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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 3 years ago

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County judge, property appraiser, County Council, Ormond Beach City Commission, state offices are all on the ballot Nov. 8.

Most people are so busy that they don’t take time to attend political forums or read every article about local candidates. So how do you decide how to vote?

We recommend everyone read our Election Guide, published on pages 9-13 of the Oct. 20 edition and available online at under “E-editions.” In addition to some brief open-ended questions, we gave the candidates several statements and asked how much they agree or disagree; but they weren’t allowed to explain themselves, only to respond on a numerical scale. Hopefully the graphs will prove useful in understanding what the candidates stand for, at a glance.

Another way to help citizens feel more informed as they go to the voting booth is our tradition of endorsing candidates. As we have talked with and about the candidates, we have come to some conclusions about who we feel will help our community thrive. We hope these endorsements will add to your preparation and stimulate discussion among voters as Election Day approaches.


County Judge 3

Our interviews with attorneys show that incumbent Shirley Green is doing a fine job as a county judge. She reports in our Election Guide that she has seen 33,000 cases in her 12 years on the bench, with only 65 appeals.

We recommend Shirley Green.


Property Appraiser

Alan Burton is a licensed property appraiser and is currently working in the field.

Larry Bartlett, meanwhile, has been a property attorney for 36 years. He has been the attorney for the Value Adjustment Board for eight years, under Property Appraiser Morgan Gilreath. In that time, as he reported in our Election Guide, he has been involved in 14,000 “mini trials,” in which he has seen residents’ complaints with their appraisals.

We recommend Larry Bartlett.


Volusia County Chair

Jason Davis surprised a lot of people by winning the election four years ago to become the Volusia County Council Chair. At that time, he was the political outsider. Now, he is running as the incumbent to retain his seat.

And he’s up against a formidable opponent in Ed Kelley, someone our readers are very familiar with. Kelley is the current mayor of Ormond Beach and brings a positive voice to our city. He has been a true leader and an ambassador for the city.

Now, Kelley is running to be the county chair. In the Election Guide, he differed from Davis’ answers in some important ways. First, Davis was very opposed to the idea of the county building a homeless shelter without the cities’ support; Kelley said the county should build a shelter even if the cities don’t contribute. Both agree, however, that Ormond Beach should contribute annually to operate a future homeless shelter.

Kelley also is strongly in favor of keeping all beach approaches in Ormond Beach open, even if the toll revenue doesn’t pay for the costs. Davis, however, strong disagrees. We agree with Kelley: Ormond Beach residents deserve access to beach approaches in town at all times.

We recommend Ed Kelley.


County Council, District 4

Heather Post brings passion to her campaign. But we feel Al Smith is the best candidate because of his community connections and his focus on reducing regulation and streamlining permitting.

We recommend Al Smith.


Ormond Beach City Commissioner, Zone 1

Jonathan Kaplan has an impressive background, with 33 years’ experience in the CIA. He has also been a president of a homeowners association.

However, while Kaplan was with the CIA, Dwight Selby has been here in Ormond Beach, working as a businessman and as a community contributor, participating in Citizens for Ormond Beach, the Chamber of Commerce, Ormond MainStreet, the Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors and Team Volusia.

Selby also has the foresight to recognize that retirement expenses of city employees is a problem that needs to be addressed.

We recommend Dwight Selby.


Ormond Beach City Commissioner, Zone 4

Rob Littleton has youth on his side and wrote in our Election Guide that he would “bring a fresh perspective to our City Commission.”

However, Harold Briley has put in the time that prepares him to be a real contributor on the commission. He was chairman of the Planning Board and also of the Development Review Board and the Land Development Code Rewrite Committee. Briley also favors a homeless shelter, even if the city of Ormond Beach has to contribute to its operational costs.

We recommend Harold Briley.


State House, District 25

Noel Cheryl Bickford recognizes the need for changes to be made to the state’s formula used to support Volusia County schools. She is sharp and passionate about public service.

Tom Leek brings an intellectual firepower to the position. He is a managing partner in the area’s top law firm, Cobb Cole, and was named one of Florida’s Legal Elite in 2012 by Florida Trend. He was also chairman of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Daytona Beach Community Foundation, Junior Achievement of Volusia County, and the Daytona Beach Partnership Association. He was also a legislative aide for two years in the 1990s.

We recommend Tom Leek.


State House, District 24

Adam Morley is a voice for environmental protection and is a good-hearted person.

Paul Renner is the Republican incumbent and has been a strong advocate for our area in the state House of Representatives. He has leadership skills from his service in the U.S. Navy and also as an attorney. He is on his way to becoming a star in the state Legislature.

We recommend Paul Renner.

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