commentary milt thomas
The most important question to be answered in the Vero Beach City Council election on November 2 is which candidates are most qualified to lead the City forward while preserving our treasured quality of life? We have seen what happens when a three-vote majority does not care about quality of life issues and ignores the will of its citizens.
Why do you think people still come here for the same reasons they came 50 years ago – a beautiful little community by the sea. Indian River County population has mushroomed over those 50 years, but it still retains the small market character that attracted us in the first place. If you think it will always be that way you are sadly mistaken. The actions of one City Council in a two year period could send our community off in the wrong direction for years to come. It almost happened two years ago.
You can ensure Vero stays on course by returning two long-time “community Patriots” to office – Ken Daige and Rey Neville.
What is a “community patriot”? Someone who feels pride in our community, a sense of attachment that is shared by fellow citizens. As an elected official, a community patriot steers the community toward the future while never losing sight of the core values that made the community what it is today.
Ken Daige is a two-time City Councilman and is a long-standing community patriot serving on numerous boards and advocating for important local issues. He is present at virtually every Council and budget meeting, having done so for many years. He is a small business owner and a veteran of the US Army 82nd Airborne.
Rey Neville is currently Vice Mayor and a leader on Lagoon issues and maintaining green space in our community. He spent his childhood in Vero and was a part-time resident much of his adult life until retiring here in 2014. He is proud to represent the community he serves and has known most of his life. He is a retired Air Force Colonel and worked as an executive with a manufacturing firm before retiring.
Some have run for office and tried to make Vero something it is not. A good example is the lone 13-story beachside condominium that stands out as you cross Barber Bridge. It came about because an enterprising developer saw a way around City ordinances. The Council then tightened height restrictions so it would never happen again.
If a similar issue came up next year, which of the seven candidates would fight to defend our hometown character against a South Florida vision of “progress” from attacking our shores?
The City certainly has issues that need to be addressed, just like every other community. The question is, do you want a City Council making decisions with a long history of advocating to keep Vero the same beautiful City by the sea or a vision of the future few of us want.
We sincerely believe that casting your votes for Ken Daige and Rey Neville will protect the community we all love.