Returning After 7-Week Absence, Council Member Bill Lewis Vows to Keep On
FlaglerLive | September 9, 2014
For the first time in almost two months, Bill Lewis replied “here” during roll call at a Palm Coast City Council meeting this morning. Lewis was back for the first time since July 15. He wanted to let his colleagues know that he intended to stay, even as he came in a distant second in the four-war election for his seat in the Aug. 26 primary. He got 29 percent of the vote to Steven Nobile’s 37 percent. The two face each other in a run-off to be decided by the Nov. 4 general election.
Lewis, 83, was a no-show at the council and on the campaign trail since developing a case of shingles, the very painful skin condition that can incapacitate its victims for long periods.
“I’d like to take a moment to welcome councilman Lewis back,” Mayor Jon Netts said this morning as the council’s workshop began. “He’s had kind of a tough road to hoe.”
Lewis wanted to speak.
He gave his thanks to the mayor, fellow-councilman Bill McGuire and City Manager Jim Landon, and singled out City Clerk Virginia Smith, “who kept me abreast of what was going on, and that was very helpful.” He also thanked residents for cards and phone calls.
“This is a great city,” Lewis said, “great people, great council, and we work hard to make this city, and I want to continue what I can do to make it a better place to live.”
The council is on the hinge of a significant shift, depending on the outcome of the November election. One seat is already certain to go to a new council member as Dave Ferguson, an appointee to the seat, chose not to defend it. Candidates Heidi Shipley and Anne-Marie Shaffer are contending for that seat in a November run-off. Both would bring a far more hands-on, if not activist, approach to the job than Ferguson had.
The Nobile-Lewis race offers the same contrast. Lewis has been very low key, his most eager involvements going back to his habit, when healthy, of driving around the city, looking for code-enforcement violators. Nobile in an interview compared himself more to council member Jason DeLorenzo, the most likely dissenter on key issues on a council perceived usually to be in lockstep. “The current council dynamics I see from public appearances is one that is not as adversarial as I would like,” Nobile said in an interview. ” If everyone thinks the same and does not question the policies, programs and presentations adequately then the people of Palm Coast are not being served well.
“Bill,” Netts told Lewis Tuesday morning, “I know I speak for all the council and city staff. Welcome back., Glad you’re feeling better. Hope you continue to feel better and better and better. It’s good to have you back.”
The council then immediately turned its attention to the first of numerous items on its workshop agenda, a discussion of an agreement, long in coming, with Flagler County government over the management of development around the county airport, which is surrounded by city properties.