110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Fight City Hall? These men want to be part of it
By Jen Horton
posted Jan 20, 2014 - 1:58:09pm
Two men running for mayor in two West Volusia cities say the same thing: Their local government doesn't care about businesses.
Both mayoral challengers have been dinged in the past few months for violating sign laws.
Pat Johnson, owner of Pompano Pat's in DeLand, will announce his intent to run for mayor of DeLand on at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 at the Sandhill Golf Course at 800 E. Euclid Ave.
His tussle with DeLand code-enforcement officers over signs led to his decision.
"I never had any interest in politics," Johnson said.
However, he was encouraged by other business owners to enter the political arena. Johnson is not afraid to be vocal, and during the sign conflict, he likened the city of DeLand to the mafia.
He said DeLand government is riddled with a “good old boy” style of governing that doesn’t work and is detrimental to business.
"I don't see where the City of DeLand is doing anything to help businesses, small or large," he said. "As a business owner, I can tell you how job creation is going. People come in here and fill out credit applications to finance a vehicle, and they list unemployment as their source of income. My taxes go up every year, but things aren't getting better every year."
The last incident with the city was the last straw, he said. Johnson was flying flags without a permit to attract attention to his motorcycle store at 2705 S. Woodland Blvd. The city told him he faced a $250 per day fine if he didn't take them down.
"So you have a city that doesn't support the business that employs eight people, that pays taxes, that advertises in the paper, that creates an endless ripple effect on the economy," Johnson said.
He said there is no need to have a committee to determine what color a property owner can paint his building.
"I think people can make a lot of decisions on their own," Johnson said. "I don't think the city needs to tell us everything we can and can't do."
In Deltona, Jody Storozuk, differs from Johnson in that he has always had an eye for politics. He's going to run for Deltona mayor.
"I always want to know what's going on," said Storozuk, who served 15 years in the military.
Storozuk and his partner, Corey Marion, made headlines in December when their business, Happy Tails pet grooming, was fined for displaying a Toys for Tots banner. The case is headed to County Court; read the latest story on Page XX.
Storozuk shares with Johnson the belief that his city government has no regard for businesses, especially small businesses.
His campaign, his goal, he said, is to change Deltona’s way of doing business.
"I want to bring common sense to a place where there isn't a lot of it," he said. "If you want to advertise, besides the sign that you have with your building, you have to pay the city money. Everything costs money. So the sale you were advertising isn't profitable because you just paid the city to have a sign.”
Local governments shouldn’t make money at the expense of local businesses, he said.
“There are other ways to make money," Storozuk said.
He said the response to his plan to run to be Deltona’s mayor has been overwhelming, "by people who work for a living."
DeLand’s and Deltona’s elections are this fall. Deltona will elect a mayor and three city commissioners, while DeLand will elect a mayor and two city commissioners.
Official qualifying for candidates for these positions will begin at noon Monday, June 16, and run through noon Friday, June 20. During this period, candidates must file required paperwork with their respective city clerks.
The comments posted below are posted by readers, not by The Beacon staff. These comments express the views and opinions of the authors, and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster. The comments forum is governed by these rules. Please use the report abuse link if you find offensive comments.
Did you find this story interesting or informative? Subscribe to The West Volusia Beacon to read more stories by Jen Horton, along with others from our award-winning writers. Subscribe now!