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  • Tuesday, July 24, 2012


    Orange's politically connected make new bids for office

    eLECTION Watch 2012

    Orange city government up for grabs as politically connected pull papers

    While no one has filed their paper work yet, current council people, former council people and the politically connected have so far pulled papers for the 2012 Orange City election races. Regardless of the outcome, political careers will be made and ended with the 2012 election.

    The Mayor’s race: a vision of two cities-
    Open Space vs. Development

    So far, two termed out Orange City council people, Councilman Jon Dumitru and Mayor Pro Tem/Councilwomen Teresa “Tia” Smith are the only ones as of today to have pulled papers for the Mayor’s race. This is Dumitru’s second run at the Mayor’s office after trying to unseat Mayor Carolyn Cavecche two years ago in a bruising election. CLICK ON:DUMITRU 2012 and SMITH 2012 . Cavecche is termed out this election and has decided not to run for one of the open council seats.

    Political watchers see Dumitru as the insider candidate and Smith with the more populist support. That was evident in the recent Orange City Council vote over the 53 acre Ridgeline development that has plans for 39 homes on the open space which may be the biggest issue in the November campaign. While a 4-1 majority of the Orange City Council (including Councilman Dumitru)
    voted June 14th to approve the plan (Smith was the lone vote against the development) Orange Park Association President Tom Davidson vowed to fight the vote with a referendum, similar to the Sully Miller development fight over the planned development over gravel pit area adjacent to the Ridgeline area. Ridgeline opponents wanted the developer to keep the once recreational center for the community as open space, or at the very least they wanted the developer to deed the city 7.6 acres of land, without restrictions, that includes the long time community horse arena.

    Having lost at the city planning commission, then at a May city council meeting, and then final vote at the June 14th city council meeting (which included a controversial “revision” clause that would allow the arena land to revert back to the developer), a group called Orange Citizens for Parks and Recreation began collecting signatures in what almost amounted to an all out collection war as paid “signature deniers”
    and controversial signs sprang up all over Orange.

    In the end however, on Tuesday July 12, opponents brought Matilda (the Orange Park Acres community mascot donkey) and dozens of boxes to the Orange City Clerk's office carrying over 12,000 petition signatures (well above the 7,100 needed). After the signature verification, the Orange City Council will have to rescind its approval, or schedule a referendum election, either as special election which would cost thousands of dollars to the cash strapped city budget, or part of the November election, thus creating a whole new dynamic for the race to control Orange City Hall. Either way, the June 14th City Council votes of Smith and Dumitru are bound to play a role in the November election. CLICK ON: OCPR

    Six candidates have pulled papers for the two open city council seats
    Six candidates, three of them well-connected, have pulled papers, but not yet filed for the two open seats being vacated by Dumitru and Smith. Former Mayor a former City Councilman (elected and appointed) and one time Planning Commissioner Mark Murphy and former city councilman Mike Alvarez have both pulled papers for another race to return to the Orange City Council. Both men are well-known and have served in numerous community capacities. Alvarez last ran against Cavecche in 2006 for mayor and lost 33.2% to 55.7%. CLICK ON: MURPHY 1998 or ALVAREZ 2006

    Also pulling papers is Orange Planning Commissioner Ray Grangoff. Politically well connected, his campaign website already lists enormous endorsements from Orange County’s political elite. Grangoff serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Orange County Supervisor Patricia Bates. CLICK ON: GRANGOFF 2012

    Larry Labrado Sr. has also pulled papers for another run for council. Labrado last ran in 2000. CLICK ON LABRADO 2000). Also pulling papers is political newcomer Brian Del Vecchio (Click on:Del Vecchio LINKED In) and perennial Orange council candidate Robert Douglas. CLICK ON DOUGLAS 2012

    Incumbent City Clerk and City Treasurer pull papers for re-election

    Orange City Clerk Mary Murphy and City Treasurer Helen Walker have both pulled papers for re-election. As of today, no one has pulled papers to challenge them.

    Deadline for filing for all offices is August 10, 2012.

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