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Mackinnon The Divider

AMENDMENT: On March 2, 2015 Sentio formally withdrew their application. See below for more context.

Mackinnon’s message of presumptive victory (a standard campaign tactic) that appeared this past Sunday says, “From the Trader Joe’s parking debacle to the Denning apartments and the still unknown destiny of the REIT-proposed massive assisted living facility on 17-92, we’ve all simply had enough of letting out-of-town developers squeeze out every inch of free space and leave us to deal with the consequences.”

Mackinnon’s messaging continues her efforts to mislead the people of Winter Park, creating straw men that she promises to knock down. See this link for the actual history of the development approvals she relies on to stir our emotions.

You should know more about “the REIT-proposed massive assisted living facility on 17-92.” A three story, 73,000 square foot, 90 room assisted living and memory care facility was proposed last December for the lot owned by St. John’s Lutheran Church on 17-92 just south of the Orange Avenue intersection. THE PROPOSAL WAS DENIED BY PLANNING AND ZONING IN A 7-0 VOTE (see page 3). The applicant was scheduled to present this proposal to the city commission on January 12 with the unanimous P&Z denial but tabled their request until the February 23rd meeting. Mackinnon attended the P&Z meeting where this proposal was rejected.

Now, the applicant has pulled their request meaning they must reapply, going back through both P&Z and the city commission. In pulling their request the applicant says, “Sentio Investments LLC requests that our Comp. Plan FLU; Rezoning and Conditional Use requests be postponed in order to allow for revisions to these applications to be made for resubmittal to the Planning & Zoning Board and City Commission in order to try to address the concerns expressed by the P&Z Board, city staff and neighbors.”

Mackinnon attempts to stir our emotions about “massive” buildings by “out-of-town” developers. The facts are that P&Z (on which board I serve) told the applicant their proposal was totally unacceptable. The applicant withdrew from appearing before the city commission because their request was dead-on-arrival, and now intends to come back with a revised plan they KNOW must be significantly SMALLER to be seriously considered. Mackinnon’s own example is PROOF the city is NOT ALLOWING DEVELOPERS to “squeeze out every inch of free space and leave us to deal with the consequences.” The straw man is exposed.

Mackinnon misleads the people of Winter Park, trying to motivate dissension and divide us to get votes, while failing to disclose relevant facts she is certain to know.

See clearly. Vote wisely.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Election 2015.

8 Responses

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  1. Joseph Brock says

    Thanks for your fully documented account of the true facts about the “REIT” proposed assisted living facility, including the fact that MacKinnon was present when the P&Z board rejected the proposal 7-0. Mackinnon’s decision to raise this to smear Leary and play on peoples’ fears and emotions says a lot about her character.

    With respect to what she calls the “Trader Joe’s parking debacle,” voters who did not attend the debate at the Public Library should know that Mackinnon was asked whether she would vote to change the zoning code to prohibit developers from providing necessary parking on the other side of 17-92. Mackinnon answered “No.”

  2. A Thinking Voter says

    As a pro-development voter, I observe that the best thing that could happen to the Winter Park preservation movement is if Steve Leary became mayor.

    In three years as mayor, Leary would likely push through so many controversial development projects, and would so energize the anti-development people, that pro-development rationalists might never win another seat on the CIty Commission for as much as a decade thereafter as a result.

    A Steve Leary win could well be what Barak Obama’s second term was to Republican’s taking control of both Houses of Congress. Opposition energy built up, organization expanded, and crushing opposition victory within two years.

    Conversely, the best thing that could happen to development would be a Mackinnon victory. The preservation folks would go back to their rockers and hammocks after a Maxckinnon winn, thinking Mackinnon is taking care of everything for them.

    Her first year in office she would likely make few if any changes to development, being preoccupied with “Visioning” and at least wanting to create the impression that she wanted to listen to residents before making any changes. In her second or third year she would make some changes, but by then she’d be ready to retire. You know how old she is, right?

    The problem is that too many development voters are thinking “Leary” and not taking a long term strategic approach to what a Leary win might mean in terms of anti-development backlash in future elections. If Leary wins, it only energizes Cooper and McMacken supporters to work doubly hard to re-elect them next year, ensuring their re-election.

    Which is a better outcome? Cooper and McMacken defeated with two years left in Mackinnon’s tenure as mayor, and all those years to recruit a development candidate for mayor who residents trust, who could perhaps be mayor for six, nine, or twelve years? Or Leary for three years who will be to anti-development people what Hilary Clinton is to Republican fundraisers?

    Development voters have a choice, hold our nose and vote for Mackinnon, knowing that if we do, she won’t be too bad for at least a third of her term, and that our chances of energizing development voters to work to replace Cooper and McMacken next year increase, or enjoy a very temporary victory party by electing Leary, and face the wrath of Winter Park voters for as much as a decade thereafter.

  3. Pete Weldon says

    You are overthinking this or posturing to create a rationale to vote for Mackinnon. (By the way, what’s your name?) Leary is not “the developer” candidate, although Mackinnon is spending $100,000 trying to define him as such. The Winter Park world is much more than “developers” and “preservationists.” Let’s talk about policy distinctions that have relevance to what actually happens.

  4. Daniel Butts says

    “A Drinking Voter” (I fixed that for you) has clearly been overserved. Or rather, it is quite evident they are simply a troll. Their statement that “Leary would likely push through so many controversial development projects” is a thinly-veiled (and non-factual) attempt to discredit him, and their invented term of “development voters” is where their true colors shine. Pretty bush-league if you ask me.

  5. Pete Weldon says

    I publish this stuff to encourage them to believe they are very clever.

  6. Ed Sabori says

    Against advice from her supporters, Cindy Mackinnon asked to meet with me before and after she made the decision to run for mayor. As such, I was tempted to discuss those conversations via a public forum but decided it would not serve any purpose other than to make it look as if I were ‘piling on,’ so to speak. Instead, I decided to focus on the positives of why I chose to vote for Steve Leary and sent the following email to a list of friends and neighbors:

    Dear Friends and Winter Park Neighbors,

    Having been part of Winter Park mayoral and commission campaigns since 2006, 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.

    After visiting campaign sites, reading mail-out collateral materials, as well as an email with a link to a Winter Park Observer article accusing Steve Leary of favoring a certain developer (later retracted by the Observer), I needless to say, could not help but feel it was déjà vu all over again. Same people, same tactics, same message. I saw a contradiction of stated concerns versus campaign rhetoric. And not just from a campaign perspective, but also from supporters claiming to be helping “heal” the existing “divide” found in Winter Park, while at the same time spreading rumor and innuendo.

    So here we are, two candidates with a genuine concern for the well-being of Winter Park and its citizens.

    If you have an open mind and consider facts important to making an informed decision, I encourage you to attend an upcoming debate event and pull back the curtain. Look for the specifics as they relate to how Winter Park has gotten to be the envy of towns and cities across the country, and then ask which candidate has the most hands-on experience in keeping the City on that trajectory.

    The City has never been in better shape. Metaphorically speaking, it’s time we allow younger trees to flourish, grow greener and to greater heights in Winter Park. Time to turn the reins over to a new generation and allow them custody of the future for the sake of our grandchildren and theirs.

    Vote Steve Leary for Mayor not because he’s my friend or a friend of a friend, but because his experience as Commissioner and Vice-Mayor is what will keep us moving forward and minimize the risk of taking Winter Park back to a time when it was considered a difficult place to do business, and SunRail, dog parks, and sidewalk dining were discouraged.

    Ed Sabori
    Winter Park resident for over 30 years.

  7. NathonW III says


    I recently discovered your blog and thank you for supplying the necessary background, context and data allowing a voter to make an informed choice in this election for Mayor of Winter Park.

    As a small business owner myself, I am resolute in demanding that any individual aspiring to be elected Mayor of our city have actual, practical business experience either in the corporate, medium, or small business arena.

    How can any voter expect a candidate to perform his or her duties as Mayor without having the financial knowledge to make wise choices (with our hard-earned tax dollars), that only comes with having run and managed some form of commercial enterprise?

    In this morning’s Orlando Sentinel (Page A22-“Letters”), Cynthia McKinnon states “My track record of success in business has prepared me well to achieve these goals and more”.

    I’ve checked all her bio’s on her campaign websites and those of newspapers where candidates have self-submitted their resumes, and I can’t seem to find any trace of business experience for Ms. Mackinnon. None. She’s done a lot of volunteer work around town and was an active member of the Junior League, but so has my wife, and she’s a stay-at-home mom.

    There was a mention of a short stint as a Hospice Director that she had 36 years ago, but being in a healthcare-related business myself, I know that particular position only oversees registered nurses and volunteers in a few assigned service areas. All the business and financial decisions are handled by the hospice COO, whom the Director reports into.

    Surely being a lawyer and a judge can’t be counted as “success in business”?

    If you can reply with a link to a website that lists Ms. Mackinnon’s actual business experience I would be much appreciative.

  8. JimMargay says

    And more importantly, if Ms. Mackinnon was so successfull in her abbreviated “business” role as a hospice manager, then why did she ditch it to return to school and become a lawyer and then a judge (a decidedly NON-business profession)?

    Maybe a good question for today’s town hall event at Rollins?

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