Decision Apopka 2018

After an unexpected early beginning to Apopka politics in March, the momentum has finally slowed in midsummer, and fundraising in July was no dream. Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, after raising $14,350 last month, fell to $1,725 in July from eight donations –  three from businesses and five from individuals that ranged between $25-500. He has raised $16,175 in the two months he began to fundraise and spent $5,825, which leaves his campaign account at $10,350.

The drop off does not concern him.

 “I am happy with where we stand,” he said. “The election is still eight months away. We have made a conscious decision not to put Apopka through months and months of campaigning.”
 On July 31st, members of the Apopka Christian Ministerial Alliance (ACMA) and the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance (SAMA) entered into the election process with a call to change the campaign finance rules. In an email sent to Kilsheimer and to all four city commissioners, they wrote:

 “In an effort to preserve the integrity of the City of Apopka and its citizens, as well as to exemplify the gold standard of citizen self-governance.  Please accept the attached proposed citizen campaign finance reform draft for consideration as well as the City of Miami Beach’s summary memorandum outlining the City of Miami Beach’s campaign finance law enacted in 2016. This is not an effort to cast aspersions, but an effort to avoid the unwarranted perception of compromise of any elected City of Apopka official, which subsequently tarnishes the reputation of Apopka and its citizens.  It is requested that this item be placed on the August 16, 2017, City Commission agenda for commission discussion and consideration.”

Mayor Joe Kilsheimer raised $1,725 in July.
 The proposal – titled “Citizen Campaign Finance Reform Initiative”, states in part:
 “In the spirit to preserve the integrity of the rich heritage of the City of Apopka and its citizens, it is requested that the City Council review, discuss and edit the proposed campaign finance reform for consideration to be adopted by the City of Apopka ordinance. The proposed prescription is summarized below. Candidates for the offices of City of Apopka Mayor or City Commissioner as well as their campaign committees may not directly or indirectly solicit, accept or deposit into such candidate’s campaign account any campaign contribution from a vendor, real estate developer1, and/or their lobbyist.”
Pastors Hezekiah Bradford, Darrell Morgan, Jimmy Siberio, Barbara Barnes, Richard King, and Juan Rodriguez signed the email. Morgan is the President of the ACMA, Siberio is the Vice President of the ACMA, and Bradford is the President of the SAMA. Dr. Ray Shackleford, who is not a pastor, also signed the email.
 On August 7th, Apopka City Manager Glenn Irby responded to their request.

  “Thank you for your email of July 31, 2017. The City always appreciates the interest of its citizens in good government, however, the scheduling of agenda items such as the one you propose is accomplished based upon the desires of the City Council. The issue you raise is appropriate to bring up during the Public Comment portion of a regularly scheduled council meeting. At that time, should any council member wish to see the issue placed on an upcoming agenda the entire body can consider its future scheduling.”

Some businesses and individuals would fit the description laid out in the proposal on Kilsheimer’s donor list. However, he believes it is appropriate for everyone to be a part of an election that might effect them.

“It seems inappropriate to take government action to deny groups of people the right to participate in the political process simply because of their business,” said Kilsheimer. “Voters are entitled to look at every aspect of a candidate’s record, including donations, to decide for themselves whom they will elect. That’s why we have laws governing disclosure of contributions.”

Kilsheimer has also opened his campaign with an unusual amount of donations from outside the city of Apopka. So far only one out of 32 donors resides in the city. But Kilsheimer points out it’s still early in the process, and by the conclusion of the political cycle, those donations will balance out.

 “We have hundreds of supporters inside Apopka and outside Apopka,” he said. “By the time we get to the election, that will be clear.”

Nelson raised $2,650 in July, which matches his total for June. His total fundraising tally is at $39,160 since he announced his intention to run in March. Nelson has spent $16,477.77 on his campaign effort, which means he has $22,683.77 on hand. In July, Nelson had four individuals and two businesses give contributions ranging from $100-$1,000.

“We continue to get positive feedback as we push our message out to the constituents of Apopka,” Nelson said. “We continue to get broad support from people who share my vision for a prosperous city. We are thrilled by the momentum that our campaign has maintained.”

Commissioner Bryan Nelson raised $2,650 in July.

In the Seat #1 City Commission race, Alexander Smith extended his fundraising lead over Gene Knight with an $1,140.00 haul, which included 13 individual donors giving him contributions ranging from $20-500. Smith has raised a total of $5,101.15 and spent $1,483.92 on his bid to succeed Commissioner Billie Dean for the seat, which leaves him with $3,617.23 on hand.

“Fund raising efforts continue to be productive and the support of family and friends continues to grow,” Smith said. “We are out knocking on doors and asking those for support as we get our message out. I will be a voice for all the citizens of Apopka.”

 Knight raised $50 in July, which came from one business donor. His account has a balance of $531.14, and the slow fundraising month did not thwart his excitement about his campaign.
“Everything is going well. Donations are coming in, and I’m still getting a good response,” Knight said. “I’ve been going door to door meeting the citizens of Apopka and getting a good response. Do I need donations? Yes but I’m not looking for large amounts. I think people will vote for who they believe will stand up for them and not just say things to get elected. I’m not going to pretend to be someone I’m not. I will have the citizen’s back 100%.”

Dean has announced he will not run for re-election to Seat #1.

In the Seat #2 race, Commissioner Diane Velazquez announced her intention to run for re-election in March, but has not formally started her campaign, and has not raised any funds towards her bid for a second term. No one, however, has made a formal challenge to her seat as of July 31st.

5 COMMENTS

  1. That is a thoughtfully written draft proposal, however those real estate developers, vendors, and lobbyists can channel their cash over to their nieces, nephews, granddaddies, grandmas, cousins, Fido’s name, etc., and each and every person can then forward it in under their names/and or occupations….right? How are you all going to stop that? I definitely understand you all’s concerns, however. Don’t you Apopka City Council candidates worry one bit, about slacking donations coming in, because I will not show any partiality to any of you all, and will give each and every one of you a campaign donation when I win the big power ball jackpot……okay? LOL

  2. I don’t think donations from people that do not live in the city, should be allowed , why would outsiders want to be involved in things that don’t have any bearing on their lives.

  3. Hang in there Apopka City Council candidates…..I didn’t snag the big Powerball Jackpot Wednesday, but hang in there, the next one is about $510 million, and if I win the big one, you all will get a campaign donation from me, so pray, hope, and don’t worry……..LOL

  4. Darn, no luck for me on the last power ball drawing for the $ 510 plus million. I guess all of you Apopka City Council Candidates aren’t going to get a campaign donation from me, after all. It is not looking too good for me to win the $ 650 plus million rollover, either. Sorry, I had good intentions to help you all, I meant well, but I guess I am not too great at picking numbers. Looks much easier than it actually is…. LOL

  5. I want to come see the Apopka candidates’ campaign debates whenever they get scheduled, and are free. Sorry, but I don’t want to have to pay to see you all…..( I am laughing) How about some free vittles, and free wine too, maybe??? That would be “oh so nice”. Cheese trays too…..yes!

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