From Budgets to Baseball: Candidates' Debate Covers It All in 60 minutes
Click Image Below for Debate Video.
by Anne Mooney
Despite the dreary weather and with less than a week to go before next Tuesday’s decision on who will occupy Commission Seat #2, concerned Winter Park citizens filled the Public Library community room on Thursday to hear candidates Sarah Sprinkel and Sandy Womble hammer the planks into their respective platforms. After the candidates’ opening remarks, moderator Laura Turner presented questions from the audience and each candidate had 90 seconds in which to respond.
Although audience participation was robust and there was no shortage of 3 x 5 index cards being handed to Turner and her helpers, the questions seemed to center on the same six issues — historic preservation, tree maintenance, the city budget, civility at city hall, whether baseball is appropriate for Winter Park, and the quality of life as it is impacted by development, density and the resulting traffic.
Predictably, both candidates vowed they would not raise taxes and would be scrupulous about fiscal responsibility; there was no discussion of whether there are any Winter Park citizens who might be willing to pay a little more if it would make their lives more quiet and less congested.
There did seem to be some divergence on the subject of historic preservation. Asked about the recent consultant’s report about the Historic Preservation ordinance that is currently on the books, Sprinkel stated that she did not want to “take away [ people’s ] right to vote,” implying that a stronger historic preservation ordinance might restrict the rights of property owners. Womble, on the other hand, stated that she would like to see the ordinance strengthened and that she thought members of the Historic Preservation Advisory Board should all be Winter Park citizens.
Based on the performance at the library, it seemed each candidate would independently vote her conscience, each would protect the tree canopy, protect park land, foster citizen participation in city government and promote civility at City Hall. The question seems to be: three years’ experience on the dais at City Hall, or a fresh perspective? The answer will reveal itself on Tuesday, March 11.