To Winter Park Citizens

To Winter Park Citizens

Our citizens have always held differing views on how Winter Park should grow and what we want our city to be. We enjoy the good fortune of being entitled to our own views and being able to express them freely. Because of this we will always have candidates that run on different platforms, supported by those who agree with them.

Charter Calls for Non-partisan Elections

It is not okay, however, that some candidates and their backers fail to honor our City Charter. Winter Park elections, by our Charter laws, are supposed to be non-partisan.

Partisanship Must Stop

For the past three elections, there have been those who have not honored these election laws. Candidates make excuses by saying they did not ask for the help, the money and the in-kind contributions, but by accepting the money from political parties and their affiliated PACs, they are condoning it.

The Winter Park voters have just shown their fellow citizens that they will not be bought by any political party, nor will the pressure from Realtor Groups take control of their City from them.

And though it is not illegal for a sitting Commissioner to support a candidate, it borders on unethical to do so and is certainly in poor taste. It would be nice to think we had Commissioners who knew better.

Let the candidates run and let the citizens vote. And let us all uphold our City Charter.

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Political Attacks Anger Winter Park

Political Attacks Anger Winter Park

Like many other citizens of our city, I am outraged at Steve Leary’s conduct and his personal attack on his opponent — calling her a racist and taking out of context her use of the historically correct term “Negro Town.” I cannot sit back and say nothing about the way Leary’s campaign has turned this mayoral race into a disgrace.


It is one thing to have different views on what is right for the City of Winter Park — rampant development vs. careful managed growth; transparency in government vs. keeping residents out of the “know.” The list of differences goes on.
Leary is spreading his vitriol using all available means. Peter Weldon has become little more than a mouthpiece for Leary. The Republican Party propaganda machine has poured in thousands of dollars into funding Leary’s mailers and ads. Leary’s attempt to debase his opponent’s character with unfounded lies cannot and should not be tolerated in silence. I am not the only citizen of this town who is personally outraged by the Leary campaign.


I’m Not the Only One

Randy Noles, editor of Winter Park magazine, wrote, “Ms. Mackinnon’s use of this phrase, in the context of a historical discussion, is accurate. Any effort to make more out of this is just willfully misleading and an insult to Ms. Mackinnon and to the intelligence of Winter Park voters.”

Dr. Gary Barker wrote, “Steve Leary needs to address this now or lose any credibility he has. It’s one thing to argue about trees, traffic or Trader Joe’s, but to wrongly attack someone’s personal honor and values is unacceptable in this or any election. Do what’s right, Steve Leary, and publicly withdraw your accusations and apologize to Cynthia Mackinnon.

How can any decent citizen ever offer their candidacy for city office knowing they are likely to be personally attacked for offering you, the voter, a choice?

If this is the kind of person who could be our next Mayor, how shameful for the City of Winter Park. Consider carefully when you choose on March 10th.


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

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City Hall Should Put the Well-Being of Homeowners First

City Hall Should Put the Well-Being of Homeowners First

As High-Density Development Accelerates, Our Quality of Life Suffers

Guest Columnist / Sally Flynn

Winter Park Citizen
Am I the only resident in Winter Park who still believes we should be a City of Homes? A city that cares for its residents first before big business and developers?

This was the vision of those who founded Winter Park and the reason my family settled here in 1961. We decided to make Winter Park our home because of the ambiance of this city – the eclectic architecture, the lakes, the green spaces, the tree canopy and the warmth of the people we met who shared our values.

Winter Park is changing – and faster than most people realize. It is becoming an urban, commercial city, not a City of Homes.

There is this constant urgency from our elected officials and those they have appointed to our Boards, to diversify our tax base. Our taxes are lower than some cities near us.

They say the portion paid by our residential taxes is too great but as a City of Homes, that is what should pay our taxes. If City Hall focuses on its homeowners, instead of commercial interests, homeowners like myself will be willing to pay the taxes that maintain our quality of life.

We say we are a City of Culture and Heritage but our heritage is disappearing and without a sense of history, we will be nothing.

High-Density development is increasing fast in Winter Park. This will hurt our quality of life, as traffic becomes more and more unbearable. In his interview with the Voice, Peter Gottfried clearly illustrated one downside of High-Density development when he admitted that “one of the biggest issues is traffic…Lakemont is now bumper to bumper.” Mr. Gottfried has seen for himself how part of our city’s charm is vanishing, noting that when he and his wife “drive down Park Avenue in the evening…it usually turns into a white knuckle drive – it’s not a pleasant experience anymore.”

Our city is changing. We now face a threat that our park land will be decreased and our city services reduced.

Change comes; change can be good but only if it enhances what we already have. Our home values will decline if we lose what we have always loved and treasured about Winter Park.

My hope is that there are enough people in Winter Park who are aware of what is happening and who will care enough to act before it is too late.



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