SPECIAL ELECTION ISSUE

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

More candidates share views in Times questionnaire

In this week’s issue, the Daytona Times presents more comments from candidates in races in Volusia County. See pages 3, 7, 9 and 10 for responses. Daytona Beach mayoral, city commission and sheriff’s candidates appeared in last week’s issue.

THE QUESTIONS

Question 1: What will be your priorities or top issues you will focus on if elected?

Question 2: According to the 2010 Census, Daytona Beach’s population fell to 61,000. The number of Whites living in the city dropped while the number of Blacks increased. Is this a problem? Why or why not? What would you attribute to this decrease in population?

Question 3: Another form of Black College Reunion (BCR) known as “Spring Bling” is scheduled to return to Daytona Beach in April. In its heydey, BCR attracted between 100,000 to 200,000 mostly young and mostly Black visitors to the area every year over the course of a single weekend. Are you willing to embrace the return of such an event? Why or why not?

Question 4: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?

VOLUSIA COUNTY CLERK OF THE COURT

DIANE MATOUSEK
1.  We have consistently moved the Clerk’s office forward with increased applied technology and the highest level of customer service. My three goals for my next term include completing the task of making the office entirely accessible through self-directed online requests. I also want to improve the efficiency of our telephone resource center so as to provide information more quickly, thereby reducing on-hold time. Finally, I want to launch a community information program to educate the community as to what the Clerk’s office does and how it can be of service to residents.

2.  Changes in the racial composition of a community are natural, just as shifting growth patterns are natural. However, regardless of changes in the balance between Blacks and Whites, leaders must ensure that the community is safe and prosperous. The Clerk’s office is committed to serving every corner of the community and all ethnic groups.

3. The differences between my opponent and me are as stark as can be. My resume presents decades of experience in public records management, continuing education and community service. I have managed the Clerk’s office with efficiency and exceptional customer service. I have operated under extremely tight budget constraints, yet still come in under budget year after year. I have been aggressive in applying technology to efficiencies in the office. And I manage the Clerk’s six offices, 270+ employees and $10+ million dollar budget office with integrity.

My opponent, on the other hand has no experience managing anything more than her husband’s small law office. She has no experience in managing a large staff. She has no experience in managing a complex budget. And she has demonstrated a shameless lack of integrity by conducting a dishonest and misleading campaign.

4.  I have a long record of distinguished service as the Clerk of the Court. I put a premium on honesty, integrity and customer service. I pledge to continue to serve the community with the same commitment for my next term.

•••

CHRISTINE SANDERS
1.  My top priorities are to reduce spending and improve customer service. When faced with budget cuts, the incumbent Clerk created 23 higher paying positions and currently utilizes one supervisor for every five employees.  In an effort to reduce spending, I will restructure the top-heavy workforce, transition to a paperless system and have litigants sign for their notices while in court.

The incumbent claimed while campaigning over the summer that by Labor Day, a long-awaited upgrade would be made to the Criminal Case Computer System. Labor Day has come and gone and this upgrade still has not occurred! Improvements to customer service will be achieved by updating the technology and eliminating the existing call center and 20-minute wait times.

2. White or Black, a decrease in population is a problem. Volusia County is home to several colleges and universities, yet there is a lack of employment opportunities for graduates in our area. Without job prospects, we are essentially exporting our children.

3.  I have 13 years experience in the legal field. I’m a former Deputy Clerk of Court and have worked as a legal assistant and managed a law office. I bring the right mix of public service work and private practice experience to manage the Clerk’s office.

The incumbent clerk is double dipping with a second retirement.  If re-elected, she will retire with a lump sum of $601,000 in addition to her annual pension of $110,000.

Replacing her in this election will instantly save taxpayers $164,527 that will no longer have to be paid into her golden parachute.

When asked about her excessive absenteeism and how many days she has missed, the incumbent responded, “I cannot tell you how much time I have been out of the office.”
I will have a hands-on approach to effective leadership, will have a presence in the courthouses and be accessible to the public.

4.  For 20 years, the incumbent clerk has failed to deliver savings to the taxpayers while the level of service is on the decline. As your fiscal conservative, I will bring responsible spending and better management to the Clerk’s office.

VOLUSIA COUNTY CHAIR

CARL PERSIS
1. One of my top issues will be to grow the local economy by assisting small business owners, who want to expand. I want to develop an adjunct small business advisory committee, whose members are successful businessmen and businesswomen, from each geographic area and who represent our county’s racial demographics. The purpose of this committee would be to make recommendations to the Volusia County Council on ways local government can reduce the cost of doing and expanding business in Volusia County.

Expanding the economy will improve our tax base, reduce unemployment, and increase property values. In addition to helping local businesses, I want Volusia County to be a partner with each city and Team Volusia, to make sure we are working together, not against each other, when recruiting companies to locate in our area.

2. We must continue to look for ways to make county government as efficient as possible.

One way to do this is to examine how fire and rescue services can be merged on a regional basis. Currently, we have duplication of facilities and personnel, which is wasteful. I want to reduce the tax burden without sacrificing service levels.

Issues related to roads and transportation must be addressed.

Within the first quarter of next year, I would call for a countywide transportation summit.

This meeting would include the public, city officials, the Florida Department of Transportation, SunRail and Votran’s officials, and the Federal Department of Transportation representatives. Every entity needs to identify the road concerns for their area. Everyone needs to see the broader picture. We need to know the challenges we face and understand how far we have fallen behind. Then, we must explore potential funding sources and build community consensus on how to pay for our transportation needs and improve public transportation.

We must invest in our predominately Black neighborhoods and schools. We must have job training to reduce the high rate of Black unemployment. All of these factors will serve to reduce crime and make our streets and neighborhoods safer.

Black and White people want what is best for their families. As adults with children attain more wealth they may choose to relocate because within the city limits of Daytona Beach there does not appear to be as many newer housing developments close to schools graded A, as there are in other nearby cities.  This could be contributing to the situation as described in the question.

3. I am in favor of special events, which serve to boost our local economy, however, big events such as Bike Week require an enormous police presence. The cost to provide this police protection and keep traffic moving safely should be borne partially by the businesses, which benefit financially from the event.

I am not familiar with Spring Bling, however, I would like to know more. One of the best ways to learn about the impact of a special event is too visit an area where the event currently takes place and discuss the matter with the area’s business owners, police chief, city officials, and the general public to learn the pros and cons. Before embracing any event, which could adversely affect our local residents, we need to know the details so we can minimize the negative related issues and accentuate the positive economic impact.

4. As a 57-year resident of Volusia County, who has served the public in a variety of ways for 35 years, I am better prepared and more qualified than my opponent to serve as the Volusia County Chair.

I was a public school principal for 28 years and still love helping children, their parents, and grandparents. While serving as a principal I was elected, in 1995, to the Ormond Beach City Commission. In 1999, I was elected mayor of Ormond Beach and in 2001, re-elected mayor of Ormond Beach.

In 2004, I was named Volusia County Principal of the Year.

That year, I was also elected to the Volusia County Council, District 4. In 2008, I was re-elected to the Volusia County Council, without opposition.

In contrast, my opponent has never held any public elected office at any level.  In fact, he has never volunteered to serve on a city or county advisory board. Now, he wants to be the County Chair, which is the highest municipal elected office position in Volusia County.

With a nearly $600 million budget, over 3000 employees, and more than 40 departments, the County Chair must have knowledge of where we have been, the present situation, and the challenges we face.

With my seven years of experience as a city commissioner and mayor and my seven plus years of experience serving on the county council, I have the public policy experience to lead the county council, which will include a minimum of three new members, who will be looking for direction from the County Chair. Again, this is not a position for a novice.

Given my background, I am better prepared and more qualified than my opponent to serve as Volusia County Chair.

•••

JASON DAVIS
1. As I have stated during our campaign, I will work on making our county government a tax-reducing County Government, starting with reducing our fuel taxes. This will make us competitive with our neighboring counties and encourage our visitors and citizens to stay here in Volusia County.

2. I attribute the decline in population in Daytona Beach because of the downturn in our economy, and the excessive costs and regulations imposed by our county government. When companies and businesses close, that leaves thousands out of work, and they cannot afford to live in the area. I have seen people moving out of our county, and relocating to a less expensive area.

3. Special events are a major form of revenue for our county, bed taxes increase, sales increase, fuel tax revenue increases. As a businessman, I know that the ends must justify the means. If the cost of security, and clean up are nominal, and it creates a positive flow of revenue then I am in favor of any event.

4. I am not a career politician. My experience is in business, and I was trained by the United States Army in leadership. These are two very important traits that are needed in our county government, not a career politician. It is time to elect someone that is not part of the problem, but part of a solution.

VOLUSIA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 4

LINDA COSTELLO
Question: What will be your priorities or top issues you will focus on if elected? Why?

Answer: First, let me say I fundamentally believe there is greatness in every person. Next, let me say I pursued a Master’s Degree in Social Work because the field of social work emphasizes the worth of all people. Add to that, I believe the role and goal of public education is to help each student identify, develop and fulfill his/her individual potential.

I propose:
1. Academic achievement for every student by duplicating models of success in academic achievement being used in other high achieving counties and states.

2. Develop a budget that is not only efficient, but effective, in that the use of taxpayer dollars in accomplishing the goal of highly achieving students. More money is not the answer. We have a priority crisis, not a budget crisis.

3. Define the role of technology for our present and future students. Technology must be used to individualize learning and create a pathway to success for every student.

4. Neither money nor bureaucracies help people. People help people. I would encourage, strengthen and grow community efforts to help students learn, i.e. career academies, Food Brings Hope.

We must create a pathway to success for every child. To do that, we need empowered principals who can create a maximum climate for teachers to teach and students to learn.

Q: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?

A: My opponent has had 20 years to solve our education crisis. We’re still in crisis. I believe it’s time for a change. My degree in social work gives me a unique perspective and experience in solving problems. Social workers teach to empower and to overcome obstacles. I have the qualifications, experience, passion, fresh perspective, and willingness to take a stand on what is best for every student in Volusia County.

The biggest challenge facing the school board is the academic achievement of our students.

The graduation rate for the 2011-12 school year was 77%, down from the previous year.

Volusia County is ranked 34th out of 67 counties on the FCAT.  The 4th grade writing FCAT had an 80% failure rate before the standard was lowered. Statistics reveal lower results in the black community. The administration began the year with implementation of a new grading system.  Poor planning in the implementation process required the administration to go back to last years grading system in the middle of the first grading quarter.  This must change.

My Master’s Degree in Social Work uniquely qualifies me to be the best candidate.  Social workers are trained systems analysts, specifically trained to analyze systems of people.

Our public schools include students, parents, taxpayers, the local school board, as well as, state and federal government. A social worker first gets a clear picture of the goal.  The goal, again is to help every student identify, develop, and fulfill their individual potential.

Then we analyze the role of each system, assess whether their functioning at full capacity, identify changes that need to be made, assess again and make necessary adjustments.

Q: What are your suggestions to address the discrepancies between the predominantly Black and White areas of the city.

A: In short, the best way to address discrepancies is to provide the best educational opportunity for every student – whatever it takes. A good education is the most significant factor in economic success.

Q: What can you say to ensure the Black community that you will make a difference, be fair and can be trusted to keep your word?

A: The best education for every student is my goal. Moving from standardized students to individualized learning can create a pathway to success for all students.

I do not agree that giving bonuses to high performing schools is effective or fair. The “A” schools already have an unfair advantage because of demographics. Giving bonuses to those with the most disadvantages those with the least.  I would lobby to distribute money with the ‘greatest need’ in mind.

Neither money nor bureaucracies help people. People help people.  I will identify those communities who truly care about their children and are willing to prove it by their efforts. I will organize and bring resources together to make a difference in the lives of children and their education, Black, White or any nationality.

•••

JUDY CONTE
Volusia County School Board member Judy Conte did not respond to the Daytona Times’ questionnaire by presstime.

VOLUSIA COUNTY JUDGE

ADAM WARREN
1. My top priorities if elected judge are simple, to follow the law while serving on the bench with honesty and integrity.  Judicial office is very different from other kinds of elected offices. The ethical rules prohibit me from commenting on how I might rule on cases that might come before me. What I can do is represent our community’s values on the bench, serve as a judge with honesty and integrity on the bench, and follow the law.

2. We live in a very diverse community, and it is this diversity that makes our community a place that I want to live in.

3. I do not feel as a judicial candidate that I should comment on local political issues.

4. I feel that I am the best candidate to be Volusia County’s next county judge.  I have spent my entire legal career serving as an Assistant State Attorney, working to make our community a safer place to live. My father and mother, Dan and Stasia Warren, taught me about the importance of personal character, professional ethics, and commitment to public service. I have what it takes to serve on the bench. I will serve with honesty and integrity and follow the law.  I will represent the values of Volusia County and bring common sense to the bench.

•••

CHRISTOPHER KELLY
1. Judicial candidates are not permitted to speak about issues they could someday have to consider in court. In general, I view the position of Volusia County Judge as an important office not only to the judiciary, but to the community.  I am committed to bringing the highest level of continued professionalism and ethics to the bench.

Relative to the operation of our courts, two items likely will command my attention. In an era of shrinking budgets and increasing dockets, technology can help maintain efficiency.

To the extent that I can influence the integration of technology into judicial operation, I will do so. Finally, throughout my career, I have enjoyed success in re-structuring selected processes in case assignment and management for the purpose of increased efficiency and will look for such opportunities in our courts.

2. It is the sworn duty of a judge to fairly and impartially apply the law based on the facts of the case before them.  It is the role of the Judge in a particular case to apply the law equally to all.

I do believe that the courts need to be aware and understand issues faced by the community as a whole to include various nuances of cultural and ethnic groups. These issues are best addressed by all of the participants in the system.

3. As a judicial candidate, I would not be able to take a position one way or another with regard to this event and will rely on my answers to other questions in this survey that may address any related issue.

4. My experience has provided me an especially well-rounded perspective and has prepared me well for the position of Volusia County Judge.

Work Ethic. From a young age, and throughout my life, my experiences and real-life education would prove invaluable to holding judicial office.  I learned the value of a strong work ethic at the young age of ten with my first job as a newspaper carrier and that work ethic followed me throughout my career.  I have never been satisfied with maintaining the status quo when taking on a new job, and my devotion and hard work often results in taking the task at hand to the next level.

Time Management.  At the age of 19, I learned important lessons in time management.   I was carrying a full load of classes at Daytona Beach Community College and I was working full-time managing the front office at the Treasure Island Inn, a full-service 250-room hotel.  I also found time to volunteer daily as an assistant football coach at Father Lopez High School.  This experience taught me at an early age how to prioritize and effectively multi-task, both of which have continued to serve me well throughout my education and career.

Objectivity. As a prosecutor, I learned to be objective and independent in my decision-making.  While it is of the utmost importance to seek and consider the opinion of victims and law enforcement officers, and also to listen to and investigate the claims of defense counsel, it is even more important to the integrity of our justice system that the prosecutor remain objective and independent in the course of the decision making process.  At times there is significant pressure favoring one decision over another, but it is the job of the prosecutor to make the decision based on the provable facts and the law, despite the criticism that may follow.

Temperament. I have followed a philosophy throughout my career of treating people with respect and maintaining an even temper. And now even more so as a Managing Attorney, I have learned increased patience.   A significant portion of my time is spent dealing with problem situations.  It is important in resolving these situations that I not add to the problem by jumping to conclusions or placing blame.  It is important for me to remain even-tempered and work through the situation to determine whether the problem is real or just perceived.  If the problem is real, we then work through to identify the cause of the problem and find solutions thereto.

Experience. My broad range of experience in both criminal and civil practice would be invaluable in me holding judicial office.  I have had the experience of managing high-volume dockets in the criminal courts, and the experience of dealing with the issues related to management of a small law firm.  Probably no other experience, though, has prepared me more for judicial office than my current assignment of managing over 20 prosecutors and the 30 support staff that work with them.

Commitment to the community. My community service includes serving as a Trustee of the Basilica of St. Paul Endowment, a member of the Father Lopez High School Board, a Commissioner of the Daytona Beach Housing Authority, a board member of the Central Florida Community Development Corporation, a board member for the Anti-Recidivist Effort, Inc, a member of the Daytona Beach Planning Board, a member of the Daytona Beach Quarterback Club, a member of the Daytona Beach Track Club and an active marathoner and marathon trainer.

It is all of these qualities in conjunction with my integrity and ethics that make me uniquely qualified to hold the position of Volusia County Judge.

VOLUSIA COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2

JOSHUA J. WAGNER
1. Economic Development is an important issue that every candidate running for office should be discussing and have a strategic plan for. It was the focus of my 2008 campaign, my four years on the County Council and will continue to be going forward.

There are multiple steps that have already taken place and need to continue in order to increase economic development in District 2 and in Volusia County, including:
Continue to reduce property taxes: When I ran for office in 2008, I said I would help our residents and business owners by reducing taxes. The present County Council has been very responsible in doing so. In 2009, we reduced property taxes by $1,800,000. In 2010, we reduced property taxes by $22,300,000. In 2011, we reduced property taxes by $118,000. However, we would have reduced it by nearly $8,000,000 more if we did not consolidate dispatch services.

Citizens were able to save by the reduction of the expense in their respective cities as well as the consolidated savings. The reductions were made to reoccurring expenses; therefore, the Volusia County taxpayers saved over $50,000,000 in property taxes since 2009.  We need to continue to reduce the tax burdens on the residents and businesses to increase economic development in our community.

Continue to find efficiencies in government: I will work to continue to find efficiencies and reduce the tax burden on our residents and businesses. Creating and maintaining an efficient government is the first step in economic development. We have done things like reducing maintenance cost for the Informational Technology Division through in-house repairs and new technology to save $40,000 annually; we contracted to purchase natural gas from an unbundled retailer for the Ocean Center and Branch Jail and saved the County and estimated $100,000 to $150,000 per year; and we added Flagler County, City of Daytona Beach, City of Port Orange, City of Ponce Inlet, and EVAC to the bulk fuel purchasing bid to save an estimated $1.5 million dollars over the five-year contract. We need to continue to instill a “private-business” model as we operate the county government as efficiently as possible.

Speed up processes (i.e. Permitting): Anything we can do to speed up permitting will help motivate companies to move here and expand. It will also help get them up, running and profitable faster, both benefiting the company and local economy.

Support our local companies with a local preference ordinance: I sponsored an ordinance giving local and regional companies preference in bidding for County contracts. The local preference ordinance gives qualified bidders a 3% preference, with another possible 2% if the business also uses local subcontractors. The goal is to promote our local companies that have employees that live in our neighborhoods and to keep all the dollars circulating through our community.

Educate local companies on how to bid on government contracts: I do everything I can to help local companies obtain work with government. For example, we provide quarterly workshops for vendors interested in doing business with the County by the Purchasing and Contracts Division. These workshops included information on how to register as a vendor and respond to solicitations.

Support our local companies to help them grow: Oftentimes we are asked by local businesses to help them expand. For example, we approved a $120,000 incentive package for Teledyne Oil and Gas to create the company’s research and development headquarters in Daytona Beach. This expansion created approximately 100 new jobs.

A new Business Incubator Program: We partnered with the University of Central Florida (UCF) to create a Business Incubator. Housed at Daytona Beach International Airport, the program provides resources and support to accelerate growth for new companies. Many communities focus on stealing business from other communities.  The reason the Incubator is so exciting is that the focus in on growing local start up companies. We need to continue this program and support the companies after their graduation from the program.

Hold the advertising authorities more accountable and focus on ROI: Tourism is a huge part of our economic development community. There are two different areas: leisure and convention. I have been very active in this area. There was a significant lack of collaboration and teamwork among people making the decisions with the bed tax revenue. Although we are limited in our authority, we need to continue to focus on both areas of travel and make sure the ROI is always being considered.  The County Council needs to take a no-nonsense approach with evaluation of the budget.

Focus on Transportation Oriented Development (TOD) near the SunRail stations: SunRail was started before I was elected in 2009. However, it did come before me for a vote.  I voted against it. Not because I do not think it is a good idea, but because I have concerns about the lack of a dedicated funding source. Now that SunRail is moving forward, the focus needs to be on TOD’s. The only way to help pay for subsidy is through the property taxes it will generate. Another available revenue stream would be sales tax. However, the formula used for sales tax is unfavorable to our local government. Yet, it should be mentioned.
Lay the foundation to get SunRail To East Volusia: I have serious concerns about the viability of SunRail unless it comes to East Volusia County. I have been very vocal and proactive in laying the foundation to get SunRail to East Volusia. We can create an intermodal transportation system at the Daytona Beach International Airport. I will continue to make this a priority for the next four years.

Help create and support a public/private Economic Development Group: We assisted in forming the new public-private partnership known as “Team Volusia” which includes the county, cities, local chambers of commerce and businesses. This partnership provides additional economic outreach aimed at bringing companies and jobs to our county.

2. It is a problem that the overall population is decreasing in Daytona Beach. I believe the primary reason is a severe lack of investment in the city. There needs to be a significant focus on re-urbanization.

3. We are a tourist destination and I support all events that bring people into our community.

4. My record and experience at the county government level coupled with my experience as a local business owner make me well-rounded and ideal candidate. There are many actions, projects and ordinances I am proud of since joining the Council in 2009.  I have voted every year to reduce property taxes. This was a reduction of over 24 million dollars, saving reoccurring property taxes of approximately 74 million dollars. I also sponsored a human rights ordinance and domestic partnership registry.

Another important initiative I sponsored was a local business preference ordinance. This has already been a positive local economic development tool in keeping contracts in Volusia County and Central Florida. Other economic developments efforts I have supported include: the Business Incubator, Team Volusia and the Economic Gardening Program. My most important accomplishment however has been to provide accessible, accountable and actionable representation to all citizens of Volusia County.

•••

NANCY EPPS
1. Below are the issues I think are the most important in improving the lives of the citizens of Volusia County. But before any of them can be successfully addressed, there needs to be a new spirit of collegiality on the County Council. The contentiousness and self-servingness of the two political parties, here and across the nation, has put government entities into nearly full stall. I want to be able to act on behalf of the citizens, not a party, and to lend a voice of reasoned compromise to our Council.

Here are the issues whose problems can be solved if we on the council begin to act as a professional and effective legislative body.
• Attention to social issues and human needs, including education, housing and health care disparities among minorities and veterans.
• Support to the fullest extent possible the marvelous colleges and universities in our county, and work with them to develop job-generating educational programs for our citizens.
• Strengthen relationships and partnerships with the business community to build a stronger economy.
• Closely scrutinize county government growth, to be sure that any added expenditures are based on necessity.
• Demand guaranteed safety on our streets and beaches for residents and visitors – children, adults and seniors.
• Preservation of the county’s historic and archaeological treasures.

2. Any loss of population is a cause for concern…but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “problem.” Much of the decrease can be attributed to the economy, and I hope that the increasing enrollment at B-CU is related to some, if not all, of the Black population increase.

That would be a very positive indicator.

Also, I believe that with cooperative efforts between everyone – Whites, African-Americans, educators, property owners, business people – we can form creative partnerships that will result in the betterment of our citizens and our neighbors. That is why Dr. Edison Jackson, current president of my alma mater – Bethune-Cookman University, and I are creating a coalition to improve, enhance and beautify Mary McLeod Boulevard from Nova to Ridgewood. Hopefully this sort of action will become a model for many similar undertakings around the county.

3. I am happy to embrace “Spring Bling”…with the cooperation of the business community and law enforcement that is necessary for any special event. It should be both fun and an opportunity for development. The caveat I would add is that we demand the respect from everyone involved, from our governmental and business entities and our guests – the respect that our beloved late Mayor Yvonne Scarlett-Golden demanded for our community.

4. Along with being ethical, honest and having no personal agenda, I have both the experience, knowledge, and independence that are needed on the County Council. I have the experience in government to be an effective voice on the County Council. As Ponce Inlet mayor, I showed how much can get done if elected officials are committed to problem solving instead of reelection or party-driven issues. During my tenure as mayor of Ponce Inlet, the city’s budget was cut by 28.4 percent (over $2 million) without reducing needed services. The dollar amount is irrelevant to the current race due to differences in town and county budgets, but the ratio of 28.4% is relevant in that an equivalent decrease in county taxes would equal $164 million.

Armed with my Master’s Degree in Business Administration, coupled with my experience as laboratory director of the 45-employees and multi-million dollar budget of Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach, I am confident I can bring a well-informed voice into the task of helping to manage the complex business that is Volusia County. It takes more than election-season promises to address the difficult budget decisions the county faces, and to find creative ways to accomplish more with less.

In addition to service on many county and community boards, I have lobbied for our county in Tallahassee. We need all the friends we can get and I am committed to our county gaining the confidence and cooperation of all of our fellow entities.

DAYTONA BEACH COMMISSIONER ZONE 4

ROBERT GILLILAND
1: What will be your priorities or top issues you will focus on if elected?

While there are still many opportunities for improvement, Daytona Beach is heading in the right direction. Taxes and crime are down.  Investment and jobs are up. I firmly believe that having a robust local economy is the key to achieving our goals. In short, I would continue looking for ways to improve efficiency in order to lower taxes, increase public safety and encourage economic development.

2: Actually, the demographic changes were not great in magnitude. When you look at the age distribution of those that no longer live in our great city, it is clear that the loss was due to the end of our housing boom. The real tragedy was that many of those that left were families with children going to Volusia County Schools. School funding is driven by number of students.  When those families moved, the funding for our schools dropped significantly.

We need to get more families living our community to fix this!

3: Actually, Daytona Beach does not support any event. The races are NASCAR, Bike Week is the Chamber of Commerce, and Biketoberfest is the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Private sector promoters put events on our city dozens of times a year. The only time that the city gets involved is when the event sponsor wants to utilize a city facility. I have not yet seen any requests from this group. I look forward to seeing their plans.

4: Experience. I have been involved with public policy at the federal, state and local level since 1990. Since 2005 I have had the honor of serving as the Daytona Beach City Commissioner representing Zone 4. I am Daytona Beach’s representative on the Volusia Transportation Planning Organization where I serve as Chairman. The relationships that I have built over the years give me unique opportunities to create partnerships with many public and private entities that benefit Daytona Beach.

•••

undefinedTHOMAS A. KACZKA

1. As we stand up and look around, we cannot help but take notice that Daytona Beach is still very much an attractive and livable community.  As to property values, unfortunately, the economy is at fault for the downturn in values… I have faith however that our nation’s economic outlook and our city’s economic outlook will rebound.

Yes, there are areas in our city that are in need of clean-up and improvement, there are no easy or quick fix solutions for the problems that exist.  For far too long this city, as well as others, has relentlessly fought the battle to try to treat the diseases of apathy and complacency that have infected our run-down and economically depressed neighborhoods. This city needs to be more proactive by directing its resources to prevent the causes and conditions that breed apathy and complacency and replace them with visions of hope for the future.

The City of Daytona Beach is at a critical juncture to either find new sources of revenue to provide for the delivery of basic city services or to be forced to pare down existing services… however, of utmost importance and an absolute need is for the city to act to restore public confidence in the American system of government (paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln) “of the people, for the people and by the people.”

To deal with these two issues, we must insure that the quality of services delivered by the city to its residents is not diminished. …we must insure that public safety is not compromised by under-funding police and fire budgets…, and we must solve problems rather than avoid problems.

2. Should I perceive the drop in the White population vis-a-vie the rise in Black population as a problem?   Quite frankly, NO!

I feel it necessary to make this statement…, “White flight is not occurring in Daytona Beach.’’

Daytona Beach is an old, southern predominantly “White’’ city… and without sounding too crude or morbid, people die and as a consequence certain segments of an established segment of society as a result of the natural processes of life will experience a decline in population.  Case in point. In my neighborhood during the past year we experienced the loss of seven residents… those souls left spouses that chose to leave Daytona Beach and return to their respective hometowns.

The economy affects a city’s ability to keep and maintain population, this city and county have extraordinarily high foreclosure rates, people lose their jobs, cannot find work, lose their homes, families then pack up and move away.

The annual census report… just how accurate are those numbers. Personally I am of the opinion that this city is experiencing some growth in both racial groups. In recent years we have seen the developments, catering to the younger generation of both racial groups, of Andros Isle,  Integra Shores, Cape Morris Cove, Carolina Lake Apartments

and the revitalized Granite Garden Home Apartments.

 

3. Would I be willing to embrace the return of a BCR type event to Daytona Beach?  YES, I would. Speaking, if I may as a potential elected representative of our city, any event that would “showcase” our city with all it has to offer and at the same time result in economic benefit is an absolute necessity.

4. I will be a “Full-Time” Commissioner.

  • I will be the un-relenting voice of all the people of Daytona Beach for what is fair, just and equitable.
  • I will fight for the fair and equitable delivery of city services for all the residents of Daytona Beach
  • I will be accountable only to the people.

I served the citizens of my hometown Chicago for over 30 years with professionalism, integrity, strong moral and ethical conviction, and dedication as a proud member of the Chicago Police Department…

As a public servant, I swore before God and the citizens of Chicago that my fundamental duty as a public servant was to serve all People… to be honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, to never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions, and to recognize my Public Office as a Public Trust to be held so long as I am true to the Ethics of Public Service, to my beliefs and the beliefs of the people for and in their best interests.

VOLUSIA COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4

DOUG DANIELS
1. We need to attract high wage business and we need to redevelop our decaying tourist industry. To attract high wage jobs, we need to develop an economic development plan, one in which the benefits and burdens are shared equitably, one that bridges the county’s endemic mistrust. We have had our opportunities and we have missed them.  We cannot let that happen again.

Economic development requires unity. We need Team Volusia to become a strong economic development organization, one that shows we are serious, that we are ready to grow beyond our tourism roots. Its role and the roles of the county and the CEO Cabinet need to be better defined, avoiding duplication and turf wars.

Redevelopment of Daytona Beach’s core tourist area is a critical part of any county economic development plan.  Its image, for good or ill, affects us all.  The county needs to encourage the city’s beachside redevelopment, something that requires political will and the sustained commitment of both the city and the county. If we get it going again, and keep it going, we will create thousands of jobs and enhance our ability to attract more, better paying jobs.

2. I see no problem with the city’s demographic makeup. Our problem is our terrible economy.

3. Daytona’s special events are city issues, not county. Let me say, however, that I consistently have opposed all spring break events.  They consistently have caused trouble while adding nothing to our success.

4.   I have more experience.

•••

SHANNON MCLEISH
1. My top priorities are addressing the foreclosure crisis, blight, jobs (and pay) through every way possible to help our struggling citizens families, communities, small businesses.

I am deeply committed to this community and was involved in trying to address these issues before running for office – and in fact, it is my sole motivation for running for office. We have been using the same approach, unduly influenced by the most powerful of this county, for the last 20+ years and it clearly is not working to the benefit of all.

2. It is a problem that our overall population is dropping, though it is good to hear we are becoming a more integrated community. That people are leaving indicates that our desirability and affordability as a place to live are declining. This is due to the fact that our core areas are blighted, we have extremely high foreclosure rates, low pay and high unemployment. People all over the community are suffering. It is my top priority to address this, which we cannot do if the decisions about how to best use our shrinking funds are unduly slanted by the most powerful in our county.

3. Yes. To do anything else would be discriminatory. All groups should be equally welcomed, regardless of race.

4. My motivation, my previous involvement in our community as a social justice advocate, and the fact that I’m not beholden to the powerful of this county.

FLORIDA SENATE DISTRICT 8

FRANK BRUNO
1. Education: Over the past few years, cuts in education funding at the state level has created a   big problem for our schools systems.  Even though my opponent would say that they put a billion into education, what she fails to tell you is that she cut billions of dollars from our public schools.

This has created a huge funding crisis for our public schools.  This means that communities have to try to self impose taxes in order to come up with the difference.  This is unacceptable.  Additionally, the state has cut funding for higher education, making it more expensive for our kids to attend public colleges.  Education needs to be a priority in the state of Florida, and it is not today.

Economic Development: To create jobs and economic growth, we need to be serious about investing in our teachers and children. Cutting education funding is harmful to economic growth. For example, the cuts to public education have had a devastating effect on our ability to provide businesses with an educated workforce. We need to be serious about economic development by always remembering that we must invest in our teachers and students.

The state should also support our colleges and universities that provide job training; enhance the innovation of new technologies and create business incubators to encourage entrepreneurships. Additionally, the State should work with financial institutions to provide access to capital to encourage business growth and development.

Protecting Florida’s land and water: Tallahassee must always balance economic development with protecting our natural resources. The focus needs to be on attracting and rewarding businesses that invest in the community’s future. I believe our land and water are part of our quality of life, part of who we are, and provide hundreds of local tourism jobs that are important to our economy. I’ll always stand up for our land and water.

2: We need to work together to make sure that all our citizens have safe housing, low taxes and a good quality of life.  This includes enhancing the public transportation system such as the Sun Rail, which creates job opportunities, transit oriented development and access for all.

3: This is a local issue that is decided by the City Commission.  However, being in the Florida Senate, I would work with the city to make it an enjoyable event.

4: I have spent 20 years working to improve the lives of our citizens. My motto, “Helping People Everyday” has been my guiding principle throughout my career. I support issues that benefit and improve quality of life for everyone from our most disadvantaged, senior citizens and working Americans.

I support education as the key to economic development and creating jobs for the future. As a small businessman myself for 23 years, I know what it means to make payroll every week. As the Chair of the County in Volusia County, I have worked to balance the budget during these difficult times and did so without laying anyone off.

As your next senator, I pledge to build consensus in Tallahassee, have an open door policy to listen to your issues and be fair in my deliberations. I will bring balance to the senate to achieve the best possible outcomes for the people and communities I represent.

•••

DOROTHY HUKILL
Dorothy Hukill, a member of Florida’s House of Representatives and former Port Orange mayor, did not respond to the Daytona Times’ questionnaire by the newspaper’s presstime.

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