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Ed Sabori Puts His Name On His Vote

February 25, 2105

I publish the following from Ed Sabori. PJW –

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.

Posted in Election 2015.

8 Responses

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  1. Toni Assael says

    Please ask Ed Sabori to keep ‘piling on’.

  2. Judith Sanborn says

    I recently attended a small gathering for Steve Leary and had the opportunity to ask him face to face to address McKinnon’s accusations. I found him to be genuine in his responses and more importantly respectful of Ms. McKinnon as opposed to being critical. I changed my vote as a result of this face to face opportunity with Steve.

  3. Joseph Brock says

    As a Winter Park dog owner, I’m happy that Ed’s letter references our wonderful dog park at Lake Baldwin Park, which I consider the best dog-friendly park in the state, and the relentless attempts to “discourage” it before Steve Leary and Sarah Sprinkel were elected in 2011.

    But I’m sorry to report that in yesterday’s commissioner debate, Gary Brewer announcd that he didn’t like the fact that Lake Baldwin Park was made dog friendly, that he was concerned about contamination of the lake, and that he would support moving the dog park somewhere else. He apparently was unaware that the city regularly tests the water in Lake Baldwin and has never found evidence of contamination from the dog park. Brewer’s remarks were all the more puzzling because he said he’d learned his lesson when the commission voted on whether to allow dogs in the Farmer’s Market never to “get between Winter Park dog owners and their dogs.” He also said he was not a pet owner but that his daughter enjoys taking her dog to LBP.

    Greg Seidell, in contrast, said he supports the configuration of Lake Baldwin Park with the fence separating the dogs from the dock area. He said he hasn’t taken his dog there yet (which he told me is a rescue from OCAC), but that he intends to soon. In speaking with Seidel after the debate, he said he knew that water contamination was not an issue, and told me that he used to enjoy taking his dog to the beach and understood how important LBP is to dog owners. He assured me I needn’t worry about his vote.

    Brewer’s remarks have undoubtedly cought the attention of the anti-dog park gang, and they certainly have set off the alarm among WP residents like myself who support and recreate at LBP. So unless Brewer publicly and convincingly retracts his remarks, the dog park will again be an issue front-and-center in this election. “Here we go again…”

  4. Gary Brewer says

    Joseph, I am pleased that you attended yesterday’s debate. Please let me clarify my remarks regarding the Lake Baldwin Dog Park. I am not opposed to the dog park, but believe it needs to be managed more effectively. I understand the “Friends of Lake Baldwin” have asked the City to begin providing plastic disposal bags and know the “Friends” have limited resources to manage this facility effectively. From my recent visits to the park there is very little grass remaining in the fenced area and the park seems to be dominated primarily by pet owners. It is true that I have deep concern for the environment. The lakes and waterways of Winter Park are one of our core values and I am concerned about water quality in all of our water ways. I lived near Dinky Dock when that beach was closed to swimmers because of high levels of fecal contamination. I stated at the library debate, that it was my opinion that one of the contributing factors to the management problem was that it appears to have become a regional dog park because it is located on the border between Winter Park and Orlando. I do not currently have access to data that would confirm or negate these opinions, but I would support having the City provide more resources to more effectively manage the park and monitor the water quality standards. I also stated that as a non-dog owner my “personal” preference for the park was when it was totally open to picnicking, swimming and boating activities, however I would certainly not advocate closing the park as it exists today. I hope this statement more clearly reflects my views as relating to this topic. In a timed debate format it is often difficult to respond without some misunderstanding or misinterpreting brief statements. I have always preferred the opportunity to have a longer dialog with constituents and have always maintained an “open door” policy with citizens. I would welcome speaking with anyone at anytime on this, or any topic. My mobile phone # is 407-399-4682 and my email is

  5. Joseph Brock says

    Though I have criticized Anne Mooney and her blog Winter Park Voice in comments elsewhere, I must give her kudos for video-recording Wednesday’s debate and making it available to everyone on Youtube at The question I submitted about the dog park followed by the candidates’ responses are found between 32:50 and 36:15. Although my account above was written from memory, I believe I accurately reported the substance of what the candidates said regarding whether they would support or oppose any initiative to remove or shrink the off-leash area of Lake Baldwin Park.

    Gary, I realize that your time to respond in the debate was limited, but I don’t see any unambiguous retraction of anything you said during the debate in what you’ve written above. (If you feel I’m wrong in that asssessment, please set me straight.) Rather, the tone and direction of your remarks are so eerily reminiscent of the play book and talking points relentlessly pressed and filibustered for three years by former city commissioner Beth Dillaha, former parks board members Bonnie Jackson and Herb Weiss, and former alternate parks board member Kim Allen, that it pains me, almost to tears, to read them. As a resident park-goer and attorney, I had to devote months of volunteer time on the front line of these never-ending attacks trying to defend and save our wonderful and unique Winter Park institution, which has been honored as one of America’s top 10 off-leash parks.

    (Although I have no personal recollection of your attending the city commission meetings in which these matters were pressed and decided, a close friend is certain you attended a number of them. Please correct me if that is wrong.)

    Your professed concern that the dog park is contaminating the water in Lake Baldwin was vigorously advanced and fully vetted in 2009, and again in 2010, in connection with motions to remove dogs from the beach or to drastically shrink the off-leash area, and yet again in the election of 2011. Each time the assertion was discredited and repudiated by Public Works Department Lakes Division and its water quality expert, Tim Egan. I have a draft report dated May 15, 2009 by the Public Works Department regarding dogs on the beach at then-Fleet Peeples Park, which I will email to Pete to hyperlink (if he hasn’t already). The report flatly concludes that dog use in the park is not harming Lake Baldwin, and notes that water quality in the lake is good and improving. I also recall that Tim Egan, at a commission meeting, politely rejected Commissioner Dillaha’s claim that dog swimming in the off-leash area is incompatible with the boating activity at the park. I do not have the stomach to further re-demonstrate and re-document all this, but Pete Weldon has a number of the documents hyperlinked in various posts and letters he wrote during the 2011 election cycle. In that election, you may recall, the dog park became a central issue. Steve Leary and Sarah Sprinkel actively supported the dog park. Sprinkel’s opponent Bonnie Jackson actively opposed the dog park, and was assisted by a pseudo-apocalyptic flyer mailed by Herb Weiss predicting “environmental devastation” if the dog park is allowed to continue. Pete posted Tim Egan’s comments discrediting Weiss’ flyer at Sprinkel defeated Jackson in a landslide, getting nearly 70% of the votes. Winter Park voters could hardly have voiced their support of this park more clearly.

    I am very disappointed that you have resurrected this environmental canard. When prey tell will this continual fear-mongering and harassment cease, so that Winter Park dog owners can simply recreate with their dogs and their dog-loving friends and neighbors in peace?

  6. Gary Brewer says

    Joseph, I haven’t, nor will I ever actively oppose the dog park. I make decisions based on facts after listening to citizens views on a subject. If you would like to have a rational conversation with me and educate me on the facts and your interest in this issue. I will be the first to admit that I am far from an expert on every subject. As I shared with you, I am not a dog owner, so I am not fully aware of the concerns of your group, so rather than simply dismissing me, why not attempt to communicate with me about your interest in this subject. A theme of my campaign is bringing people together, not polarizing them. We share a passion for Scouting. My life has always been guided by the Scout Oath and Law. You have my promise that I will continue to support the current use of Baldwin Park as a dog park. I am also a Rotarian who makes decisions guided by the 4 way test. Is it the truth! Is it fair to all concerned! Will it build good will and better friendship! Will it be beneficial to all concerned!. So lets talk! Phone if 407-399-4682

  7. Joseph Brock says

    I’m very glad to read your latest comment. I would enjoy talking with you and showing you around our city’s brilliant off-leash park.

    • Gary Brewer says

      Hi Joseph! Great! Tell me when it is convenient. I ride my bike around Lake Baldwin often and I can meet you there.

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