By Reggie Connell/Managing Editor of The Apopka Voice

Apopka is a great city filled with people that are proud of their community and engaged in its politics. What other municipality has mayoral candidates announce their campaigns a year early?

But what sort of an election will 2018 bring? What will the residents, candidates, and news outlets choose?

Apopka deserves an issue-based election. It is the fastest-growing city in Central Florida and it deserves the very best leaders this community has to offer.

But at a time when personality-politics are at its peak, it will be tempting to travel down a very different path of opposition research, gotcha’ journalism, and misleading hit-pieces. It would be easy let the dark artists of Social Media and Political Action Committees with vague names send out sensational mailers and posts with wild allegations determine who wins and who loses.

Don’t let that happen Apopka. Take a few extra steps and make certain what you are reading and hearing is true. Take the road less traveled and seek out the truth.

Take the high road.

What if the voters of this community could elect their next mayor and city commissioners based on their merits? What if experience, performance, vision, problem-solving and ideas won and lost elections?

What if Apopka could break the national mold and focus on what is important to its community when selecting elected officials?

It will take a concerted effort from the local media, the candidates, their supporters, and the Apopka voters to make this happen, but wouldn’t it be a refreshing change to the current climate in politics?

The Apopka Voice will be there every step of the way on this journey to Election Day 2018 for Seat #1, Seat #2, and the Mayor of Apopka. Through news reports, features, analysis, editorials, and debates our mission will be to give you all the details to make an informed decision on March 15th, 2018 – which is just four months away.

Apopka is a growing, changing, diverse, and complex city. It will take experienced, talented visionaries to lead it into the future. We owe it to the residents and voters of Apopka to give a complete, comprehensive and thorough examination of these brave Apopkans who put themselves into the spotlight to be examined and decided upon in the brightest of lights, and we intend to make good on that debt.

And the voters owe it to these candidates to decide upon facts and honest, objective analysis, not Facebook posts, innuendo and rumors.

Municipal campaigns can quickly devolve into mud-slinging lowest common denominator contests. Do not let hyperbole and rhetoric become reality.

All too often media outlets take sides in an election and tell a story that appeals to a specific ideology and provides no balance, or ways to engage. The Apopka Voice will dedicate its content to reporting accurate accounts, allowing both sides to tell their most compelling story, and then dig deeper into the issues and provide a way for readers to engage, contribute, and come to logical conclusions as to who should be mayor, and who should be sitting on the City Council in 2018.

Good luck to all seven candidates running for elected office in Apopka, and to any of you who may still throw your hat into the ring. Be safe on the campaign trail, and thank you for your interest in public service to your community.

Now take these next four months and show us your very best.


  1. I just saw the most shocking news tidbit on Channel 6 News/Click Orlando….it lists I-4 as the most dangerous road in the US! I know it is dangerous, but I didn’t think with all the other roads in the US, and some really wild busy ones, it would rate number 1! It was due to so many fatalities. 192 at Four Corners rated up way up at the top of the list also, and another Florida highway, not sure which.

  2. 275 is wild and crazy if you ask me. Also Fl. Turnpike, and 295, and I-95. 436 and Beachline also are very bad! Were they not looking at the highways around L.A.?

  3. There is a lot of wild hogs on the Beachline standing right next to the road i digging in the dirt of the shoulders. Also deer running across. Plus crazy drivers behind you trying to run up into the back of you. I also have seen cars just run off into ditches ahead of us, while just riding along.

  4. Here is my most dangerous road in the US…..the road that goes up and down Lookout Mountain. I can’t believe someone would live up there, and have to go up and down that all the time, especially in the icy weather…OMG

    • The roads are super dangerous here because of how people drive here. THATS A FACT. There is no other place in this country where you have this much on-the-road stupidity as you have here. Don’t blame the tourists, foreigners, weather or road design. It’s HOW PEOPLE DRIVE HERE. That’s obvious! Just think, the politicians, promoters and developers want even more of this by claiming we need more growth! They want growth ONLY because of the profit in it for themselves. The average person here doesn’t want growth and that is a fact!

  5. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes the women that accused Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. Well, I’ll be. Mitch McConnell surprised me, on this one.

  6. Reggie I hope you get your wish, but I doubt it, as far as I can see the mud is already flying, and not on the New mayoral candidates side.

  7. I TRULY hope you keep your word on this. Might I offer a suggestion for an article or series of articles? A review of voting records over the past election cycle, how the incumbent voted, their justification for voting that way, and ask the challenging candidates if they would have voted the same way or differently and why. I am INSANELY disillusioned by the broken promises and what I perceive as two faced lying by our current local government. Would love to see the votes clearly spelled out.

  8. I am writing here, on this article about the upcoming election, about last night’s Apopka City Council meeting again, and how I see things going on, and my opinion. I am referring to the public comment section last night regarding the subject of the Apopka Historical Museum controversy, and comments spoken during the public comment section. Most of the comments from the members of the AACCC are stemming from hurt. When people are hurt, hurt turns to anger. Whether AACCC’s allegations are all true or not, I don’t know. All I can tell you, is their perception is that their black memorabilia has been removed off the walls of the museum, and that the book by Perrine Slim, a well-known, and beloved black author from this town, who wrote of the local history, is not allowed to be sold there in the museum any longer, with the proceeds from the sales going to support the museum. Now, it is said the book is on display there in the museum, and can still be purchased with directives as to how to purchase it, but not through the museum. This group, AACCC, sees this as mistreatment of their African-American heritage, and mistreatment from some of the Apopka Historical Museum board members……you cannot change their perception as that is what they believe, whether true or not……

  9. It was said that the black memorabilia was removed along with other non-black memorabilia because of remodeling and painting the walls. This could be true, or there could be more to the story. I don’t know. However, what I am seeing is an unwillingness to resolve this issue of the museum. AACCC stated that the museum has been closed since this controversy. I am not certain exactly when the museum was shut down, or if it is permanently shut. I didn’t hear any answers to that. Mayor Kilsheimer said he was unaware that the museum doors were closed. I find that very strange, that he was not aware of the museum doors closed. The mayor says that there is a part-time staffer that is employed by the city on the payroll, who is not a volunteer, that works 4 days a week, 4 hours per day. Now the question I want answered is this: If the museum has been closed, well then, where is the paid employee? What has the paid, part-time employee been doing? Or they laid off? Fired? In the closed museum re-modeling? Dusting? Or maybe over at City Hall doing other duties? I am a resident of this city, and as tax-payer, I want to know. I also want to know the status of our museum, as to whether it is going to open again, or is it closed permanently, or temporarily. I am not liking the direction our city is headed. This is not good for our city! There needs to be more answers and more truthfulness!

  10. I acknowledge Mayor Kilsheimer’s apology to Ms. Belle Gilliam, and her daughter, where he apologized, if he or his wife offended them, in any way. That was the right thing to do, on the mayor’s part. I also tend to believe the mayor’s wife, Cheryl, who is the president of the Apopka Historical Society Museum, when I read her account of planning to go to visit Ms. Belle Gilliam at her residence on Welch road, that Cheryl said was intended to be a pleasant visit, not a confrontation. The reason I believe Cheryl on that, is because she took a box of chocolates with her to give to Belle! Logic tells me, that if I were heading out to give some one a piece of my mind, or to confront someone and be nasty, the last thing I would do is go buy them a box of chocolates! However, I think something did go on, that was unexpected, when the mayor’s wife and the fellow museum board member got there, and saw the publisher there, as the mayor himself called the relationship between the publisher and his wife a “personality conflict”……so there, weight it for yourselves………

  11. I saw Commissioner Becker attempt to try to resolve this museum issue, although he acknowledged that it should be met with somewhere else rather than at the public comment section of the Apopka City Council Meeting, but Commissioner Becker did also acknowledge that the AACCC has the right to come to the meetings, and speak at any of the public comment periods. I also witnessed Commissioner Doug Bankson try to arrange a meeting elsewhere to try to resolve this museum controversy. I also witnessed Commissioner Billie Dean say that this is bad for our city, this division, this controversy, and that it needs to stop! What I didn’t witness was the mayor trying to resolve the matter, and I want to know why? I can assure the mayor this needs to be resolved unless his plan was to shut down the museum all along. What’s next the Fran Carlton Center? We have lost our Highland Manor as it is no longer under the city’s control. Our historic Edward Field is gone. Now our museum is shuttered apparently, so what is next? Only thing I can think of is the Fran Carlton Center!!!

  12. Commissioner Diane Velazquez stated last night that she wants to see the farmworkers have some photos and displays put up, that they played a very important part in Apopka’s history. I agree with her on that. However, it is still unresolved as to the future of the museum’s operations, as to whether the doors are even going to be opened again, and obviously that is what needs to be addressed first, rather than farm workers photos discussed. Is it even going to open again??????? I heard the mayor’s veiled threat to shut down the museum, and is this the end of the museum? If so, that is a SHAME!!!!

  13. Please tell me how the museum has ran smoothly from what? 1968, I believe, I read, if I am not wrong…..and how that the few handful of times over the years, I have been there, it was nice, well organized, and very clean, and a positive experience, with no charge for admission, and donations welcomed…..and how it has come down to this now!!????? WTH is going on, and why???? I want to know, as a citizen of this city. The city has more involvement in this museum than the mayor acknowledges, I will tell you that too! It is in their city owned building, and they pay a part-time staffer, so you cannot wash your hands of the museum totally, by saying it is ran by the board and the historical items are owned by the operatives. So who specifically, are the people, meaning their names, who OWN this collection of history items??? A lot of questions……no answers, so far!!! This museum issue needs resolved for the good of community, and I cannot emphasize that enough! Otherwise, no good will come from this issue being unresolved!

  14. How long does re-modeling take? Didn’t I hear the mayor talking at one of the previous council meetings, about he and wife did some painting at the museum, and didn’t he say LAST YEAR? I will have to run the audio back to be sure, from the previous council meeting prior to last night’s meeting. Anyway, how many times have you all been in stores, or other places, and you see a sign that will state something of this nature: Please pardon our dust, or our disarray, as we are in the process of remodeling, painting, etc. Surely you all have seen signs such as this at businesses, or other places? Also they usually have an indication as to when it is expected to be finished…..I read one lady’s comment on another website where she stated that the walls have been painted and it looks very nice at the museum….so why is the museum not re-opened if it looks nice and has been painted? Apparently the walls have already been finished…..??? What is going on, seriously?

  15. I notice the mayor said that there is not a contractual agreement between the COA and the Apopka Historical Society. So…why did he bring that up?

  16. Are there plans to bulldoze the VFW/Apopka Community Center? Under the brownfield shared cities grant? I am suspicious of everything, because I am seeing our history of Apopka going down the drain, what little history we have left. Is the VFW building and the Fran Carlton Center next to succumb to Miley’s Wrecking Ball???????

  17. I am getting sick of everywhere there are dump trucks, bulldozers, and piled up dirt around this town. Dead animals lying in the roadways. Constant smoky haze of prescribed burns….bumper to bumper cars and traffic, constant sirens day and night flying to auto wrecks, and we have hardly any history preserved in this town, and now what little we did have is doors locked and closed! I am disgusted!!!

  18. I’ll tell you something else that sucks too. These bulbs that they came and installed in our street lights that are some kind of gas…..they totally suck, as they don’t hardly put out any light on our street. They might as well left in out, and not changed it. It was better before they put the new bulb in. The old light bulbs shined bright and white and really lit the street up, but not this dud, it is so dull and has a eerie yellowish hue that defeats the purpose.

  19. I see Mayor Juana is coming around parts of Apopka after all…..LOL So glad Orange County Commission voted all together in unity for what the majority of the voters approved and wanted, to help ill people cope with being able to purchase medical marijuana locally.

  20. Good night, I am going to let Calgon take me away, and then go catch some ZZZZZZZs and dream I am on a tropical island in the South Pacific sunbathing and sipping on a tall pina colada while a good looking muscular native dude fans me with a giant palm frond.

  21. Yes, very glad to see the Orange County Commission approved dispensaries in the county for those ailing residents. City of Apopka approved Sunday liquor sales, but banned medical marijuana dispensaries for those in need. Just doesn’t make any sense!

  22. Oh yes….follow the yellow brick road, or in this town, just follow the campaign donation trail, from the very well known routinely big time $$$$$ campaign donors, giving so generously to some of the Apopka City Council candidates. It is all in the Apopka Chief Newspaper today’s edition. I knew those big time $$$$$$ donations were going to show up, sooner or later, and my expectations were not let down…..thank you Apopka Chief Newspaper for printing the list for us voters in this city.

  23. Michelle Parker, the beautiful young mom and mobile Glow Tan business owner, has been missing 6 years, as of today. Her children are 9 years old now, and I believe they are twins. Her ex-husband is back in Central Florida currently now with the children, and Michelle’s mother still is not allowed to see the grandchildren that she dearly loves so much, because the father of the children will not allow her to see the children…..that has to be heartbreaking for Michelle’s mother. Prayers to Michelle’s mom…….

  24. Thank you also Apopka Chief Newspaper for the nice article and photos about Belle Gilliam, and her involvement in this city’s history making and history keeping. The article stated she was known as the “southern belle”, I suppose, because she was both southern, and because of her name “Belle”…..that if funny, because my mom was a “southern belle” also, because she was southern, and worked at Southern Bell telephone for years and years. I can appreciate all “southern belles”. If my mom was still living, she would be close to Ms. Gilliam’s age, but older, as my mom would be 98 years old, and Ms. Gilliam is 96 years old….my mom lived through the depression era also like Ms. Gilliam.

  25. I have been looking in the toy sections of the mainstream department stores, because it is getting close to Christmas. I never look in the toy sections, but when it gets close to Christmas, I do start walking down the toy aisles, and checking out the latest toys. It is a tradition with me. I really don’t know why I do it, as I don’t have any children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, or anybody, that is a child, to buy for, but still……I do it…and yes, I am Mama Mia…LOL! I actually was shocked, at just how high the toys are priced! The bicycles and footballs are still not priced too high, but everything else….OMG, no wonder parents have to go into debt at Christmas time, especially if they have several kids. I fell in love with the “Frozen” pastel colored bicycles for the little kids.

  26. Michael Heaton, you know what else doesn’t make sense? Wine drinking at city hall, that was allowed also…….LOL Mayor Land would have NEVER allowed that one! Oh I forgot, it was in the name of art….haha

  27. I tell you, I am 100% totally shocked that even Charlie Rose, the very respected CBS longtime journalist, has been accused of sexual misconduct. The one person, that I would have never believed who would do such actions, that would be labeled as groping, and other sexual misconduct actions…..I thought it must be untrue! Then I read his statement he released…..wow, I am totally surprised. I couldn’t hardly believe the accusations against former President George H. W. Bush either, but he apologized too, so wow…..SMH


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