HIghland Manor Taste

Decision Apopka 2018


By Reggie Connell/Managing Editor of The Apopka Voice

Just as the sun is setting in the western Apopka sky this evening, two men will shake hands and come out fighting. Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer goes toe-to-toe with Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson in the first (and only scheduled) Mayoral debate at the Highland Manor before a capacity crowd of approximately 300, and with countless others watching on a live stream feed at venues around Apopka and at their homes.

The scheduled starting time is 6:15 PM.

For the past 11 months, and a lot longer in an unofficial capacity, Kilsheimer and Nelson have been on a collision course leading up to this head-to-head meeting. Things have been relatively quiet between the two camps, but that is likely to change tonight.

And according to Kilsheimer, this is a great way to compare the two candidates.

“I am excited that Apopka voters will get a chance to contrast our message in a live setting with that of our opponent,” he said. “If it were up to me, we would have 10 debates before the election. Competition makes us all better.”

For Nelson, this is an opportunity to unveil some of his plans for Apopka.

“I am looking forward to the Mayoral debate,” he said. “I will share my vision on how we shore up our finances, grow our dining options but keep Apopka’s ‘small-town feel’.”

The winner of the election gets the center seat on the Apopka City Council, the keys to a $110-million budget and a city that is in the midst of a 21st-century gold rush. Apopka is booming in both population and economic growth. The emergence of the new $200 million Florida Hospital Apopka, the upcoming City Center project and the completion of the Wekiva Parkway almost guarantees Apopka’s emergence as a major player in Central Florida for years to come.

But who is best equipped to manage its growth or potential growing pains? Who would make the better mayor? Who is better prepared? Whose vision might take Apopka to an even higher level?

Perhaps an answer will emerge.

The candidate who stands out tonight; is able to convey their message best, and ultimately is perceived as the winner of tonight’s debate may well be the frontrunner moving forward in the March 13th election.

Debates are a lot like minefields. A candidate might navigate through it unscathed or even gain some ground, but one misstep could potentially send them flying in several different directions never to recover.  Campaigns are sometimes won and lost on debate performance, especially when only a single debate is scheduled. It can be similar to that moment in a poker game when you slide all your chips to the center of the table, and your opponent follows suit.

However in this debate, neither candidate can be seen as an underdog or an unknown, so neither Kilsheimer or Nelson are likely to take risks. Both men have strong name recognition in the community. Neither candidate has ever lost an election. Both campaigns are well-funded and ready to take their message to the community moving forward to election day.

However, there is one issue that will not allow either candidate to play it safe.

Perhaps the night’s most contentious topic, and one that both candidates have weighed-in on publically is the Apopka Budget for the Fiscal year 2017-18. Back in October, The Apopka Voice asked both Kilsheimer and Nelson to give their viewpoints on the budget, and management of general fund reserves. Their answers illustrate the stark differences in their approaches.

(To review the Apopka budget for the fiscal year 2017-18, go here.)

There is nothing more important to a city than its budget. It’s a roadmap of how the coming fiscal year is going to go. That’s probably why discussions about budgets, reserves, and how to spend the Apopka taxpayer’s money create such passionate debates on the City Council. And no one will have more impact on a budget than the mayor.

Expect a lot of time dedicated to this issue tonight, and expect this to be debated as passionately as any in the debate.

It is, after all, where the outcome of the Apopka Mayoral election may hinge.




  1. We watched the debate with the others from the Victory Church. Thank you Commissioner Doug Bankson for hosting the debate at you all’s church, along with your family that was there. Glad I was watching with the civilized crowd from the Victory Church, instead of at the Highland Manor, where the groupies were loud mouthed!

  2. I keep hearing about this “quality of life” of Apopka…..well, how about this: My recycles didn’t get picked up today, along with the rest of our neighbors on our street, on the day my COA refrigerator magnet says is our pick up day for recycles…..duh!

  3. Thank you to Fox 35 for live streaming the mayoral debate. I watched from my home in Apopka and I thought both candidates did a great job. Mayor Kilsheimer, you have my vote March 13th.

  4. So Amazon didn’t set up a big time national headquarters around here, boo hoo, surprise surprise. At least the mayor and his minions can sit around and cry in their beer here in this town very soon, for not getting Amazon, as the beer joints are on their way, and will be everywhere in this town, on every corner, for that “quality of life” thanks to the current council administration majority vote.

  5. Bryan Nelson announced he is going to give back one half of his mayor salary, if he gets in there, PLUS, the biggie, he also said, HE IS GOING TO GET RID OF THE RED LIGHT CAMERAS, if elected mayor! Yeah baby!!!

  6. The question Mayor Kilsheimer was asked was, “Would he be willing to give the red light camera money away by donating it to charity?” That is what I heard, and I didn’t hear any clarity of answer on that one.

  7. Last night’s state of the union address by Trump……to me the real debate was right there in that room. I was debating in my mind, which woman was the maddest. Was it Melania, who was the maddest at Trump, or was it Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who was the maddest at Trump?….that was the real debate…lol I don’t think Melania or Nancy, either one, would make a very good poker player, as I could read their faces, oh so clearly.

  8. Now I can’t stand Trump, and I make no secret of that. And I can’t stand his politics or just about anything about him. However, I think he did very well on his state of the union speech. If he conducted himself in that manner, all the time, instead of the idiotic way he has been bullying, intimidating, name calling and acting like a total azz, then at least, if nothing else, people would respect him better.

  9. I read about the GOP lawmakers on the Amtrak train that was headed to the annual retreat and that the train hit a garbage truck and that one person was killed and about 4 others injured, and that the GOP Steve S., the one that was shot at the annual baseball game was on this train too. Wow, poor guy, he will be afraid to go anywhere with his luck.

  10. The porn star that Kimmel had on his show…..sorry, I stayed awake to see that interview. As Hillary Clinton, would say, and sum it up, that was a “nothing burger”. Kimmel tried his best to get her to talk, and he knew she had signed the gag agreement for the hush money. Maybe he should of signed her to model a fashion show on his show, or something instead, as the interview was a dud. Here is what gets me…..she was worried about things written and posted about her on the internet that she said were not true, such as one said she was a man, and another said she worked for the FBI, and she was worried about what her daughter would think, if she read those things about her mom, but apparently it didn’t bother her if her daughter knows she does porn??????

  11. I could sit here and write you all a book on what I think about the mayor’s debate, and the Trump state of the union, but I won’t, as it doesn’t matter. I got to go to bed, and try to take care of what really matters to me, and that is my little dog, who is not doing good. His heart is bad, and had a rough night last night, sleeping some, and waking and grunting, coughing, and making choking sounds. I just never expected that something like this would occur, so quickly, over a two week period, as he was fine just a couple weeks ago. Sometimes he is okay, and other times, he is having it rough. It breaks my heart, and I don’t know if there is anything else the vet can prescribe to help him. I just love this little dog so much, and he loves me too, like you wouldn’t believe. He wants to be right where ever I am, and on my lap, on at my side, or on my pillow, next to my head in bed.

  12. Of course Mayor Joe is not going to give profits to charity from the red light cameras. He needs every source of revenue he can get his hands on to keep the city in business.

  13. I am getting to see the mayor’s debate once again on both the Apopka Chamber of Commerce Facebook website of which, by the way, I do not have to have a Facebook account, to view the video. That is the problem most of the time for me, when I try to look at most websites videos, although I do get to see some of them, without a Facebook account. I also see that Apopka Critic has posted the debate on his website, and it is viewable without having to have a Facebook account also. Thanks Apopka Chamber of Commerce and Apopka Critic, as I wanted to listen to certain parts again, and I DID LISTEN once again!

  14. I got to say that Mayor Kilsheimer is the one that to me, went out on a limb, and risked it, as coming off as being nasty. When that ridiculous question was asked of Mayor Kilsheimer, of what he thought was Mr. Nelson’s qualifications to be the Mayor of Apopka….that was a loaded question, and shouldn’t of been allowed. The obvious thing to have answered would have been, ” I am not here to tout my rival’s qualifications, you would have to ask him again, rather than me, as I am here to explain my qualifications for being your Apopka Mayor.”……geesh! But I watched Mayor Kilsheimer’s face, and I saw the wheels turning, and I knew it was coming……because I watch him all the time in action, at the council meetings, and I knew that look…….

  15. Then Mayor Kilsheimer commenced to calling Bryan Nelson a career politician, and that he was a state rep, a county commissioner, and now, was after another elected job. Okay, mayor, that is the pot calling the kettle black, so to speak, because mayor, you were a city commissioner before, served two of the four year term, and didn’t finish the term, someone else had to do it to serve, and then you ran for mayor, and now you are re-running. Can you say career politician????

  16. Red flag to me was listening to the mayor speaking about the area that Amazon is going to, and that it was not a low millage rate area….uh uh uh. Red flag to me!! Also the willingness of the mayor, to talk about giving away city incentives (money) to Uber and Lyft ….I thought Trump was the one giving it all away to the companies……!!! Plus the bragging about Apopka being the second lowest millage rate of any full service city…..oh boy, I did not hear this kind of bragging at the budget times of the city council of the years past, out of Mayor Kilsheimer! Not at all, what I saw was a looking down, or snubbing the low millage rate, that I had spoken about before the council, and that our low millage rate is something to be proud of, and that it was an Apopka tradition. My, how the election changes everything!!!!

  17. Now I am reading about Bill Sublette’s withdrawal from Orange County Mayor’s race. This after raising more than $100,000 dollars since Dec. 31. Well, I wasn’t going to vote for him anyway, so no love lost there from me. He doesn’t even give reason why he is dropping out either. Quote, ” There is no single reason I can point to that explains my decision.” ” I considered many factors and simply came to the conclusion that now is not the right time to continue my campaign.” Well, I’ll be. Voters don’t like these indecisive wishy- washy candidates!

  18. He is not subject to term limits according to the article, so maybe that is why he is hunkering down on his current job, otherwise, who knows what he is up to? LOL

  19. Trump stated during his state of the union address that he is going to see to it, that drug companies lower the cost of prescription drugs in this country, this year. He said, “Just watch”! He had previously stated that the drugs are too high in price for our country’s citizens, and the same drugs are being sold in other countries at a much cheaper cost………

  20. Well, he better get on it ASAP. They are cheaper in other countries, but here is the thing. My diabetic meds, the injectable insulin pens, that I have to use, one that I take, one shot per day, and the other pen I have to inject once per week, have gone way way up in cost since Trump took the helm! I don’t know why they have gone sky high now, unless it is due to Trump’s fight against the Affordable Care Act, and that somehow that has had an affect on the drug prices, and how the prices are set. It is ridiculous the change in the prices of what they cost now! I would not even know the costs, but I get a statement from the health care company, and I see what is billed, and what is allowed to be paid out, and my costs also. Not only has the drug costs skyrocketed, but the my co-pays have gone way way up also! So Mr. Trump is to blame, so he should do something about it, is the way I see it!

  21. Now it was on the tv news that the health insurance companies are denying people their medications they need because of the cost, and/or trying to push them to get other cheaper drugs prescribed by their doctors, because they don’t want to pay. There is a state lawmaker, a lady, didn’t catch her full name, her last name was Mayfield, I think it was, and she is trying to get a bill passed in the Florida Legislature, where these health insurance companies cannot deny you your needed medications during the period of your insurance, until it renews again, and that the meds would have to be issued to you, per the law, and they would be required to pay for them, at least until the next renewal period, per your policy’s list of drugs they cover, that you signed up for. The tv news stated fingers crossed, that she can get it passed, but there is no guarantee, because the last time something like that was tried to get passed, the HOUSE voted against it!!! What good are they, the FLORIDA HOUSE MEMBERS????

  22. I think about what would I do, all the time, if I didn’t have this health insurance. The costs of the blood work, the costs of the doctor visits, the image testing, and the enormous costs of the meds, and the needles, test strips, lancets, and all the other meds, I have to take, that aren’t diabetic needs…and I think about people that are in serious shape, with serious medical problems, and their need for drastic medical care, and what about them, if they don’t have big money. Trump don’t care about those people.

  23. I’ll share with you, another day, just what the different insulin pens cost, and you will be shocked, I promise you, unless you already know, and have to take them too. People don’t have money trees sitting around….well, my neighbor had a money tree out front, for real, and it froze….lol

  24. Also if they don’t try to switch you to another cheaper drug, they just flat out deny you, is what I am hearing some are saying is happening to them, through their health insurances.

  25. The Trump’s wedding anniversary of 13 years passed right on by, and no congratulations, no hugs, no hand holding, no sweet kisses, and no hello kitty, I suppose….LOL

  26. Getting rid of the cameras is no easy task. The city has a contract with the provider. Revenue changes hands. How is THAT going to be handled? The reason some people are crying and whining about RLC’s is because they dont want to get caught running red lights. I mean, it’s all pretty simple. If you don’t want a ticket from a RLC monitored intersection, then DO WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO…come to a COMPLETE stop before turning right on red and don’t try to run the light going straight or if you turn left! How obvious is THIS???

  27. The “questions” were all fluff questions. ANYBODY could have answered them and sounded like a candidate for mayor!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here