Voters Speak Out: We’re Better Together, Winter Park

Come March 16th, We’ll Still Be Neighbors

Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

Voters Speak Out: We’re Better Together, Winter Park

C. Dawson Wrote:

I just want to live in a town where everyone wants the same thing: safety for children, protected natural beauty, beloved elderly who don’t suddenly disappear or are moved away, creative options for education, clean water, and harmony amongst residents. I don’t care what it costs, but I pray it doesn’t break me, and I’m willing to put in sweat equity to have it. I wish for manners and decorum in government and elections, respect for neighbors, mindfulness during trash days, and people who come together when one of their own is in strife or, and if, a giant team effort is needed on some level…that’s what I want. A patriotic, home-spun fourth of July.  I want to be part of that, and up until now I thought I was, right here in Winter Park. I’m so tired of everybody fighting.

I grew up in Carmel, California. Beautiful. Sublime. Creative. And believe it or not, pretty run-down from all the salt and all the storms. Incredibly interesting. Ramshackled. Now, spec homes, greed without care, leaf blowers everywhere on every day of the week. Tasteless art galleries and tee shirt shops. Good luck finding that eccentric sculptor in the bark-sided studio. Carmel is ruined.

Then I lived in Aspen for eight years. Rustic, interesting, athletic, reverent toward nature, muddy in springtime, everyone just getting by just to be there, just to get out and get going in it, in any way possible. Now Aspen is sanitized, sleek, chic, Banana Republic and so many empty homes and movie-star clubs named after wild animals that have disappeared from Pitkin County all together. There is literally no local life…few resident children…no Halloween, and no communal core. But you can pay ten dollars for coffee with your paper in the morning, which is novel.

And now Winter Park. It used to be the train going through the park and the flattening of pennies, Dinky Dock and learning to swim, running down to Park Avenue for a coconut ice cream at Thomas Sweet. Everyone valued the history of the groves, the sight of the ibis and sand hill crane pairs, the sound of the church bells drifting over the houses on Sundays. Grilling out on a hot summer evening, an otter riffling the tall grass, and sprinklers punctuating nightfall. Finding the sandy white bottom of the lake with your friends, and watching the pink light of evening deepen across the lake and over Rollins chapel.

What has happened to us? We are fighting and clawing, trying to hold on, yet Hell-bent on change. Let us not ruin this lovely little town in the process, people. This village we, and our children, love so much. Let’s remember the one thing that is always, no matter what, true: we’re better together. We really are. You will blink, and we will have lost our little town forever. The dream? Gone. Can we let that happen? But it’s happening right now.

Trust me, I know this to be true. I have lived it twice already. Carmel. Aspen. Where next, Winter Park? While the outside pushes us in, while we begin the process of being overrun because of our beauty, and whilst we learn to navigate and share this unique gem of which we all are so blessed to be a part, please remember her dignity. You will blink, and our Winter Park will be gone. We must be careful. We must protect her. And above all, that one incredible concept that seems to be slipping away: COMMUNITY. We are better together, Winter Park. We are truly, despite our differences, so much better together.

C Dawson

March 2016


John Skolfield wrote:

I was born in Winter Park in 1960. I have an office downtown and a home a few blocks away. I, too, love our city.

While the following statement likely precludes me from a career as a political consultant, I believe all four of our city commission candidates love our city as well.  To further damage my prospects as an aspirant for such a career, I believe they are all honorable people.

Our political penchant for casting aspersions, a sport of sorts, is no more acceptable due to its ubiquity.   First and foremost, we should be grateful that all four candidates are willing to run and give of their time.  These individuals bring common gifts to the table — gifts of time, wisdom, and experience.

Other gifts, which one should weigh in reaching their decisions, are decorum, the ability to listen and understand, confident leadership, the ability to collaborate, general communications skills and a willingness to devote time to the subject at hand.

After evaluating these skills, it’s my opinion that the course a particular candidate is likely to chart should be evaluated.  Winter Park has choices, choices of which two of these four candidates will be casting votes on our behalf.

Kind honorable people can have heartfelt views on many critical issues facing the city, and they can be diametrically opposing views.  Trees, undergrounding electric, new library, development, density are a few of the very important issues.

This Winter Park native hopes the voters will accept the honorability litmus test, evaluate the performance skills and then weigh in on the likely direction your candidate will steer the ship.

Should our electorate apply this process, Winter Park will be well served.

John Skolfield

Open Letter to Candidates

From West Winter Park Residents

Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

Open Letter to Candidates

Editor’s Note

The following letter was sent to Commission candidates Weldon and Macejewski from three residents of West Winter Park. As of this writing, the residents have not received a response from either candidate.

February 15, 2016

Greetings Candidates Lambrine Macejewski & Pete Weldon,

We are writing this letter regarding the lack of concern and respect shown for the West side community referencing the debate held at the Winter Park Community Center. Candidates Lambrine & Weldon thought it was in THEIR best interest not to be engaged.  How shameful.  It was very disappointing to all the residents who took the time to come out and who may not have been able to attend any of the other debate locations due to work, conflicts, etc.

While reading these two candidates’ reasons for not attending, it is not and should not be acceptable to ALL Winter Park residents who showed up for A DEBATE to listen to All the candidates.

These candidates’ “No Show” displayed that the residents were not more important than what they perceive the Voice may or may not be guilty of.  All candidates were asked the same questions and given a chance to answer those questions. Certainly this would have given each resident the opportunity to hear each candidate’s response respectfully.

We read Lambrine’s open letter of why she did not attend as quoted below:

  “ I made the tough call to withdraw from the Winter Park Voice Candidate Forum after learning some of their unsavory information and activities. Please view my open letter to Anne Mooney of the WPV and also attached is her personal poll responses.  Again, I don’t mind that she has a bias. What I object to, as demonstrated in her last article defending my opponent, is their activist nature.  Winter Park Voice is acting more like a PAC not a paper.”

 “Upon hearing I pulled out of tonight’s forum, seat 4 candidate Pete Weldon, echoed our sentiment and said he would be withdrawing as well unless the Winter Park Voice to release all of their financiers in the name of transparency.”

As an alumnus of Rollins, I went to the Rollins Forum/Debate, and I’m so glad I did.  I clearly heard Lambrine say how she’s walked the communities and understands the needs of the people.  Weldon says he is taking an oath to protect ALL Winter Park residents.  Clearly these two candidates have personal interest in the West Side Accelerated Development. Clearly they have been asked to run to continue the City’s 2020 Vision to include the West Side community to be wiped out as is and become a Higher Density community.

Unfortunately, I ask the questions that have continuously been ignored:

 Will the current elected city officials continue to promote & allow gentrification of the West Side Community?

 Will the city officials continue to say there are not two Winter Parks?  Your agenda is to continue to exclude West Winter Park neighborhoods and community as being a unique part of the rich historical cultural that contributed in the city of Winter Park becoming incorporated as a town and later a city. West Winter Park should be preserved as a Single Family residential community allowing All residents affordable living.

Perhaps you can address these issues. The questions were asked but unfortunately never made it to you at the Community Center because of the No-Show. They were asked again at the Chamber, but never made it during the citizen input questions read by Patrick Chapin.

Best Regards,

Maria Bryant CEO/Director, Olivia’s Performing Arts Organization, “Where Dreams are nurtured and Visions Explored”

Martha Bryant Hall, Property Owner

Mary R. Daniels, Resident

What Publicists for the Library Bond Issue Don’t Publicize

Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

What Publicists for the Library Bond Issue Don’t Publicize

When the razzle-dazzle of the notion of building another library on the west side of Winter Park quiets down, the City will face a stark reality:  a large, very expensive building that few if any patrons will walk to — a Building, with a Parking Garage, in a Park.


How does it serve residents, most of whom live east of the library, to move it to the west side of the city?  Many residents will not want to use a parking garage in an area so close to 17-92. The proposed location may make it more attractive as a place for wanderers to hang out, a problem some libraries have experienced and have been legally unable to remedy.


“Pave Paradise & Put Up a Parking Lot?”

The proposed site for the new library/parking garage would require that at least a portion of MLK Park be paved over.  Valuable green space would disappear and park land would be permanently lost. The move would commercialize the library by putting it adjacent to a commercial development. The buffer quality of the park would be lost.


Current Location Central, More Walkable

The central location of the existing library is much closer to most residents than the westerly proposed re-location. The area is safely residential and an easy walk for many users. It’s also close to, but separated from, Park Avenue.  It is near several pre-schools whose students use it.  Parking is hardly ever an issue. It is generally easier to park there than to park at Publix during busy times.


Space for Children & Seniors? Got That

While those who advocate a new library talk about space needed for children and tutors, we already have several. The Community Center on New England has a children’s library with computers. This facility also offers activities for senior citizens and has a frequently-used commercial kitchen.


$30 Million’s Not the End of It

The existing library had a third story added some years ago; other needed changes can be made to accommodate patrons. Books are still the most important part of a library.

The bond referendum calls for up to $30 million to finance this unneeded construction.  Millions more dollars would be required for interest and operating costs. Winter Parkers would pay tens of millions in taxes over twenty years.

Vote AGAINST the Bond Referendum on March 15.          


Protecting the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it


Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

Protecting the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it

Jack-Lane-cropI have always believed in looking to the past to find ways of dealing with the present. That is why I have been impressed by the way in which Winter Park’s anti-preservationist (AP) forces have employed the tactics of fear to cope with the issue of historic preservation.

This method has been employed successfully throughout American history by groups who discover that some evil force is threatening the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it. Such groups regard the tactics of fear as the only course of action in the face of apocalypse.

Historically the tactics of fear have followed a well-established pattern. First the prime movers discover a conspiracy that poses imminent danger to the structure of society. They publicize it as a threat to the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it. They marshal opposition to stamp out the evil force.

Given the gravity of the threat, no method is unacceptable. Misstatement, fabrication, even character assassination are all permitted. No compromise is allowed, because that would be to placate a demonic force.

The tactics of fear were effectively employed by early Puritans when they discovered the Devil had materialized in Salem, Massachusetts, in the guise of witches. We all know how the Puritans dealt with that fearful danger.

The tactics of fear were used throughout the 19th century to crush demonic forces that threatened the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it. In the 20th century, patriotic groups (with a little help from the government) twice saved the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it. In the 1920s, and again in the 1950s, the tactics of fear prevented a Communist takeover of our government.

Present day APs have discovered demons lurking right here in Winter Park. The demons have possessed the bodies of Historic Preservationists. These preservationist demons are campaigning for a stronger historic preservation ordinance which, say the APs, would destroy our very birthright of freedom and property rights, transforming Winter Park into an authoritarian village.

The apocalypse could begin right here in Winter Park. If historic preservation happens here, it can happen anywhere, signaling the demise of the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it.

But we may be saved from the apocalypse by a couple of local APs who have awakened our normally somnolent populace to the possible destruction of the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it.

They have wrested control of the Historic Preservation Board and are ready to move on to the City Commission. If we judge by their recent performance, they will reveal to the Commissioners how the Historic Preservation demons will deprive us of our sacred property rights and other freedoms—unmentioned—and ultimately end the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it.

I might suggest that, to be consistent, the APs employ one of Senator McCarthy’s most effective techniques–wave a sheet of paper in front of the Commissioners and threaten to name names.

“I have here in my hand the names of 250 card-carrying Historic Preservationists who are still practicing their sorcery throughout our fair city. They are threatening to destroy the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it.”

[Note to APs: Don’t forget to destroy the paper afterwards.]

That could be a winner with some of our Commissioners.


Editor’s Note:  Jack C. Lane, a 50-year resident of Winter Park, is Professor Emeritus of Rollins College where he once headed the History Department. He lives in Virginia Heights which, he remarked, has gone from being a potentially designated historic district to being a fully certified McMansion magnet. “Now that’s proving to be the American-way-of-life-as-we-know-it in Winter Park,” said Lane, “a city that describes itself as possessing ‘. . . a unique character due to its historic architecture as reflected in its vibrant downtown, gracious neighborhoods and landmark buildings.’ ”