Early Voting: The first ballot cast

Early Voting at Supervisor of Elections Office
I am pleased to report that, by just a few minutes, I was able to beat County Commissioner Ron Sanchez and am therefore able to claim the first early ballot cast in the Supervisor of Elections Office for this year’s important Primary Election.

As a voter registered in both the City of St. Augustine as well as St. Johns County, I had a few more issues on which I was able to contribute my vote.

I am one of those people who takes my right and privilege to vote seriously – maybe more seriously than most; considering the light voter turn outs on many Election Days. Florida has given the offices of Supervisors of Elections the tools of absentee voting and early voting to make it as easy as possible for citizens to register and cast their ballot. I applaud Penny Halyburton for the job that she and her staff do to accomplish this more smoothly and effectively with every succeeding election.

As a Republican, I got to vote in one State race – State Attorney for the 7th Judicial Circuit. I voted for R. J. Larizza and hope that he will accomplish a cleanup of the mess John Tanner will leave behind when he is defeated.

In the two county Universal Primary Contests; District 3 and District 5, I voted for Mark P. Miner and Randy Brunson and I look forward to the end of the campaigning for those two candidates and the start of a new attitude of respect and civility as they prepare to take their seats on the Board.

The District 1 Commission race being decided by Republicans was as easy a decision as I’ve ever made. I voted for Cyndi Stevenson and she has my complete confidence. She took a lot of verbal abuse from Jack Boyd in her first run for office four years ago and Al Abbatiello ran a campaign reminiscent of the 2004 race. Let’s just say I’m glad all of that will be over for Cyndi on Election Day and she can move on to the General Election in November.

In non-partisan primaries, I got to choose a new County Judge for Group 1. I voted for Anne Marie Gennusa and I am looking forward to a fresh, new outlook and approach to the problems in administering that court.

For School Board, District 5, I changed my vote. After voting for Carla Wright in the past, I decided to open the door for Lionel Skeeter Key. Skeeter is a strong leader, knows the school board operation well and will re-energize the Board at a time when they will be facing some of their most difficult decisions.

The Seat 2 race in the City for Commissioner required some thought. I felt that Freeman and Sullivan had strengths that were worth considering. Romano is too closely associated with what I call the “lunatic fringe” that has infiltrated Lincolnville. I see him as an instigator — not a problem solver. He had the audacity to ask someone like Maureen Ortagus to moderate his neighborhood candidate forum because, in his opinion, she was “impartial”. Anyone with those powers of perception is a fool.

My vote went to Dan Sullivan and we’ll see how many of his campaign issues he is able to accomplish once elected.

My vote for Mayor was for Joe Boles. I like Bill Lennon; Bill has done a great service for our community and I was kind of hoping he would have run for one of the county commission seats this year. He would have enjoyed my full support, but, for the position of Mayor, I think Joe has proven himself and is worthy of re-election …. which I think he will gain easily.

I’ve known Gary Howell and his brother for years. I think his interest in the Mosquito Control District is genuine, his motives for election are honest and I completely trust his ability to move cautiously when called on to act and to consider opposing points of view with a cool and level head. Gary received my vote and I believe he, too, will be elected easily.

I’ll not comment on Republican State Committeeman and Republican State Committeewoman at the moment because, even though I have a strong opinion on each, I am very disappointed in the recent lapses of judgment shown by our local Republican Club and Republican Executive Committee. I don’t want my personal amazement and disappointment to color my recommendations for these two important positions.

As for the County Referenda, the proposed Charter Ordinance 2008-33, what can I say? Like the anti-casino proponents said a few years ago, “YOU’VE GOT TO VOTE NO TO STOP IT!” This is an incomplete charter document. Hell, we are being asked to vote on amendments to it before the document has even been accepted. What an abomination of legalese and an obvious power grab by a group who I wouldn’t trust out of my eyesight.

Well, that’s pretty much it. Stay home and don’t vote if you like – my votes will be the ones that will decide. I honestly hope that the majority of our 100,000 plus registered voters will exercise their vote — especially in this primary election.

Historic City News staff photograph