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.
Am I the only one that doesn’t see a hill of beans worth of difference between the candidates? Why would I or anyone take the risk of changing Commissioners when neither Lambrine nor Pete have said anything they don’t like about the existing City Commission, other than the Historic Preservation ordinance and campaign finance?
While it is certainly appreciated by residents that they have run for office and given Winter Park Park residents a choice in this election, Pete and Lambrine haven’t presented a compelling case for why they should be elected Commissioner. Rather, their campaign appears to have been run like an application to serve on the Historic Preservation Board. And perhaps that is where they can best serve Winter Park, as an alternative voice on that Board.
Pete seems to have run out of steam early. And Lambrine came out just this week with a kooky proposal to spy on and track all residents as they drive in Winter Park through scanning their license plate numbers, claiming it would improve public safety. Commissioner is a big job that handles more than one issue. We need Commissioners who can think through multiple serious matters of great consequence for residents from all sides and make intelligent, informed decisions. I’m a frequent critic of some of the policies of the Commissioners running for re-election, but Pete and Lambrine haven’t made the case during their campaigns that they would provide voters with any better representation to win my vote. The purple signs are cute though.
Weldon seems to be melting down as the campaign wears on. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, a video of which is now on YouTube, Weldon rolled out a plan to post decoy surveillance cameras in neighborhoods.
Only problem is, public surveillance cameras, decoy or real, don’t stop crime. All the evidence of similar public camera systems show that they often increase crime due to a false sense of security that causes residents to become less alert and not report suspicious activity. Criminals don’t care about cameras. Every time you see a crime on TV, notice how it was always done under a camera?
Cameras also decrease property values due to creating the perception of a high crime area, which also tends to attract criminals like a trail of bread crumbs.
Public surveillance cameras are a crime against residents. They rob residents of privacy, while providing no public safety benefits. The government shouldn’t be spying on residents. Weldon during the same interview said he also favors a scheme for the city government to track residents license plate numbers as they drive around town. To quote a Winter Park campaign postcard on another topic, “That’s Nuts!”
Winter Park residents were treated in today’s mail to another mailer, which Commissioners call their “Report Card.”
It includes various trivia assorted gobildigook that no one cares about. Cherry-picked city government statistics, that are published and mailed to voters at taxpayer expense, sent to residents today for no other possible purpose that to create an impression that there are no problems in Winter Park government.
The “Report Card” emphasizes such minutia as number of seconds it takes to pick up the phone at the Fire Department.
On the other hand, things residents actually care about like numbers of burglaries and average minutes delay stuck in traffic in Winter Park, are curiously not listed at all.
Incumbent Commissioners should reimburse the residents for the cost of this mailing, as it reflects an “F” grade for ethics, due to the obvious timing conflict of interest.