Campaign money reveals factions in Port Orange | News-JournalOnline.com

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This Tuesday is Election Day in Port Orange …
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. . .Key contributors to candidates opposing Ford and White include Mayor Allen Green and Riverwalk developer Buddy LaCour.
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LaCour has donated $1,000 to both of Ford’s District 1 opponents. He’s also donated money to Junco in the District 4 race.
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Meadows, who has raised a total of $8,500, previously served on the council from 1996 to 2000 and said he has been a proponent of Riverwalk for decades. LaCour’s donation represents the developer’s confidence in Meadows’ ability to move the stalled riverfront development forward, he said.
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“Whether Buddy gave me $1,000 or not I’d still be for Riverwalk,” Meadows said.
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Laney, who has raised $21,330, including $498 in cash and in-kind contributions from Green, said she did not solicit any contributions and if she felt a donation would compromise her ability to vote on an issue she would consult the city attorney for advice….
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Posted www.popdradiolog.com at 11 am



NEWSjOURNAL

By Lacey McLaughlin
lacey.mclaughlin@news-jrnl.com
Published: Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 10:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 10:50 p.m.

 A review of campaign finance reports for council candidates reveals potential factions in a city already divided in its day-to-day operations as well as a pair of possible violations by two candidates who say they are taking corrective action to avoid fines.
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All the candidates say they are not beholden to their contributors. But the source of their support may give voters an indication of where candidates’ sympathies lie in the ongoing battle of wills between an old guard that seeks stability and their critics who point to a string of spending errors as evidence of the need for change.
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Port Orange District 1 incumbent Bob Ford faces Sonya Laney, a CPA with her own practice, and businessman and former Councilman Jim Meadows. District 4 Councilman Dennis Kennedy’s open seat is being sought by former police lieutenant Scott Stiltner, former Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce president Larry McKinney, citizen activist Newton White and contractor John Junco.

Ford, the District 1 incumbent, and White, who is running in District 4, have received donations from several citizens — such as Ted Noftall — who are heavily involved in the city’s affairs and have been cited by former City Manager Greg Kisela and others for contributing to the resignations of six department officials amid heavy scrutiny in the wake of $411,500 in unauthorized water meter purchases this summer.

The activists say Noftall and his supporters are playing a vital role in local government by holding leaders accountable and demanding transparency. White, who has raised $2,440, said he considers himself a citizen activist, but the term now has a negative connotation among some.

“Those contributions were early in my campaign and the landscape has changed a lot since then,” White said. “I don’t think being a citizen activist is a bad thing, but being uncivil is. There is a public decorum that needs to be followed.” Ford has raised a total of $6,575, which includes money from several active citizens and a $250 donation from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a national union of electric workers. The former police chief said he refused to accept any donation from unions that represent current city employees. “The other unions I didn’t take from because they have employees working in Port Orange and that would compromise my ability to vote on their contracts,” Ford said. Key contributors to candidates opposing Ford and White include Mayor Allen Green and Riverwalk developer Buddy LaCour. LaCour has donated $1,000 to both of Ford’s District 1 opponents. He’s also donated money to Junco in the District 4 race. Meadows, who has raised a total of $8,500, previously served on the council from 1996 to 2000 and said he has been a proponent of Riverwalk for decades. LaCour’s donation represents the developer’s confidence in Meadows’ ability to move the stalled riverfront development forward, he said. “Whether Buddy gave me $1,000 or not I’d still be for Riverwalk,” Meadows said. Laney, who has raised $21,330, including $498 in cash and in-kind contributions from Green, said she did not solicit any contributions and if she felt a donation would compromise her ability to vote on an issue she would consult the city attorney for advice. “I don’t look to anyone for how to think or what to do,” Laney said. “I am an independent individual.”

“Those contributions were early in my campaign and the landscape has changed a lot since then,” White said. “I don’t think being a citizen activist is a bad thing, but being uncivil is. There is a public decorum that needs to be followed.”

Ford has raised a total of $6,575, which includes money from several active citizens and a $250 donation from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a national union of electric workers. The former police chief said he refused to accept any donation from unions that represent current city employees.

“The other unions I didn’t take from because they have employees working in Port Orange and that would compromise my ability to vote on their contracts,” Ford said.

Stiltner, a retired Port Orange police lieutenant running in District 4, has raised $13,335, which includes hundreds of dollars in donations from former fire and police department employees and union federations such as the Volusia Flagler Cope Labor Council and the Florida AFL-CIO.

Stiltner said contributions with union affiliations make up only 19 percent of his donations, with the majority coming from residents and small businesses. He said he has not taken any donations from labor unions involved in Port Orange.

“I want to represent everyone,” Stiltner said. “I kept a close watch over my contributions because I wanted them to be balanced. If you look at those numbers you won’t find a candidate with more balanced contributions.”

McKinney, also running in District 4, has obtained contributions from several business owners outside Volusia County and has funded nearly half of his $9,878 campaign himself. By taking many contributions from outside the county, McKinney said he can remain objective when voting on city issues.

“I think everyone has questions about who will support what based on what money they get,” McKinney said. “You shouldn’t feel beholden based on your contributors.”

The finance reports also revealed two apparent violations.

McKinney’s June campaign finance report shows two Winter Park companies donating $500 each in cash, which exceeds the state limit of $50 in cash contributions. When a News-Journal reporter notified McKinney about the error this week, he said he mistakenly labeled the contributions as cash instead of checks on the report.

“No one has brought this to my attention until now,” McKinney said on Thursday. “We will re-file the reports tomorrow and I have proof of those checks I can provide.”

Reports also show Meadows received two $100 cash donations. When questioned about the violation, Meadows cited literature he had received during a candidate information session at the Volusia County Department of Elections earlier this year.

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23 thoughts on “Campaign money reveals factions in Port Orange | News-JournalOnline.com

  • August 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm
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    I already have my pick for district 1 candidate. I’m undecided with my choice for district 4..stiltner or white

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    • August 23, 2014 at 4:36 pm
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      Newton White seems to be the best candidate in my mine for district 4. He has no ties to any special interests that I can see and has proven to be fair, honest and well thought out in his interactions with council. My fear though is that the unions will push Stiltner in similar to the way they did for Bastian. We should all be concerned with 3 union type folks (Ford, Bastian and Stiltner) being on council at the same time. They can say they are fair when dealing with union contracts, but it seems unrealistic that they wouldn’t lean towards overly supporting groups that they once were a part of.

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      • August 24, 2014 at 10:15 am
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        Thank you Onlooker for finally stating the obvious union connection. Three union council members does not paint a rosy picture for the tax payers in Port Orange. I was beginning to think I was alone in bringing the union connection to light. I would very much like to hear some clarification on the rumor that both Bastain and Stiltner attended a union sponsored training camp somewhere up in Virginia or Maryland. Is it true that this secret union school exists? Did Bastain and Stiltner attend this school? What was the purpose of the union camp or election school? Who paid for them to attend if they went? What was the reason to attend? And finally, and most important, what does the unions expect once they are elected? I have mentioned this before and have yet to hear a response.
        Think about it folks. White or Junco would be the better choice in District 4.
        Bob Pohlmann

        Reply
    • August 23, 2014 at 5:50 pm
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      Go Stiltner, Newton needs some seasoning, maybe next time for him.

      Reply
  • August 23, 2014 at 7:43 pm
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    Last time I checked, both Ford and Bastain voted for the contract that decimated the Firefighters contract and pension. So onlooker, your argument is invalid.

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    • August 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm
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      Decimated is an opinion. The reduction of a prior contract doesn’t qualify the new one as right or wrong. The millions of unfunded liability means, while we love out police and fire, we can’t afford their contracts.

      Reply
  • August 23, 2014 at 11:12 pm
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    Well said Newton, I mean “Onlooker”

    Reply
  • August 24, 2014 at 10:04 am
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    Meadows is a retread from days past. We don’t need any more of that. By the way, what’s up with his hair ? McKinney is a relative unknown but impressed at the public forum.
    Whoever you support – VOTE TUESDAY !

    Reply
  • August 24, 2014 at 1:01 pm
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    Vote Tuesday!!!
    I know that this is preaching to the choir. But it is saddening to think that of the nearly 34,000 registered voters in the city of Port Orange so few will vote in the primary. Estimates and past elections indicate we may see as little as 7000 votes, my guess is higher than past primaries, because of recent events. Still we may see the decisions made by the 50% and one vote of one third of the voters.
    We should all be encouraging our friends, neighbors and people we meet to vote.
    No matter who wins, I would hope it be by a majority of the population, not just a portion that is largely motivated by interest groups. In a song by The Who “if you choose not to decide you have still made a choice” speaks volumes. Voter silence gives approval, to the result. Think of it like holding a meeting without a quorum.
    Newton White

    Reply
  • August 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm
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    Concerned Citizen,
    I don’t know (or care) who you are; I don’t know Mr. Meadows, but let’s be concerned with the candidates and the city…not the candidates hair style. People of Port Orange: PLEASE, stop with the bullying/name-calling, and stick to the subject(s) at hand. This is not jr. high.

    Reply
    • August 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm
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      I think the hair comments were not about bullying or name calling. I think his potential constituency were just speculating on his position on environmental issues. Some might be speculating that he is very passionate about environmental conservation and creating a natural habitat for indigenous bird species. By the looks of that nest on the top of his head it could be that he is making an extreme personal effort to provide indigenous bird species a safe nesting area to reproduce and care for their young; not to mention somewhere to poop.

      Reply
  • August 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm
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    Kay Tee…
    You are absolutely right…I apologize for my comment…it was unkind and mean spirited. I too want to keep it to the issues…I have many bad hair days and certainly would be crushed if anyone commented about my hair on this blog. My hair could easily be a suitable habitat for a good sized water fowl. I get having bad hair days. We all do. And none of us looks our best on POG TV. That was a low blow on my part. So if Jim or a supporter reads that post, please forgive me for being stupid. Mama raised me better than that.
    Dianne Templeton Gardner 🙁

    Reply
    • August 24, 2014 at 6:01 pm
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      Hey Diane, don’t beat yourself up over that comment. All the comments were pretty funny and sometimes a little levity is needed. I have been having a bad day for over 40 years. If I put a hat on poeple don’t recognize me.
      Bob Pohlmann

      Reply
      • August 24, 2014 at 6:49 pm
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        Good point Bob, I read this blog for the humor as much as to keep informed.
        Now Mr and Mrs Gardner should volunteer to join a story telling group. They both can really get derailed and tell somewhat of a story prior to pinpointing their point.

        Reply
  • August 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm
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    I just hope this council ends up with a leader, because our City could use some new leadership with some fresh ideas and vision. Status quo is a certain recipe for continued problems!

    Reply
    • August 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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      The leader on the council should be the mayor. What that effectively means is that unless Allen Green retires from the DIAS early then he has two more years as mayor and the city will be without effective political leadership unless he abdicates.
      There will be a constant war between the vicars of open and transparent governance and special interest politics that is bolstered by the mayor through back door manipulation. It is imperative that the major is neutered in his manipulative influence in selecting a permanent city manager and senior management team. I suspect with the exodus of Kisela and Lewis, the major will be looking for replacements that will become his future puppets.
      This will be the worst thing that can happen to the city because he will ruin them as effective managers in his last two years and the continuity of his influence will live on in an opaque and dysfunctional strategically selected upper management. The city will not ever do a positive turnaround if we are not able to divorce ourselves completely from the mayor’s legacy of cronyism and special interest.
      If the results of the upcoming election are kind to our citizens and the supporters of open and transparent governance then we can strategically extricate ourselves from the entrenched special interest cronyism in city management and politics that has unfortunately become a tradition of Port Orange. It will take a minimum of two years before you see the positive effects of this turnaround that is coincident with the end of the Allen Green era. Good luck at the polls because the results holds the only hope for the future of Port Orange.

      Reply
    • August 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm
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      Hey Tony, you have the right to your opinion. Personally, I believe Sonya will be an independent voice on council if elected. Like you, I am worried about the results of today’s election. The difference for me is if the unions get control of three votes.
      But guess what? No matter who wins, we will all survive and the city will march on. Good luck to everyone.
      “Tis better to have run and lost, than never run at all”.
      Bob Pohlmann

      Reply

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