I recently exchanged views with a voter who was hoping you might be a “team leader who will be a unifying force.” Your recent email criticizing specific decisions your opponent for Mayor made during her nine years of service on the city commission certainly dashes that hope.
Your views on the decisions are not based on the underlying facts. Either you are incapable of the discipline required to accurately assess issues facing the commission, or you intentionally avoid the factual circumstances in an effort to sway votes through negative campaigning. Either way, these criticisms of your opponent are grossly inaccurate and inappropriate.
I offer clarifying substance of your criticisms below. Your statements are in italic.
- Voted to increase the budget of the New Library Project from $32 million to $42+ million and reduce the Library’s size from 50,000 square feet to 36,000 square feet — $10 million more expensive and 30% smaller than voters approved.
Don’t you think it would be responsible to mention that the increases pay for additions to the project recommended by the architect that provide material improvements? Don’t you think it would be responsible to mention that $6,000,000 toward these additions is funded by an Orange County grant that does not cost Winter Park taxpayers a dime, and that the balance is paid for with CRA dollars, not general taxpayer funds?
You might also have fairly noted that the library was and is the purview the Board of Trustees of the Winter Park Library Association, which approved the final design and square footage. The Winter Park library is an independent organization. It is not the role or responsibility of the city commission to make strategic decisions on their behalf.
- Did not make our Police Department a budget priority, resulting in the Police Department being understaffed by 9 positions at the end of her final term.
This is pure demagoguery. If you knew the facts or had any respect for them you would know that the positions were understaffed because the chief has had difficulty getting qualified candidates even though the commission (including your opponent) voted a significant increase in sworn officer salaries in 2018 to assure we are offering competitive compensation (the very opposite of your false claim).
- Voted to sell the Fairbanks Bowling Alley to a developer instead of using the land to expand Martin Luther King, Jr. Park — despite strong objections from residents and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
You might mention that the softball field to the north of that property is subject to a PERPETUAL lease to Rollins College, and therefore any expansion of the park related to that property would have been very limited and would not provide for additional playing fields. You might also mention that the $3,500,000 sales price in 2018 included $500,000 in profit (the city purchased the land from Rollins College in 2016). Funds from the sale added back to General Fund reserves have now been spent irresponsibly by people you supported for commission. Here are more facts relevant to this issue.
- Voted to grant $1.2 million to a private developer for infrastructure and roads instead of requiring the developer to provide their own infrastructure.
The city acquired road right of ways when it annexed the Ravaudage area and therefore assumed responsibility for them. Here are more facts on this issue as well.
Phil, you could better inform the voters of Winter Park by leveling with them.
Regards, Pete Weldon