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

header-with-headshots-seat-1

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.

Candidates Face Off at Chamber Debate

City Has Money – How Should We Spend It?

Candidates Face Off at Chamber Debate

header-with-headshots-seat-1

Before a packed audience at the Chamber of Commerce early this morning, Commissioner Greg Seidel faced off against Wes Naylor, his challenger for Commission Seat #1.

A good part of the discussion centered on the swelling City coffers that have resulted from rising property values and redevelopment within the CRA district. The City experienced an 8 percent increase in revenue last year. The candidates discussed at length the opportunities for capital improvement and additions to City infrastructure.

Talk About Traffic, Taxes, Public Safety

Candidates took up the topics of roads, traffic, parking, the installation of a fiber optic “spine” through the City, and coordination of traffic planning with neighboring communities such as Orlando and Maitland.

Taxes and crime also got some attention. The recent rash of property crimes, coupled with the tragic death of young Roger Trindade, raised questions about the safety of Park Avenue and the need for increased police presence there.

Thanks to Both Candidates

The tenor of the debate was cordial and lively. Both candidates seemed well-informed and thoroughly engaged in the community. Campaigning for office, and the devotion of time required to serve in office, represent a significant level of commitment. Both of these gentlemen deserve our appreciation for their willingness to serve this community.

The Choice Is Yours

This morning’s debate was the first of three. The Winter Park Library will hold a debate March 10 at Noon, and Rollins College will hold an evening debate at Bush Auditorium on a date to be announced.

The Winter Park Voice will post video of all three debates. Even those who cannot attend one of the debates can view the video to see which one of these candidates you would choose to represent you in Commission Seat #1.

 

Vote March 14.

Greg Seidel, Wes Naylor Vie for Commission Seat #1

Traffic Congestion, Public Safety Top Priorities

Greg Seidel, Wes Naylor Vie for Commission Seat #1

Three Candidate Debates

Open to the public and free of charge.

Welcome Center

151 W. Lyman Ave.
Friday, Feb. 10 – 8:00 am
Sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce

Winter Park Library

460 E. New England Ave.
Friday, March 10 – 12:00 Noon
Sponsored by the Winter Park Public Library

Rollins College

Bush Auditorium
Date to Be Determined
Sponsored by the Rollins College Democracy Project

Spring is right around the corner — which means yet another election cycle for the City of Winter Park. On March 14, there is one contest in Winter Park – Commission Seat #1.

Greg Seidel has held Commission Seat #1 since 2015, when Steve Leary resigned to run for mayor. As the three-year term for Seat #1 comes to a close, Seidel is looking for a second term, “to continue the work we’ve begun during my time on the Commission,” he says.

Seidel – Civil Engineer

Seidel owns the Winter Park-based engineering and economics firm Balmoral Group, and has a 26-year career as a civil engineer. He has lived in Winter Park off and on since he was eight, when his father came to work at the Naval base. Greg and his wife Val are rearing two daughters in Winter Park and are active in the First United Methodist Church. Seidel serves on the school advisory council at Glenridge Middle School. Before he took his Commission seat in 2015, he served on the Winter Park Utility Advisory Board, which he chaired from 2011 to 2014. Seidel was instrumental in the utility undergrounding currently underway in Winter Park.

Naylor – Navy Veteran

Seidel is challenged by Wes Naylor, president of the Orlando-based consulting firm Coe & Naylor Group LLC. Naylor completed a 28-year career as a Naval officer and aviator. He is former commanding officer of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division. He is a member of the Winter Park Police Pensions Board, St. Margaret Mary School Board, the Orlando Science Center Board and the Central Florida Partnership Board. Wes and his wife Lori have a 10-year-old daughter.

Traffic & Public Safety – Key Issues

In separate interviews with the Voice, both candidates expressed their concern for the safety and well-being of Winter Park residents and the need to manage the growing traffic congestion that is one result of the economic prosperity Central Floridians are enjoying. Watch the videos above to hear how each candidate plans to approach the issues that face Winter Park.

But, before you do – and however you decide – Do Decide. Cast Your Vote on March 14.

Election Looms

Election Looms

City Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel will start her third term in office this March without opposition, but Commissioner Greg Seidel faces a challenge to his second term on Seat 1: Wes Naylor, whom Mayor Steve Leary appointed to the city’s Police Pension Board five months ago.

How those developments will affect the board’s future approach to zoning and planning is anyone’s guess. Even before the election, commissioners this week showed they can act unpredictably on such matters.

Unforeseen Zoning Votes

Sprinkel, who often agrees with Leary on zoning issues, did just that with most items on Monday’s agenda. But she joined forces with Commissioner Carolyn Cooper to oppose a relatively minor lot-split request, defeating it in a 2-2 vote from which Seidel abstained because the applicant was building him a home.

Later, Seidel, who often sides with Cooper on zoning matters, found a third ally to defeat a contentious request affecting a westside neighborhood.

The applicant, Morgan Bellows, wanted to rezone a single-family lot on Comstock Avenue to higher density R2 so he could build a large single-family house. R2 zoning would give him an extra 600 extra square feet so the house could be 4,300 square feet.
Seven residents made impassioned pleas against the project because of the cumulative effect such rezonings and larger structures would have on the small westside community.

Racism an Issue?

“Inch by inch, block by block, you start changing,” said Martha Hall about her neighborhood. She recounted the history of efforts to remove blacks from west Winter Park starting in the 1800s. “You all may look at it in a different manner, but when you look at racism, when you look at discrimination, it happens. I always say, there’s a zebra and can a zebra change its stripes? You all continue to make the same decisions” on westside development.

Opponents weren’t optimistic their arguments would be heard. The Planning and Zoning Commission had voted 2-2 on the request, with board member Randall Slocum abstaining because he was working for Bellows. On Monday, city commissioners also heaped high praise on Bellows’ application and design.

Commissioner Pete Weldon even chided Hall by name. “I am sick and tired of people coming here and associating the performance, the judgment, and the thought processes of the people who serve this community as racist, and I don’t want to hear it again, Miss Hall.” Leary agreed the racism words “disgusted” him.

“You will hear it again,” a woman in the audience called out.

Then Weldon did the unexpected. He said he was voting against the rezoning, “not because the neighbors are all against it, not because Miss Hall thinks I’m a racist, but because in my judgment it is an accommodation without strategic purpose for the neighborhood or the city.”

Interviewed after the meeting, Hall, surprised by the 3-2 vote, said, “I was pointing out history and what has happened through the years and what continues to happen. I didn’t call anyone up there racist.” She said it’s important to talk about issues like racism to address them. “When a person can’t sit down and talk about it, something is wrong.”

Parking Lot Nixed

Perhaps the most unexpected vote of the evening was the commission’s unanimous denial of Phil Kean Designs’ request for a parking area in a residential neighborhood. The Fairbanks Avenue business wanted to rezone a single-family lot behind the business, making the front portion R2 and the back portion parking for Kean’s business.
Planning and Zoning had voted 3-2 for approval, and city planners argued that fencing would shield neighbors from the parking. Commissioners also heaped high praise on Kean, a luxury home developer, but Weldon moved to deny the request, with Cooper seconding. The rezonings were defeated 5-0.

March Election

In addition to the Seat 1 election, the city election on March 14 will include a charter question changing the way the city handles multi-candidate races. Currently, the city holds a primary race in February when there are more than two candidates. The charter amendment would put the first ballot in March and hold a runoff, if needed, in April.
Seidel is on the ballot again after two years because he ran successfully for the remainder of Leary’s term after Leary resigned to run for mayor in 2015. Seidel previously served on the city’s Utility Advisory Board as its chairman. He is vice president of a Winter Park-based civil engineering firm and has lived in the city 16 years. Naylor, a retired Naval officer, is president and managing partner of an Orlando consulting group serving businesses seeking military contracts. He moved to Winter Park five years ago.

Cooper Wins Third Term, Weldon Takes Seat #4

YES on Library Bond Referendum

Cooper Wins Third Term, Weldon Takes Seat #4

carolyn-and-pete

Congratulations to newly elected Commissioners Peter Weldon and Carolyn Cooper, and sincere thanks to candidates McMacken and Macejewski for their willingness to serve their city.

Yesterday was a long one. Sign wavers were in place at sunup as the polls opened at 7:00 a.m., and were still there well after sundown as the polls closed at 7:00 p.m.

Winter Park boasted a record turnout. Registered voters numbered 20,114, and by the end of the day, 11,349 ballots had been cast, according to preliminary results from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website.  This, in spite of the fact that at one point, Orange County ran out of ballots. But in the end, the votes were cast and the count was in by 10:00 p.m.

According to the unofficial  results on the City website, Cooper won handily with 5,702 votes to Macejewski’s 4,827. The race between McMacken and Weldon was closer, with Weldon leading McMacken by 118 votes, 5,193 to 5,075.

The Library/Events Center bond issue passed on a decisive 5,412 to 5,199 Yes vote.

The only question remaining now is what to do with hundreds of blog and Face Book posts – a question that can easily wait until tomorrow.

Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Endorses New Library and Events Center

Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Endorses New Library and Events Center

Winter Park, Fla. (February 26, 2016) – The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors passed a resolution in support of a new library and events center. In the resolution, the organization acknowledges the significant increase in services provided by the Winter Park Public Library over the last decade, the thorough research and study conducted by the City of Winter Park Library Task Force and the need for new facilities which will better serve its members and the greater community.

“The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to endorse the passage of the referendum on the city ballot for a new library and events center,” said Lou Nimkoff, chairman of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “This project is in alignment with our mission, which is to develop, promote and sustain a vital, thriving business climate and to initiate, support and enhance the civic, educational and economic well-being of the area. We look forward to future community dialogue on this important project.”

Prior to issuing its resolution in support, the Chamber received guidance from its Council of Leaders, a large body of past board chairs, former mayors and other community leaders. The organization also engaged its members and the community on the topic at a recent Good Morning Winter Park program in which Winter Park Public Library Executive Director Shawn Shaffer and Winter Park City Manager Randy Knight shared need for new facilities details of the bond referendum facing voters.

“We believe our members, and the community-at-large, will be better served by new facilities, which will allow for expanded educational and entrepreneurial programs, collaboration, access to technology and upgraded facilities,” said Patrick Chapin, President/CEO for the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.

The Winter Park Public Library extends one full-service library card to each member of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce making future expanded services a valuable benefit to its members.

A bond referendum for a new library and events center is currently facing Winter Park voters with municipal elections to be held on March 15, 2016. A copy of the referendum language can be found at cityofwinterpark.org. Additional information on the project is available at wppl.org.

The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce represents more than 800 businesses, community organizations and individuals in an effort to develop, promote and sustain a vital, thriving business climate throughout the community and to initiate, support and enhance the civic, educational and economic well-being of the area.  For more information visit www.winterpark.org.

VOTE Tuesday March 15

Fail to Vote & Risk Losing Your Right-to-Complain

VOTE Tuesday March 15

Most Winter Parkers hold dear their Complaining Rights, so if you don’t wish to relinquish yours and have not already voted, get out and vote on March 15.

Not sure where to go?

This link gives you a map of Winter Park and the location and address of each polling place.

https://cityofwinterpark.org/docs/government/city-info/election-info/city-of-winter-park-polling-places-map.pdf

Still Not Sure?

Here is a link to Orange County elections supervisor. Click the link, type in your address and it will tell you where to go.

http://ocfelections.com/voter_lookup/FindPollingPlace.aspx

Still not sure?

Call the Orange County Supervisor of Elections at 407-836-2070. They will answer any questions you still might have.

 

Election Day is Tuesday, March 15.

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 

Of course, you could just get into your car and drive a short distance until you see a large group of people waving brightly colored signs and giving each other sidelong looks. But to be absolutely sure, it’s best to use the official information provided through the links above.

Campaign 2016

Two Commission Seats and $30 Million Riding on Your Vote

Campaign 2016

March has rolled around, and once again Winter Park finds herself a little scuffed and scraped around the edges, sporting a few bruises — but the suspense is nearly at an end. Fewer than two weeks remain until Election Day.

Candidate Platforms and Profiles

Since the winter holidays, candidates have sent email blasts and snail mailers. Phones ring at dinner time. Everyone seems to have a campaign website.

Based on this material, we’ve tried to distill the information to show in brief who the candidates are, what they stand for and what each one has to offer our city.

Library Referendum

Besides choosing two Commissioners, we must decide whether or not to float $30 Million in municipal bonds for the purpose of building a new library-events center-parking lot. Basically, this comes down to a yes-or-no vote.

Want to float the bonds? Vote For.  Don’t want to float the bonds? Vote Against.

Campaign Promises

This information is based on communications Candidates Cooper, Macejewski and McMacken sent to the Voice at the beginning of the election cycle. The Voice did not receive a platform from Mr. Weldon, so took the platform from his campaign website.

Carolyn Cooper

Lambrine Macejewski

Increase police presence in neighborhoods  Build affordable housing for police officers.
Expedite replanting of oak tree canopy
Use advanced technology to manage traffic congestion
Manage growth to achieve excellence and maintain our community character Protect Winter Park’s unique character, greatest assets and quality of life.
Protect and expand our open space Expand ethics reform by placing restrictions on city commissioners, vendors and applicants*
Keep taxes low & maintain a healthy operating reserve Insist on responsible budgeting and root out frivolous and irresponsible spending
Continue to regularly communicate with residents through my “Cooper’s Perspective Newsletter” Ensure all citizens’ voices are given the opportunity to be heard before decisions are made.

*Taken from a Macejewski flyer.

 

Tom McMacken

Peter Weldon

Maintain police and fire service Maintain the most effective police and fire departments
Protect home values and Winter Park’s historic neighborhoods. (Voted in favor of the Historic Preservation Ordinance.) “Embrace true and voluntary historic preservation, assuring YOU have the choice to participate in districts.” (Seeks to overturn Historic Preservation Ordinance, per his comment before the Commission.)
Maintain our solid financial standing Insist upon disciplined, professional city budgeting, operations and fiscal management
Continue to invest in maintaining and enhancing our oak tree canopy Replenish and manage street trees in every neighborhood
Encourage investment in compatible re-development Prevent out-of-scale development
Support a more sustainable and pedestrian-friendly city Support equal service levels across all neighborhoods
Complete city-wide electric undergrounding Stay the course to complete city-wide electric undergrounding

 

Candidate Profiles

 

Candidates for Commission Seat #3

 

Commissioner Carolyn Cooper

headshot-carolynCarolyn and Ned Cooper have lived in Winter Park for over 20 years and raised 3 of their 5 children here. Carolyn was elected to the City Commission in 2010 and re-elected in 2013.

Through her service on the Florida League of Cities (FLC) Tri-County Board of Directors, Carolyn advocates in Tallahassee on behalf of Florida’s 400+ cities.  She understands first hand that many of Winter Park’s challenges can be resolved by building coalitions at the state level.  The FLC named Carolyn the 2015 FLC Home Rule Hero for her advocacy during the 2015 legislative session.

Carolyn has a strong background in finance and budgeting.  She has a Masters in Systems Management from the University of Southern California, worked as a Department of Defense Financial Manager and has professional training in Florida municipal budgeting.  She has drawn on this background to build city reserves and maintain services while never voting to raise taxes.

Carolyn honed her management skills as a member of the Space Shuttle Ground Support negotiating team and later as Director of Contracts for Martin Marietta Data Systems.  This experience, coupled with her understanding of land use gained from her service on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Comprehensive Plan Task Force, positions her to effectively represent citizens’ interests as the City considers how best to grow into the future.

Winter Park Magazine named Carolyn one of Winter Park’s 25 most influential people in 2015 noting,  “. . .nobody controls Carolyn … she only cares about the citizens of Winter Park.”

Candidate Lambrine Macejewski

headshot-lambrineMost people know Lambrine Macejewski (Lam-bree-knee Muh-chess-ski) as one of the co-owners of Cocina 214, the award-winning Tex-Mex restaurant just off Park Avenue.

As a citizen volunteer, Lambrine has participated in the Park Avenue Merchants Association (PAMA), serving one term as president and currently as vice president. The other city and community boards on which she serves include Keep Winter Park Beautiful and Sustainable, the Winter Park History Museum and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Lambrine founded the “Running of the Chihuahuas” to benefit Winter Park Lost Pets, and she is a Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader.

In 2015, Winter Park Magazine named Lambrine “The Entrepreneur,” one of the Winter Park’s 25 Most Influential People.

Lambrine grew up in Dallas, Texas, where her father was co-owner and chef of 4 restaurants. She was raised in their family business and worked part-time throughout high school and college.

She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a B.B.A. in accounting and went on to work for Electronic Data Systems (EDS). She then worked for Level 3 Communications, 360networks and finally left to start her own consulting firm, which specialized in performance management, business process improvement and integrations.

With the inception of Cocina 214, Lambrine was able to go back to her roots in the restaurant business. She lives in Winter Park with her husband Ronnie, daughter Rachel and their family pet Oliver.

 

Candidates for Commission Seat #4

 

Commissioner Tom McMacken

headshot-tomTom McMacken brings over 30 years of experience as a landscape architect, creating parks and communities, and six years of service as City Commissioner.

McMacken is running for a third term on the Winter Park City Commission. Known for frequently casting the swing vote, McMacken listens to citizens and strives to hear all sides of an issue before reaching a decision.

In 2014, Tom was named Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year. He remains a member of the Chamber, as well as American Society of Landscape Architects, First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, the Orange County Community Action Board, the Friends of Casa Feliz, and the Winter Park History Museum.

He participated in planning the Park Avenue streetscape, the Winter Park Village and The Park at Orwin Manor.

McMacken has served on a City board or commission since 1998. Before becoming a City Commissioner, he chaired each of the four boards on which he served for at least one term, including the Planning & Zoning Commission.

In addition to Planning & Zoning, McMacken served on the Historic Preservation Commission, the Tree Preservation Board and the Public Art Advisory Board.

Tom, his wife, Ann, and their daughter, Emily, have lived in Winter Park for nearly three decades.

Candidate Peter Weldon

headshot-peterPeter and Fran Weldon have lived in Winter Park since 1989. Their children were born at Winter Park Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Park.

Peter Weldon earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami in 1971 and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University in 1974.

After careers for both Weldons at Johnson & Johnson, they relocated to Winter Park when Peter was recruited to run a venture capital backed startup. After leaving the startup he became a Chartered Financial Analyst and investment advisor. He retired in 2013.

The Weldons have been actively involved in the community for 25 years. Fran has been neighborhood watch coordinator. They have supported many civic organizations, including the Winter Park Library, Live Oak Fund, Polasek Museum Capen House restoration, Feed the Need Winter Park and Art in the Park. Peter Weldon served on the United Way agency review panels and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Orlando Science Center.

Pete Weldon began writing www.WinterParkPerspective.org in 2008 to share views on decision making and political processes at city hall. His intent was to help make better decisions by putting policy arguments in context with relevant facts.

Pete Weldon has served on Winter Park city boards since 2008. Currently he serves on the Tree Preservation Board and the Planning and Zoning Board. His management and investment experience is grounded in a patient, long term view, based on careful study and prudent risk taking, in context with the facts. If elected, he would bring this same focus on long term value creation to his role on the City Commission.