With Election Day two days away, 16 percent of Winter Park voters have voted by mail or cast early ballots in the municipal election.
That’s a higher percentage than the four other Orange County cities holding elections this week, but not by much. It amounts to 3,627 votes out of Winter Park’s 22,635 registered voters. More than 19,000 voters still need to be heard from on Tuesday.
Two commission seats and six city charter amendments are on the Winter Park ballot.
For Seat 4, incumbent Todd Weaver faces political newcomer Elijah Noel. In the Seat 3 race, entrepreneur Anjali Vaya faces attorney Kris Crusada.
The six charter amendments deal with certain development decisions. The first five would require a supermajority of 4-1 votes to approve: 1) the sale of city-owned property; 2) the rezoning of parks and public lands; 3) rezoning of lakefront property to higher densities and intensities; 4) rezonings or comprehensive plan changes that would increase existing residential density and intensity by more than 25 percent, and 5) the development of wetlands. The sixth amendment would require an additional public hearing and reading of an ordinance if a substantive change is made during the adoption process.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 8. Voters must go to their assigned polling place with photo and signature identification. If you requested a mail-in ballot and did not use it, bring the mail-in ballot to the polls with you.
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.
The Q&A at Ward Chapel with Noel video on the Voice Facebook page now is an eye opener.
Debates, or Candidate Forums as they are sometimes called, have evolved to hearing the candidates recite a series of memorized or even read word for word aloud mini-speeches of rehearsed talking points that inform residents little because that’s the way the candidates and event hosts like it.
But it’s hard for a candidate to hide what they really are in an event such as that at Ward Chapel.
Here we see an unprepared candidate, clearly not ready for prime time, who is propped up by developer dollars, slick advertising, and fake YouTube views.
I hope that next year The Voice will host an event like this with a similar format, and avoid the kind of canned questions and canned responses that occurred at this year’s Candidate Forum at the Library.