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August 22, 2010

Karen Diebel, former Winter Park Vice Mayor and candidate for US House Seat in Florida District 24, believes in individual freedom, individual responsibility, smaller government, and financial restraint. I am a supporter.

Craig Miller, an opponent of Diebel’s in the Republican primary for the District 24 US House seat, along with former and current Winter Park city commission members Margie Bridges and Beth Dillaha, believe in character assassination and personal vendettas.

Miller mailed a letter to District 24 voters written by Bridges and Dillaha. The authors know this letter contains false and misleading claims about Diebel.

The fact is that Diebel voted repeatedly to lower the property tax rate and to reduce spending in Winter Park while building reserves during her service from 2007 to 2010. Bridges and Dillaha both voted to increase the 2009 property tax rate over Diebel’s objection (see page 9 here) and both voted to maintain the property tax rate for 2010, again over Diebel’s objection and desire to reduce the rate (see page 12 here). During Diebel’s tenure on the Winter Park commission and with her support the property tax rate was reduced by 14% and annual general fund spending declined by almost 6%.

Bridges and Dillaha knowingly misstate the facts about several events in claiming that Diebel is a spender and not a true conservative.

The former city manager had a sweetheart deal with a prior city commission that made it more and more expensive to terminate him the longer he stayed around, even though the city Charter requires that the city manager serve at the pleasure of the commission. Following his termination the former city manager sued Winter Park for even more money and Dillaha supported a settlement of $490,000 that is included in the total cost she now criticizes Diebel for (see page 2 here).

Bridges and Dillaha are anti-commuter rail activists who criticize anyone who supports this infrastructure investment and their claims about the existing Winter Park commuter rail agreement with Orange County are false. (Learn more here.)

The Bridges and Dillaha claim about buying out developers is the most outrageous hypocrisy. A settlement was paid as a direct result of the actions of Bridges, Dillaha and their political supporters for they were responsible for stopping the Carlisle project in Winter Park resulting in the developers suing the city. The settlement was paid to avoid a $25,000,000 liability for Winter Park taxpayers that was created by Bridges and Dillaha. You may also wish to know that Bridges voted for the settlement (see page 4 here).

  • That Craig Miller would participate in character assassination says a lot about his qualifications for the US House seat from District 24.
  • That Bridges and Dillaha would knowingly mislead District 24 voters and refer to themselves as “honorable” five times in their letter is both a disgrace and an insult to the character and quality of the people of Winter Park.
  • That Karen Diebel chooses to discuss the real issues and rejects mudslinging reinforces my support for her candidacy.

Regards, Pete Weldon
700 Via Lombardy
Winter Park, FL 32789

Posted in Elections, Ethics.

5 Responses

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  1. Laughing At Them says

    They claim in the letter to write their endorsement of Mr. Miller with “heavy hearts”. Then why write it? Is that election so tight that a local commissioner and a former one-term commissioner have to offer input? I hope thay aren’t making the mistake of thinking they are relevant. Big Egos

  2. Pete Weldon says

    It is truly ridiculous and disgraceful. Miller has attracted $255,000 in individual contributions from 365 people, mostly his restaurant industry friends from out of state. While Diebel has raised $423,000 in individual contributions from 514 people, virtually all from central Florida.

    You won’t find Bridges, Dillaha, or any of their Winter Park supporters on Miller’s list of contributors. What is Miller thinking? What are Bridges and Dillaha thinking? Are they capable of thinking? Why shouldn’t we give these selfless crusaders the benefit of the doubt? Because they are destructive, thoughtless nut cases.

  3. SunshineStateSarah says

    Thank you Pete for your detailed research on this and other Winter Park political issues.

    Here’s my take on the nasty attacks from Miller…Dillaha and Bridges should be struck by lightning every time they try and call themselves “Honorable!”

  4. Pitt Warner says

    The mailer contains many untruths. The big one for current events is the city commission is “trying to unwind this reckless agreement” (referencing the commuter rail agreement with Orange County). That’s news to me. And why would 2 people purposely try to hurt someone? Getting pleasure by willfully hurting others is detestable.

  5. Pete Weldon says

    This is as close as they have come to honesty on the commuter rail issue but of course they lie while doing so. The lie is that the city commission is “trying to unwind this reckless agreement.” “Unwind” means “reverse.” It is Bridges and Dillaha who are trying to reverse the existing agreement while a majority of the city commission is trying to make the existing agreement better. These foolish games are such a disservice to the people of Winter Park.

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