Here are the Letters to the Editor for September 15, 2022. You can send your Letter to the Editor by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sebastian City Council election is this November with seven candidates, one for re-election.
City Council Election
The city of Sebastian has a very important local election in November to select two open seats on the city council. Our Mayor, Jim Hill, is not seeking re-election, and Councilman Ed Dodd will seek re-election for his seat. The city has several important items coming in the next year or two, including the Graves annexation, Spirit of Sebastian, Harbor Lights, labor negotiations, Public Works property, and Hurricane Harbor/Fisherman’s Landing.
It is imperative that each city voter takes the time to do their due diligence and research to make sure they feel they are putting the right people in place. Seven residents are running for the two positions. The following are MY OPINIONS only. I would like to have seen all of these candidates attend the past council meetings giving their thoughts during public input sections. That would have given all of us an idea on how they felt about an item and how they would go about discussion during debate.
Of course, this is with the exception of Mr. Dodd, as he is at all council meetings. But, as always, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and favorites.
Ed Dodd – Comes with experience (three terms) and the knowledge to continue to lead us through the work that has to be done. Ed led us through a very turbulent time with the three recalled council members and did so with professionalism, diligence, and patience. He was a member of the Code Enforcement Board (Chair for 2 years), served on the Charter Review Committee, and was a member of the Planning and Zoning Committee for 6 years. He has or is serving on the IRC 2020 Census Committee, Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council and Metropolitan Planning Organization. Most recently, Ed was voted Home Town Hero by the Florida League of Cities and appointed to their Board of Directors. Dodd will serve on the Florida League of Cities 2022-2023 Land Use & Economic Development Committee, one of the League’s five Legislative Policy Committees. Ed will serve as an advocate for local decision-making throughout the legislative process. As a Legislative Policy Committee member, Ed will help develop the League’s Legislative Action Agenda, which details priority issues that are most likely to affect daily municipal governance and local decision-making during the upcoming legislative session You cannot ask for more knowledge and experience and in my opinion is my number one choice.
Louise Kautenburg is my second choice. Keeping with knowledge and experience, Louise has had over 26 years of continuous service to Sebastian. No training is required; she will be ready to go on day one. Louise has over 10 years with the Planning and Zoning Board (2 as Chair). 4 terms on the Charter Review committee, CRA Board, Parks and Recreation Board, Tree board and 16 years with the Sebastian Fine Arts & Music Festival Board. Louise is calm natured, but reviews agenda packets with detail and asks the important questions. She will bring fresh thoughts and ideas to the city council.
Sherrie Matthews – This is Sherrie’s third time on the ballot for city council. Sherrie has served on the most recent Charter Review Committee. She has applied for other boards but was not selected at the time. She retired after 35 years with the sheriff’s office where she was correction accreditation manager and was in charge of the print shop along with many other duties. While I have heard her say she is pro-annexation if it is done correctly, I do not know where she stands on other issues. While she has been in attendance at the council meetings, her input is very limited to project her thoughts and ideas to the council. I feel there would be a training period of adjustment for Sherrie and that is what we don’t need for this coming term.
Kelly Dixon – Kelly is a newcomer to the city election scene. August 24th’s council meeting was the first I’ve noticed her attending and can’t recall any public comment on agenda items to see where she stands on the coming important issues. From comments on the city FB channel during the 8/24 meeting, she generally watches from home. She admittedly does not have any municipality experience, which is what the city needs during this next term. According to her campaign page, she loves Sebastian and would like to maintain its’ charm and elevate the quality of life, however, she lacks experience in city matters, and even Mayor Hill stated in the August 24 meeting that “We have a lot of important things coming up”. In my opinion, this is not a time for training periods. I think Mrs. Dixon should stay involved in city events providing input during all board, committee, and council meetings that will give her the experience needed to make final decisions on the direction of Sebastian.
Charles St. John Stadelman
Charles St. John Stadelman – Charles is very involved in our Natural Resources Board and the Rotary Club. He is an environmentalist that I have seen at every community event. Charles’ education around natural resources is unquestionable, and he is highly involved in projects to ensure Sebastian is at the forefront in protecting the lagoon and other waterways. While there is still more to learn about Charles, I still think overall experience and knowledge surrounding city matters should prevail in this year’s election.
Damien H Gilliams
Damien H Gilliams – Absolutely not. I am sure everyone remembers the distress this individual put this city through and is still keeping some turmoil through lawsuits. If you are new to the city, I encourage you to reach out to other residents and learn about what chaos the city went through with him and his two cohorts that were recalled along with him.
Damien L Gilliams (Junior)
Damien L Gilliams (Junior) – Ran for election in 2021 and it seemed to me it was just to make a mockery of the process. I don’t believe that apple falls far from the tree.
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