OK Republicans, now it’s our turn.
We’re the only ones invited to the County Commission District 2 primary, thanks to an NPA who blocked Democrats and independents from participating.
The people behind such a move did so purposely to keep the primary closed to Republicans, thinking that a more conservative voter base will help Diana Finegan over Stacey Worthington.
That remains to be seen.
Republicans — and I switched parties for this race — have held the voting edge in this county for quite some time. Turnout for a normal primary runs about 35%, but Republican turnout is higher — 45% in the last two primaries.
That tells me Republicans who vote in primaries are doing so purposely — there’s no governor or president at the top of the ballot to draw them in.
Fortunately for us, this is the one race where the candidates really do differ.
Let’s discuss Diana Finegan first.
Much of her campaign is, to me, somewhat of a mystery. I’m not 100% sure what Diana stands for.
She was the first candidate out of the gate and started attending county commission meetings right off the bat. So I see that she is engaged in the process.
But Diana has not provided, at least not where I’ve seen, any real vision for the county. Or even expressed any interest in having that conversation.
Her positions are few. She opposes any tax increases and suggests we’d have plenty of money to spend if we just stopped wasting it. Exactly how to do that, well, we didn’t hear any details.
She agrees with board Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr. that we need a policy prohibiting certain displays in the library. Diana seems well connected to the Library Guy Gang; she promoted on her campaign Facebook page an endorsement through his “Citrus Crusader.”
(Interestingly, Diana removed the Citrus Crusader endorsement Wednesday from her Facebook page. I hope that’s a sign she’s distancing herself from Library Guy.)
Diana has said very little on the trail about what she wants to do if elected. It’s been mostly a pandering campaign — tell people what they want to hear. That’s not an unusual tactic; I’ve seen it dozens of times with mixed results.
Now Stacey Worthington. Other than at an occasional Planning and Development Commission meeting, where Stacey is a member, the first real conversation I had with her was on a January drive to Tallahassee after I learned she had decided to run.
We’ve had a lot of conversations since then. It’s fair to say Stacey comes from the pro-development bent. Former president of the Citrus County Building Alliance, Stacey as a PDC member initiated the conversation that led the county commission to revise its waterfront setback regulations.
She's opposed to the county raising impact fees to offset the cost of growth. Her reasoning is something I've heard -- and never proven -- for three decades, that increasing impact fees will drive potential new residents and businesses to neighboring counties where fees aren't as high.
Stacey and I do differ on one major issue: traffic concurrency.
I think the county needs traffic concurrency, so that new major developments would have to provide road network improvements to handle the additional traffic. We don’t have that now and it’s a constant source of conversation among PDC members who review these developments.
Stacey does not see that need because she believes the planned unit development (PUD) process works just fine.
I'm sure some of that stuff that just bored you to death, but these are the real time challenges county commissioners are now facing and will be looking at ten-fold in the coming years. While Stacey and I disagree on the approach to growth, the fact that we can have a conversation about it says something.
Republicans, there’s the choice for District 2. It’s really pretty simple. One or the other.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.