110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Beacon Staff
posted Aug 9, 2012 - 2:55:56pm
Editor’s note: Welcome to “Campaign Diary,” a collection of election tidbits contributed by members of The Beacon staff, as we march along the campaign trail, following those who seek elected office on this year’s crowded ballots.
After County Council District 5 candidate Rich Gailey was targeted by e-mail-sharing supporters of one of his opponents, Gailey had some e-mails of his own to share.
The 80 or so items of correspondence sent by Gailey detail a long, arduous attempt during early 2011 by neighbors of the Bedizel family in Enterprise to stop the Bedizels from clearing trees on their agricultural land near Lake Monroe.
Alarmed when trees began falling, the neighbors had contacted County Council Member Pat Northey, the incumbent in District 5, who’s now running for re-election.
Gailey says the e-mails show a pattern of “abuse of power” on Northey’s part. Others might say the e-mails demonstrate Northey’s commitment to protecting the environment.
A.J. Bedizel said he and his family did end up feeling harassed. He said he researched the rules before developing a cattle ranch on his property, and he was careful to protect more than 300 oak trees, while cutting down palm trees, water oaks and hickory.
According to their e-mails, some of the neighbors thought historic oaks were coming down.
The e-mails show Northey made sure county staff members constantly monitored Bedizel, and got some stop orders put on the work.
In one e-mail, Northey told county legal staff, “I can’t believe this can be happening legally.”
In another e-mail, she said of the tree clearing, “It is outrageous and I don’t know how to stop it. I have had staff out there almost every day; I had our in house County atty look at this and we cannot find a way to stop him.”
Bedizel said he created the farm, complete with day lilies, peacocks and goats, because he wanted to live closer to nature.
“I’m the true environmentalist,” Bedizel said.
He now has a Rich Gailey campaign sign in his yard. Gailey’s campaign platform includes standing up for private property rights (although he was part of the DeBary contingent that prevented a RaceTrac from being built near their homes).
The third candidate in the District 5 primary is Stony Sixma, a Realtor.
District 5 voters, you’ll have to decide.
Stolen trailer, stolen signs
Supervisor of Elections candidate Andy Kelly said his campaign took a blow July 28 or 29, when someone stole a trailer full of campaign signs.
Kelly said he isn’t as worried about the trailer as he is the signs; there’s no time before the primary to get some of the larger ones replaced.
Kelly left the utility trailer at 843 N. Woodland Blvd. around 9 p.m. July 28. His brother saw it there around 11:15 that night.
Kelly decided to leave the trailer and retrieve it the next morning. When he returned around 11 a.m. Sunday, July 29, the trailer was gone.
Does he think the theft was politically motivated?
“No, I don’t,” he said, adding that it was probably a crime of opportunity.
Kelly suspects the thief may have dumped the signs. He asked that anyone who might spot the signs or the trailer — a Pace utility trailer, 5 feet by 8 feet, gray in color— send an e-mail to AndyKelly @ElectAndyKelly.com, call him at 386-848-1889, or call the DeLand Police Department at 386-734-1711.
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