Three candidates for the Apopka City Commission will not attend the Chamber of Commerce's Forum on Wednesday at the UCF Incubator. Two cited work related reasons, and one because of the fees being charged by the Chamber for the public to attend.
Incumbent and candidate for Seat #3 Sam Ruth, Kyle Becker (candidate for Seat #4) and Young Kim (candidate for Seat #4) have informed the Chamber of their intentions not to attend. This leaves incumbent (and candidate for Seat#4) Bill Arrowsmith, Doug Bankson (candidate for Seat #3) and Alice Nolan (candidate for Seat #3) as the three Forum attendees.
Kim wrote this post on his Facebook page today:
"Due to Apopka's strong sentiment about the Apopka Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum and the fees associated for the public to attend this Forum, I will not be attending the event."
Kim stated he would be attending the 2016 Apopka City Council Candidate Forum January 27th at the CPS Sportsplex.
On Ruth's Facebook page, he posted this explanation on January 8th:
"Good morning. I need to share that a week from today a most important meeting at City Hall will be held about the consultant's plan for the Martin's Pond/Town Center.
Having to miss work this entire day means then I cannot participate in the Chamber daytime debate. However, I will be in the Apopka Voice debate on January 27th.
To keep the public involved we must have all future events in the evenings and on weekends. Everyone should have the opportunity to participate. What do you think?"
Becker informed the Chamber on Friday of his intentions not to attend.
"I had to unfortunately withdraw from participating in the upcoming Chamber of Commerce candidate forum due to scheduling conflicts at work," said Becker.
"During the last Council meeting, the Commissioners voted to hold a public meeting regarding the proposed city center on Friday January 15th and I did not want to miss such an important meeting impacting our city's future.
With my work commitments for this week I could not accommodate both days. I do look forward to sharing my ideas with Apopka, inclusive of those concerning the business community, at the candidate forum January 27th."
For the past two weeks, the Chamber Forum has taken criticism on various Apopka based Facebook sites in regards to its fees associated with the event and its daytime scheduling of the Forum.
On its Facebook page, the Apopka Chamber of Commerce posted this response on December 31st:
"I understand your questions and would like to address them. The Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce has for the last year put on a Quarterly Seminar. They are at the same place at the same time with the same admission. The first quarter's seminar was a political panel, second quarter was for the Veterans and because we are coming near to an election this seminar has a panel of candidates running for commissioner. These seminars have all been packed-out events and nobody has ever questioned the time or the cost of admission. They are held early in the day so people can take the morning off if possible, to attend… It is set up like all the other Quarterly Seminars with a panel (this time with candidates ) and a MC asking questions concerning the city of Apopka."