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John T.
April 13, 2015

“Mayor” Leary started his campaign with cynical and destructive comments alleging a racial bias by his opponent. His campaign was generally supported by commercial interests who donated large sums of money.

Why would anyone be surprised that in his first few days in office he sends out a troublesome “survey” to his supporters indicating questionable ethics about the source of funds to pay for it and limited distribution. Of course, he will try to use this “survey” to implement policies endorsed by his supporters. My guess is we will soon see a parking garage on the golf course. Besides we really only need seven 3 par holes.

Hold on WP, you voted for him, so you deserve him. Did anyone say Naples is looking better all the time.

Big John
April 13, 2015

he should be made to answer these questions. Obama transparence

April 13, 2015

My question is actually why we are criticizing someone for asking the suggestions of local residents? Isn’t that what we want from our politicians? If we want them to be “in touch” and to listen to our opinions, isn’t this a great way? I say we spend our time answering the survey and submitting our thoughts and hopes for Winter Park rather than cutting down the candidate the majority elected, which won’t get us very far. For the record, I didn’t vote for Leary, I just think it’s time we focused on getting things done for the better and I think polling residents is a great place to start. Kudos to you, Mr. Leary. I will send in my survey and I hope those responses received will be considered.

Chele Hipp
April 13, 2015

I will be really interested to hear the answers to these questions. Thank you for pursuing this.

Pete Weldon
April 13, 2015

I hope Steve Leary responds to your questions.
While you are at it, please write a post asking Carolyn Cooper why she held a private meeting at the Winter Park Community Center Sunday, June 8, 2014, inviting only people she wanted to invite, for the purpose of mobilizing opposition to the propose Planned Development changes to the Comprehensive Plan. This meeting in a public building by a public official to promote a position important to the city was not publicly noticed, and those attending were only receiving Ms. Cooper’s views on this issue.

Business Manager
April 13, 2015

This remains a theme of Mr. Leary’s…to stand in the center of the spotlight. He was responsible for the Fairbanks renewal and the “first” ever Urban Forestry Plan, without acknowledging many contributions of others, remember? This is a slick way to harvest emails. Moreover, this will diminish the upcoming City- wide visioning response; many believed this WAS the City survey and will be disinclined to complete another. This is about controlling information and then be able to push his agenda in advance of a collaborative vision. Leary’s motives are always nefarious…1. extending the CRA time frame was to build a $6m parking garage for him & 14 partners for a newly acquired, parking deficient building across from proposed Rollins baseball field, 2. he “preferred the elections be non-partisan” all the while sitting in the Republican Executive Committee meeting, indicated on their agenda, grinning as they announce $20k to be contributed to his campaign or 3. accepting 5 $1000 campaign contributions from Rauvadage developer, Dan Bellows, 4 days before a vote on the project, claiming he SPOKE with Bellows to be assured the donations where not connected to him (you mean not traced to him). All 5 LLC’s had been affiliated with Bellows signing as VP at one time or associated with Welbourne LLC of which he also signed as an officer. Like Clinton’s Lewinsky disclaimer, you are duplicitous.

Time and again you participated in meetings where it was emphasized that any survey should be “scientific”, conducted by a 3d party, city wide and inclusive. You emphasized in a commission meeting not to get ahead of ourselves in dictating how professionals should conduct the survey. Is this an attempt to jump the line, stuff the survey box? You circumvented all these guidelines and show disrespect to your fellow commissioners and the upcoming Visioning steering committee members. Are you afraid that “angry minority” is really bigger than you thought as indicated by how close the election was and that you must control the data so that it favors your “peeps”? I have returned my survey without my name. I trust you will not share my email with any other candidate or political party.

Bonnie Osgood
April 13, 2015

Mr. Leary’s recent survey does not gather “high quality data” because the survey is not scientifically ” reliable” or “valid.”

The term valid concerns the accuracy with which the data is measured, survey design, and the content of the survey. Does the survey ask what you really want to know (content validity)?

Reliability means the “consistency of measurement.” Meaning if the survey is conducted every year using the same questions it should elicit the same responses.

With all due respect, I do not believe the survey was sent as a scientific tool to be used to gather valid measurable data on issues about our community. Whomever is responsible for tabulating the results of the survey and providing a summary of the results, will not be able to use the information credibly as it was not gathered based on the scientific principles of surveys and psycho-metrics.

An informal survey is fine when you are asking someone if they prefer Pepsi or Coke in a blind taste test. But it is a waste of time and money when your goal is to gather measurable data to determine citizen preferences for funding and budget allocations. In fact, sending out a document like the survey may even bias the responses of participants in future efforts to implement a valid survey.

April 13, 2015

Perhaps Mr Leary, the non-partisan mayor, should have returned the excess contributions to the Orange County Republican Executive Committee, from whence a big chunk of it came. This, rather than sending the “Thank You Survey” to all the select citizens of Winter Park, would not have raised questions of impropriety. I’m guessing there’s nothing nefarious behind the mailer.

Survey Skeptic
April 13, 2015

Surveys are used by politicians for various purposes.

What exactly Leary will do with his survey respones, I don’t know. But what some politicians do is create a permanent computer data base with the voter information profile and how the individual answered each survey question.

If he creates a data base, when it comes time to ask for donations for another campaign, or send a campaign mailing to ask for a vote, or find out if a nominee for a City board is “on the same page” with the politician, or come up with a quick list to rally support for something he wants to push through, the data base can provide useful personalized talking points that can be more effective potentially than sending the same campaign ad to every voter.

For example say one voter says on the survey that they want the City to maintain right of way trees and another voter says they don’t. The politician could send one campaign ad to the first one saying that “I’m fighting for the City to take responsibility for its own trees,” and in the latter that “I’m working to keep your taxes low by prioritizing tree maintenance on an as needed basis.”

And a survey can be used by a politician to say that “The residents told me numerous times in the survey I sent them that….” And then it’s fill in the blank to whatever the politician wants everyone to think is the popular opinion in town on the topic, even if it’s not. When there is no independent validation of the survey results, as is apparently the case of Leary’s survey, the politician can make any claims about the results of the survey. And no one would ever know for sure if he is telling the truth about it or not.

Bonnie Jackson
April 13, 2015

I didn’t know that a citizen survey was mailed, even though I live and work in Winter Park. In fact, I receive my utility bill every month, so I know that the City of Winter Park knows how to reach me.

Ruffled Peacock Feathers
April 13, 2015

I just assumed that this was a campaign account spend down. The survey didn’t allow for me to answer the questions in anything close to accuracy. With visioning around the corner I can’t even tell what this was intended to accomplish — unless it was primarily sent to supporters so that his findings bolster what is sure to be his approach. It would see we all already know what that approach will be.

Visioning already seems to be created to ensure a certain pro-development, pro-rollins and winter park hospital outcome. The list of steering committee recommendations does not have a single resident. Surely none of the “angry 24” that might provide some balance. No one from the west side, no one from my neighborhood and no one targeted for a skill set within our community — only big business, central business, chamber (which may as well be a city staffer), hospital business, rollins business and they threw in a minister. With the number of churches in Winter Park they deserve inclusion, but I think that is as much to appear above reproach, and it didn’t work.

How about the nearly half of the residents that were concerned with the direction? How about an arborist? Perhaps someone who has been involved in historic preservation with Casa Feliz, Polasek, Capen House, our historic society or even a private homeowner of an old, loved home? Small business owners? A west-side resident? Homeowners or businesses in the corridors? Or someone from the areas recently annexed or targeted for annexation? Like the survey, the Visioning won’t be worth the paper it is written on if it is not thorough and unbiased. Hopefully there are a few people left in our leadership that truly desire visioning that includes us all. It will effect us all. It is the right thing to do.

Nancy Shutts
April 13, 2015

As we embark on this Visioning process, I again have to question where is the action plan from the results and where will the funding come from. I’m sure our four candidates from our recent election could tell us everything we will learn from this process. Also mayor Leary’s private survey to only random voters is an excellent example of problems in asking uninformed residents what they want without telling them what it would cost and what could not be done in place of that with our tight city budget. I don’t go to city ball fields anymore, so I had to call staff to decide which answer to mark on the survey. I don’t live on or near our lakes and canals so I thought they were in good condition, but in talking with friends that do, I learned from their perspective that our lakes are not as clean as they used to be. In the end I’m sure everyone wants a tree canopy, undergrounding, no potholes or broken sidewalks, more ball fields with working lights and clean restrooms and all the wonderful functions in Central Park and parades that make Winter Park special and home to residents. Now throw in the potential for a new library and where does the funding come from for all of this. Do we continue funding a little for each project every year or just take one item and complete it while everything else gets nothing. Gee, I guess the first question the residents should be asked is—-do you want to pay for more and sooner.

Beth Hall
April 15, 2015

Neither I nor my husband received the survey. When we learned about it from a friend, I immediately contacted Steve Leary to find out how we could participate. I got no reply. I tried again. Below is the response I received from Steve or from someone operating as ‘’:

” I’m sorry you didn’t receive the survey. Our goal was to offer one survey per voting household.

In order to save costs, all March 10th voters were exported by household and an electronic survey was sent to all households for whom we had an email address. For households whom we did not have an email address, we mailed a paper copy via postal service. If you didn’t receive a survey via postal service, please check your email spam files and ask anyone else in your household to do the same.

Thank you for your interest.”

It did not address me by name. It was not signed by Steve Leary. It also did not provide a suggested means for me or my spouse to participate in the 2015 Winter Park Citizens Survey. We checked our spam filters. No survey. I contacted Steve again. No response.

My attitude is one of puzzlement. Why reach out to some voters/citizens and not others? What metric was employed? Why state overtly that you want citizen input and then act in a way that prevents many from being able to participate?

I want Steve Leary to be a good mayor for Winter Park. When my friend showed me the survey, I said “What a great idea! Where’s mine?” Now I am sincerely sorry to say that my initial enthusiasm has died on the vine.

It is difficult to conceive of a survey done for legitimate purposes that surveys only some voters while not including many others. I wish Steve Leary would address the issue so we can know his side of things.

Cookie Butter
April 15, 2015

I received the ‘survey’ (if you want to call it that) and was not impressed with the unprofessional content. I don’t think it deserved much of a story because it was stupid, but I see how it bothered people.

Listening to Leary last night when being called out by Commissioner McMacken about the survey was insulting to the voters. He certainly has a pattern of turning on the baby talk and denying malice, but actions speak louder than words.

He will be interesting to watch since for 4 years he had the luxury of speaking little, but now he’s the center of attention. If the last two meetings were an indicator of his leadership, the future does not look bright for the city.

And Sprinkel has turned into Bradley spewing out hate towards Carolyn Cooper. I guess the two feel they need to pick up where he left off. Sprinkel is not nice.

B. Morrison Lake
April 16, 2015

There’s a man of great wealth, privilege, and ego who resides near the Isle of Sicily, who made sure – time and again this election season – that we all knew where he stood in the mayor’s race, and where he felt each of us should stand, too. Utilizing his abundant personal resources, this individual played an over-sized role in determining who our new mayor would be. And that new mayor is not a woman who’s been a respected member of our close-knit community for more than 40 years, but rather an ambitious young man from suburban New York City who’s lived among us for only one-quarter of those years.

The election is over and the better candidate was narrowly defeated thanks to campaign improprieties, but her candidacy has motivated many of us to become more vigilant and engaged and to more closely monitor our elected officials’ actions. And who knows? Perhaps history will show that, in the end, this was the better outcome for our city, and that the man near the Isle unwittingly did us all a favor for a change. Imagine that?!

Ed Sabori
April 26, 2015

Question to the Editor: How would you rate the overall tone of the comments relative to your screening policy, especially as it relates to civility and constructive input? Perhaps your readers should be reminded why you continue to provide this venue?

As posted: “Our screening policy is designed to encourage civility and constructive input from readers. We will screen out any comments containing profanity, personal attacks and other foolishness.”

Peter Weldon
April 26, 2015

Reviewing the bloat of spittle and falsehoods above, I ask Anne Mooney to stop allowing anonymous comments on this blog. People who want to vent and distort the facts anonymously add nothing and in fact diminish trust and real communication that can help our city. Anne, perhaps converting WPV to just the Facebook page will assure responsible and constructive commentary. To those who use their real names, you have my respect. If you are willing to make your position known accept rebuttal and explore more carefully and deeply when someone willing to use their name challenges your position or your facts.

Joe Boy
April 26, 2015

Ed, that is a good question. I am not a word smith so I will not be judging to tone of peoples writing but I can comment to the fact that I will automatically remove comments that have profanity, (in many times just remove those words) and personal attacks. (remove entire post) The only other time a comment may be with held is if there are a number of comments that are listed as coming from five different people but are all from the same ip. (it helps if they are the same subject matter of one person talking in the facebook group) This is an attempt to make it LOOK like many people agree with one person when it is really just one person. In those cases I will combine the comments to one post and remove the repeating parts. This is one of the problems with using Pseudonym. But I understand the need for them on this site. This is why I encourage people to make a separate facebook profile for posting on the WPV facebook group. This allows you to have your comments made without having to post your real name. Anyone that needs help in making a facebook account can email me at or call my office at 407-826-0810 and a member of my computer company will provide them the help at no cost to them.

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