VOTING HAS STARTED!

VOTING HAS STARTED!

Get Your Vote by Mail Ballot – There’s Still Time

Voting in the March 12, 2019 election has begun. Vote by Mail ballots are being sent out this week. There will be no early voting at the library for this election.

It’s easy to get your Vote by Mail ballot. Contact the Orange County Supervisor of Elections either online at https://ocfelections.com or call (407) 836-2070.

There is only ONE race on the ballot – Winter Park Commission Seat #4.

The ballot looks like this.

When we all vote, everybody wins!

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3 Candidates Vie for Commission Seat #4

3 Candidates Vie for Commission Seat #4

Cooper Unopposed for Seat #3

Cooper Unopposed

Commissioner Carolyn Cooper will serve a fourth and final term as Commissioner in Seat #3. “I am gratified to have the support of so many Winter Park residents,” said Cooper, “and I look forward to serving those residents for the next three years.”

Incumbent Peter Weldon Seeks Second Term

Running on the slogan “Getting Results that Matter,” Commissioner Peter Weldon is seeking a second term on the City Commission. First elected in 2016, Weldon ran on a property rights oriented platform that promised to repeal the then-newly-passed Historic Preservation Ordinance. Immediately following his election, Weldon successfully accomplished that goal. His 2019 campaign points to the many positive things that have transpired in the City since 2016.

Candidate Todd Weaver

Weaver, a semi-retired aerospace engineer and engineering consultant, has lived in Winter Park for 22 years. He served on both Winter Park and Orange County Lakes and Waterways Boards and is founder of Friends of Lake Bell. He is running as a “common sense environmentalist” and says he believes “the city needs to seriously consider the choices it makes about infrastructure and what Winter Park will look like in ten or twenty years.”

Candidate Barbara Chandler

The race for Seat #4 recently heated up as a third candidate, Barbara Chandler, threw her hat into the ring to challenge incumbent Commissioner Peter Weldon and candidate Todd Weaver.

Chandler is Manager of the Hannibal Square Heritage Center. According to her website, Chandler is running on a “Families First” platform, vowing to keep Winter Park Family-Friendly. Chandler has not responded to WP Voice requests for information as of this writing, but any information she chooses to provide will be included in an updated version of this article.

May Trigger an April 9 Runoff

If none of the candidates for Commission Seat #4 receives a majority of the vote in the March 12 general election — that means 50 percent plus one vote – that will trigger a runoff election between the two candidates who received the most votes. A runoff election, if necessary, will be held April 9.

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Request Your Mail-in Ballot Today

Request Your Mail-in Ballot Today

Glitch in Orange County System Has Been Fixed

Call 407-836-8683 or 407-836-2070.

Readers have called and messaged, saying they were told by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office that they would be unable to vote in the March 12 election.

That was due to an error in the Orange County system which has been corrected.

Winter Park voters vote ‘at large,’ not by precinct or district. All Winter Park Voters May Vote in the March 12 election.

Mail-in ballots are available now.

Call 407-836-8683 or 407-836-2070 to request your mail-in ballot today.

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2019 Commission Hopefuls

2019 Commission Hopefuls

Cooper, Weldon & Weaver . . . so far


Although it won’t begin in earnest until after the holidays, rumblings are already audible.

Commissioner Carolyn Cooper, Seat #3, Commissioner Peter Weldon, Seat #4 and challenger Todd Weaver have all declared their intention to run for Winter Park City Commission.

Weldon, originally elected in 2016, will seek a second term. Long-time Winter Park resident Todd Weaver will challenge Weldon in the race for Seat #4.

To date, no challenger has announced opposition to Carolyn Cooper in the race for Seat #3. Cooper is seeking a fourth and final term. Commissioners’ service is limited to four 3-year terms in office.

There is plenty of time for a challenger to make his or her intentions known. The official filing dates to run for Winter Park Commission are January 17 – 22, 2019.

The election is March 12, 2019.

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WP Mayor Leary Re-Elected

WP Mayor Leary Re-Elected

Low Voter Turnout

March 13, incumbent Steve Leary won a second term as Winter Park Mayor in a race featuring one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent memory. Of the approximately 21,000 registered voters, 4,602 cast votes. The tally was 3,313 for Leary and 1,289 for his opponent Jim Fitch.

In the last mayoral election in 2015, 6,722 voters cast ballots. Steve Leary defeated Cynthia Mackinnon by a narrow 302 vote lead. In 2012, 7,504 voters turned out to re-elect Mayor Ken Bradley. The count in that election was Bradley 5,381 to Nancy Miles’s 2,123.

Perhaps this year’s low turnout is not surprising, since to call the campaigns ‘low key’ would be an understatement. Even with what he described as a “limited campaign,” Fitch still garnered 28.01 percent of the vote.

“I am gratified by the support received by my stealth campaign,” Fitch told the Voice, “and I would not rule out another run for office or an appointment to a City Board.”

Mayor Leary has not responded to requests for comment, as of this writing.

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Editors Note: The Voice has received the following letters. First is a response to a post on the Facebook page of “Jim Fitch for Mayor.” The second is a response to City Manager Randy Knight from FL Representative Bob Cortes.

 

To the Editor:

On March 7 at 2:40 pm, Pitt Warner posted to the Face Book page of “Jim Fitch for Mayor.” Although Warner subsequently removed his comment, I still believe it deserves an answer.

Pitt Warner wrote, “If the election cost the city a few thousand $, I’d say let’s indulge you. But $50,000 cost of an election is real money. I see no benefit to you, the city, different factions in WP. A total waste of energy and time.”

We have a Mayor who used a State of the City address to attempt to shame all those who would dare to criticize actions taken during his tenure or to question his priorities and agenda.

Now we see a vocal and ubiquitous supporter of the mayor suggesting that the elections process in Winter Park needs to be curtailed in some way because the $50,000 cost is too great and it is a waste of energy and time.

Is it just me or is there something not only offensive in Mr. Warner’s remarks at the candidate’s FB page, but some darker, more sinister element in the faction that feels emboldened by what they see as a lopsided victory for Leary on Tuesday?

I feel the comments by Pitt Warner are disrespectful, and I believe they seek to undermine the very foundation of the rules by which we live in a free society.

Is the idea that someone must achieve a certain percentage of the vote before they’re entitled to file to run? Is the idea that opposition to a popular mayor ought not be permitted?

Some residents in Winter Park might feel that the donation of $100,000 per year to DPAC is a waste of money. Which expenditure has the most value for the typical Winter Park resident?

Has this always been the political climate in this city? I am taken aback by it.

Thanks for your thoughts if you care to share them with me.

Beth Hall

 

 

In Response to the City Manager

Download Letter as PDF

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