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.

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    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

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