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.
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.