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Steve Leary For Mayor

Vote for Steve Leary on March 10.

Cynthia Mackinnon based her campaign on the false premise that Our city is headed in the wrong direction.” Every piece of evidence I find after years of service on city boards supports the opposite conclusion.

I find it very disappointing that Mackinnon chose to campaign on completely false narratives, narratives that mislead the people of Winter Park. Also, Mackinnon’s decision to pursue the politics of personal destruction with her negative mailers damages our city. The person we want as Mayor of Winter Park needs to be a positive and forthright advocate of the varied interests of our citizenry, someone more interested in a vital and viable future for our city than in empty critiques of the past.

Based on my knowledge Steve Leary should be Mayor of Winter Park. Leary’s narrative is supported by the facts, his policy contributions have substance, and he has proven he gets results in his four years serving as our Commissioner and Vice Mayor.

  • Leary is the only candidate with proven experience overseeing our $150 million annual city-wide budget.


  • Leary has consistently voted to keep our property tax rate from increasing (see page 6).


  • Leary supports building our cash reserves to 30% of general fund expenses, saving money for an uncertain future and protecting our service levels while balancing the city budget (see page 338).


  • Leary secured $400,000 in State funding to improve Mead Gardens.
  • Leary consistently supports both our city-wide electric under-grounding program and the street tree management program (he helped bring about), demonstrating a clear vision of how these two program will vastly improve our street tree canopy and the overall character of Winter Park well into the future.
  • Leary was instrumental in initiating $12 million in State funding to underground electric lines on Fairbanks between I4 and 17-92. The process of finalizing this opportunity is underway with contract negotiations between Duke Energy, FDOT, and the city.
  • Leary led the effort to revitalize the Cady Way pool complex, recently voted the best public pool in Orlando Weekly’s “Best of Orlando” poll.


  • Leary has consistently supported sidewalk dining.

downtown winter park

  • Leary led the effort that stopped the 500% pay increase for commission members (see page 5).
  • Leary led the effort that overturned dog park fees at Lake Baldwin Park (see page 5).


  • With Leary’s support the city has been successful in securing a $1,137,500 grant to begin construction of “quiet zones” at 12 major intersections in Winter Park. These improvements are expected to dramatically reduce horn noise from Sunrail and other trains going through Winter Park.


While Mackinnon offers us false narratives, negative messaging, and no helpful policy commitments; Leary offers us a proven leader of substance, a positive professional who respects and acts on the facts, who is forth right with the citizenry, and who has made sound concrete policy decisions significantly benefiting our city.

The contrast could not be clearer. Steve Leary has earned our vote for Mayor on March 10th.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Election 2015.

16 Responses

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  1. Wondering says

    We live in a strange town. An apartment building, a small shopping center and mixed use development on the fringes of town on Lee Road are major causes of angst and emotion among some in our town. We live in the Metro Orlando area with growth and development that has spread far and wide and yet Winter Park, the true Winter Park, remains unchanged. In fact, the real Winter Park, Park Ave., Rollins, housing inventory, lakes, brick streets, have never looked better. Why do 3 projects create such uproar?

  2. NathonW III says


    Thanks for taking the time to spell out the candidates views and positions in a concise format, sourced and verified by hard data and documentation.

    This is the kind of thoughtful, detailed analysis that makes a voters decision really quite simple.

    I just mailed in my absentee ballot and voted for Steve Leary.

  3. Over Taxed says

    The City government’s cash hoarding is not “good” news. It means that the residents are over taxed. A million dollar gift to DPAC means that the City had nothing better to do with it. That means the residents are over taxed. The police and fire department budgets are more than double per capita what other similar Central Florida cities are. That means the residents are over taxed. If you want me to vote for Leary, you’re going to have to tell me something other than proving to me that he’s already over taxing us.

  4. Pete Weldon says

    To Over Taxed: As a former CFO, CFA, and investment adviser I insist on conservative financial principles. The build up of reserves to 30% of the general fund is a wise conservative course because it protects us from the shocks of hurricanes, legal liability, and other unknowns that would force the city to borrow money on short notice if the reserves were not in place. Those borrowings would then have to be added to our tax burden when they were not anticipated. The downside of building reserves is that they create a honey pot in the minds of some to support grand schemes and “social” spending. I believe the best course is to be prepared for the worst. I also refer you to the 2014-15 city budget document (Finance Department web page) that includes a chart comparing millage rates of various central Florida municipalities. Winter Park is near the bottom at about 0.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. By all comparable measures our city management does an incredible job controlling spending and being efficient while delivering high levels of service and our commission over the past six years has done an incredible job setting disciplined financial policies.

  5. Lisa Coney says

    You make strong arguments but it is hardly a portrait of the candidates. I expect if you were motivated on Cynthia Mackinnon’s behalf you could paint as nice a portrait for her as well. This is not the “Winter Park Perspective” — it is yours and it is solely to benefit the candidate you support, Steve Leary. Many of the positives you outline for Mr. Leary are shared by Mrs. Mackinnon. Dog parks and sidewalk dining are clearly not in peril; nor is our continued financial health.
    Anyone with business savvy can be one of five to lead the city as so much of the work and direction is provided by staff. We need to be clear that all these accomplishments were achieved by a team, on the backs of hard working staff at a time when the nation is bouncing back from economic downturn and Florida and our area have all had some share of the spoils as the economy rebounds. This was not accomplished by Mr. Leary alone. In fact, with the growing surplus, many may think that spending money on DPAC instead of properly staffing the police department does not speak to our current leadership being responsible with our finances by taking care of Winter Park’s residents and priorities first and foremost.
    I appreciate your fervent support but some “perspective” is definitely due.

  6. Pete Weldon says

    Lisa, thanks for commenting. I agree completely that WPP is my perspective, complimented with comments from others who choose to weigh in. I don’t pretend to provide “news” as does another blog that writes about Winter Park issues that presumes it is the voice of all of Winter Park but hides its agenda behind confidential financial backers. No one pays me to do this.

    I can’t imagine what I would say in support of Cindy after looking at her campaign efforts.

    With regard to Leary doing everything, that is obviously not true and I am very careful to distinguish those things he initiated from those that he more generally supported.

  7. Ed Sabori says

    Relative to Ms. Coney’s comment, at the February 16 University Club debate sponsored by the Winter Park Voice, I was not at all surprised to hear Steve Goldman mention how he and Pete Weldon do not often agree on issues before the Winter Park community; however, he seemed to imply that the Voice was void of partisan opinion. That said, a few years back when Steve and I were asked by Mayor Bradley to participate on a task force called Wired 4 Winter Park, he mentioned his concern about the need to create a public forum for all things Winter Park that would not favor one side or the other. Sadly, as I compare the dialog on Pete’s site versus editorials on the Winter Park Voice site, I find it difficult to conclude that Steve fulfilled his promise. Again, just a personal observation on my part.

  8. Amigo says

    I agree with Over Taxed. The City has wasted the resident’s tax dollars by pursuing very expensive, yet worthless accreditations and awards.. No longer serving residents, but the egos of the politicians who crave national and regional accolades.

    • Pete Weldon says

      You might check to see if we actually spend money pursuing rewards and if so,how much.

  9. H. Craig DeLongy says

    I am beside myself trying to understand the fuss over the Paseo. Have we forgotten what use to be there? How many cars and motorcycles came onto that property daily? Certainly the 200 residents will not come close to matching the traffic that we had with the drivers license office. That property was an eyesore as well. With Winter Park Village across the street and the new office building on Morse this appears to be the perfect use of this property.

  10. My vote is done ! says

    I sent back my absentee ballot this weekend voting for Cynthia MacKinnon. In my neighborhood we had issues before the Commission in the past that myself and my Winter Park neighbors felt strongly about and never as much as got a flinch out of Mr Leary. I believe similarly that much, if not all of the WPP is Mr Weldon’s perspective and, that it my perspective that Ms MacKinnon will decide fairly and with consideration, just as she has done for years as a judge. She will make a good Mayor for our town. Thank God we live in a land where I’m entitled to my opinion and entitle to cast my vote to whom I believe it should go. I do thank Mr Weldon for this opportunity to voice my opinion.

  11. Pete Weldon says

    I have found Mackinnon’s past experience inconsistent with the standards of her campaign. What kind of judge accuses her opponent of illegal partisanship without the benefit of evidence? What kind of judge accuses her opponent of accusing her of being a racist without the benefit of evidence? What kind of judge makes an issue of commercial development that she knows she could not have voted against? What kind of judge makes factually untrue claims about previously approved commercial development? All the evidence, “My vote is done,” bodes against relying on Mackinnon’s judgment. (Next time please use your real name. Doing so affords you credibility among those reading your comment.)

  12. Ed Sabori says

    It never ceases to amaze me how some people use the free speech card, but won’t acknowledge anything other than they live in the neighborhood. At least Beth Hall not only signs her name, she actually makes the effort to factually support her position. As Andy Rooney would often say, “I LIKE that!”

  13. Black and White says

    I never heard Leary call Mackinnon a racist. When did he do that?

  14. Pete Weldon says

    It is Mackinnon who accused Leary of calling her a racist (in a rather indirect manner).See this message from Mackinnon: I find no evidence that anyone has called Mackinnon a racist and find her assertion and innuendo inappropriate at best.

  15. mike palumbo says

    The kind of man Steve Leary is one of caring and compassion for the city and the people of Winter Park. My personal experience is that when Steve found out my service dog bonnie had passed away. He said he was sorry as everyone did. Then asked if I was going to replace her. Told him I needed to but service dogs are very expensive and being disabled was out of reach at the time.
    Steve then told me he would help and ran a fund raiser to help me replace bonnie. I now have pinky my new bullmastif service dog. To me this proves the character of the man and that he cares about the people and the city of Winter Park. Keeping the city financially fit and over seeing the growth of the city that it grows in the right way which attracts businesses. That in turn brings jobs and more tax money that does not have to come from property taxes.

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