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Jim King
August 14, 2015

Well done Geri Throne! Winter Park politics should not be reduced to social cliques.

Get Over It
August 6, 2015

Gary, are you done with your temper taumtum? You said that you “despise” people using a pseudonym hiding behind their legal name. If that is the case I assume you despise one of America’s greatest writers, Mark Twain or our founding forefathers that wrote political pamphlets during the late 1700’s opposing British rule, they all used pseudonyms, including some of the folks on the comments section on this website. You comment highlights your ignorance of not only history, but of the fundamental right to express any option or comments without repercussions. I am not surprised that as an elected official you ignored people who made anonymous comments. A remark like that can only come from a sanctimonious, hypocritical, monotonous, braggart and resentful individual like yourself. Sincerely, Harold Bissonette, Winter Park, FL.

Toni Saunders
August 6, 2015

You Go Girl! We need more watch dogs like Geri Throne. When we are all about the truth, no one should fear. Why in the world would anyone want to obscure the truth when we’re all supposed to be in this for the good of residents & the city at large, not special interests?

Ben Franklin
August 6, 2015

Yikes! Leary and Sprinkel are mirroring our national leaders. I would not have thought Winter Park would be playing big political games within such a small town. Hopefully but not likely our local leaders are learning a lesson. Goodness.

Rick Rudy
August 6, 2015

All I can say to those who voted for Leary:

Be careful what you pray for…….

LyndaGayle Roberts
August 6, 2015

Bravo for the article on the 1st Admindment. Keep up the good work

Pete Weldon
August 6, 2015

Here is the link to the Leary-Sprinkle meeting audio:…/audio-2015-07-06im.mp3 as requested above.

I took up Pitt Warner’s suggestion on the WPV Facebook page and listened to the 8 minutes he refers to (beginning at 23:30). You should too.

Listening to the actual audio brings into question Geri Throne’s motivation to write the article as she did (and Anne Mooney’s motivation in publishing it).

This is another clear case of a personal political attack hiding behind journalistic pretense.

Tyranny Anniversary
August 5, 2015

Freedom of Speech has been under siege in Winter Park by the City Commission for exactly three years this month.

2012 was the year Sprinkel and Leary first took their seats on the Winter Park City Commission. And they wasted no time voting in an Anti-Free Speech ordinance in August and September of 2012. So abhorrent is the ordinance, that a Federal Appeals Court ruled half of it unconstitutional, tossing it off the books – a slap in the face to Commissioners by the high court. Yet the other half remains on the books even today, euphemistically called an “anti-picketing ordinance” by Commissioners to conceal just how radical it is in outlawing Free Speech of residents. According to the City Attorney at a City Commission meeting at the time of the vote ordinance, Sprinkel and Leary’s ordinance makes it illegal in Winter Park for a wife to ask her husband to take out the garbage, if she does so on City property in front of their home, an offense punishable by 60 days in jail. That’s what they call “content neutral” to get around court’s interpretation. A 70 year old lady was arrested for reading her Bible per their orders, under their ordinance.

But that’s not all the fun these two have had in their war against residents Free Speech rights while on the dias.

There was the matter of an agenda item following the “No Baseball Stadium in MLK Park” petition that would make it a crime, again punishable by 60 days in jail, for residents to circulate a petition at the Farmers Market. Commissioners feigned ignorance regarding how it might have gotten on the agenda after some friends of the First Amendment raised hell about it. Fortunately, Commissioners were embarrassed that they had been caught trying to steal even more residents’ free speech rights, and it never was brought to a vote. So people are free today to circulate petitions at Farmers Market just like always.

“Bad company corrupts good morals.”

Leary and Sprinkel even lured other commissioners into their Anti-Free Speech web at times. McMacken declared after their intense lobbying at a City Commission meeting that he would have voted for the 2012 ordinance even if it was unconstitutional. And Cooper has joined with Sprinkel to call for outlawing some fairly innocuous signs and music such as singing or even strumming a guitar on the public sidewalk. Both have urged that the proposed ordinance be rushed to an upcoming City Commission meeting for vote.

What’s next? Banning Christmas decorations on residents’ homes?

Gary Brewer
August 5, 2015

Well “Get Over It” at least I used my legal name rather than hiding behind a pseudonym which I despise. If you want to express your opinion, be honest enough to identify yourself. As an elected official I ignored people who made anonymous comments. My statement was not a “political ad” as you suggest. My comment was to offer alternative advice to Mayor Leary, (who by the way I supported) as a former Mayor. Business people often believe that government should function more like a business. I learned that there are many business practices that can translate to managing government activities, but decision making is not one of them. Elected officials must understand that they represent the public and their role is to help lead the public to make the correct decisions. Sometimes those decisions would not be the most efficient business decision, but they were the best decision for the advancing the public interest. Its called compromise. Next time use your name please.

Anne Henry
August 5, 2015

Well stated, Geri Throne, Thank you.

August 5, 2015

Thanks JoeBoy for showing this to me. Geri is exactly right. Change a few names and local governing bodies and it’s the same in Seminole County.

Gary Brewer
August 5, 2015

Hi Geri! It seems to me this desire to communicate with fellow commissioners could be resolved very quickly if the City returned to Monday afternoon work sessions like we had when I was on the City Commission. When I ran again last year I advocated this practice. As you recall it allowed the commission members to discuss matters, ask questions of the staff and get a feel for what others were concerned about. Often items were placed on the consent agenda. A single commission member could request it be removed from the consent agenda for further public input. When I was Mayor I implemented a practice to request each commissioner present names of individuals for appointment to advisory boards who I would nominate no questions asked, subject to confirmation by the full commission. I believed that brought mor diversity to our advisory boards and the result was less squabbling in the public hearings. Just food for thought. Kind regards, Gary

Carol Sawyer Lotspeich
August 5, 2015

Thank you Geri. As a consultant on environmental issues to government and private industry, my firm was frequently challenged by the public and conservation organizations. These challenges often interfered with the job I was doing, however, these challenges lead me to do my job better resulting in greater satisfaction for all. Concerned citizens are just that…concerned citizens.

Bonnie Jackson
August 5, 2015

Thank you Geri Thorne. You nailed it in your column about attempts to filter the truth from the public. We do not need more talking heads. The only thing missing from your column was a mention about the consequences of muzzling our city board volunteers. Volunteer board members would cease to serve a purpose if they had to ask city staff before speaking publicly. The very purpose of our boards is oversight – another form of checks and balances with the added benefit of encouraging civic involvement, educating our citizenry about government, and enabling citizens to govern themselves first hand. We need to know the good and the bad and we seldom get the whole story. Dissenting voices were a big part of the birth of our nation, so let’s embrace them. If Mr. Leary and Ms. Sprinkel do not want to hear those voices, then perhaps they should pursue a different job that does not involve representative government.

Jolyon Holtermann
August 5, 2015

Please clarify “One-on-one meeting with commissioners”. Is there one commissioner, or a plurality present?

Having spent and misspent a fair lot of time on assorted Advisory boards thru the years, I am amazed and appalled at Mayor Leary’s reaction to volunteer Advisory board activity. Altho employees are paid to follow policies and procedures, volunteers tend to be free spirits, sometimes even loose cannons.

Should I wonder what the subject(s) were that engendered this problem? Thanks for bringing the matter up.

Get Over It
August 5, 2015

Yet another political hit job from a white, well to do, liberal who claims to defend the first amendment, that in truth is really masking her dislike for the Mayor and any commission members who share his view. No one is being denied their freedom of speech. What the Mayor (I did not vote for him) said is basically true; those that unanimously oppose any proposal, vision, or development that does not meet their political narrow minded objective, is cast as a destroyer of civil liberties. Geri Throne took yet another page out of the Obama play book which reads as follows: I am smarter than you, therefore, I know more than you do, and I am always correct. I also found Gary Brewer’s political ad in the comments section to be petty. You lost an election because you did not distinguish yourself from your opponent on the issues.

Doug Guetzloe
August 5, 2015

Hate to admit it, but Gerri is right.

Terry Roen
August 5, 2015

That was spot on. Thanks for your input.

August 5, 2015

Bravo to Geri Throne for an excellent editorial. Leary, like Bradley before him, does everything he possibly can to engender mistrust. I don’t even recognize so much of WP anymore. It has lost so much of its charm.( God, I hope they don’ t move the library and destroy the beautful MLK park.) Thank you, Geri!

Good Editorials
August 5, 2015

Excellent! I agree with the editorial writer’s opinion totally.

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