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?