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AHS Candidate Debate Ends With Insults and Accusations


Election Day for the Apopka City Commission seats #3 and #4 is only four days away. Already over 4,400 Apopkans have voted early or absentee. It is now clear that this will be the largest turnout for a Municipal election in Apopka history. Despite the large pre-election day numbers there was a good turnout for the AHS Candidate Debate sponsored by the Apopka Chamber of Commerce and hosted by The Apopka High School Debate Team on Thursday night.

DSC_0102With skill and obvious research of the issues, the AHS Debate Team conducted a very effective and substantive debate. They asked pertinent questions, and kept it in control. Even when tempers flared, they were able to stay in charge.

But at the end of a long and hard fought campaign, tempers were bound to flare up sooner or later.

The Seat #3 debate was a cordial affair. Commissioner Sam Ruth focused his attention to the Apopka High students in attendance and stressed the need for them to get involved with the political process. He joked about bears in his backyard and how cool that was.

DSC_0070Pastor Doug Bankson joked about eating the occasional cheeseburger, but to keep fast food in moderation.

Alice Nolan talked about her love of nature and Apopka and urged the students to stay involved.

Nothing to see here folks…

The Seat #4 debate provided the fireworks for the evening.

Young Kim took exception with Commissioner Bill Arrowsmith on a question about downtown improvement.

“I’m going to make a polite attack on Mr. Arrowsmith. He had almost 40 years to fix this. Why have we seen so much blight in all the streets and unfinished streets where people can’t walk in certain areas? I just have to ask that question."

DSC_0115Arrowsmith’s reply shocked the audience.

“I don’t consider it an attack, I consider it ignorance. You make a statement like that and you’ve been in business for 18 years in this community and your used furniture store has had code violations and you’ve done nothing to answer them. You’ve answered your own question.”

Kim responded with another attack.

"There’s this thing called the Community Restoration Project. It started in 1993. You were running against Mrs. McQueen. It’s been 23 years and nothing has happened. He took tax monies from small business owners and funneled it into the UCF Incubator… something completely illegal. You were supposed to use that money for blighted areas.”

Arrowsmith again responded with a non-answer.

“My high school english teacher always told me you can’t argue with ignorance.”

In closing remarks Arrowsmith made a final point that seemed to upset Becker.

“Community service is what qualifies you for public service. You need to know the people. You need to know the office, the organizations, the complete community to run for public office,” he said.

“Listen to the issues. Learn what the issues are and vote with your head.”

Becker closed the evening with an attack on Arrowsmith.

“In terms of community service, nowhere in the charter does it say you have to have a certain resume’ to run for office. I’m a taxpayer. I’m charitable. I’m entitled as anyone on this stage to be a public servant and represent the city. And I find it funny that he brings up integrity issues when he goes around town saying he was the lone vote against the Martin’s Pond issue…that’s factually inaccurate. Another factual inaccuracy is a robocall saying he is the only Republican candidate. Trying to win votes that way. That’s not very honest.”

The AHS Candidate Debate ended on that note. Apparently the rule allowing a candidate to respond to an attack did not apply to closing statements.


Apopka High School, Debate Team


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