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Partisan Fallout

There is an uproar about partisanship in the Winter Park mayoral election.

The facts point to Mackinnon being less than forthright.

Here is the time line and documents I have found:

Go here:, put in “Mackinnon” then “Cynthia” and click “Get Listing.”

A few questions:

  • How did the Orange County Democratic Party know to endorse Mackinnon?
  • Does Mackinnon’s acceptance of the Democratic Party endorsement constitute illegal campaigning based on party affiliation she implies Leary engaged in?
  • Mackinnon knew she had been endorsed by the Orange County Democratic Party before the Orange County Republican Party sent out their missives. So, how can she honestly imply her opponent is the one being partisan?
  • How does Mackinnon tell an Orlando Sentinel reporter one story (I don’t remember) and tell her supporters another (my husband did it)?

Makes me wonder how Mackinnon defines the words in her tag line. Who is really the public servant and who is really the politician?

I will publish bank sourced copies of the cancelled checks in question to help Mackinnon straighten out the story if she will provide them. If her husband’s signature is on the checks and not hers then perhaps this is all somewhat more understandable.

That Mackinnon clearly has tried to run away from the facts and deflect is very troubling.

On the subject of partisanship in our local elections I agree with Kassab, “The old saying that a pothole isn’t partisan is a bunch of bunk.” Get over it.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Election 2015, Elections.

28 Responses

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  1. Rick says

    Mackinnon is just too Clintonesque for Winter Park

  2. LA says

    If that is the case, she definitely has my vote.

  3. Harold says

    Someone is assuming everyone in Winter Park is anti-Obama. Any affiliation with him or the democratic party is a no-no in Republican land. On the other hand, the assumptions could be very wrong. There are many of us who are loyal to democracy and since Obama won two elections I believe we are not alone.

  4. Harold says

    Oh, and another thing: all attacks against Mackinnon above smack of PARTISANSHIP.

  5. Pete Weldon says

    But aren’t the character and policies of the candidates all that really matters? My point is that all this “political party partisan” stuff does distract from the real issues but it is “small ball” for any candidate, especially one who is explicitly endorsed by a partisan political party like Mackinnon, to claim the “high ground” when the facts don’t support such righteous posturing. So, we know a bit more about her character from this episode but we still know nothing of her policies. Time to think clearly.

  6. Harold says

    You are correct Pete. Thank you.

    I am weary though of all the posturing and attacks that are based on other than what the candidate actually stands for, and intends to implement if elected. Attacking those who happened to have supported a particular candidate in the past for that support seems to be dragging something else into the equation. On the other hand, Mackinnon should not deny that support as she seems to have done here, very cowardly. Kind of like the Democratic party backing away for Obama in the recent election. Cowardly with a capital C.

  7. LA says

    What we know about a particular candidate is seen through the prism of the person reporting or posting. It is hardly unbiased. The press chooses to shine a particular light (and slant) on the subject and bloggers take it from there. We have seen too much of smear campaigns. This campaign is already ugly.

  8. Rick Rudy says

    Why do you think that a public attack by the Republican party on Mackinnon is NOT partisan? There has been no public endorsement by the Democratic party for Mackinnon. The real issues here are not party-related; indeed, one needs to look at each candidates’s track record. Mackinnon has been successfully involved in many community projects for many years. What has Leary done? Nothing, prior to getting elected on Bradley’s coattails. Oh, sorry – he did champion the rollback of fees at the dog park after getting elected.. WOW! Now that’s really something! He, along with Sprenkel and Bradley, have been a solid 3-2 voting bloc for Bradley’s desires. Thus, we have all this out of control development. Ask Leary about the big check he got from Bradley for his campaign. Ask Leary about the five $1000 checks from developer Dan Bellows. Print that. Only a fool would believe that Leary is his own man and would reign in all this development at any cost. This election is about the future of Winter Park, not which party a candidate belongs to. Let’s stop the mud slinging and support who is going to keep Winter Park the beautiful city that it is, not develop the daylights out of it until it looks like any other over-developed city. Drive up Denning and look at the newest blob in the city at the corner of Denning and Canton. If you want more of this, then vote for Leary.

  9. Anonymous says

    This is a political attack on the candidate who most represents what the people who live in Winter Park believe is best for Winter Park. I find it petty and and unworthy of a campaign for someone who is supposed to lead our city and make decisions regarding important issues. I am now going to work for her in every capacity in which I am able and have already donated to her campaign. I urge others to do the same. I am not leaving my name, as I do not want to read any more of this kind of underhanded attack on a person who has been an example of service to the people of Winter Park. We know plenty regarding her policies and her character and plenty regarding her opponent’s developer bedfellows! The person writing this should think about his own character!!

  10. Tom says

    Every pothole is partisan. The question is: How much of the Winter Park One agenda will McKinnon adapt if elected?

  11. Pete Weldon says

    I applaud Rick Rudy for using his name (unlike the post by “Anonymous” below Rick’s). Rick, however, denies the facts as does “Anonymous.” Mackinnon was explicitly endorsed by the Orange County Democratic Party on January 5, 2015: Note that they send their news to a mailing list. The claim by Rick that “There has been no public endorsement by the Democratic party for Mackinnon” is false. The facts prove it. I encourage Rick to read this post as well for insights on the realities of development:

    Further Rick, I am supporting Leary and strongly so. While I have disagreed with some of his votes the substance of his accomplishments is significantly more tangible in reality than in your imagination. I wanted to give Cindy a shot because she is smart and accomplished. The problem is she is playing games rather than offering our city anything meaningful. She avoids the facts and offers no specifics. The only stake I have in the race is reasoned and professional leadership for Winter Park. Mackinnon has shown us nothing. Leary has delivered. It is that simple.

  12. Mark Winton says

    Here is my take: the mayoral election boils down to the scale and rate of development. I think that is a big issue that divides the city and the prominent one here. If there are others I certainly would be interested in hearing more.

    Thank you for the information.

  13. Pete Weldon says

    Mark, some would like this election to be about development but the reality is that no commission can control what a property owner does when a project is within the zoning rules. A false narrative has been spread for political reasons that the development that has been approved is not consistent with existing entitlements under the rules. Please see: and for more information.

    I would like this election to be about educating citizens on the development realities we face so we can have a constructive conversion as a community about the strengths and weaknesses of our current rules. Continuing the false narrative takes us in reverse, as would Ms. Mackinnon.

  14. Anonymous says

    Thank you for being so transparent. KNOWING that you are
    Make your point, actually leaves no room for a voter to
    Contemplate a rational vote based on your biased report.
    That Leary is a good follower of others decisions can not b denied.
    It makes one wonder who will b making up his mind for him
    As he proceeds thru his life. Surely even you can connect the dots.
    He’s like a person standing dripping wet on your carpet while encouraging
    You to contemplate that he did not make the rain. Is that the same
    As carrying someone else’s water? ️Chuckle

  15. Pete Weldon says

    I publish the “Anonymous” comments such as that above as evidence of the irrational thinking that drives a negative and suspicious narrative in Winter Park (and everywhere) disconnected from any factual context. I am for Leary for a reason, he has proven to be a reasoned professional who gets good thing done for Winter Park. I am against Mackinnon for a reason, she has offered nothing but false narratives and righteous indignation. The facts speak for themselves if you seek them out.

  16. Mark Winton says

    Thank you for the additional information. It looks like there are some clear rules and the possiblity of exceptions or variances that might be made. Trying to interpret law makes my head spin. I am supportive of the judge because I think a judge would be a great mediator and moderator for a city that has been at odds with each other and Judge Mackinnon has those skills to bring city residents back together. I cannot say anything positive or negative about Mr. Leary as I have never met him or talked to him and he appears to be agreeable with the other commissioners and mayor most of the time. But I think the judge’s skills from the bench will be very valuable to the city. It is also a tough situation as I oppose large developments being built but also know two of the builders as they have been friends of mine for a long time. There has to be some compromise and hopefully traffic is also taken into consideration. Whatever the case, I think it will be a close election. Thanks again for all the information you have posted here Pete.

  17. Pete Weldon says

    Mark, I hope you will attend one or more of the upcoming debates (they are really softball forums) to get a more personal feel for the candidates and absorb more of the back and forth here and elsewhere before you vote. Leary is proven and I know our city is secure with him given the known history. Mackinnon has yet to let us know anything about her policy priorities. In the end, the really good news is that we each get to vote and that vote counts.

  18. Seeing Red says

    Thank you for this helpful information. I have been trying to learn more about the candidates and found you online. I can’t seem to find anywhere about the matters that are most important to me, a Winter Park resident. I don’t care about the buildings.. I just don’t want any red light camera tickets, so I don’t know who to vote for.

  19. Pete Weldon says

    I doubt you will get any of the current candidates to tell you they support getting rid of Winter Park’s red light camera program. I researched our program a couple years ago and concluded that the revenue stream is not something any city is likely to give up. Winter Park does not give tickets to people who fail to come to a total stop when turning right-on-red (I think you have to be going 12 mph or more to get a right-on-red ticket). Winter Park also oversees the yellow signal timing with FDOT to see that such timing is reasonable and does not promote accidents. Bottom line, the red light camera program is not going away any time soon. The best thing we can all do is be sure to drive defensively and do not run red lights or try to beat the yellow light. The two candidates most likely, in my view, to respect your personal rights as a Winter Park resident are Leary and Brewer. I know we can’t go wrong with these two as they have proven they can do the job and have done good things for Winter Park.

  20. Carol says

    Without real reporters any more we have to go by what the candidate says? or the attack at any cost vitriole by His party? I heard he had something to do with that massive thing in Orlando at Mills and Virginia. But not sure. If he isn’t a developer just what does he do for a living?He admits he buys and sells some properties. Now how is that not a Developer? So is he a Developer of not- anyone know a real reporter?

  21. Pete Weldon says

    Carol, Leary discussed this at the forum last evening. Here is the scope of his business interests from a quick Internet search: Looks to me like property management and small business manufacturing of specialized stuff for the oil industry. I understand this is a family business with his brother. Rather than be suspicious I encourage you to contact Leary and get direct answers to your questions:

  22. lisa coney says

    The hyper-partisan mud-slinging is only serving to divide us. I think it is clear from the mailers, emails, OCREC and the local Republican women’s club who started it. The question now is who will be big enough to stop it.
    Historically I support Republicans, but the issues facing Winter Park are decidedly non-partisan — quality of life, development, park space, tree canopy, traffic, safety, character. Party didn’t matter when so many people crossed party lines to support Sarah Sprinkle – why would it matter more now? Surely your party-line could come into play when considering union issues, size of government, etc., but I am willing to be present and engaged to make sure the commission is responsive to citizen concerns.
    Like it or not, a huge part of this race, and every Winter Park race, is development. Responsible, sustainable development is important and there remain great opportunities for growth in Winter Park. Even so, I want representation that is not going to pave over what matters to me. I want voices on our dais that are committed to the charm and character of our city.
    I hope we can all get centered around the ISSUES and leave the divisive rhetoric behind. People from both parties are supporting both candidates. Let’s get past that crap and get to what matters… Preserving and protecting the community we love and call home.

  23. Pete Weldon says

    Lisa, I agree that formal party partisanship clouds the issues. I researched and wrote this post because of Cindy Mackinnon’s reaction to the Orange County Republican Party mailers, not to endorse or complain about party politics intruding into our elections.

    On the issue of development I know from serving on the Planning and Zoning Board that the complaints are way off base. It is another false narrative not supported by the facts. No one is paving over anything. Please take the time to read: and

    We have rules that allow everything that has been built in recent years and the city cannot refuse a project that meets the zoning without exposing the voters to significant financial risk for taking away property rights under Florida law.

    FYI – Lakeside Winter Park (Trader Joe’s) could have been a four story 80,000 square foot office building with 320 parking spaces under the rules instead of a single story 38,000 square foot retail center. When Trader Joe’s stops being “new” all returns to normal. Keep in mind that right now you can safely roller blade around the K-Mart shopping center parking lot because of the retail vacancies.

  24. Anonymous says

    Having been part of Winter Park mayoral and commission campaigns since 2006 (including yours), I have come to the conclusion that governing a city is a complex and difficult process at best, and the biggest challenge is dealing with the politics of the job and their impact—–while delivering the most good for as many people as possible.

    And although not perfect, should four years of firsthand experience in understanding and managing the difficult task of keeping the “village character” of Winter Park be considered important? I say YES!

    When Steve Leary announced he would run for mayor and asked for my vote, it brought back a memory that defines my decision to support Steve’s goal of making Winter Park a better place to work, live and play. The strength of that conviction is based on the fact that a few years back when a few of us decided to support a candidate with extensive knowledge of planning and land use issues (including Land Use Code), Steve made the decision to hold off running against our candidate. Instead, Steve chose to sit out an election cycle and gain some hands-on experience by getting involved in the day-to-day activities of various boards and commission meetings in order to better understand what would be needed to get Winter Park back on track with an eye toward the future.

    And as much as I respect Cindy Mackinnon and consider her a friend, I’m disappointed that she has decided to go negative instead of focusing on the specifics of how she would go about governing.

    Ed Sabori

  25. Joseph Brock says

    In her recent campaign email of February 17, Mackinnon continues to press this issue. At the outset, she represents that “[w]hen the Democratic Party put an announcement of my candidacy on its Facebook page, my campaign asked them take it down immediately and they did.”
    She then goes on to assert that Leary has “pursued partisan politics with a vengence.”
    Well, I checked Orange Democrats’ Facebook page on February 17 and I checked it again today and the announcement — which specifically identifies Mackinnon as a “Democrat” — is still there. (see post dated “January 5”: “Democrat Cynthia Mackinnon will kick-off her campaign for Winter Park Mayor…”).
    As a lifelong Democrat myself, I am very disturbed by Mackinnon’s casual-at-best relationship with the truth in conducting her extremely negative campaign.

  26. Pete Weldon says

    Joseph, this link was taken from the Orange County Democrats web site on February 17, the day Mackinnon’s message arrived. It continues to show her campaign was being directly supported by the Democratic Party as she continued her righteous pining about partisanship. While it appears the Dems have removed the EVENTS they are promoting for Mackinnon from the site there is no evidence they have stopped sending emails and providing other support. Further, Mackinnon claimed her opponent was working with the Republican Party in an illegal partisan manner for almost two months that the Democratic Party was obviously supporting her campaign. The righteousness and hypocrisy smell very bad to me.

  27. Joseph Brock says

    Pretty astonishing! I’d appreciate if you could post a link to Mackinnon’s campaign email of February 17, so voters can read what she was telling people in the face of all that ongoing promotion of her candidacy and solicitation of campaign volunteers on the Democratic Party’s website. And like I said, the Facebook notice which she claimed was removed at her insistence is still there.

  28. Pete Weldon says

    In her February 17th message, Mackinnon, a retired judge and lawyer, states she has consistently instructed the Orange County Democratic Committee not to help her but they continue to do so. As of Mackinnon’s February 17th letter the Orange County Democratic Committee web site list numerous events you can participate in to help her get elected (check the right hand column under “Events” as well), and continues to include their Mackinnon endorsement on their web site.

    In her February 17th message, Mackinnon, a retired judge and lawyer, any without any supporting evidence, asserts an illegal connection between Leary’s campaign and the Orange County Republican Executive Committee sending out political advertisements in support of Leary. Mackinnon says, “…my opponent has pursued partisan politics with a vengeance.” and, “He (Leary) claims to have no control over an outside PAC which continues to distribute mailers identifying him as a Republican.”

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