City Commission chambers at City Hall was “campaign central” Aug. 1 as several candidates appeared at the Candidate Forum, produce by Citizens For Ormond Beach, a nonprofit civic group. It was attended by more than 200 people, mostly middle-age and older, who filled the seats and stood along the back wall.
Candidates gave statements and had one minute to take turns answering the same question put forward by the moderator.
The first group was candidates for the County Council District Four seat, which covers Ormond Beach.
Linda Bourquin-McIntyre said she was not a politician and believes county government does not represent the citizens.
“I’ve had enough of power brokers controlling everything,” she said.
Roy Johnson, a two-term Holly Hill mayor, thinks the county should be run as a business.
“Some people say if you gave the county the U.S. mint, they would still be in a bind,” he said.
Heather Post pointed to her background in law enforcement, saying she has the heart and mind of a detective and has always been a problem solver. She’s also a businesswoman, and understands budgeting, she said.
Al Smith, as the operator of Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory on Beach Street for 20 years, said he “understands how government works and how it doesn’t work.”
Roland Via, former Holly Hill mayor and city commissioner, pointed to his many years of service on various boards and levels of government.
“I’m the person that’s proven,” he said.
The homeless issue was put to the council candidates, and most said the county should take the lead on the issue. McIntire pointed out people are homeless for a variety of reasons, and their cases should be handled individually. Via said he had a financial solution, and it had to do with using community redevelopment area funds.
Also appearing were county chair candidates Jason Davis, Ed Kelley and Tom Laputka. Greg Gimbert was absent.
Kelley stressed the importance of working together, pointing out he worked with Councilman Doug Daniels on the improvements to the North U.S. 1 corridor, while Laputka emphasized the need for planned growth and more cohesiveness between cities.
Davis said he had heard a lot of promises, but the county chair can’t wave a magic gavel and accomplish things. He said it takes work to get things done, as he has been doing for three and a half years.
Carl Persis and Ray Sanchez are vying for School Board Distict 4, which covers Ormond Beach. The two had different attitudes toward teacher salaries, with Sanchez saying the school district is doing a good job but bonuses and merit raises should be used. Persis said teachers are underpaid and that’s why many are leaving the county.
Sanchez said he sees a lot of bureaucracy and the district needs leadership, while Persis said he will “reduce testing and increase learning.”
Persis said learning should begin earlier than Pre-K, because some children are far behind others. But Sanchez said early learning is up to the parents, and he didn’t want government interference.
Also appearing at the forum were candidates for supervisor of elections Bill Fyfe and Lisa Lewis; and candidates for county property appraiser, Larry Bartlett, H. Alan Burton and Michael Swanto.
CFOB also plans a debate in October before the general election. Visit cfobonline.com.
The primary election will be Aug. 30. Early voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 20 through 27. The Ormond Beach location will be Ormond Beach Regional Library, 30 S. Beach St.