? Yes. How many times can you vote? How many $25 checks do you have?

Does the Chamber of Commerce or the Winter Park Merchants Association have a favorite candidate? They’re not saying. Speaking for the Chamber, Vice President Erika Spence stated emphatically, “The Chamber does not endorse political candidates.”

Straw Votes Tallied at 7:00 pm

Folks from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office will join the fun and tally the straw votes. The Straw Poll ends at 7:00, and the results will be announced by 8:00 pm. The cost of County participation will be covered by proceeds from the event. For once, this is not your tax dollars at work.

You won’t want to miss this event, which is sponsored by Allegro Senior Living.
For more information, click here.

Candidates Face Off at Rollins

Two Down, One to Go

Candidates Face Off at Rollins

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At Rollins College Bush Auditorium, Commissioner Greg Seidel once again faced his opponent for Commission Seat #1, Wes Naylor. This second of three debates was hosted by the Rollins College Democracy Project and was moderated by the Democracy Project Student Coordinator Destiny Reyes.

Candidates addressed questions about fostering economic development in the city, improving infrastructure, the role of education in the city, specifically as it relates to Rollins, and the importance of community involvement in local government.

An unabridged video of the debate is included here for those who were unable to attend.

The next debate will be held at the Winter Park Library March 10 at Noon.