Winter Park Perspective Commentary by Pete Weldon Thu, 25 Aug 2022 17:46:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Weaver’s Short Term Rental Plan Fails to Move Forward Thu, 25 Aug 2022 17:46:06 +0000 Commissioner Weaver’s initiative to enable short term rentals failed to move forward at yesterday’s commission meeting. Below are thoughts I shared with the commission. Please extend your thanks as well to: Mayor and Commissioners, Thank-you to commission members Cruzada, DeCiccio, and Anderson for declining to pursue a change in our short term residential rental policy. Most telling were the comments by those in support of the changes. Each of them, including Commissioner Todd Weaver (2 years of forbearance is meaningless), has a significant, and some, a professional financial interest in enabling short term rentals in Winter Park. Well, its not all about the money. If short term residential rentals become legal there is […]

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Say “NO” to Weaver’s Short Term Rentals Mon, 22 Aug 2022 18:39:45 +0000 City Commissioner Todd Weaver supports short term AirBNB rentals in Winter Park. This from the July 27, 2022 commission meeting: “Commissioner Weaver – Said he conducted research on short term rentals and found that a Chamber survey revealed the need for more hotels, but he feels more rooms are needed and would prefer that city residents get revenue from room rental versus hotels. He provided information on other agency’s regulations which he consolidated and prepared a proposed ordinance which he provided to Mr. Knight.” Astute observers may recall that Weaver was an “AirBNB Superhost” when he decided to run for city commission in 2018. When brought to his attention that short term rentals (less […]

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Ship of Fools Thu, 23 Jun 2022 22:36:48 +0000 I was wrong! There is no way Winter Park can have smart, honest elected leadership. The ship of fools is an allegory, originating from Book VI of Plato’s Republic, about a ship with a dysfunctional crew. The allegory is intended to represent the problems of governance prevailing in a political system not based on expert knowledge. The latest confirmation of this reality in Winter Park is the “electric non-rate increase” coupled to an expected four year delay in completion of the city-wide electric undergrounding program. This delay will mean about $20,000,000 in increased undergrounding costs, $10,000,000 of which is a self inflicted waste of your money by the city commission. Recall the January 2022 […]

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Commission Achieves Record Spending! Thu, 03 Mar 2022 22:13:04 +0000 The latest issue of the Winter Park Update is a PR masterpiece. We now spend almost $1 million each year to promote the city and the “achievements” of the city commission. I can’t compete with a million dollar PR budget but I can offer a more sober assessment of the “achievements.” This commission has spent or committed over $25 million of new spending, just in the past year. Add to this another $10 million in new electric fees to fulfill their sense of aesthetics and the $12-15 million they project to build a new building for the US Postal Service. Sensible people would think they might demonstrate a bit more respect for the tax […]

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Stop the Electric Service Line Vanity Project Mon, 21 Feb 2022 19:17:20 +0000 Please ask your city commission again to reverse their vote to impose an electric rate increase to be effective April 1st. They next meet Wednesday, February 23rd at 3:30 PM. They avoided the issue at their last meeting in spite of your prior emails, and there are only three more meetings before April. After further analysis of this 8% rate increase it becomes clear this is a vanity project at the expense of all residential rate payers, including renters, those living in low income housing, and the many thousands of homeowners who already paid to underground their service line. Those interested in more detail should read these emails to commission members DeCiccio and Anderson, […]

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Am I Against Progress Point Park at Denning and Orange Avenues? Wed, 16 Feb 2022 14:23:39 +0000 This question was asked of me in a Facebook post and is worthy of a complete response. I think Progress Point Park would be a great idea if it had a point. They should have named it “Pointless Park” and here is why. Think of Park Avenue and Hannibal Square where there are apartments and condos housing people who frequent the retail, restaurant, and service providers in those areas. What pulls it all together and makes these areas a civic and financial success? The answer is Central Park and Shady Park, providing the open and green space that adds value to living in and visiting these areas. What is the value of Progress Point […]

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Resident Electric Bills to Rise 8% Wed, 02 Feb 2022 15:19:24 +0000 The city commission just approved an average 8% increase effective April 1 for all residential electric customers for the foreseeable future. They did this to pay to underground those private residential electric service lines on private property not already undergrounded. Every residential customer is to pay the added fee, including renters, low income housing residents, and the roughly 65% of residential electric customers who already paid to have their service line undergrounded. The annual increase in the average electric bill will be about $170.00. If your residence already has its local service line undergrounded, you will be paying again to benefit those who have not yet undergrounded their service line. Click here to tell […]

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Insights on the Charter Amendments Thu, 13 Jan 2022 16:33:30 +0000 I offer insights into the proposed Charter Amendments below and recommend a NO VOTE on all of them. The Winter Park City Charter has required a simple majority of the commission to approve all laws, 3 of 5 members, at least since 1915. The current commission is proposing six charter amendments for the March 8, 2022 city election, five of which if passed would require “Supermajority” votes to pass certain changes, 4 of 5 members. That is, a minority of 2 of the 5 members would be able to block passage. Charter proposals historically come from an appointed, independent Charter Review Task Force, which was not done in this case. When considered as a […]

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Winter Park Needs Real Governance Wed, 15 Dec 2021 20:43:56 +0000 The problem with narratives is that they don’t reflect reality. Making city policy based on narratives is unwise as it wastes human and financial capital, while also having significant opportunity cost. Our current commission is more interested in narratives than governance. I understood we had a problem when shortly after their election in March 2020, two members of the Winter Park City Commission sent city wide emails expressing empathy for the “victims of racism and police violence” in reaction to the national media narrative about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. While empathy is nice, these commissioners used their public authority to throw Winter Park police officers under the bus. The Winter Park […]

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Performance Without An Audience Sat, 04 Dec 2021 18:58:31 +0000 Please see earlier posts about the redo of the Orange Avenue Overlay (OAO) codes. Well, they are almost done redoing the Orange Avenue Overlay (OAO) codes after almost two years of tortuous detailed consideration by five amateur city planners otherwise known as the Winter Park City Commission. (Oh Pete, can’t you be nice?) They consumed nearly two years of our planning department’s manpower on this as well. Keep in mind there is no audience. No private interests have come forward to invest within the OAO area exactly because the new codes are not worth investing in. The commission endlessly nit picked the codes and even created a new city board, the Orange Avenue Overlay […]

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