February 15, 2011
Below is my letter to Bonnie Jackson noting that I am voting for Sarah Sprinkel in the March 8th election.
I watched the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board candidates’ interview and will be supporting Sarah Sprinkel.
Your interview and your candidacy concern me on many levels.
In your interview you monopolize the time by speaking without ever stating your position on several important issues including commuter rail. You also make a point of questioning our current Mayor’s integrity while acknowledging you have no basis for doing so. Your assertion that you are supported by “a lot of grass roots people in the community” is not supported by the facts. Your financial reports as of February 3 show you received 25 campaign contributions totaling $9,045; 8 of which totaling $4,000 come from David Strong, Margaret Strong, and 6 companies controlled by the Strong family. Sarah Sprinkel has over 120 contributors totaling $37,600 for the same time period.
I note that five of the ten partners of your former employer, Swann and Hadley, have contributed to Sarah Sprinkel’s campaign along with the firm itself, while none of the partners have contributed to your campaign.
Your behavior as a member of the Winter Park Parks and Recreation Commission also troubles me, as it shows a pattern of negative and polarizing interaction, counterproductive to leadership and good governance.
Since your appointment to Parks and Rec in 2008 you alienated many in our city by running what I can only describe as an obsessive campaign against the legitimate interests of dog owners.
In a July 2009 letter to the Orlando Sentinel you state, “The mayor then voted with commissioners Phil Anderson and Karen Diebel in favor of a park plan that could attract hundreds of dogs a day to the shores of Lake Baldwin and would result in the concentrated deposit of fecal matter on the ground and directly in the water.” You also stated that the plan would “create environmental and health hazards to our community.” You made these statements knowing that the park has attracted “hundreds of dogs a day” since 1999 and that the city’s lakes are tested frequently and have been found to be safe. City testing results show that Lake Baldwin is not only in compliance with the latest EPA standards but has similar or lower Chlorophyll-a, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen levels than all other city lakes, none of which host a dog park.
In April of 2010 you initiated a Parks and Recreation Commission effort to stop dog-centered events by a Park Avenue retailer because some dogs who attended the events were later found to run around Central Park for a few minutes in violation of an existing ordinance. The audio of this meeting was brought to my attention. In this meeting you claim authority over matters that are not in the purview of the Parks and Recreation Commission, you cross examine the Director of Parks and Recreation as if you have the authority of a judge, and you try to convince the commission to find the pet retailer in violation of the law (something only the Code Enforcement Board has the authority to do).
In October 2010 you appeared before the city commission to express your personal distaste for off leash use of Fleet Peeples Park as follows, “I don’t want your dog that just went in the lake, ran through a bunch of mud, sniffing everybody else’s behind, coming over and jumping on me.”
On November 6, 2010 you visited Fleet Peeples Park knowing your presence would be controversial given your history of advocating against the interests of dog owners and groups representing dog owners. You filed a police complaint accusing members of the Friends of Fleet Peeples Park of assault on that date and copied a letter to the city commission concerning the incident. On November 8, 2010 you appeared before the city commission to complain about the Friends of Fleet Peeples Park even though it is clear you brought the circumstances resulting in the complaint upon yourself. The State Attorney’s Office disposed of your complaint for insufficient evidence.
On February 1, 2011 you wrote a letter to the Mayor and Commissioners complaining about a lack of transparency by the Friends of Mead Gardens. Having become familiar with your treatment of the Friends of Fleet Peeples Park I can reasonably conclude that the head of the Friends of Mead Gardens may have been concerned that you would undermine his group’s efforts to promote improvements to the park.
Bonnie, I presume you are well intentioned but the evidence provided by your participation on city boards illustrates a pattern of endlessly arguing and litigating your personal views rather than working to lead our community. As such, I would find it extremely disappointing for our city if your ambitions to serve on our city commission were fulfilled by the voters. I will be voting for Sarah Sprinkel, I will be working to convince others to do the same.
Bonnie, you can count on my candor on all issues whether or not you are elected to the Winter Park City Commission.
Regards, Pete Weldon
700 Via Lombardy
Winter Park, FL 32789