You’d imagine, having already thrown their hats in the ring, the three candidates for the job of DeLand mayor would be working hard right now to let the public know where they stand.
It wasn’t evident Nov. 22, when each of them had the chance to comment on the Beresford Reserve development.
City Commissioner Chris Cloudman attended, of course.
Planning Board Member Buz Nesbit was there but didn’t speak, and pastor and former county employee Reggie Williams didn’t attend.
Cloudman walked an incredibly fine line in his remarks on the controversial 615-unit proposed development on the old Southridge Golf Course.
As The Beacon has previously reported, saying “no” to development isn’t always as easy as just saying “no.” But Cloudman worked well to make it clear that he’s between a rock and a hard place.
And, Cloudman made his knowledge of low-impact-development and smart growth plain. It remains to be seen how an actual decision on the site may affect his bid for the mayor’s seat.
Nesbit sits on a city board but isn’t taking the kind of fire city commissioners take when it comes to making high-profile development decisions. And while Williams does not sit on any city boards, he has a wealth of experience when it comes to the inner workings of local government.
Why didn’t Nesbit or Williams take the opportunity to speak out without having to come under fire for a vote?
There’s something to be said for not making a controversial rezoning hearing all about an election that’s roughly a year away, but I have to admit, I expected some serious politicking.
If I were running for mayor, I would have taken the stand and made my case.
“I’m not on the City Commission and I’m not the mayor,” alternate-universe DeLand mayoral candidate Noah may have said, gesticulating charismatically. “Not yet, at least.”
“Just say no,” I might have said, comfortably knowing Cloudman is saddled with far more legal liability than I when it comes to saying no.
Politicking is not just fighting among yourselves to stand out — it’s making it clear to the public exactly where you stand.
Let’s give the candidates the benefit of the doubt, and expect a good, clean race. But I am looking forward to the politicking, the soapbox-taking, the couched criticisms and everything else that comes with campaigning.
I’m only surprised it hasn’t already begun.