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Smith sends scathing email to Nesta about his comments at City Council meeting

"As a Black Male your remarks last night at City Commission meeting were degrading, offensive, insulting, rude and disrespectful"


It's been nearly two weeks since the June 19th Apopka City Council meeting, but the fallout from that dark three-hour-plus session continues. 

After a tension-filled discussion about rescinding Mayor Bryan Nelson's 2023 censure, The Apopka Voice has learned through a public records request and a social media post that Commissioner Alexander Smith sent a scathing email to Commissioner Nick Nesta, describing Nesta's remarks to Smith as "degrading, offensive, insulting, rude and disrespectful."

During the presentation, Nesta called on each commissioner (Nadia Anderson, Smith, and Diane Velazquez) to vote against rescinding the censure.

Although Smith recused himself from this vote because he did not vote in the censure or attend the meeting in 2023, Nesta still gave his reasons why Smith should vote against the recision.

"Commissioner Smith, I'm surprised that you showed up to this meeting, to be honest," Nesta said. "And I'm surprised you recused yourself as well. I feel this vote would have been important for you to do, not only for yourself but also as an educator and as a clergy member. It's important to show you stand with those who are honest, have integrity, and are ethical. It's unfortunate that you recused yourself from this."

The next day, Smith sent his response to Nesta's city commissioner email account. Here is that email unedited and in its entirety:

"From: Alexander Smith on behalf of Alexander Smith <ASmith@apopka.net> 

To: Nicholas Nesta 

Subject: Comments at City Council Meeting 

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2024 12:57:05 PM 

Good afternoon Commissioner Nesta, 

I wanted to make you aware that as a Black Male your remarks last night at City Commission meeting were degrading, offensive, insulting, rude and disrespectful. I find it difficult to understand how in 2024 a white male feels that it is ok to talk to a Black male as if we are still in slavery. 

Because I’m an educator, Pastor and most importantly a human being I know how to conduct myself in public settings. To make a mockery of my chosen profession and the spiritual calling of my life I don’t take kindly. When we are in the chambers I would appreciate it if you would address me in my position and office as Commissioner. 

Slavery is over. Black men are no longer controlled by their white counterparts and told what to say, where to go and where they can not go. I’m not sure when you were appointed as the Council disciplinarian and given the authority to reprimand. I would appreciate it if you would give me the same respect as a man and fellow Commissioner that I give you. I don’t reprimand nor make smart remarks about decisions you make or the way you chose to vote on a business of the council. I would appreciate the same respect. Because our viewpoints are different does not give you the right to reprimand. It is my understanding that all four Commissioners have the same equal rights. Not that I’m controlled by and dictated to by you: master how shall I vote, or can I vote! 

Believe it or not I to represent the residents of Apopka. 

It’s what’s inside of me that matters; not who is in front of me! 

Best regards, 

Alexander H. Smith 

Apopka City Commissioner, Seat 1 

Sent from my iPad"

Nesta also called on Velazquez to vote against rescinding the censure.

"I know as a mother, as a detective, and as a civic leader, you'll make the right decision not to rescind the censure," he said to Velazquez. " All these facts show exactly what happened... that we were lied to and tried to deceive the voters, the public, as well as yourself."

He used similar language in asking for Anderson's vote, who had earlier asked that the item be tabled until she could do more research.

"The Mayor was properly censured for lying," Nesta said. "You don't need any more context than what was just provided. The minutes were approved by the mayor for lying. He approved that he lied.

Then he addressed Anderson directly.

"I don't know what else you can look into. This is exactly what you'll be looking into tomorrow, the next day, and the next day. If we table this, no other information is needed. No other information is required. This is exactly what the censure discusses and exactly what it's about. You're a mother, you're a business owner, and you're a civic leader. Are you okay with lying?"  

"Well, I determine how much research I need to do to feel confident to vote," Anderson said. "Me being a mother and a business owner all have absolutely nothing to do with me. I have never written a resolution, so I don't feel comfortable voting."

"So you came to this meeting unprepared," Nesta said. "That's very unfortunate."

Editor's Note: The Apopka Voice contacted Nesta for a response, but after learning that commenting on a news site or through an email to Smith may violate Sunshine laws, the request was withdrawn.

This is a developing story that may be updated in future editions of The Apopka Voice as more details become known.

Apopka City Council, Commissioner Alexander Smith, Commissioner Nick Nesta, Commissioner Diane Velazquez, Commissioner Nadia Anderson, Mayor Bryan Nelson


13 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • JimNisbet

    Well I think it's clear that Mr. Nesta is "the problem" at the City Council. The state investigators cleared the mayor of any wrongdoing, the City should do the same and move on to the business at hand. But Mr. Nesta spends far more time and effort compiling this case against the mayor, rather than putting that same time and effort into something beneficial for the City. The mayor made a mistake and misspoke. Almost 2 years ago? Doesn't Mr. Nesta have something more productive to do than play "Gotchya?" I think he does. But he won't because he's a dog with a bone. He's just going to to keep attacking the mayor and creating dysfunction (of course blaming him for the dysfunction along the way) until he gets his way or gets voted out. Very sad. I hope the rest of the council can see this for what it is and work around this malcontent.

    Monday, July 1 Report this

  • GarciaMegan

    Mr. Nisbet

    Not that Commissioner Nesta needs defending, but if by doing something beneficial for the city, you mean the countless outreach events, dollars out of his own pocket to ensure babyland at one of our local cemeteries is free to family’s that find themselves burying an infant, advocating for city workers and minorities etc? Nesta’s time spent on this specific matter upheld a standard of leadership in Apopka and after the decades this city has been neglected by its leadership (insert poor road conditions and other underdeveloped infrastructure, understaffed safety departments, water safety issues just to name a few). If you sir are okay with lying then you sir are the problem and serve as a great example of the issues with our current political system as a country. Leaving well enough alone is no longer an acceptable approach to leadership in Apopka. Hold leaders accountable- regardless of who they are.

    Monday, July 1 Report this

  • MDuran

    Jim- your comment is odd to me. First of all, the ethics committee did not exonerate the mayor. As a matter of fact, they agreed that he did in fact lie. You described it as a mistake and that he “mis-spoke” in fact is was a flat out lie. But you also suggested that everyone just let that go. Can I assume from your position on this, that you are also okay to ‘let go’ a State department AND a 3rd party report that proved the city failed my son, an Apopka firefighter? The fire department was in FACT issued a citation for their negligence and failure. I have fought for accountability and to this day, still have received zero. I suppose you’re okay with that as well. Your mayor not only never took on any responsibility, he doubled down and gave a proven failed fire chief a perfect evaluation. I guess you’re okay with that too. I guess you’re also okay with our firefighters being the lowest paid and still working without a contract. That’s fine by you, right? Because your mayor, in your eyes, can do no wrong. I am already regretting this comment to you as some people will never be objective. But know this, you’re mayor flat out lied. And Nesta was actually working for the people to make sure that at least that, brings some accountability to this administration.

    Monday, July 1 Report this

  • MamaMia

    I see they are having a dog Apopka Mayor election. Why aren't they having a dog Apopka Vice- Mayor election?....Or maybe, they just don't count?

    Monday, July 1 Report this

  • VoiceOfTheCommonMan


    Your Comments don’t count!!

    Stop trying to deflect from the subject matter.

    Tuesday, July 2 Report this

  • VoiceOfTheCommonMan

    I was present at this city council meeting and I challenge all the readers of this article to go YouTube and watch the city council meeting to get the Facts for yourself.

    Commissioner Smith as you stated:

    “As a Black Male, Pastor, Educator, & a commissioner”

    For all those reasons, is why you should have voted against the Mayor attempt to rescind his censure for Lying.

    As a Black Male, you should know better to cry False racism.

    As a Pastor, you should have a Moral Conscious.

    As an Educator, you should know how to apply common sense.

    As a Human Being, you should treat people the way you want to be treated.

    As a Commissioner, your Loyalty should only be to the citizens of Apopka.

    After I heard and saw all the Facts about the email Commissioner Smith sent to Commissioner Nesta.

    It is clear to me that Commissioner Smith wrong for email comments to Commissioner Nesta.

    The City of Apopka deserves so much better!!

    @JimNisbet, you are just a deflection from the truth.

    Tuesday, July 2 Report this

  • JimNisbet

    WOW! What a wonderful group of saintly people responding to my comment here. People who have never told a fib... Never misspoke... Every word you speak is always 100% the truth...

    So, I say the mayor misspoke. Some of you persist he lied. OK, let's go down that road. He lied. Can anyone tell me what lasting negative affect the lie had? Who got ripped off? Who suffered any damage whatsoever? How did the mayor benefit form said lie? This is why I'm "accepting" of this. If the man was going to intentionally lie about something, one would think there would be some lasting benefit for him in doing so right? Anyone?? If this is "The Big One..." The lie to end all lies... Well you all must live pretty blessed lives because I see far worse from regular people every day!

    Some specific responses:

    @GarciaMegan, "you mean the countless outreach events," (every commissioner attends these), "dollars out of his own pocket to ensure babyland at one of our local cemeteries is free to family’s that find themselves burying an infant," (no idea what you're talking about here, but ok, there's one thing) "advocating for city workers and minorities etc?" (please tell me which commissioner DOESN'T do this) "after the decades this city has been neglected by its leadership (insert poor road conditions and other underdeveloped infrastructure, understaffed safety departments, water safety issues just to name a few)." What has Nick done about the roads, infrastructure/staff/etc.? This is a favorite of mine. The population of Apopka, and all of Central Florida, has EXPLODED at a rate that absolutely no one could have predicted or planned for. Considering that, most local government have done a remarkable job handling the growth. Perfect? No, but what is? I love when people complain about the roads here. I'm originally from NJ, you truly have no idea what bad roads are if you think we have it bad. Truly. No concept of poor planning and bad roads. None. LOL!

    @MDuran, you already regret making the comment, so I won't respond. We can agree to disagree I think.

    @VoiceOfTheCommonMan, Is this you Nick? LOL I hope so. Because I hope there's not another out there so arrogant that they would presume to tell another person how they should think based on their perception of another race and religion... Wow... Just wow.


    Tuesday, July 2 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Hello to you too, Jim! Another city council meeting coming up today. More to ponder....will Commissioner Nesta apologize to Commissioner Smith, in person, at the council meeting? Surely, that would not be a sunshine law violation, like where the Apopka Voice notes in the article above, that they learned, that replying to a news media site, could be a possible sunshine law violation???......really???...I'm skeptical, but what do I know? When the Apopka Voice sought comments from the mayor, and comments from a city employee, about a possible "quid pro quo" situation, I don't remember the Apopka Voice withdrawing their request for comments from the mayor, or from the city employee???...hmmm???....interesting. I haven't looked at today's agenda for the city council meeting yet, but I believe the two amigo commissioners will be pushing for what is sooooo important to them, number one, is to find a way that rescinding the mayor's censure is not brought up again, be it Roberts Rules, or whatever ...you know, that very very important kind of stuff that drives the amigo commissioner's trains of thoughts, LOL. I would talk about watching court tv, and the Boston trial mistrial, not looking forward to my neighborhood fireworks, because of my frightened dogs, or maybe revisiting the Apopka Dog Mayor election, but I won't, because Common Man will accuse me of "deflecting", so I won't talk about those things....LOL....let's see....maybe Commissioner Nesta will bring up raising the commissioner's pay, as he brought up that subject before, or maybe he will call for another federal investigation of whatever, once again...or maybe he will just sit and argue the subject of ringing the bell, with the city attorney once again, you know, those so very important topics!

    Wednesday, July 3 Report this

  • VoiceOfTheCommonMan

    Nothing in All of the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Wednesday, July 3 Report this

  • MamaMia

    So today's city council meeting was cancelled, and the DRC meeting too?....Givin' it a break, I guess, before the budget meetings? I just tried to get the city council meeting up, and saw the cancellation notice. Guess I will have to go back to watching court tv, the soaps, or talk shows, for entertainment. I don't know about the 4th event out at rec way, as we went to one event back in May, the band, something from Mars, and I swear, I liked to have died from the heat! There were no drinks, alcohol, or soft drinks, or food available, and I was sure looking for some, and I really almost had to call for a paramedic, I was soooo overheated, and dehydrated. I had to leave fast, or would have fell out, and was very mad! Anyway, have a wonderful 4th of July tomorrow everyone!

    Wednesday, July 3 Report this

  • MDuran

    @MamaMia- you stated that you almost had to call for a Paramedic. Had you made that call, a crew would have shown up and you would have received the best possible care. Isn’t that awesome that such care is only a phone call away. Are you aware that Apopka firefighters, EMT’s and Paramedics are among the lowest paid? Are you also aware that they have been working over a year without a contract from the city of Apopka ? Yet, these fine men and women will undoubtedly still render the best possible aid to anyone in need. It is not nearly said enough, “Thank you, Apopka Firefighters, EMT’s and Paramedics for your unwavering service”

    Friday, July 5 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Hello Michael D......I am very aware of the good deeds that the fire department, EMT's, and paramedics do. I called for their services many times back when my mom was living, before she passed away in 2006. Calls for her be transported to the hospitals for dehydration, extremely low oxygen, a broken wrist, broken slap in two, all the way through the bone, and had to be further transported to the hospital in Orlando, for immediate surgery to put a titanium plate in,to screw her bone back together, and later the worst call, was when she had a very serious bowel obstruction, that was life threatening, and was on the verge of gangrene. She spent weeks and weeks in the hospital and then the nursing home to recoup. God, I wish I still had my mom around with me...I have also called them many times for my husband, for heat exhaustion when we were cutting a tree down, and had rented a lift, it was hot as hell, and he keep working with the gas chainsaw cutting off, and the heat got him badly.. Another time, called to help because of a painful kidney stone, where he couldn't get off the sofa, other times he got very sick, and we didn't even know why. They also were called for things back when he worked on the job at the city. Several times. So, I have the utmost respect for them, for sure.

    Friday, July 5 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Continued.....When my Mama was in the emergency room hospital one time, the emergency room doctor kept telling her that she had anxiety, that he sees it all the time, of older women who live alone. ..she told him no, that is not my problem, but I don't know what is wrong with me. He finally took some blood, and it came back, her oxygen was extremely low! He did some major apologizing, and got her hooked up to oxygen. The broken wrist was from her falling in her backyard, while doing some yard work, which she loved to do. It was extremely painful to her! The bowel obstruction was diagnosed by the emergency room doctor, Dr. West, by her swallowing dye, and doing X-rays, at the old Apopka Hospital on Park Ave, and then she was immediately transported by ambulance to Altamonte for immediate surgery. I had argued with her for 3 days to let me call the paramedics, and she refused, but I kept on, and did call them. If I hadn't, she would have died, I was informed, because of gangrene. So Dr. West saved my mom's life! I apologize to the Apopka Voice, I know this is off the subject, but I was responding to Michael Duran's questions to me, and I am thinking back to all the times I took my Mama to the emergency rooms, and the times I called the paramedics for help....I soon learned it was better to call the paramedics, because they would take her right in, and put her in a bed, rather than for when I would take her, and we would have to sit in the lobby waiting forever until early in the mornings, to get some help.

    Saturday, July 6 Report this