What’s at stake in the Vero Beach City Council election?


milt thomas

Who can forget the turmoil created two elections ago when the newly elected Vero Beach City Council majority of three consistently approved or attempted to approve decisions clearly against the community’s wishes?  The Zudans-led effort included:

  • Attempting to turn the City’s River House into a brewery
  • Attempting to close Leisure Square pool and create a skate park
  • Attempting to turn the City Marina over to an outside management company
  • Attempting to sell the Dodgertown golf course to a commercial developer (the County intervened to buy the property and maintain it as open space)
  • Successfully selling the City’s downtown anchor post office property to a developer
  • Attempting to constrict the Beachside Farmer’s Market
  • Attempting to fire City Clerk Tammy Bursick.

What did these decisions or near decisions have in common? Vero’s citizens were opposed to them.

As each of these matters came up for ‘discussion,’ City Council chambers were filled to overflowing with citizens protesting them. The proposed attempt to diminish the Farmer’s Market elicited a petition signed by 3,000 people. Possibly you were one of them.

The list above shares something else in common – all those decisions and near decisions involve assets of our community that make Vero the City we all love. City Council at that time had the three votes necessary to approve everything on the list, but it was public outrage that caused them to fail. How many actions like that, if successful, could threaten the very existence of Vero Beach?

Now, on November 2 we have seven candidates vying for two open seats on Council. Among them is another Zudans as well as former City Councilman Wilson, who was removed from office by the courts.

At the other end of the candidate spectrum are two former City Councilmen who have proven their commitment to the citizens of Vero, Ken Daige, who has attended every City Council meeting for many years, even when not running for that office, and Rey Neville, who currently sits on Council and is running for re-election.

So, as you decide which candidates you will elect to serve you for the next two years, ask yourself who will fight to protect our city’s heritage and quality of life – and who sees Vero Beach as an opportunity for commercial developers?


  1. You captured the toxic Zudans era on the Vero Beach City Council very well, and Tracey has promised fidelity with her husband’s misguided political philosophy.

    Yet, fearing that some may not read to the end of your editorial, I feel it useful to amplify your strong endorsement of Vice Mayor Neville for two more years on the City Council. He has defended all that makes our small city so magical and done it courageously, consistently and civilly!

  2. Thank you so much for mentioning Mr. Ken Daige’s commitment to our community. One thing that impresses us the most is the fact that Ken Daige attends council meetings regularly. He is very well informed on the issues and committed to working for the people and residents of Vero Beach! Vote Daige, Neville!

  3. I also thank you for mentioning Ken Daige’s commitment to our community, well informed, respect for All Citizens., concerned about quality of life in our neighborhoods. The only 2 that have leadership and I would trust are Ken Daige and Ray Neville.

  4. If we all base our decision on merit, not bias, Ken Daige is the clear choice. He’s a long time advocate for our community. A lot is at stake! We need to vote on our conscience, and after thorough vetting, there’s no clearer choice than Daige and Neville.

  5. I have much respect for Ken Daige. As a new resident of Vero Beach it didn’t take long for me to realize Ken’s community minded interests. I was able to get involved with the Art Village of Vero Beach late in the “fight” and Ken was there by our side the whole way, going to City Council meetings and speaking up for us. I understand this was a 6 YEAR PROJECT and Ken was there for the long haul.
    If ever there was a candidate for our communities, Ken fits that bill.

  6. As a recent resident of Vero Beach I have the most respect for Ken Daige. Didn’t take me long to realize Ken’s commitment to all communities in our city. I was able to get involved with the creation of the Art Village and Ken was there all the way thru to the end. This was a 6 YEAR PROJECT that Ken took under his wing and stood beside all of us to bring to fruition a dying historic neighborhood. I am so proud to say I know and will vote for Ken Daige.

  7. I have known Ken Daige for many years and have been a resident of Indian River County for over the past 50 years. I am a happy homeowner in the Edgewood Addition neighborhood located right in the heart of downtown for nearly 30 years. The Edgewood Addition neighborhood was a dying historic neighborhood where many of the founding fathers of Vero Beach resided. I have always believed in Ken‘s commitment to the citizens of Vero Beach. Ken gave his time and energy to revitalize the Edgewood Addition into a vibrant Arts Village. He spent many hours going before the City Council on our behalf and continues to work to protect our city’s heritage for all the citizens of Vero Beach.
    I am all in for Ken Daige for City Council!

  8. Never has a Vero Beach election been more important than this one. Our town is rapidly growing and we need honest, experienced leaders. Ken Daige has shown a keen willingness to work with the people. This came into focus as he diligently worked with the “Arts Village” community. I have known Ken for a number of years.
    I know a vote for Ken Daige would be a “Vote for the greater Vero Beach Community!”

  9. Rey Neville has earned your vote. Not because he mailed the largest post cards. Not because he paid for the biggest Ads. Not because he sent the most robocalls. Not because he made the most outrageous promises. But because what he has DONE on City Council and what he will continue to do when reelected.

    He is steeped in Vero Beach having moved here when he was 8 years old. With the character and leadership skills of a retired Colonel, USAF, and as a staunch advocate for our green spaces, a clean lagoon, and other key values, he has brought balance, wisdom and an open mind to City Council.

    We need more of what he has shown he can do, not empty campaign promises.

  10. I strongly agree that Rey Neville has earned a second term.

    He has backed up his commitment to clean up the lagoon with tangible actions, not just words.

    He has steadfastly defended and helped shape city charter protected properties, in particular City Marina and Three Corners.

    In council and committee meetings, Rey has fostered an atmosphere of civility and respect leading to consensus rather than polarization.

  11. The writing is on the wall. If the wrong candidates get elected to Vero’s City Council they may try to disincorporate the city. This is what is at stake! City voters, we have the right to vote and vote for someone who is a leader and is trustworthy, Ken Daige.

    And unlike many other candidates, Ken attended so many city meetings, workshops and hearings. He is well informed about many issues including the lagoon and three corners. He attended the budget workshops with a watchful eye on our tax dollars and an advocate for small businesses.
    Ken served this year as Vice-Chairman on the Charter Review Commission, making sure that our parks, open spaces, heights and density restrictions are protected in the charter. He also serves on the city’s code board.

    Ken came to help in our neighborhood so the City’s River House would not turn into a brewery. He is always
    concerned about the safety and quality of life in all neighborhoods. He is dedicated, hardworking and will listen to the voices of the residents/taxpayers.

    Thank you Ken for your service in the military and for continuing to serve our city.

    Vote for Ken Daige for city council – a leader who is trustworthy?

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