Late yesterday, documents were filed with the City forming a citizens’ Petition Committee to pass a Winter Park City Ordinance that will prohibit construction of a new library in Martin Luther King, Jr., Park.
The five-person committee, led by Keep Winter Park Beautiful and Sustainable Advisory Board Chair Michael Poole, includes Sally Flynn, Charley Williams, former Commissioner Margie Bridges and former Mayor Joe Terranova.
Sole Purpose: Keep Library Out of the Park
The effort has a single purpose – to prevent construction of the library in MLK Park. Poole emphasized that the petition drive has nothing to do with the bond referendum, the disposition of the Civic Center or the ultimate location of the library — provided that location is not MLK Park.
“While it is likely, if the petition is successful, the library will remain in the downtown core,” said Poole, “we are not attempting to specify or even suggest an alternate location. We simply want to prevent the library from being constructed in the [Martin Luther King, Jr.,] park.”
Petition Forms Available Next Week
Poole said the committee would begin circulating petition forms this coming week after they have received them from the City. He said he would post an announcement on the Save Our Library PAC website to let people know whom to contact and how to participate, if they wish to do so. http://saveourlibrarywp.com/
As of this writing (it is, after all, Saturday), Library Board of Trustees President Marina Nice was unavailable for comment. Updates will be issued as more information becomes available.
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.
Like a game of chess, the library game requires strategy, cunning, intelligence, and a good poker face. This latest move on the chess board was expected. It is a conventional move. A duplicate of the successful move from a couple of years ago that kept professional baseball out of Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.
Assuming the required number of signatures are received, the City Commission will then have the option of either approving it or declining it. If declined, the matter would be placed on the ballot for an election of the residents.
Commissioners will, in the mean time, have an opportunity to plot their next move as they themselves stare at the chess board. Both petition supporters and opposition have the benefit of hindsight. The baseball vote was instructive on how to win such a battle. But the years that have past have also given the pro-MLK Park development people time to think about how to thwart such a proposal in the future. For that reason, petition supporters would be naive to believe that their proposal will play out in exactly the same number of moves that professional baseball was defeated.
Each side has numerous moves they can make, depending on the moves the other side makes. And like chess, there are pawns, kings, and bishops in the mix. Not to mention at least one knight. Unlike chess, time will be of the essence. The clock runs out, as a practical matter, once the building begins or a contract is signed. For that reason, Commissioners’ first move may be an attempt through legal means to delay a vote such as challenging petition signatures or the wording of the initiative in court for technicalities, or using radical wording in the Commissions’ recent anti-free speech ordinances to nullify the petitions as being collected illegally (i.e the Commission’s so-called “anti-picketing”, “anti-street performer” ordinances, etc.). Or, alternatively, may move to accelerate the demolition of the Rachel Murrah Civic Center.
On the other hand, fighting the citizen initiative to preserve park space could spell defeat for the Commissioner facing re-election in 2017, already a controversial figure in the city. For that reason, because the proposal doesn’t nullify the bond altogether, rumor could swirl regarding where the library would be built alternatively. Such rumors could benefit either the supporters or the opponents of the petition as there are few parts of Winter Park that could support building a $30 million facility without forever changing Winter Park’s historic skyline.
So sit back, relax, and watch how Bobby Fisher plays the game.
I think you mean FORMER Keep Winter Park Beautiful and Sustainable Advisory Board Chair because Mr Poole is no longer on the board. I can see why. He was using his position on a City Board to lobby for his personal issues and that is not ethical. Looks like he didn’t get his way so he’s wasting more taxpayer time and money…
I voted NO for the project because of the cost not the location. (The civic center is adequate but I suppose I agree that the library needs work.)
Who cares if they put it where the civic center is. From what I saw, the building wouldn’t take up much more space and nobody uses that part of the park anyway. I would rather have it there than some huge building in downtown causing more traffic problems on Park Avenue.
If this boneheaded petition results in them using a MORE EXPENSIVE location I think a lot of voters will be upset and you could see another petition to rescind the first. I may not be happy about the increase in my taxes, but that’s how democracy works. What a nightmare if every little minority group with a grudge could impose its will on the majority.
They should be ashamed of themselves. I hope the City can find a way to stop their petition.
By the way, why do they offer no solution as to an alternate location? Because they are perfectly aware the other locations were thoroughly studied and rejected!