Chandler Joins Weaver, Weldon at Library Debate

Audience Questions Run the Gamut

Chandler Joins Weaver, Weldon at Library Debate

The capacity audience at the Winter Park Public Library got a chance to meet all three candidates for Commission Seat #4, as Barbara Chandler joined Todd Weaver and Peter Weldon for the first time in a debate open to the public.

The first few Moderator questions, posed by Carol Fogelsong of the Orange County League of Women Voters, covered traffic, congestion, parking, the library, the budget and development on major corridors such as Orange Avenue.

Audience Questions

The fun began with audience questions, which ranged from the poor condition of Lake Baldwin Park, a.k.a. the dog park, to allowing backyard chickens to a possible ban on plastic bags. There were lively exchanges on alternate modes of transportation and how to foster ethnic diversity in city government.

Watch the embedded videos to see each candidate’s views on these and other subjects.

Thanks to Three Candidates

The effort involved in campaigning for office and the devotion of time required to serve in office represent a significant level of commitment to our community. Commissioner Weldon, Mr. Weaver and Ms. Chandler deserve our appreciation for their willingness to serve.

Second of Three Public Debates

The Library debate was the second of three debates that are open to the public. The debate originally scheduled at the University Club February 27 was cancelled when Peter Weldon and Barbara Chandler declined the invitation to participate.

Third & Final Debate at Rollins Feb. 26

The remaining public debate will be at Rollins College Bush Auditorium, February 26, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, with a reception until 6:30.

See Video of All Public Debates Here on WP Voice

The Winter Park Voice will post video of all public debates. Those who are unable to attend a debate can view the video to see which of the three candidates you will choose to represent you in Commission Seat #4.

Vote March 12

The three candidates on the March 12 ballot are Barbara Chandler, Todd Weaver and Peter Weldon.

To request your Vote by Mail ballot. Contact the Orange County Supervisor of Elections either online at or call (407) 836-2070.

  • author's avatar

    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

  • author's avatar

9 replies
  1. Jim Fitch says:

    Subject: LieBrary

    For the Record, let us be Clear,,,

    Rollins makes $12 million each year from the Alfond Inn
    Rollins needs the Library property to expand the Alfond Inn to make more money
    In WP, Rollins gets What Rollins Wants…
    There is No Other Reason for a new Library…

    The existing Library could be retrofitted and all issues with it solved for $8 million.

    The new LieBrary project will end up over $55 million…
    WP voters will not approve $25 million in new bonds
    City Management will take the needed funds from General Revenues and all WP Taxpayers will start to feel the pinch. Hopefully, You will WAKE UP!.
    WP now has a bonded indebtedness of $175 million.
    Our annual budget is $52 million, give or take a few million.
    Isn’t this a little out of kilter?

    I have 3 questions that I can’t get answered in the current Debates and I dare not ask the Commission:

    1. Who selected the architect for the LieBrary and WHAT was the process?

    2. How many designs were submitted and who selected the final design?

    3. The LieBrary Board pledged to raise $2.5 million of the $30 million project. How much has been raised?

    Thank You, Taxpayers…

    Jim Fitch

    • David Bond says:


      You are a visionary. Glad to read intelligent commentary.

      My question is will the library project now become stalled, due to the overrun and strain on the city budget?

      My brother in Los Angeles is an astute career architect. He thought the library design was a joke.

      There may now be an opportunity to push back and redesign this library project. And have it fit within the means of the city budget and residents desires.

      I am fine with a new library and more public use along Denning, including less traffic.

      But, as we speak, demolition of Martin Luther King Park continues.

      Its time to legally restrain continued demolition. And to re-evaluate the current design and needs.

      Who can step up to enact a a temporary restraint?


  2. WP Voter says:

    The voters of WP know what’s going on. You don’t make enough money to live in WP by being clueless or a spendthrift. They know the voters have been figuring the Rollins/Library/Denning situation out….and they seem scared.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Even Watson could have spotted this one from a mile off.

    Whether you voted for the bond referendum or not, 2019 voters and the candidates must hold Pete Weldon’s feet to the fire on library budget facts.

    Voters in 2016 were told that $30,000,000 would deliver to them a 50,000 sq foot, state of the art library and events center along with an accompanying parking structure. All with a very comfortable financial cushion to boot.

    We were told that just $27,500,000 was needed. The remaining $2,500,000 was to serve as that generous cushion. Winter Park commissioners are not pikers, after all. They are pros at budgeting and were prepared for any contingency with this generous cushion of cash.

    Fast forward to 2019.

    Now we are told that $30,000,000 will not deliver anything of the sort. Not even close.

    For $30 million we will receive 2 very stripped down shells – instead of fully formed, fleshed out buildings. They will not be state of the art. They will not be LEEDS certified. There will be no parking structure. And, the cushion has disappeared.

    Weldon is campaigning on this switcheroo. His amigo Steve Leary has now employed both his State of the City address and today’s Mayor’s Message e-mail (not to be confused with an “Important Message from the Mayor” blast which promoted gossip and innuendo about a private e-mail a couple weeks ago) to campaign for Pete Weldon and obscure the facts on library costs.

    The WPPL is beloved by WP residents. But honesty in our elected officials is not negotiable.

    The city manager told us in his 1-14-19 report to the commission that ” the project is over budget”.

    All the back tracking in the world can’t change those 4 simple, direct words.

  4. Another Rigged Debate says:

    As expected, the Library debate was rigged.

    Weldon is seated to the audience’s right – same as in Chamber Debate (think “right hand man,” “he’s right,” etc)

    Weldon has the most light shined on him of the three candidates – same as in Chamber Debate.

    Weldon appeared to have been coached in his answers – as if his debate coach had prior knowledge of what the questions would be – same as in Chamber Debate.

    Chandler’s responses were so tightly scripted that she kept saying the same vague catch phrases over and over again – never criticizing Weldon or anything the City Commission has done. It was almost as if Chandler and Weldon were running mates vs. Weaver.- The one idea she did have – selecting Commissioners by district rather than at large, appeared to be tailored specifically to attract West Side voters. Knowing that she can’t win an election with only West Side voters, raises questions about whether she and Weldon are working together to take the West Side votes that would normally go to WEAVER

    Audience questions appear to have been fake. Nobody shows up to to a City Commission debate at the library to ask about backyard chickens for example. Or even if one did, there would obviously have been more questions of substance and significance that were passed over so that the less relevant questions could be aired. Fake audience questions are a staple of these debates. They are designed to throw a curveball to the candidates who haven’t been given the fake questions to prepare for in advance, and to make the rigged candidate look well informed, thoughtful, and reasonable always, in comparison with the others.

    Even with the obvious rigging of all these debates, WEAVER continues to win them.

    • Pretend Campaigners says:

      I don’t know if the debate was rigged, but I do think Chandler is a straw man. Her answers lacked substance and she sided with ole Pete, never once bringing up his wrongful voting. Does she understand the people who got her to run are enemies of the people on the West side.

      Remember, Weldon has employed the same campaign manager who pulled a similar stunt on Greg Seidel by entering a 3rd candidate, Willow Shambeck. She was the mystery woman who entered that race and did nothing as well.

      If anything, let’s give this gutter-based campaign manager the message he is no longer welcome in Winter Park.

  5. We've Seen This Christmas Tree Before says:

    The Library/Events Center/NO Parking Garage As Promised Project (aka Canopy–But w NO Trees–Are You Kidding Me?)–is resembling–more and more–the neon trashy Christmas tree (aka fake) that was on display in Central Park two seasons ago. Flashy, noisy with no connection to reality–unless you live in a video-game induced reality–the overall impact is unmistakable–rather than resonate, it repels. Make no mistake this is the Mayor’s Titanic. If Mr “Rearranging the Deck Chairs” Leary wants to continue blaming a “small group” of citizens for paying attention and issuing life preservers–then I’m with the penguins.

  6. Common Sense Lives Here says:

    I think it’s an open and shut case that Weldon does not fit the job of public servant.

    Sentinel says – “Weldon says he’s a fan of transparency but his actions suggest otherwise.”

    They listed only one such case of his disregard for transparency, but the evidence is stacked against him. Liebrary, favors to friends while ignoring residents, outside meetings with special interests, unwillingness to provide records, etc.

    Sentinel says – “He once threatened the editor of a community news site. The whole affair was slightly silly but demonstrated the bullying behavior cited by Weldon’s critics.”

    Sentinel says – “What we’re seeing here is the kind of political ugliness that too often infects the city’s politics.”

    Amen! This statement couldn’t be truer. Attacking private citizens, smearing a candidate for frivolous reasons and challenging letter writers and threatening the WPV writer for not showing stepford wife mentality proves he can’t tolerate truth or dissent.

    His lack of leadership, dirty campaigning and poor behavior have finally come home to roost. Hopefully voters will not be fooled by such grossly out of line antics – like the Mayor’s message laced with inaccuracies.

    Time to bring nicer and more qualified people to the dais, I’m checking off Weaver.

  7. Time for New Leadership in Seat 4 says:

    Winter Park has become the backdrop for jarringly incompatible, out of scale development courtesy of Florida Hospital and Rollins. What ought to be simply amenities of life in a gracious and affluent community now threaten to eat it alive.

    Which of these candidates will protect Winter Park? Surely not the incumbent. He has facilitated it. He has seldom met an upzoning opportunity he did not like.

    Drive over to the new FL Hospital expansion on Edinburgh and the new wellness facility. Look at that huge garage. Then, go on line and view the new plans for the proposed 850 space garage and dormitory for 500+ students at Rollins. This is the mass and scale we see at the FL Hospital Complex at Rollins & Princeton and Orlando Health in Orlando.

    What started with Bradley has accelerated with Leary. Surely a new perspective is needed on the commission. Please Vote March 12th.


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