Judge Denies Citizens’ PAC

Requests for Rehearing, Rewording Denied

Judge Denies Citizens’ PAC

city-libary-cogsAs 2017 gears up, the court continues to clear obstacles from the Winter Park Library’s path to Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Park. Judge Margaret Schreiber has denied the Save Our Library WP PAC’s requests for a rehearing of the bond validation suit and the removal of language specifying the library location from her ruling.

Petition Question Still Unanswered

The only matter still pending is a request that the court quash the Certificate of Insufficiency issued by City Clerk Cindy Bonham. The City maintains the petition is a “reconsideration of a referendum,” which must be filed within 30 days of the election. The PAC says their petition, which was filed in August well after the election, was an initiative seeking to establish an ordinance to prevent a library from being built in MLK Park. A Citizens’ Initiative, provided for in the City Charter, has no time limit.

City Fees Top $200,000

According to City Manager Randy Knight, the City’s legal fees, to date, amount to $201,759. Fees in the bond validation suit are $168,881, and fees in the dispute over the petition total $32,878.

Bond Validation Protects City, Saves Money in the Long Run

The bond validation protects the City from future legal challenge regarding the bond issue, and it will save the City money by allowing the bonds to be sold at a more favorable rate. Any expenditures associated with the bond validation will be recovered over the life of the bonds and, according to an attorney knowledgeable about the situation but who asked not to be identified, represents a wise investment on the part of the City.

PAC: City Could Have Avoided Additional Fees

According to citizens associated with the Save Our Library WP PAC, the City would not have incurred the $32,878 in fees if they had acknowledged the citizens’ petition initiative. Michael Poole, president of the PAC, told the Voice, “This expenditure could have been avoided by allowing the voters a say in the location of the library – either by including location language in the March 15, 2016 ballot, or by accepting the citizens’ petition as an initiative and allowing the voters to express their preference that way. If the City had put the location to a vote, it would not have cost them anything.”


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    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.

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20 replies
  1. Lisa says:

    I’m just a regular person who goes to the library every week with our children. It seems like the PAC could just be rich people who have nothing better to do than fight progress and spend their money to ensure they get their way. What a waste of resources. Handling disappointment may be something for the opposition to work on. The library may not be walking distance to your mansion anymore but maybe something great will come of this change.

    • Gracie Montanya says:

      This lady has it right. Nothing like White Man’s Guilt to spoil it for everyone. Remember, we are the Silent Majority!!

  2. Can't Buy Me Love says:

    Like the old Beatles song, the Winter Park City Commission keeps on beating the same old drum every year, and this time around, yet again, finding yet another million dollars to taxpayer money to waste.

    Easy come, easy go.

    Could it be that’s why Commissioners thought nobody would notice that, as they waste time attempting to thwart the Citizens Initiative on the Library location, that Commissioners have already squandered yet another million dollars (or more) of taxpayers dollars?

    The bond issue was approved for $30 million.

    $30,000,000 X .0025 = $75,000 X 20 years = $1,500,000 / 2 = $750,000.

    That $750,000 represents the cost to Winter Park taxpayers over the life of a 20 year fully amortizing (reducing principal) bond, for each quarter point interest rates go up, while Commissioners continue to ignore the law defined in the City Charter and to abuse the courts, for no other purpose than to cover up their election day mischief and serve Commissioners’ cronies who stand to reap a financial windfall from the library move.

    So while Commissioners fiddle, delay, obstruct, bicker, and thwart, residents tax dollars burn.

    And just how much more will Winter Park residents taxes have go up after Commissioners are done with their money burn? Here’s how much Commissioners’ contempt for the democratic process and the residents will cost Winter Park taxpayers in the coming years:

    1) If Commissioners had done the right thing and approved the Citizens Initiative signed by over 2,000 residents, OR if they had included on the ballot that their plans are to move the library to MLK Park, the answer is ZERO. No additional taxes.

    2) If interest rates rise 0.25% while Commissioners pursue their vendetta against their constituents, it’s $750,000 in interest, plus attorneys fees that Winter Park residents will have to pay in extra taxes.

    3) If Interest rates rise 0.50% while Commissioners pursue their vendetta against their constituents, it’s $1,500,000 in interest, plus attorneys fees.

    4) If Interest rates rise 1.00% while Commissioners pursue their vendetta against their constituents, it’s $3,000,000 in interest, plus attorneys fees.

    5) If interest rates rise 2.00% while Commissioners pursue their vendetta against their constituents, it’s $6,000,000 in interest, plus attorneys fees. $6,000,000 in extra taxes folks.

    If you didn’t know better, you’d almost think Commissioners didn’t know this was YOUR money, YOUR library, and YOUR City Charter.

    Maybe Winter Park City Commissioners just need some love.

    • Bill Muchin says:

      You are trying to justify your doltish comments. I don’t know if you noticed, but in this country , much to your dislike, we have free elections, and people are allowed to vote however they want. The vote for the library passed, by a majority, irregardless of the vote percentage. I hope you fade away, much like Hillary Clinton.

    • Pitt Warner says:

      1) Using Beatle lyrics says you’re old. I think you need “HELP”.
      2) You assume the bonds will be paid out over 20 years. As far as I know, there is no pre-payment penalty.
      3) What if a large parcel is sold-Progress Point, for example, and $5 million gets lopped off the payment?
      4) the bond issue is for “up to” $30 million. Maybe library will come in at $20 or $25 million.
      5) The CRA is awash in money. Maybe there is a way to use a portion of it to pay for a portion of the bonds.

      Those of use who voted by studying the materials and listening to the arguments firmly believe the election was fair and square. To give in to gimmicky tricks to subvert an election is not something I would stand for. I don’t care how much it costs. It’s the principle.

      • Strength In Numbers says:

        The new library / events center / parking facility will cost $33 million.

        Thirty million from the bond. Three million from “other” sources, primarily naming rights.

        That’s how they came up with the $30 million number for the bond.

        Those pilfering the taxpayers of Winter Park will then feign the role of “benefactor” by “donating” amounts of 50 or 100,000, or even a million dollars to the project. They of course will profit enormously from the construction and related real estate deals, plus their names will be emblazoned on the edifice for generations of impressionable children (and duped adults) to see and come to believe that these individuals are the “pillars of our community.”

        City Commission meetings, twice monthly, are scheduled for 3:30 pm.

        The City’s court hearing regarding the bond validation started at 3:30 pm.

        The library phone number last 4 digits are 3300.

        33,000 square feet.

        I could go on, but people have other stuff to do in this town.

        Leary once said at a City Commission meeting years ago, that he wanted a library like the new Orlando Performing Arts Center. That was a $400 million project, with the next phase to take it even higher.

        The library is the proverbial “foot in the door” to MLK Park.

        A massive public art museum is on the drawing board.

        So, don’t expect there will be even one cent of the $30 million bond not spent on concrete, steel, glass, and various and sundry other building materials.

        Their belief is that if they can reach their $33 million spending goal on Phase I, that the gods they worship will look on them favorably, and rain down a museum, retail, apartments, entertainment, offices – a complete build out of MLK Park.

        • Moloch says:

          33? Are you saying they are all freemasons or illuminati? Skull and crossbones? Wonder if the design will have pyramids, the evil eyes, pentagram gardens, cubes, baphomet, or owls?? Maybe even a ping pong pizza place next door to a child’s charity?? They aren’t as hidden in plain sight as they think is what you are saying?

          • We Do says:

            I don’t talk to false gods. But this explains a lot. Why do you think we always get the same jokers running everything, whether it be president or state and local? If they are trying to hide who they are someone should tell them that “The Simpsons” already blabbed it to the whole world a long time ago. Watch the video on YouTube. Not saying they are masons or illuminati. Not saying they are not. You get thrown off track when you make sweeping generalizations about any group. What matters is individuals – whatever group(s) they may be affiliated with. Just because something’s in a garage doesn’t make it a car. But there are cars in garages. You can’t see the wind. But you know it’s there because of its effects. When you hear the howling sound, when you see the trees sway. You know the wind is blowing. Even though you can’t see it. Likewise, when you see massive, coordinated pubic deception for the purposes of enriching a few, you know that the gang is behind it. Because that’s the nature of the gang. Lying is like a magic charm to them. Every lie they tell the public they believe puts more money in their own pockets.


      • Betsy Ross says:

        Pitt, I think that ship already sailed on the Progress Point property. Your cronies turned down a very respectable offer of more than 5 million $$$. The offer was to build a high-end senior living facility, the type of facility that is sorely needed in Winter Park. Too bad their business model didn’t seem to offer you and your cronies a way to make more money.

        Now you and the Mayor can go about your plans of rezoning this property high density residential. We residents will all love the traffic clogging impact… but hey..you might make money.

        • Pitt Warner says:

          Betsy Ross, I wish they were cronies. I need to make a lot of money in the next few years. We have a new grandchild-school. braces, college. (Boy, he’s very cute, thanks for asking) His father, my son needs to buy a home so I’m sure they’re gonna shake us down for some $. Another kid is hinting around about a new car. Gawd, these kids are expensive! My wife has an insatiable appetite for Dollar Tree and thrift stores. 2 cats. A golfing addiction. Donations to all politicos in the $50-100 range so they’ll do my bidding. Hopefully. Keeping Up Appearances is very very expensive. And speaking of “ships sailing”, we’d like to take our family on a cruise one of these days-waterview or small balcony, max! I was feeling pretty good until you started talking about money. I think we’ll need a low-end senior living facility for me.

  3. Mike says:

    Thanks for wasting 200,000 dollars of our money . To call your actions asinine would be a compliment. You and your liberal gang of thugs are hopeless beyond words. We get it!! Trump is not your President and you don’t want to move the library .
    Now get a life

  4. Leonard Feinberg says:

    Was there ever any discussion about donating the land to Orange County and have them build the library as part of their Library System, which would distribute the cost to All County residents? This would save us the aggravation of all of the infighting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of the TAXES the last commenter mentioned….

    Nobody seems to mention that the library move is all about benefitting our “non profit” ….Rollins.

    Anyone who doesn’t suspect this is a nod nod wink wink backroom deal to get Rollins more land (which they won’t pay full property taxes on) is naive. I’ll bet the farm the existing library lot will be Rollins very soon.

    And if our “representatives” and developers make a few bucks with an MLK relocation during Rollins great land quest they certainly won’t complain.

    Don’t believe me??….do some research into properties Rollins has been picking up. It’s not just at the campus borders….they have lots everywhere.

    Pretty disgusting for the few of us non- “non profits”…… who will be left holding the entire city property tax bag once the land grab is complete.

  6. John H. says:

    I highly suspect the following: Rollins owns the library land now. That’s why this whole library nonsense happened. Rollins “annexed” it and our leaders figured out a way to make that happen for them. Wonder what they and their friends and relatives might get from Rollins? Me too. In my opinion the leaders better tack these ridiculous legal costs onto the price of the land sale when Rollins (or the deal maker who is set up to flip it over to Rollins at a profit I suspect) purchases it. I mean If you’re gonna spike the citizen’s cocktail and take advantage of us, at least have the decency not to ask us to pick up the darn tab.

    • Pitt Warner says:

      Anonymous and John H.,

      If you were involved in this issue from the beginning you’d know there is just as much interest in the city retaining the library building as a part of a city hall project as selling it to Rollins. Based on my observation of this current commission I’d be very surprised if the library is sold. City Hall doesn’t need to be on Park Ave. and Park Ave. could have a wonderful infill project to have retail/office/condo with a public parking garage. Your opinion of insider deals and cynical leadership is your right. But without any proof all you are doing is performing character assassination against people who only want to serve. And to do it anonymously is even worse. If you have proof, let’s see it. Very bad manners and very small-minded.

      • John H says:

        You’re right, it is speculation on my part…no proof at all. Time will tell…. and the taxpayers of this city will be carefully watching to see who benefits…. and who might benefit from the “infill” you mention if city hall moves.

        You’ve reminded me to check up on who may have benefitted from the suspected city overpayment for the booby trap parcel by the way. Thanks.

        • Pitt Warner says:

          I served on the Ethics Board a few years ago. Some citizens (and fellow board members) were absolutely convinced there was a connection between campaign donations and approvals for projects. Unsaid but implied was additional goodies being given under the table. Our board investigated, interviewed and spoke with past mayors, commissioners, city employees. Nobody could ever produce a shred of current or past unethical behavior.

          • Question says:

            Would that be the same City of Winter Park Ethics Board that current Commissioners voted to eliminate and do away with around the same time they were busy making plans for the new Library?

          • Pitt Warner says:

            I have no idea. I went on the EB with the stupid idea people in WP are inherently fair to each other. Big Mistake. A vocal faction of board’s make up and their “amen chorus” that showed up each month were politically motivated to make all donations from a business entity as essentially a bribe or quid pro qou. No facts. No concern for First Amendment rights. Just based on appearances. On the other hand, all individual donations were merely meant to strengthen the system and in no way were meant to influence policy. Very partisan. Hyper critical. I would suggest the board have members who are on call if needed. WP employees and city commissioners are the best. We are very lucky.

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