Why you need to vote on Tuesday’s City Council special election



This Tuesday, February 26 is Election Day in Vero Beach. If you thought the City Council election was last November, it wasn’t. The election had to be rescheduled for a number of reasons, but whatever the reasons, it is still a most important election and you should take the time to go vote. Here is why:

All through 2018 the three person City Council majority of Harry Howle, Val Zudans and Lange Sykes approved or tried to approve a number of decisions that were hugely unpopular with many voters. They included attempting to lease the public River House to a brewery, selling the profitable downtown post office property, attempting to sell the open space Dodgertown Golf Course property to a commercial developer and lease the publicly owned City Marina to an outside management/development company, among other actions.

Last November, three seats on the City Council were open in what was expected to be a hotly contested election. Lange Sykes had announced he would not run for re-election, but Council members Tony Young and Laura Moss, both of whom had voted against the three person majority on all their controversial decisions, were running for re-election. A total of four candidates had filed to run for the three open seats, Young and Moss, as well as perennial candidate Brian Heady and newcomer Linda Hillman. All four candidates were considered likely to oppose the unpopular actions of Howle and Zudans.

Then on the last day of the qualifying period (September 7), two political newcomers announced their candidacy, Robert Brackett and Robert McCabe. Two days later, candidates Hillman and Heady were suddenly disqualified. Without getting into detail, they were later re-qualified. Now there were six candidates running for the three open seats. A special election was scheduled because these actions against Hillman and Heady – disqualification, then re-qualification – were not settled in time for the November 6 election date. Hence we are holding the City Council election this coming Tuesday, February 26.

Here is a brief look at the candidates based on the order they appear on Tuesday’s ballot:

Robert McCabe

Robert McCabe – A political and Vero newcomer, retiree, currently serving as president of the Vero Beach Chamber of Commerce (not to be confused with the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce). His views regarding last year’s controversies are not well known at this time.

Linda Hillman


Linda Hillman – Another political newcomer, long time resident, retiree, and a strong voice in the community opposed to Council’s actions in 2018. She filed suit against the City when suddenly disqualified in September and ultimately regained her place on the ballot.


Robert Brackett

Robert Brackett – Also a political newcomer, lifelong Vero resident from a philanthropic family, real estate developer and businessman. His views are not widely known at this time.


Col. Tony Young

Colonel Tony Young – Also a Vero Beach native, and military retiree (whose grandfather was the very first mayor of Vero 100 years ago). Young is an incumbent and has popular support among voters due to his actions opposing the three-man majority during 2018.


Brian Heady

Brian Heady – A long time Vero resident, retiree and political activist who has run for office numerous times (was elected once), known for his controversial appearances before City Council. He was disqualified along with Hillman, but re-qualified for this special election.


Laura Moss

Laura Moss – An incumbent, moved here as a retiree, she has voted with Young on most issues, but in recent Council meetings has openly opposed Linda Hillman, a competitor this election.


  1. Robert Brackett is being heavely backed by Val Zudans so I disagree with the comment that we do not know his position. Considering Val’s backing and Bob Solari’s it seems a safe assumption he will back Val’s efforts. People who do not agree with Howie and Val’s efforts to sell off City Assets should definitly not support him. Hillman, McCabe, Moss and Younge all are working hard to protect the city and insure its continued existance and our way of life here. We need three of them on the city council and not Brackett who Sudan’s and others not interested in the best interests of City Residents support. Al Benkert

  2. Given Zudan’s support for Brackett, it does seem logical to conclude that Brackett would likely support effort to sell out the City.

  3. Al and Mark, I have worked hard to convey that I want to preserve our heritage in Vero Beach. Yes Val supports me but that does not indicate that I want to sell our assets. I am not for selling our city’s assets, rather for preserving them. I have sent several direct mail pieces to the residents of VB to transmit that message. It has also been published in TC Palm, who also endorsed me. I am also supported by many of our fundamental residents – among them are Alma Lee Loy is currently running on several radio stations stating the same. I encourage anyone who has questions to contact me, rather than assume my position. You can reach me any time at 772.473.8595. I look forward to hearing from you.

  4. Robert, Like you, Zudans also assured voters he had not intention of selling off the City’s assets. Those, of course, proved to be hollow promises. In fact, Zudan’s dismissed reporting on his plans as “fake news.” I would simply say, Robert, that we can be judged by the company we keep. In your case, you are keeping company, so to speak, with Zudans. Anyone who is troubled with the direction Zudans and Howle want to take the City should be more than a little concerned with Zudan’s endorsement of you.

  5. Mark, I also keep the company of many others who have preserved our life in the city. Like your family, mine has a track record of preservation. Mark you have never even had a conversation with me so I’m unsure why you would have such an opposition, and publicly at that. I am not a liar. Before you call me one again, I hope you will call me rather than use this forum. I will not use it to defend myself again. Your call if you feel that you need it.

  6. Harry Howle just came out with strong stupport for Mr Brackett on central beach Neighborhood in response to my note there. Somehow I go with the thought that if Val and Harry are supporting Brackett then that is the way he will be voting. If he does ge elected, I hope he proves me wrong.

  7. Robert, Zudan’s and Howel’s endorsements of you place two large question marks over your candidacy. There are, quite simple, other qualified candidates from which to choose.

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