Congratulations to newly elected Commissioners Peter Weldon and Carolyn Cooper, and sincere thanks to candidates McMacken and Macejewski for their willingness to serve their city.
Yesterday was a long one. Sign wavers were in place at sunup as the polls opened at 7:00 a.m., and were still there well after sundown as the polls closed at 7:00 p.m.
Winter Park boasted a record turnout. Registered voters numbered 20,114, and by the end of the day, 11,349 ballots had been cast, according to preliminary results from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website. This, in spite of the fact that at one point, Orange County ran out of ballots. But in the end, the votes were cast and the count was in by 10:00 p.m.
According to the unofficial results on the City website, Cooper won handily with 5,702 votes to Macejewski’s 4,827. The race between McMacken and Weldon was closer, with Weldon leading McMacken by 118 votes, 5,193 to 5,075.
The Library/Events Center bond issue passed on a decisive 5,412 to 5,199 Yes vote.
The only question remaining now is what to do with hundreds of blog and Face Book posts – a question that can easily wait until tomorrow.
Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Endorses New Library and Events Center
Winter Park, Fla. (February 26, 2016) – The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors passed a resolution in support of a new library and events center. In the resolution, the organization acknowledges the significant increase in services provided by the Winter Park Public Library over the last decade, the thorough research and study conducted by the City of Winter Park Library Task Force and the need for new facilities which will better serve its members and the greater community.
“The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to endorse the passage of the referendum on the city ballot for a new library and events center,” said Lou Nimkoff, chairman of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “This project is in alignment with our mission, which is to develop, promote and sustain a vital, thriving business climate and to initiate, support and enhance the civic, educational and economic well-being of the area. We look forward to future community dialogue on this important project.”
Prior to issuing its resolution in support, the Chamber received guidance from its Council of Leaders, a large body of past board chairs, former mayors and other community leaders. The organization also engaged its members and the community on the topic at a recent Good Morning Winter Park program in which Winter Park Public Library Executive Director Shawn Shaffer and Winter Park City Manager Randy Knight shared need for new facilities details of the bond referendum facing voters.
“We believe our members, and the community-at-large, will be better served by new facilities, which will allow for expanded educational and entrepreneurial programs, collaboration, access to technology and upgraded facilities,” said Patrick Chapin, President/CEO for the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.
The Winter Park Public Library extends one full-service library card to each member of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce making future expanded services a valuable benefit to its members.
A bond referendum for a new library and events center is currently facing Winter Park voters with municipal elections to be held on March 15, 2016. A copy of the referendum language can be found at cityofwinterpark.org. Additional information on the project is available at wppl.org.
The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce represents more than 800 businesses, community organizations and individuals in an effort to develop, promote and sustain a vital, thriving business climate throughout the community and to initiate, support and enhance the civic, educational and economic well-being of the area. For more information visit www.winterpark.org.
Call the Orange County Supervisor of Elections at 407-836-2070. They will answer any questions you still might have.
Election Day is Tuesday, March 15.
Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Of course, you could just get into your car and drive a short distance until you see a large group of people waving brightly colored signs and giving each other sidelong looks. But to be absolutely sure, it’s best to use the official information provided through the links above.
Two Commission Seats and $30 Million Riding on Your Vote
March has rolled around, and once again Winter Park finds herself a little scuffed and scraped around the edges, sporting a few bruises — but the suspense is nearly at an end. Fewer than two weeks remain until Election Day.
Candidate Platforms and Profiles
Since the winter holidays, candidates have sent email blasts and snail mailers. Phones ring at dinner time. Everyone seems to have a campaign website.
Based on this material, we’ve tried to distill the information to show in brief who the candidates are, what they stand for and what each one has to offer our city.
Besides choosing two Commissioners, we must decide whether or not to float $30 Million in municipal bonds for the purpose of building a new library-events center-parking lot. Basically, this comes down to a yes-or-no vote.
Want to float the bonds? Vote For. Don’t want to float the bonds? Vote Against.
This information is based on communications Candidates Cooper, Macejewski and McMacken sent to the Voice at the beginning of the election cycle. The Voice did not receive a platform from Mr. Weldon, so took the platform from his campaign website.
Increase police presence in neighborhoods
Build affordable housing for police officers.
Expedite replanting of oak tree canopy
Use advanced technology to manage traffic congestion
Manage growth to achieve excellence and maintain our community character
Protect Winter Park’s unique character, greatest assets and quality of life.
Protect and expand our open space
Expand ethics reform by placing restrictions on city commissioners, vendors and applicants*
Keep taxes low & maintain a healthy operating reserve
Insist on responsible budgeting and root out frivolous and irresponsible spending
Continue to regularly communicate with residents through my “Cooper’s Perspective Newsletter”
Ensure all citizens’ voices are given the opportunity to be heard before decisions are made.
*Taken from a Macejewski flyer.
Maintain police and fire service
Maintain the most effective police and fire departments
Protect home values and Winter Park’s historic neighborhoods. (Voted in favor of the Historic Preservation Ordinance.)
“Embrace true and voluntary historic preservation, assuring YOU have the choice to participate in districts.” (Seeks to overturn Historic Preservation Ordinance, per his comment before the Commission.)
Maintain our solid financial standing
Insist upon disciplined, professional city budgeting, operations and fiscal management
Continue to invest in maintaining and enhancing our oak tree canopy
Replenish and manage street trees in every neighborhood
Encourage investment in compatible re-development
Prevent out-of-scale development
Support a more sustainable and pedestrian-friendly city
Support equal service levels across all neighborhoods
Complete city-wide electric undergrounding
Stay the course to complete city-wide electric undergrounding
Candidates for Commission Seat #3
Commissioner Carolyn Cooper
Carolyn and Ned Cooper have lived in Winter Park for over 20 years and raised 3 of their 5 children here. Carolyn was elected to the City Commission in 2010 and re-elected in 2013.
Through her service on the Florida League of Cities (FLC) Tri-County Board of Directors, Carolyn advocates in Tallahassee on behalf of Florida’s 400+ cities. She understands first hand that many of Winter Park’s challenges can be resolved by building coalitions at the state level. The FLC named Carolyn the 2015 FLC Home Rule Hero for her advocacy during the 2015 legislative session.
Carolyn has a strong background in finance and budgeting. She has a Masters in Systems Management from the University of Southern California, worked as a Department of Defense Financial Manager and has professional training in Florida municipal budgeting. She has drawn on this background to build city reserves and maintain services while never voting to raise taxes.
Carolyn honed her management skills as a member of the Space Shuttle Ground Support negotiating team and later as Director of Contracts for Martin Marietta Data Systems. This experience, coupled with her understanding of land use gained from her service on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Comprehensive Plan Task Force, positions her to effectively represent citizens’ interests as the City considers how best to grow into the future.
Winter Park Magazine named Carolyn one of Winter Park’s 25 most influential people in 2015 noting, “. . .nobody controls Carolyn … she only cares about the citizens of Winter Park.”
Candidate Lambrine Macejewski
Most people know Lambrine Macejewski (Lam-bree-knee Muh-chess-ski) as one of the co-owners of Cocina 214, the award-winning Tex-Mex restaurant just off Park Avenue.
As a citizen volunteer, Lambrine has participated in the Park Avenue Merchants Association (PAMA), serving one term as president and currently as vice president. The other city and community boards on which she serves include Keep Winter Park Beautiful and Sustainable, the Winter Park History Museum and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Lambrine founded the “Running of the Chihuahuas” to benefit Winter Park Lost Pets, and she is a Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader.
In 2015, Winter Park Magazine named Lambrine “The Entrepreneur,” one of the Winter Park’s 25 Most Influential People.
Lambrine grew up in Dallas, Texas, where her father was co-owner and chef of 4 restaurants. She was raised in their family business and worked part-time throughout high school and college.
She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a B.B.A. in accounting and went on to work for Electronic Data Systems (EDS). She then worked for Level 3 Communications, 360networks and finally left to start her own consulting firm, which specialized in performance management, business process improvement and integrations.
With the inception of Cocina 214, Lambrine was able to go back to her roots in the restaurant business. She lives in Winter Park with her husband Ronnie, daughter Rachel and their family pet Oliver.
Candidates for Commission Seat #4
Commissioner Tom McMacken
Tom McMacken brings over 30 years of experience as a landscape architect, creating parks and communities, and six years of service as City Commissioner.
McMacken is running for a third term on the Winter Park City Commission. Known for frequently casting the swing vote, McMacken listens to citizens and strives to hear all sides of an issue before reaching a decision.
In 2014, Tom was named Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year. He remains a member of the Chamber, as well as American Society of Landscape Architects, First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, the Orange County Community Action Board, the Friends of Casa Feliz, and the Winter Park History Museum.
He participated in planning the Park Avenue streetscape, the Winter Park Village and The Park at Orwin Manor.
McMacken has served on a City board or commission since 1998. Before becoming a City Commissioner, he chaired each of the four boards on which he served for at least one term, including the Planning & Zoning Commission.
In addition to Planning & Zoning, McMacken served on the Historic Preservation Commission, the Tree Preservation Board and the Public Art Advisory Board.
Tom, his wife, Ann, and their daughter, Emily, have lived in Winter Park for nearly three decades.
Candidate Peter Weldon
Peter and Fran Weldon have lived in Winter Park since 1989. Their children were born at Winter Park Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Park.
Peter Weldon earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami in 1971 and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University in 1974.
After careers for both Weldons at Johnson & Johnson, they relocated to Winter Park when Peter was recruited to run a venture capital backed startup. After leaving the startup he became a Chartered Financial Analyst and investment advisor. He retired in 2013.
The Weldons have been actively involved in the community for 25 years. Fran has been neighborhood watch coordinator. They have supported many civic organizations, including the Winter Park Library, Live Oak Fund, Polasek Museum Capen House restoration, Feed the Need Winter Park and Art in the Park. Peter Weldon served on the United Way agency review panels and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Orlando Science Center.
Pete Weldon began writing www.WinterParkPerspective.org in 2008 to share views on decision making and political processes at city hall. His intent was to help make better decisions by putting policy arguments in context with relevant facts.
Pete Weldon has served on Winter Park city boards since 2008. Currently he serves on the Tree Preservation Board and the Planning and Zoning Board. His management and investment experience is grounded in a patient, long term view, based on careful study and prudent risk taking, in context with the facts. If elected, he would bring this same focus on long term value creation to his role on the City Commission.
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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.
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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.
The fourth and final public debate played to a packed house at the Winter Park Public Library. The moderator from the Orange County League of Women Voters asked pointed questions and candidates’ responses were lively and occasionally went beyond that. Once or twice, the debate heated up enough to draw audible sounds of dismay from the audience.
Candidates faced questions about their stance on the Library bond referendum, about the absence of two of the four candidates from the Feb. 10 debate at the Community Center and about the tenor of their campaign mailers and advertising.
To see video of the full debate, see below.
Video of the three earlier public debates is in the article directly below this one.