Congratulations Mayor Leary, Commissioner Seidel

With Gratitude to Cynthia Mackinnon and Gary Brewer for Their Willingness to Serve Their Community

Congratulations Mayor Leary, Commissioner Seidel


L to R: Bill Leary, Beth Hall, Tom Leary, Joan Gfeller, Rich Leary. 

Mayor Leary’s brothers and neighbors support their candidates of choice.

It’s over. The yard signs are nearly all gone, most of the flyers clogging the mailboxes are once again from Publix. Life is returning to normal. 

This long, hard-fought race brought out more than 6,700 voters — a respectable showing for a non-presidential year. Unofficially, 6,722 voted in the mayor race, with Steve Leary pulling down 52.75 percent and Cynthia Mackinnon close behind with 47.75 percent. In the race for Commission Seat #1, vacated by Leary, Greg Seidel received 56.14 percent of the 6,466 votes cast to Gary Brewer’s 43.86 percent. 

These figures are preliminary. Official results will be released Friday, the 13th.

Mackinnon Looks Forward to Civility and Collaboration

In her concession speech March 10, Mackinnon said, “I expect you will see a new civility and more transparency in our city government. I expect you will see more fairness in the say city board members are selected. I expect good progress will be made in restoring our tree canopy. So, let’s focus . . . on what motivated us in the first place — we love this town. I don’t have any doubt that Mr. Leary and his supporters love this town, too.”

Brewer Deplores Campaign Cost

Gary Brewer was somewhat more pointed in his observations about the conduct of the campaign. “I believe this community needs to take a hard look at . . . how we finance and conduct campaigns,” he wrote. “More than a quarter million dollars has been spent in this campaign, mostly for attacking one another. As a charitable fundraiser, I can’t help but think what those resources could have done to support programs like the Library, Mead Garden, Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park and Welbourne Day Nurseries . . . or you name the charity.”

Leary: “Winter Park Deserves Our Best”

In an email message, newly elected Mayor Steve Leary expressed the feelings many of us share. “I appreciate those with whom I disagree, for I know they love Winter Park as much as I do,” he wrote. “We’ve had enough division, rhetoric, demonization. . . .  Let us move forward into the future together as a Community.”

At the end of the day, we’re all neighbors, and we are all looking forward to the energetic leadership of these two capable young men. Our wishes go out to both of them for success in making sure Winter Park remains the best place to live, work and play. 

Library Hosts Two Debates

Candidates for Mayor, Commission Meet Separately

Library Hosts Two Debates

Separate debates between mayoral candidates and candidates for city commission revealed a stark contrast in the tenor and the conduct of the two races.

Mayors Debate First

The first debate, between mayoral candidates Cynthia Mackinnon and Steve Leary on February 19, was moderated by former Channel 6 anchor Lauren Rowe before a standing-room-only crowd. Rowe, herself charismatic and edgy, posed questions that emphasized the differences between the two candidates. Either candidate who failed to answer a question to her satisfaction was given very little leeway. The tone of the debate was contentious, and each candidate’s difference with the other was palpable.

At the request of the Library, both debates were taped by the Winter Park Voice.

Click here to see video of the debate between the mayoral candidates.

Commissioners Meet the Following Week

The second debate, between commission candidates Greg Seidel and Gary Brewer, was downright friendly by comparison. Moderated by Ann Helmuth of the Orange County League of Women Voters, this debate was as much a discussion as it was a debate. While some remarks were in the form of rebuttals, just as often, one candidate simply expanded on the remarks of the previous speaker. Each was quick to acknowledge the strengths of the other. Held before a much smaller audience, the tone of this debate was almost relaxed.

To view the commission candidates’ debate, click here .

 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice


To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at http://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/

How to Request an Absentee Ballot

Deadline: Wednesday, March 4, 5:00 p.m.

How to Request an Absentee Ballot

 

Are you one of the many Winter Park voters who is accustomed to voting by absentee ballot, who hasn’t received a ballot this year, and are wondering where it is?

No Permanent Absentee Status

Laws governing the way we vote have changed. The State of Florida no longer has permanent absentee status. If you haven’t received your absentee ballot for the 2015 election, Lucy Melendez of the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office says your status probably has expired and you will need to renew your request.

Anyone registered to vote in Orange County may request an absentee ballot.

To renew your request online, go to http://www.ocfelections.com/votebyabsentee.aspx.

To request a ballot by phone, call 407-836-2070.

If you have access to a computer, you may also download the request form in .pdf format and mail it to the address given on the website. Request forms are available in English and Spanish.

Necessary Information

You will need to include your name, date of birth, residential address, mailing address if it’s different from your residence, and the elections for which you wish to receive a ballot.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Wed., March 4, 5:00 p.m.

 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at http://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/

Winter Park Candidates Square Off

View Complete Video of University Club, Chamber Debates Here

Winter Park Candidates Square Off

 

WPVoice forum

If turnout at the past two candidate debates is any indication, the current election cycle seems to have sparked unprecedented interest among Winter Park voters. 

Candidates Face Off at University Club of WP

The Winter Park Voice hosted a candidate forum at the University Club of Winter Park at 5:30 p.m. February 10. The moderator was Michele Levy, Co-President of The Orange County League of Women Voters. The crowd was standing-room-only, and many were turned away because of fire code limitations. For those who missed this first debate, click here to see video of the entire debate.

Chamber Hosts Second Debate

Three days later, on the auspicious morning of Friday the 13th, Winter Park’s four candidates faced off once again before another packed house, this time at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center. This 8:00 a.m. debate, hosted by the Chamber, was moderated by Chamber President Patrick Chapin and Chamber Board Member Kyle Taylor. Questions ran the gamut, from downtown parking, traffic and trees to “Say something nice about your opponent.” Again, the crowd was standing-room-only.

At the request of the Chamber, this debate in its entirety was taped by the Winter Park Voice. To view the video, click here.

Library Debates Feb. 19 and Feb. 25

The Winter Park Library will host the final two candidate debates. Mayoral candidates will debate at Noon on Thursday, February 19, and candidates for Commission Seat #1 will debate at Noon on Wednesday, February 25.

 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at http://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/

Lee Road Site Gets a Makeover

Breast Reduction for Winter Park

Lee Road Site Gets a Makeover

At 11:30 on the morning of February 11, a big yellow crane flattened the iconic breast-shaped roofs of the building at 2600 Lee Road formerly known as the Booby Trap. In a unanimous vote December 8, 2014, the Commission voted to purchase the property for $990,000 — a premium above the appraised value of $830,000. The deal closed shortly thereafter on January 28, 2015.

Former Booby Trap Up for Sale

As the double domed-shaped roofs were falling, Mayor Kenneth Bradley erected a For Sale sign and the property went on the market for $1 Million.

Recently known as Club Rio, the former Booby Trap has gone the way of other local watering holes such as Tom & Jerry’s and the Red Fox at the Mt. Vernon Inn.  This is part of a larger effort by the City to “clean up” the Lee Road gateway into Winter Park.

In a Media Alert, the stated rationale for purchasing this property was to “eliminate significant . . . police/criminal activity, eliminate repeated code violations . . . and improve one of the city’s main gateways.”

Source of Drug, Criminal Activity

As the former den of iniquity came down, Mayor Kenneth Bradley noted that while there might be some nostalgia for what he called an “historic landmark,” the City bought the building “because it’s been a source of tremendous crime in our city and drug activity.”

Bradley said the City has already received expressions of interest in the property and that its commercial zoning would make it a good site for an office or restaurant. Bradley said the City was getting rid of an “eyesore” and was making an important investment that will improve the area. The properties immediately east of the Booby Trap, at 2540 Lee Road and 2566 Lee Road, are owned by Bradley’s employer, Florida Hospital.

“Off the Record,” a Few Neighbors Will Miss It

Mike Gottlieb, a neighbor who rode his bike to witness the demolition, remarked that this was a sad day for him. “Now I won’t be able to tell people how to find my house,” he said.

Another bystander, Winter Park resident Hilary Blessler, objected to the cost paid by the city, noting that money might be better used for trees or schools. Another bystander, who requested his name be withheld, said, “This will improve our neighborhood and raise our property values but,” he said, referring to the old club, “off the record, it was a hell of a lot of fun.”

 

 

 

 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at http://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/

WP Voice Hosts Candidate Forum

Mark the Date: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10

WP Voice Hosts Candidate Forum

 

Winter Park is in the enviable position of having four qualified, capable candidates for Mayor and Commissioner. The Winter Park Voice will host a candidate forum at the University Club of Winter Park on February 10, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The forum will include all four candidates and will be moderated by Michele Levy from The Orange County League of Women Voters. 

WHO:              Mayoral Candidates Steven Leary and Cynthia Mackinnon

                        Commission Candidates Gary Brewer and Greg Seidel

WHAT:           Forum for Winter Park mayor and commission candidates

 

WHERE:         The University Club of Winter Park

                        841 North Park Ave.

                        Winter Park, FL 32789

                        407-644-6149

 

WHEN:           Tuesday, February 10, 2015

                        Doors Open at 5:10 p.m.

                        Program begins promptly at 5:30 p.m. until 6:45 p.m.

 What’s the Program?

The program will consist of three questions, each concerning a different issue pertaining specifically to Winter Park, posed by the moderator. Each candidate will have the opportunity to answer the question and then to respond to answers from the other candidates.

How can You Ask Questions?

While no questions will be taken from the audience during the forum, you may submit your questions on line. Either click the “Read and Input Commentsbutton on this page and post your question there, or click on the Facebook button at the upper right of this page, go to the Winter Park Voice Facebook Group, and post your question there.

All questions will be gathered by the editorial staff no later than

5:00 p.m. Sunday, February 8. The moderator will ask as many representative questions from those collected online as time will allow.

Mark Your Calendar

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet your candidates and hear their views on major issues that affect all of us who have the good fortune to live in Winter Park. 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at http://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/

Meet the Candidates

Click on Links to See Full Bios and Platforms

Meet the Candidates

Steven Leary for Mayor

Steve Leary, Vice President of Leary Management Group, Inc., joined the firm in 2004 when he moved Winter Park. He was elected to the Winter Park City Commission in 2011 and was appointed Vice-Mayor by Mayor Kenneth Bradley. Leary has resigned his post as Commissioner in order to run for Mayor, but will finish out his current term on the Commission.   

To read more about Leary and his platform, Click Here.

Cynthia Mackinnon for Mayor

Retired Judge Cynthia Mackinnon was educated at Edgewater High School. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emory University, where she met her husband Alex. She and Alex have lived in Winter Park for more than 40 years. They have two sons and six grandchildren. 

To read more about Mackinnon and her platform, Click Here.

Gary Brewer for Commission

In 1982, Brewer was elected to the Winter Park City Commission, where he served until 1993, when he was elected Mayor of Winter Park. His list of services to the community is a long one and includes being President of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of United Way of Winter Park, Chairman of Trustees and Board of Deacons at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park.

To read more about Brewer and his platform, Click Here.

 

Gregory Seidel for Commission

Greg Seidel, Vice President and Chief Engineer at The Balmoral Group, has lived in Winter Park since 1998. A Florida native, Greg grew up in Altamonte Springs and attended Lake Mary High School. He earned both his bachelor’s and his master’s degrees in engineering from Lehigh University. Seidel’s engineering focus is on roadway design and stormwater management. He served on the Winter Park Utility Advisory from 2008 to 2014 and was chairman from 2010 to 2014.

To read more about Seidel and his platform,Click Here.

 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at http://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/

Join the WP Voice Facebook Group

Public Group for Winter Park Readers

Join the WP Voice Facebook Group

The Winter Park Voice joins the world of facebook with the introduction of the new  group.

 

 The page is now live, so you can join it with your facebook account to read and make posts.
 

This is a public group with minimal moderation.  We ask that people be respectful of one another when expressing their points of view. Many of you will express opinions that other readers find controversial, but we do not plan to censor anything except personal attacks, personal advertising and inappropriate language.

Write about the 2015 election or policies that affect those of us who live and work in Winter Park.  Mention the latest Voice news story or add your own subject, as long as it fits within the mission of group – that is, Winter Park.

If you are new to facebook, write me at editor@winterparkvoice.com and someone will contact you with pointers on how to create an account.  If you already have a facebook account, just click the link above. Select JOIN and you will be added shortly.

Look for Voice news stories to be posted to the group. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Four Candidates = No Primary

Shambeck Withdraws from Commission Race

Four Candidates = No Primary

After some to-ing and fro-ing, Winter Park has finally settled into the 2015 election cycle. The period during which candidates could qualify to run ended yesterday at noon. City Communications Director Clarissa Howard confirmed that two candidates, Steven Leary and Cynthia Mackinnon, will oppose each other in the race for mayor. Two candidates, Greg Seidel and Gary Brewer, will run for Commission Seat #1, which is being vacated by Leary.

Shambeck Drops Out

The third candidate for commission, Willow Shambeck, withdrew from the race and threw her support behind Gary Brewer. She also endorsed Steve Leary for mayor.

Shambeck, President and Broker of Cursor Realty Commercial, stated, “. . .I have decided it is better to withdraw my candidacy for Winter Park City Commissioner. With the addition of a third candidate, the race will require nearly 100% of my time and resources to run a February Primary Election and a March General Election . . . which I unfortunately cannot afford to dedicate at this stage in my business.”

General Election – March 10

The fact that there will be no primary election significantly simplifies the election schedule shown in the chart below.


 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

The Voice will feature a special Election 2015 section. To see candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published about Winter Park’s very own annual reality show, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen. 

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website athttp://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/.

Kenneth F. Murrah

January 19, 1933 – December 5, 2014

Kenneth F. Murrah

 

Leadership and service marked a life of accomplishment for Kenneth F. Murrah, who succumbed to prostate cancer on December 5, 2014.

Kenneth was the quintessential Southern gentleman, with a distinctive accent formed during his youth in Chipley (now Pine Mountain), Georgia. Kenneth moved to Winter Park in 1944. He expressed his affection for this town through service on the City Commission and the Parks and Recreation Board and by his many personal contributions.

City Historian

His Winter Park history presentations before various community organizations earned him the de facto title of City Historian. He loved learning about the people who had made a difference in this town and, in the process, Kenneth became one of them.

Valued Education

Kenneth appreciated his fine education and generously supported the institutions that provided it. Valedictorian of the Winter Park High School class of 1951, he was one of the founders of the school’s Foundation. In 1998 he initiated an annual celebration at the Winter Park Public Library honoring each year’s valedictorians and their families. He endowed a fund to continue the tradition.

“Mr. Emory”

In gratitude for the scholarships that made it possible for him to graduate from both the College and Law School at Emory University, he contributed funds each year that enabled other young people to enjoy that opportunity. His volunteer service to Emory was recognized both with the law school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and the J. Pollard Turman Award for exceptional alumni service.  Kenneth’s undergraduate leadership positions included President of his fraternity and Student Body President.

Loyal ATO

His Alpha Tau Omega fraternity provided a lifetime of friendships. He showed his appreciation by endowing college scholarships and LeaderShape training for ATOs, both at Emory and at Florida chapters. He assisted in founding the University of Central Florida ATO chapter and served on the board of the ATO National Foundation.

Distinguished Attorney

Kenneth established his law practice in Winter Park in 1963, focusing on estates and trusts. With support from longtime partners Patrick Doyle and Bruce Wigle, and from devoted staff, Kenneth helped people plan secure futures for themselves. The firm provided broad services to many widows and widowers who had no families to help them. In July 2014, Kenneth recruited a talented young partner, David Torre, to help carry on the firm’s work. Kenneth loved his work and could never imagine retirement. He worked on behalf of others to the end of his life.

Lifelong Methodist

Kenneth supported the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park and served on the Board of Trustees. As managing trustee of the Susan H. Marcy Trust, he initiated a number of innovative grants to strengthen the church. For over 35 years, he also participated on the district New Church Development Board.

Civic Leader

A passion for fairness and a devotion to community put Kenneth at the forefront of many civic efforts. The list of task forces on which Kenneth served is a long one. Among the most important were the Bi-Racial Commission in the early 1960s — predating the 1964 Civil Rights Act — Central Park, City Charter, and Commuter Rail. He also helped raise funds to furnish the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center, named in honor of his late wife. He garnered funds to develop Shady Park, promoted a bond referendum to purchase the city golf course, and supported a referendum to build the new public safety building.

He served on the boards of Hospice of Central Florida, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, the Central Florida Foundation, the Holocaust Center, Meals on Wheels, the Gardens at DePugh, and the Winter Park Advisory Committee to the Central Florida Foundation.

Kenneth and Rachel, his wife from 1957 until her death in 2000, and his second wife, Ann Hicks, all demonstrated their appreciation for the Winter Park Public Library through  service on its board and support of its fundraisers. Honoring Rachels love of reading, Kenneth established a memorial endowment to purchase works of fiction.

Cultural Leader

Arts and other cultural organizations were a priority for Kenneth. He generously supported the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (OPO) and Rollins’ Cornell Fine Arts Museum. He was honored to receive the OPO’s John O. Blackburn Distinguished Service Award in 2013. Kenneth was the kind of board member most valued by non-profits.  He attracted new friends and funds. He gave generously of time, talent, and resources. He prepared diligently for meetings and posed important — if sometimes challenging — questions.

Lifelong Democrat

Kenneth’s connection with the Democratic party dates back to his childhood, when President Roosevelt made frequent visits to nearby Warm Springs, where Kenneth saw him driving his car equipped with hand controls. As an adult Kenneth supported candidates who worked for public education and women’s rights. He was appointed to the Florida Elections Commission by Governor Lawton Chiles. Locally, he served as the treasurer for three candidates for the City Commission.

Devoted Family Man

One key to Kenneth’s ability to give back to his community was the support of his family. For 43 years he was the loving husband of Rachel, mother of his sons Ken and Bert (d. 1990). Since 2002 Ann Hicks has been his fortunate partner not only in civic affairs, but also in world travel. Kenneth especially loved time with Ken Jr.’s family in Ponte Vedra, watching Jack, Kenny, and MacLain grow up, and, with Ann, providing sideline support for Jack’s baseball, football, and lacrosse games.

Memorial Service January 4, 2015

A celebration of Kenneth’s life will take place at the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park on January 4, 2015, at 4:00 p.m., preceded by music from members of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at 3:30, and followed by a reception in the Family Life Center. Friends are encouraged to follow his example of generosity by making a contribution to the OPO Plaza renovation fund, the Winter Park Library new building fund, the Cornell Museum exhibits fund, or your preferred non-profit organization.

 

 

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