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