League of Women Voters of Seminole County

Making Democracy Work

Leave a comment

Excerpts from this weeks Audubon Newsletter pertaining to Amendment 1

STS-95_Florida_From_SpaceLeague members often participate in other organizations, one of which is Audubon.  As a Florida Audubon member, this week I received a newsletter, and I believe that the excerpt below regarding the implementation of Amendment 1 will be of interest to LWVS members as we, too begin to monitor the funds distribution approved in Amendment 1.

Zelda Ladan,
1st VP, LWVS

“In the Senate, the focus was on Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) as he was sworn in to lead the Senate for the next two years.
In his acceptance speech, President Gardiner emphasized the importance ofAmendment 1 and the challenges ahead in implementing this important constitutional amendment. Recognizing the need to also fund other programs that depend on documentary stamp tax revenues, such as affordable housing and transportation, President Gardiner was quick to add that the Senate “has the ability to make a significant impact on the water and natural resources of our state.” He ended on a promising note saying he “will honor the wishes of the voters.”
Over in the House, there were many new members to swear in as over 20 freshmen legislators took the oath of office. Representative Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) will be the new Speaker of the House of Representatives and he stressed the importance of working together.
Among the many subject areas called out, the Speaker also included protecting our natural resources. Earlier this fall, Audubon was invited to submit our suggestions for meaningful water policy changes to be considered during the 2015 Legislative session. Click here to see the letter for a sampling of the issues we feel deserve legislative consideration.
Audubon members are expected to be key players in all water related issues that will be discussed in the new year. Stay engaged with these emails and join the Advocate community on Facebook and Twitter. “
Source: November 2014 Audubon Advocate newsletter

Leave a comment

Did you have trouble getting out to the polls this election?

There’s a site that has been created to help make this easier. It’s called TurboVote and was created by Seth Flaxman.

The goal of the site is to help voters fill out the forms for voter registration and send text messages or email reminders about deadlines for absentee ballots and a reminder for election day telling you where your polling location is.

Check out the NPR story here and TurboVote.

I know I’m going to give it a try. Will you? Tell us what you think?

Submitted by Michelle Palmer,
Comm Comm Member

Leave a comment

Break the Silence – Protect the Woodlands

Florida’s beautiful woodlands will soon become dangerous for hikers and nature lovers looking for respite. If the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has its way, and likely it will, hunters will soon be allowed to use silencer-equipped rifles and pistols when stalking deer and other animals. forest
Proponents of the silencers hope to entice younger people to the “sport.” The claim is not only will it protect the ears of the hunters, but nearby neighbors won’t be bothered when hunters come close to residential areas. Of course, this so-called protection of the neighbors will make them less cognizant of nearby gunfire.

The LWVF/LWVF Gun Safety and Natural Resources Committees are teaming up to address this issue. Please join us as we gather in the Orchid Room at Leu Gardens at 7:00 P.M. on November 13, 2014 to learn we what can do about this threat to public safety. Well-known environmental attorney, Christopher Byrd, will join us to lead the discussion.

Let’s start standing up to reckless gun enthusiasts. It’s time we say enough is enough!

We look forward to seeing you on November 13th.

Leave a comment


October Hot Topics: Florida's Standardized Testing

October Hot Topics Guest Speaker Kathleen Oropeza spoke on Florida’s Standardized Testing. L to R: Trish Ladan, Kathleen Oropeza, LaVonne Grayson, Zelda Ladan

I’m an education voter and this election is too important to ignore.  In many ways, this is a pivotal election for Seminole County, as it could determine whether we continue down the path of de-funding traditional public education, expanding vouchers and charter schools or whether we properly support and fund public education.  The votes you cast for Governor, State Representative, School Board Member and Senator will, in many ways, be determinative with regard to the future of public education in our County and State.

Whatever you do, however you vote, please make an informed decision and vote.  As Florida teacher, Lucia Baez said, “You don’t want to wake up a day after the election and think you didn’t do anything to help provide a better future for your family and your students.”

As we all know, political ads and mailers do not provide accurate, balanced information, but unfortunately, these annoying negative campaign ads and mailers will only increase between now and the election.  Most political ads grossly distort the truth and play on emotion over logic, which is why it is incumbent upon us all to take some time and do some due diligence to understand where candidates stand on all of the issues that are important to you, to Seminole County and to Florida in general.  If you are an education voter like me, some suggested possible sources of information are the LWV Voter Guide, www.FundEducationNow.org , reviewing and comparing past budgets online and watching any online or in person debate and/or interview of the candidates.

In a recent blog, Kathleen Oropeza of Fund Education Now wrote that: “The Florida Statutes empower Florida’s high stakes testing and accountability scheme with thousands of ways to hurt our children and harm their teachers.  Every single one of them is based on a single test score that not one of us can prove is true.”

Ms. Oropeza is right.  Our children are suffering with extensive high stakes testing. These tests are used to determine the future of our children, their teachers and schools, yet as parents we are not allowed to ever see these tests, which are created by some out of state private company being paid millions of dollars.  It is unconscionable how powerful corporations have impacted our public schools via monetary influence, statutes and demonization of teachers for the sake of profit with the goal of creating a market system out of our schools.  Our children’s education is not for sale.

While there is much rhetoric about “choice” with regard to Charter Schools, the choice can be more on the part of the Charter School than the parent, where not everyone can afford the transportation to the school, cannot afford to volunteer a required amount of hours or pay a fee.  It is a documented fact that Charter Schools do not perform any better than public schools, and most perform worse, if they are serving the same children.  We cannot afford to keep sending taxpayer monies to these for-profit Charter Schools at the expense of our children and community.  In this election, you do have a choice.  Please choose wisely.  Please VOTE!

Trish Ladan, Education Chair




Leave a comment

CALNO MINUTES provided by LWV Seminole Observer Corps 


Minutes – October 1, 2014




A Meeting of The Council of Local Governments in Seminole County, hosted by Seminole State College, was held on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, 100 Weldon Boulevard, Sanford, Florida.


  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Keith Britton at 6:05 p.m.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Dr. Tina Calderon, Seminole County Public Schools, followed by a brief moment of Silence.

  1. Roll Call.   The following members were in attendance:
  • CALNO Chairman                   Keith Britton, Oviedo Councilman
  • Seminole County Public Schools        Tina Calderone, Board Member
  • Seminole State College          Joseph A. Sarnovsky

Executive Vice President

  • Lake Mary                                      Commissioner Gary Brender
  • Casselberry        Vice Mayor Colleen Hufford
  • Seminole County         Commissioner Lee Constantine
  • Longwood         Commissioner John C. Maingot

Those members who were not in attendance were:

  • Altamonte Springs                                      Commissioner Steve Wolfram

Also present were:


  • Sandy Solomon, Vice Mayor, City of Casselberry
  • John Scarpino, Director, Athletics/Wellness Seminole State College
  • Donald Menzel, Seminole County Citizen
  • Joan Bradley, League of Women Voters
  • John Horvath, Seminole County Citizen
  1. Approval of Minutes: June 4, 2014

A Motion was made by Vice Mayor Colleen Hufford to approve the minutes of June 4, 2014 and seconded by Dr. Tina Calderone.  Motion carried unanimously.

  1. Treasurer’s Report.  Chairman Britton reported no change in the treasurer’s report.
  1. Business
  2. Wellness Center – Joint Development Project Presentation

Dr. Sarnovsky introduced John Scarpino, Director of Athletics and Wellness at Seminole State College.  Dr. Sarnovsky spoke about the background of Seminole State College.  The College is number 15 in the USA in Associate in Arts degrees; 8th largest of the 28 Florida Colleges serving approximately 32,000 students; graduating 6,000 annually with an economic impact to the community of $450 million. The College will be celebrating 50 years of service and in June 2015 there are plans for a Collegewide 50th anniversary celebration.

The proposed Wellness Center will be located at the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, currently where the athletic department is located (H-Building).  An assessment of the building determined it would be more economically feasible to tear the building down and start from the ground up rather than renovate the space for another purpose.  The vision is to construct and operate a center for wellness, health, and life enrichment programs serving students, employees and the community with support from public and private partnerships (P3).  No state funding is committed for construction of the facility.

The current Health building encompasses approximately two acres and 44,000 square feet of facility containing the men’s and women’s locker rooms, gym and classroom space. A temporary facility will need to be located for housing the athletic programs during construction.

Plans for the Wellness Center are to offer a COMPLETE wellness program focusing on physical health, fitness goals, and emotional well-being of users.  Dr. Sarnovsky credited John Scarpino for working with consultants and the college community to determine the programs and fitness needs for the facility.

The projected timeline for the project will include a two-phase process.  For the past two years, Dr. Sarnovsky and Mr. Scarpino have been meeting with potential interested parties in developing a public private partnership for the Center.  Phase I of the project began September 22 with the release of the Intent to Negotiate.  The District Board of Trustees will approve the short list of prospects at its November 17 Board meeting.  Phase II of the project will include documents issued to the shortlisted prospects on December 8 for the development of proposals. Review of proposal and negotiations with a selected development team is anticipated to be completed by May 31, 2015; with final approval of an Agreement with the District Board of Trustees at its meeting on June 15. Construction is planned to begin in July, 2015.

There was discussion among the group regarding the community involvement, parking, and potential investors.  Also, discussion included plans for housing the Athletic department temporarily or long-term at other facilities in Seminole County (e.g. Memorial Stadium, Soldier’s Park, Candyland Park).  Dr. Sarnovsky and Mr. Scarpino have already met with the city of Sanford to discuss the possibility of using Memorial Stadium, but there are some issues that need to be worked out before the College could use those facilities.

Dr. Sarnovsky distributed copies of the PowerPoint presentation to the group.

  1. Seminole County Public Schools –  Public Records request

Councilman Keith Britton reported a Public records request has been received from the Seminole County Public Schools.  There was discussion regarding the statutory authority of the CALNO group. This will be placed on the January agenda for further discussion and to decide if the group will remain as an informal group or some form of public body.

  1. Other Business and Public Participation.

Citizen John Horvath commented the CALNO meetings are necessary and that they are good way for citizens to obtain information. He has been coming for about 7 years and wants to see the group stay together.

Citizen Donald Menzel also commented that he is interested in attending CALNO and hopes the group stays together.  The meetings provide a way for the public to find out what is going on and have easy access to their elected officials.  He is particularly interested in the schools and Dr. Calderron was very helpful in providing information.

  1. Reports from Members:


Vice Mayor Hufford reported that Casselberry had reached an agreement for the development of City Center.  On Tuesday the city’s commission agreed to proceed with the plans for a blend of residential and commercial development on the 17-92 parcel near Lake Concord.  City Center will include restaurants, upscale apartments and pedestrian walkways.

Vice Mayor Hufford reported they met with Seminole County commissioners on the Oxford Place redevelopment.  It will be a $100 million project to extend Oxford Road and make a downtown feeling.

Casselberry has purchased the old bowling alley that could possibly be used for a Police Station, or work with the county on a Fire Station, or perhaps Public Works.  The facility could be used as a government complex for municipal services.

Jazz Concert was last week and there was a great turn out.  Founder’s Day will be October 10.  The month of October, 2015 Casselberry will celebrate its 75th year as a city.  There will be fireworks on October 10 for the Founder’s Day celebration.  Save the date for the annual Food and Wine festival, November 10, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. live music, silent auction, food and wine.


Lake Mary

Commissioner Gary Brender reported that Lake Mary has finished with the 2015 budget.  He stated that this year’s budget is approximately $3 million less than last year’s budget.  They were able to reduce the budget anticipating the revenue stream from Verizon this year.

Fire Chief Craig Haun announced his retirement.  Lake Mary has temporarily promoted the Assistant Fire Chief and a search for a permanent replacement will begin next month.

Station House Apartments are advertising to the young professionals.  There are about 208 apartments being built.

Florida Hospital has plans to begin next month on the emergency room and doctor facilities in Lake Mary.  Mergers and acquisitions are going on all the time.


Commissioner John Maingot reported that there are many new developments within a mile of the Longwood Sunrail Station.  WaWa has just opened on SR 434 near Ronald Reagan Blvd.  Weston Park Apartments, a 208-unit apartment complex across from the station is in the planning stages.   The City has designed a stormwater system to serve this and future developments.  There is a proposed 124-unit Affordable Senior Citizen housing project  and Longwood Station, a development of 20 new homes, currently under construction on the East side.  Blackadar Properties has completed construction on 3 new office buildings at their location on Ronald Reagan Blvd.  Trustco Bank has announced relocating their Florida headquarters to Longwood.  Palermo Vista a 16 luxury townhome complex is being completed on Longwood Hills Road.  Hourglass Brewery is expanding and relocating to a larger facility on Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

The cities of Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, and Maitland have entered into an Inter-local Agreement to develop a one of a kind, no fixed route, on demand premium bus service.  Target start date is Spring 2015.

Longwood has many new projects and a lot of activity occurring throughout the city.


Councilman Britton and CALNO Chair, reported that Oviedo is moving forward with the widening of 434, 419, and 426 project.  This will be a 10-year project to completion.  The plans are to have a dual fire station and police station on the 426 property.  The Townhouse Restaurant will relocate across the street.  Oviedo just opened a BJ’s restaurant, similar to an Ale House.  Gene Simmons is to open a new restaurant called the Rock & Brew.  The Hospital is moving forward with its plans.


Seminole County School Board

Dr. Calderone wished to thank each of the cities and county for their participation in the bomb scare at the elementary schools last week.  She reported that under the circumstances everything went very well and she wanted to personally thank everyone that all the students were safe.  Dr. Calderone reported that the school board has purchased an emergency text messaging system for future emergency use.  This will enable staff to get messages and updates out to parents more quickly and efficiently.

Seminole County

Commissioner Constantine reported that the county is working very closely with each of the cities to determine their need for future expansion.  He indicated that the cities should look at possibly annexing areas into their jurisdiction that seemed appropriate.  Commissioner Constantine indicated that the cities have the resources in their fire and police personnel to support any annexation from the county.

The County is currently putting together a checklist for developers regarding the construction and maintenance of golf courses.  Regional Planning Council must work together with Code Enforcement on commercial codes and residential codes because they are different.

Commissioner Constantine reported that his charity contributed $228,000 this year to area schools and local charities.

  1. Adjournment

Chairman Britton Adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for November 5 at 6:00 p.m. and will be hosted by the Seminole County School Board.   The location is to be determined.


Respectfully submitted by:

Edwina Midkiff

Executive Assistant

Seminole State College


CALNO Chairman

Leave a comment



Members and guests included two “junior Leaguers”


Senator David Simmons with “Then & Now” photo in background.

Senator David Simmons outlined the water quality issues our springs and aquifer are experiencing and identified the major contributors to the problem;  water reduction, agricultural practices, residential run-off and septic tanks, and waste water treatment practices.  While he spoke, LWV FL Natural Resources Chair, Chuck O’Neal,displayed in living color “Then & Now” examples of each of the problems facing our aquifer and springs; algae growth, reduction of flow, putrefaction of the water and shorelines, and  wholesale water consumption.

Senator Simmons spelled out his solution to restore our water resources:

1,  Start in the beginning with the end in mind; tackle the problems “Worst, First.”

2.  Bring all interested parties to the process, i.e.,FDEP, Water Management, Agriculture, Industry and Environment; place their respective plans on the table and work out the process, which he anticipates should take a minimum of 15 years, to bring about permanent change.

3. Create a dedicated funding source – Amendment 1

Chuck O’Neal followed Senator Simmons with information on the scientific aspects of our substrata and the connection between our springs, water treatment and the aquifer.  He provided scientific studies done in the past to quantify the recharge and flow processes.  Then he proposed an additional point to Senator Simmons list of solutions:


Members and guests being introduced, including newest member.

4.  Reset the paradigm used to set the standards: i.e.; reevaluate prior studies to prove or disprove the findings, and attack the problem where it will do the greatest good, first.

Follow-up questions were few due to time constraints, however through out the program both speakers poised and answered a number of questions, including many in the minds of those in attendance.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 493 other followers