This post continues to document information relevant to the “partisanship” issue Mackinnon has attempted to exploit to tar Leary.
Anne Mooney runs Winter Park Voice. Winter Park Voice is organized as a for-profit entity to avoid revealing it’s donors. I have no problem with this on its face. What is problematic is that Mooney continues to posture Winter Park Voice as a politically agnostic journalistic operation when it is not.
In her February 24, 2015 message Mooney says.
In the mayoral race, Cynthia Mackinnon confirmed that at her January 7, 2015, kickoff party, volunteers from the Orange County Democratic Party offered to help her campaign. Mackinnon declined their offer, pointing out that local Winter Park elections are nonpartisan. Online advertising was removed from the Democrats’ website, and no volunteers from the Democratic Party organization have worked on Mackinnon’s campaign.
Mackinnon did not “confirm” anything, nor has Mooney. Mackinnon told us weeks after January 7th that she had asked the Orange County Democratic Party (OCDP) not to help her campaign. Mooney’s language does not confirm Mackinnon’s claimed conversation occurred, or the date she first claimed she had the conversation, or who she had the conversation with. The only information here is Mooney accepting Mackinnon’s version of the story without evidence.
Mooney’s statement that “on-line advertising was removed from the Democrat’s website” leaves the false impression that this was done on January 7. I took a screen shot of the OCDP web site proving that as of February 17 the OCDP was advertising events in support of Mackinnon. While these listings are no longer present Mackinnon was receiving direct partisan campaign support of OCDP from at least January 5 to at least February 17, during the heart of the campaign.
Leary himself may not have consulted with OCREC, but records show his campaign has paid out more than $11,000 to Orlando-based Millennium Consulting, run by John Dowless, which also does work for OCREC and for Republican candidates for local, state and national office.
To the best of my knowledge John Dowless is a professional campaign manager/consultant. The selection of a campaign manager is a matter of free choice and they tend to work for anyone willing to pay them regardless of party affiliation. Mooney does not disclose information on this subject about Mackinnon’s campaign. As of February 6 Mackinnon had paid $6,000 to Mercury Public Affairs LLC, 437 Madison Ave. 9th Floor, New York, NY. I do not know who Mackinnon works with from Mercury but their Florida staff includes Ashley Walker, 2012 State Director for Obama for America in Florida. What would the reaction be if I engaged in guilt by association regarding Mackinnon’s campaign consultants?
Any communication between a candidate and a political party would put a candidate in the position of “consultation” and would be unadvisable even if that “consultation” was to ask not to help, as even that request may be made with the intent of making an issue of an opposition partisan political party supporting a candidate of their choice.
The facts make clear that OCDP overtly supported Mackinnon at least from their January 5 endorsement until February 17 with their endorsement continuing to appear on their web site even now. Making an issue of whether or not Leary or Mackinnon did, did not, or should have communicated with OCRP or OCDP is irrelevant. Both OCRP and OCDP have overtly supported the candidate of their choice as is their right, regardless of the language of the Winter Park Charter.
In her tortured post of February 24 Mooney reveals herself as a Mackinnon supporter hiding behind a thin veneer of journalistic pretense.
See clearly. Vote wisely.
Regards, Pete Weldon
Yesterday, when I read the Winter Park Voice article, I was moved to respond to demonstrate that the article was predicated upon misinformation about Mackinnon’s campaign. To this point, however, the Voice has not published my comment, even though it has published many other comments responding to the article. If they have decided to suppress my comment, I would appreciate it if you would allow me to publish it here. My response was as follows:
As a lifelong Democrat and a person who places the highest value in the honesty and integrity of a political candidate, I feel I have a personal stake in [the issue addressed in your 2/24 article “Partisan Politics”]. Unfortunately, Cynthia Mackinnon’s narrative of non-partisanship is refuted by demonstrable facts. On 2/17, Mackinnon sent out an email claiming, among other things: “When the Democratic Party put an announcement of my candidacy on its Facebook page, my campaign asked them take it down immediately and they did.” Well, I checked that Facebook page on 2/17, and I checked it again today (as I’m writing), and that announcement is still there. And it specifically identifies Mackinnon as a “Democrat.” See https://www.facebook.com/orangedemocrats (see post dated “January 5”: “Democrat Cynthia Mackinnon will kick-off her campaign for Winter Park Mayor…”).
Little did I know that this Facebook notice was just the tip of the iceberg. On 2/17, the same day as Mackinnon’s email claiming she had “rejected” and “refused” help from the Democrats “from the very first days of [her] campaign,” Pete Weldon of Winter Park Perspective went to the Orange Democrats’ website and made a pdf capture of the Democrats’ Cynthia Mackinnon News page, which he has posted at http://www.winterparkperspective.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/OrangeFLDemocrats20150217.pdf. You will see a full page of notices for Mackinnon’s campaign, including solicitations for volunteers to “Canvass for Cynthia Mackinnon” and “Phone Bank for Cynthia Mackinnon” going deep into February 2015.
The “Phone Bank” silicitation promises: “Phone banking is easy and fun. Meet like-minded people and help elect a great Democrat for Mayor.” It lists the home address of Mackinnon’s neighbor, a $1000 contributor to her campaign [see *1, below]. The main notice is for “February 11,” but the “EVENTS” column on the right lists two subsequent “PHONE BANK for Cynthia Mackinnon” events at the same address on “FEB 18” and “FEB 25.”
The “Canvass” silicitation promises: “Help a great Democratic candidate win the Mayor’s race in Winter Park. Great opportunity to get out in wonderful weather and make a difference for Orange County Democrats.” It lists the home address of a $500 contributor to Mackinnon’s campaign [see *2, below]. The main notice is for “February 14” but the “EVENTS” column lists two subsequent “CANVASS for Cynthia Mackinnon” events at the same address on “FEB 21” and “FEB 28.”
Pete Weldon notes that on February 18, the day after Mackinnon’s campaign email, this page was no longer there. But it could hardly be more obvious that Mackinnon’s campaign was just trying to cover its tracks. Meanwhile, it could hardly be more clear to previous Democratic volunteers that Phone Banking occurred every Wednesday and Canvassing occurred every Saturday, at the same place and time.
Furthermore, the Orange County Democratic Party’s announcement of its endorsement of Mackinnon (which occurred on 1/5, more than two weeks before the Republican Party mailer on 1/23) STILL appears on its website. http://orangefldemocrats.com/ai1ec_event/cynthia-mackinnon-for-winter-park-mayor-campaign-kickoff/?instance_id=1803
Far from a case of Mackinnon’s campaign taking the moral and legal high ground, as you portray it, this is the rankest example of the pot calling the kettle black while trying to conceal its own blackness and hypocracy. If Mackinnon gets any votes by trying to fool people on this issue, shame on her.
*1. https://cityofwinterpark.org/docs/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/cynthia-mackinnon/2015-cynthia-mackinnon-campaign-treasurers-report-m10-contributions-and-expenditures.pdf, at p.2, ln.6.
*2. Id. at p.2, ln.22.
Joseph, very unlikely Mooney will publish your comment. All she needs to do is call her blog “Preservation Perspective” and let people know details of the specific policies she and her financial backers are promoting. But, alas, that will never happen. Why is honesty so hard to come by and promoting suspicion so attention getting? Wish I had a way to change that.
The sad thing for me is that I would agree and sympathize with Mackinnon if she had simply complained about the Republicans’ mailer attacking her, which I think was divisive and out-of-bounds. The Democrats showed far more class and civility by simply endorsing Mackinnon on their website and helping her campaign. But Mackinnon, for political reasons, decided she needed to put forth the false narrative that she rejected and refused any help from the Democrats.
While you may not be able to make others honest, you are doing a great service for Winter Park in getting out the truth. It is comforting that when I speak to friends and acquaintences who have been misinformed or misled, I can usually just tell them to go to your website to be set straight.