Winter Park Chamber was “in the wrong” for loaded debate development question

Listen, if you know me you’d know that I’ve been fortunate enough to moderate plenty of debates in this town. You always read the questions beforehand to see if it’s appropriate, and you always take a look at yourself to see if you’re the person that should be asking it.

So, when a developer’s lobbyist throws a couple of jabs at local leaders during a mayoral debate, it’s going to stick out.

I’m of course talking about the feud between the Winter Park Commission and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. The chamber hosted a mayoral debate and chose to pick a fight about the Henderson Hotel with the commission (story HERE).

If you’re not up to speed, the Henderson Hotel was a poorly conceived project next to Lake Kilarney that would have backed up traffic and made matters even more crowded in Winter Park.

The developer pulled the project after people spoke out against it. So why are we still talking about this?

And why do we have someone from an organization that won’t even allow developers to pay their fair share in other Florida communities (story HERE) moderating this debate in a community like Winter Park?

Community debates should not be a stage to sort out grudges. Now the Winter Park Commission might retaliate. We got a proper fight here.

All of this is going on during the back drop of a crucial mayoral election, where there are so many other topics that need to be discussed.

And as for this debate, which you can watch below (the problems start at 46:36), it’s a set back for local politics. We need fair debates and organizations that know how to run them.

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