In a sense, the Sebastian City Council election was held last fall, when three incumbents were recalled by voters and replaced by Fred Jones, Christopher Robert Nunn and Bob McPartlan. Voters felt they represented such a pleasant change from the antics of their predecessors, they deserved to serve a full term.
On Tuesday morning, seven candidates were on the ballot for two open seats; by Tuesday evening, John Cotugno and Rey Neville were victorious. A breakdown of results from the four precincts provide some insight into voter priorities.
Precinct 17 (central beach) John Cotugno came in first, Rey Neville second and Tracey Zudans third.
Precinct 19 (east mainland) Same order as Precinct 17
Precinct 23 (mainland) Ken Daige came in first, John Cotugno second and Rey Neville third.
Precinct 24 (mainland) Ken Daige came in first, Tracey Zudans second and Rey Neville third.
As usual, beachside voters showed up at the polls in far greater numbers than mainland voters. Both winners – Cotugno and Neville – were first in Precincts 17 and 19. Neville has had higher visibility, currently on City Council and running for re-election, while Cotugno also has visibility, involved with the Three Corners project and on the ballot previously.
While Ken Daige came in first in Precincts 23 and 24, only 882 voters showed up (compared to 4,360 in Precincts 17 and 19). Tracey Zudans had a good showing in her first time running for City Council, and had a good chance to win a seat. However, she suffered from the ill feelings left over from her husband’s time in office three elections ago.
If the race was a mandate on the choice between new leadership direction and the “Keep Vero crowd,” as condescending 32963 editors put it, neither side won. Looking at it another way though, Cotugno and Neville are both fresh names (as opposed to Daige and Zudans), so maybe it was more a rejection of candidates from the past. Apparently, City voters are looking to move forward on some long-standing issues, which is a good thing.
Move ahead, everyone wants that. How we move, that’s the split decision. If you didn’t turn out on the mainland, you’ve given away one more chance to choose our path.
This is a nice summary of the Vero City Council Election, Milt.
However, I think Tracey Zudans suffered from more than association with her husband and being a first time candidate: she proudly promised to champion his failed anti-Vero policies and extreme political philosophy — privatize everything, even that which is efficient and effective; complete failure to grasp what makes Vero magical, e.g., charter-protected properties, open space; unwillingness to listen to residents.
Few were confused by her claim to support the lagoon clean-up and movement of the water treatment plant off the river, while offering absolutely no strategy to fund remediation after decades of neglect.
Local, city elections are unique because issues and priorities can be assessed so tangibly and residents’ voices heard so clearly, independent of left vs. right political dogma. Candidates thst
Maybe it’s time to mandate at least one candidate from the mainland to have a seat. There needs to be representation from that segment of Vero’s population. As it stands, there are two cities…Vero and Vero Beach.