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Mackinnon Resorts to Lies and Nonsense

The negative mailers keep coming and their content now affords me allowance to use the words that fairly apply to them. Today’s Mackinnon mailer on trees proves she has nothing to offer us but lies and nonsense.

First the lies:

Mackinnon says: “NOT NEW Tree plans have existed for decades.” Reality: As a member of the Tree Preservation Board I know this statement is false. The “tree plans” that existed in the past were essentially counting the trees. The Urban Forestry Management Plan promoted by Leary actually manages our canopy for the first time. All past efforts have been reactive, dealing with dead and dying trees when they caused a problem. The new plan is proactive.

  • Each street tree has been or will be assessed for health according to arborist standards and a pruning or removal plan prioritized. We are proactively assessing our canopy for the first time and replacing unsafe trees in a planned and rational rather than reactionary manner.
  • Each of our street trees have been or will be inventoried in detail and GIS mapped. The GIS database is available wirelessly via iPad so the history of each tree can be looked up in the field and additional information added as changes occur.
  • This centralized tree inventory and assessment data will be available for the first time to measure trends and make data driven assessments of needs by location.
  • The tree pruning, removal, and replanting plan is being coordinated with the electric undergrounding plan to assure our priorities make efficient use of resources.

Mackinnon says: “LEARY gutted tree plan by eliminating city maintenance of right-of-way trees.” Reality: This is a terrible lie and grossly misleads the people of Winter Park. City laws have stated for many years that residents are responsible for maintaining trees in city right of ways on their property. The reality has been that the city assumes responsibility for hazardous conditions related to right-of-way trees. The reason the commission (not just Leary) did not approve the arborist’s recommendation to change these circumstances is that doing so would have added a new city wide service for which there was no budget and no execution plan, and which is not needed (see below).

Mackinnon says: “NO FRIEND OF TREES Outsourced maintenance with a ‘one touch’ policy resulting in grotesque Y cuts.” Reality: The Y cuts are required where the power lines present a safety issue and will be going away as electric is undergrounded. There is no practical alternative but Mackinnon doesn’t care about the facts. She only cares about getting elected by disparaging Leary. The fact is that outsourcing has increased the productivity of our forestry efforts while lowering the city’s liability exposure. Leary’s support for outsourcing get us more accomplished with less money.

Now the nonsense:

Mackinnon says she will “fight for city maintenance of right-of-way trees.” What she proposes (telling citizens the city will provide a tree pruning service) is actually a very unwise idea that will just waste taxpayer money and is not needed given that the city already performs safety related tree maintenance. A key purpose of the tree assessment and inventory program in the new forestry management plan is to be able to plan pruning by the city where it is needed most. Accordingly, there is no reason to incur added cost providing a city wide service that encourages people to call the city to prune trees that don’t need pruning.

Mackinnon says she will “demand adequate city staff to protect our tree canopy.” Can she tell us how she knows that the existing staff is not adequate? Can she tell us how much this will cost and where the money for additional staff will come from? Will Mackinnon lay off police officers to satisfy her personal notion of what constitutes adequate forestry staff?

Mackinnon says she will “commit to replanting and maintaining our trees.” So does every other person who has ever served, or currently serves, or will serve on the Winter Park city commission. The statement is self aggrandizing nonsense.

Let’s understand this: Mackinnon’s campaign to be mayor is limited to disparaging her opponent. That’s it! Mackinnon offers platitudes as policy priorities while she tries to get you to believe that Leary is a bad guy. Mackinnon started her campaign by claiming “Our city is headed in the wrong direction” when all the relevant facts contradict this claim. The facts are that Winter Park has never been better and that Leary has been closely associated with and responsible for many accomplishments that confirm this reality. Don’t be fooled.

See clearly. Vote wisely.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Election 2015.

15 Responses

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  1. Anonymous says

    I’d rather winter park be proactive in planting oak trees close to the ones which are looking weak so that when they are taken down there will already be a good sized tree…oak….not some tinsy tree which doesn’t provide shade.

  2. Pete Weldon says

    You might check with the city arborist on the details here. I recall that there is a minimum distance between shade trees needed to allow each to grow to full maturity without interfering with each other.

  3. Bob Arnold says

    I would like to hear your reasons for supporting the City giving a million dollars of taxpayers’ money for the Orlando Dr. Phillips Center instead using it for things within the City. For your info, I am a fiscal conservative Republican.

  4. Pete Weldon says

    This is an issue where I disagree with Leary. My email to the city commission on this subject at the time this was first discussed is a matter of public record.

    The four of five commissioners who voted for the $1,000,000 commitment over 10 years did so because they believe Winter Park should set an example for other counties and communities, encouraging more public dollars in support of our performing arts center. The commitment says that the people of Winter Park support the arts, and, in some contexts this is something i do support.

    You should know that Fran and I made a significant (for us) contribution to DPAC because we support the importance of this facility and the organization in delivering cultural and social experiences that enrich our lives and in doing so make Central Florida a better place to live.

    As far as the election goes, i don’t agree with everything Leary has done. I make the effort here in support of reasoned governance for Winter Park. Leary is clearly the only candidate for Mayor who has delivered on that score and who can be counted on to deliver more. Just look at the results. The city is in the best shape it has ever been and Leary has made significant contributions to this success.

  5. nancy shutts says

    I spoke at the commission meeting just before the new “tree” ordinance was voted on. The commission removed the phrase, that the city would maintain the city right of way trees. I requested the phrase stay in with the added phrase, when financially possible so residents would know that it was coming. All the commissioners agreed the city needed to maintain the right of way trees but didn’t want anything on the books that they could not pay for at the moment. Ofcourse they later voted to send a million dollars to DPPAC.

  6. Pete Weldon says

    Nancy, I would not put tree management in the same context as the DPPAC contribution. I am on record as disagreeing with the DPPAC contribution but this is not a reason to tar Leary. The DPPAC contribution passed 4-1. The DPPAC contribution is $100,000 a year. The city also added $100,000 in the 2014-15 fiscal year to increase tree replanting. If the commission wanted to provide more money than currently budgeted for support of local non-for-profits they could have done that as well but chose not to.

    As noted above, we just don’t have any need to create a city service that encourages every property owner to call the city expecting tree trimming. As the forestry management plan is put into full effect (when all the data on the status of every tree is in the GIS database) the city will be pruning, removing, and replanted on a managed basis so there is no need to provide a personal service for each property owner, especially one where we have no idea of the demand or incremental cost above that required to implement the forestry management plan. In the meantime, as always, the city is responding to individual homeowners with tree issues.

  7. R. Griffin says

    I’ll be voting for Cindy MacKinnon. Please no more emails from you.

  8. Pete Weldon says

    You can unsubscribe at the bottom of each email message.

  9. Theater of the Absurd says

    Pretty obvious why Winter Park City Commission gave $1,000,000 to DPAC. Go down to the hospital and look whose name is sporting the brand new imaging center there. Then check to see who’s the DPAC king of the hill. Then see what deals Leary has made with same on the side. Then check who McMacken works for these days and why he’s sucking up to same. Then follow the tag along money to Sprinkel, etc..

  10. Pete Weldon says

    I post comments like the one above because they show how some people seek to create suspicions, implying use of public money and public office for personal benefit. These people aren’t prepared to identify themselves nor put their evidence (they don’t have any) to public scrutiny. Guilt by association, envy, and resentment distract from legitimate political debate. In the absence of evidence of wrong doing, we should be challenging the policies of our elected officials on factual grounds, not challenging their integrity.

  11. Rick Baldocchi says

    How do we get the word about the lies out more? That tree mailer infuriated me. If this is her leadership style, we are in big trouble if she wins.

  12. nancy shutts says

    Rick, read the 64 page UFMP (tree) document and listen to commission meetings before deciding what is truth and what are misrepresentations of truth. I have done both.

  13. Pete Weldon says

    Nancy, can you please provide a link to the UFMP document you refer to? The document I have only has 24 pages. Also, please detail which comments at which commission meetings are relevant? I will always consider new facts and adjust my conclusions accordingly. Thanks, Pete

  14. Pete Weldon says

    I point out that a tree trimming service at citizen request was taken out of the Urban Forestry Management Plan by the commission in a 4-1 vote with this proviso: (the Commission requested that this item be defined/quantified/qualified and brought back to them)”. See: page 5. Not only does the commission continue to explore the feasibility of street tree maintenance upon citizen request, but the full implementation of the UFMP will make this unnecessary as pruning will occur where the need is defined by professional arborists.

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