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Jon Netts Will Run Again For Palm Coast Council. So Will Heidi Shipley–For Same Seat

| January 29, 2018

Look who's running again: Jon Netts, left, and Heidi Shipley, who served two years on the Palm Coast council. They will be opponents in the coming city election. (© FlaglerLive)

Look who’s running again: Jon Netts, left, and Heidi Shipley, who served two years on the Palm Coast council. They will be opponents in the coming city election. (© FlaglerLive)

At the end of a Palm Coast City Council a month ago, former Mayor Jon Netts walked up to Council member Heidi Shipley and asked her if she intended to run again. “I don’t think I want to run against you, out of curtesy,” Netts told Shipley. Shipley in October had said that she would not seek re-election. She hadn’t changed her mind. So she told Netts: she was not running. So Netts, who was term-limited out of office in November 2016, decided he would—for Shipley’s council seat.

Then last Thursday Shipley posted a message on her Facebook page saying she’d been getting emails, calls and visits from people urging her to run again. She was soliciting opinions about the possibility, declaring herself “undecided.” The response from a few dozen people was pretty one-sided: they wanted her to run. And by Sunday night’, she’d pretty much decided she’d change her mind and run after all. She was still under the impression that Netts would not run if she did, though that proved not to be the case.

Today, both said they would run, even after knowing what the other’s intention was. Shipley, who respects Netts, said she valued the fact that he’d asked her if she intended to run a month ago, and she couldn’t very well fault him now for going ahead since she’d told him she wouldn’t.

“I just wasn’t feeling like I was getting anything accomplished,” Shipley said of her earlier decision not to run, “but when you look at every politician up there, what’s their legacy? And I don’t see one for many of them.” When she hears people saying “you helped me,” that, Shipley said, makes a difference to her, “what happens in their front yards, what happens in their neighborhood.” She’d gotten frustrated, finding herself with Steve Nobile at the losing end of 3-2 votes, and Nobile’s decision not to run for re-election—he’s moving out of the district—would have left her even more isolated.

“It’s probably going to be a 4-1 vote when we get the new person if I get elected,” she said. “I’m sure they’re going to put somebody up that votes their way.”

Netts would be a voice much more likely to echo rather than counter that of the recurring majority of three—Mayor Milissa Holland and Council members Nick Klufas and Bob Cuff, though he has his criticisms too. “I think there’s some historical perspective missing from the city council,” Netts said today. “The more I think about it, the more I think why things were done in a certain w ay, I don’t think it was happenstance.”

Netts didn’t stay away from the city council after he left office. He was absent for a while, but he clearly missed it. He started attending meetings and workshops, lending his voice again to various issues, his 15 years on the council contrasting with current members’ tenure, the longest of which are just over three years.

Last October, when Heidi spoke of leaving, Netts said he was thinking of running again either for Shipley’s council seat or for that of County Commissioner Greg Hansen, who has not yet proven himself electorally: Gov. Rick Scott appointed him to fill out the term of the late Frank Meeker. Netts had applied for the seat as well. But Hansen is politically well connected, and is loading his race with money. Shipley’s political connection when she first ran had been Netts himself, she said, and what money had come her way was from his supporters.

So the council seat appears a surer route. And, Netts says, one more suited to him. “I think my knowledge, my experience lends itself more to the city than to the county. There’s quite a bit that I don’t know about the county,” Netts said, describing the county as “a strange animal,” with its vastly different western and eastern, agricultural and urban demographics.  

Netts had started as a council member, winning his first election by defeating Jerry Full in 2001 after being inspired—and urged—to run by the late Jim Holland, Milissa Holland’s late father. Netts then won every election he ran for, never having to work too hard at it. His last looked like an attempt to do the least to win it again, defeating Charlie Ericksen in 2011 with 54 percent of the vote. (Ericksen, a cyclist, took it as his training-wheel election and went on to win a county commission seat, so far twice.)

But that was when Palm Coast elections were held in off years, and barely 10 percent of the city’s voters went to the polls. Netts hasn’t won an election when the contest has been held in even years, as it will be this year, when about half the electorate turns out. In a non-partisan election, however, that may only play to his strengths, as he is likely to attract establishment Republicans—like him—and a sizeable share of Democrats. Shipley ran as an independent three years ago.

As for the oddity of a mayor returning to a lowlier council seat? “After all the rhetoric goes away, there are five people on City Council and there are five votes. While being mayor may give you more influence or entrée into different areas, when it comes down to a vote, the mayor’s vote is as important as a council member’s and vice versa.”

The more curious dynamic would be between Netts and Holland, his former protégée who’s made a point of distancing herself from him down to vocally speaking of the need for new blood on the council. Her ideal candidates are more like Nick Klufas, who’s not yet 30 (he turns 30 in April), than Netts, who was born a few hours before the Battle of Midway in 1942, and at 77, the age he would be if sworn-in, would immediately become the council’s senior member in every way. But not Flagler’s: Bunnell City Commissioner Bill Baxley is 78, and Flagler Beach City Commissioner Jane Mealy and fellow-commissioner Marshall Shupe are a year behind Netts, and all could, politically and intellectually, run circles around considerably younger officials.  

Netts and Holland may have seen things eye to eye in the past more than in the present, even by Netts’s estimation. Take the council’s current method of choosing a new manager. Netts agrees that City Manager Jim Landon’s time is done. But, he said, if it’s the council’s intention to let him retire in 2019, the council has started the replacement process too soon, and the way it’s going about it is vague.

“I’m not sure I understand what the mayor’s search for solutions is,” Netts said, referring to Holland’s stated aim in recruiting a new city manager. “I’m not sure what that means, but you need to have a process that can attract highly qualified individual and see if they’re a match.” Netts said starting this soon would also mean that many candidates who might be in the running will not wait around for Palm Coast to make up its mind. “Any candidates that are out there now are not going to be around in a year and a half, in all probability,” he said: other cities will snap them up.

And council members’ focus on a candidate out of the norm? “They don’t want the usual approach. Well, that’s what works,” Netts said. “City manager are unique, they’re not the same as corporate executives, they have a very different skill set, they have a very different learning curve. The issues in government are quite different than the issues in the private sector. So where do you look?” In other words, there are only so many kinds of managers: “Typically in my experience city managers have gotten to where they’ve gotten through a particular route, and that’s what you need.” (Netts was a council member in new Jersey for 12 years before his decade and a half on Palm Coast’s council.)

That and other reasons, Netts said, is why “Palm Coast doesn’t need another newbie on the council.”

So far, only one candidate has officially announced for City Council–John E. Tipton IV, who’as running for the District 4 seat being vacated by Steven Nobile. Just two seats are up. 

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35 Responses for “Jon Netts Will Run Again For Palm Coast Council. So Will Heidi Shipley–For Same Seat”

  1. Linze says:

    Oh no not netts again

  2. david s says:

    You all want to waste your tax dollars vote for Netts just remember the million dollar waste of the city hall and Landons salary we do not need another round of this for our citizens. We need some new blood in the council not a bunch of money hungry fools……

  3. Freddy says:

    And the stupid voters of Palm Coast will vote for them again.

  4. Lorraine W Melkvyas says:

    We do not need john netts interfering in this town anymore. His past actions and framework hecset up as mayor has caused this community to be full of sadness and suicides. Fact is this place is far from a community and people with netts mentality like that so he can abuse the residents. I have been in the building code cases meeting, residents have been abused.

  5. Fernando Melendez says:

    I totally disagree with Mr Netts when he says that Palm Coast doesn’t need a newbie on the City Council. New council members bring fresh perspectives to from what, I understand has been recently a poorly governed city….. And Influenced by the likes of himself and Landon. Their Vote’s on issues do not reflect the values and concerns of the community and Palm Coast residents as a whole. I believe that new Council Members will help bring fresh, new perspectives to elevate our diverse platform and that of our community and new residents.

    With all due respect, and with all the years in public service Mr Netts, if a newbie know he’s responsibilities, and remembers who he works for ( the people) he will be very effective Council Member.
    The council’s chief purpose is to serve the public. It enforces public policy, administers public money, and provides services based on what the people of the community want. State law says that the council is the legislative body for the city and spells out a number of duties for which the
    council is responsible. These duties are listed below under “Duties of the Council.”

    The council also has a political purpose which is closely tied with its legal duties: to represent, as well as possible, the values, needs, and desires of the city’s residents. Although councils have essentially the same legal requirements, the different values, needs, and desires of each individual community result in varying political purposes.

  6. starryidgirl says:

    Haven’t you and Landon done enough damage?????

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hell No will I vote for Netts. He has no business running for a council seat and has proved to be a train wreck! He is 77 and has no business holding public office at 77. Putting Holland, Klufas, Cuff and Netts on this council would be disastrous and they are working in concert to resume ignoring the voters and push agendas. All need to never hold a public office as they have proved they are holding hands and seeking to be the majority to pass anything they want. I’m glad Shipley decided to run again, we. Ant afford to not reelect her. Saddened to hear Nobile is leaving. The voters need to not vote for the cash cows….vote for the candidate who is not holding hands with others. No more Netts!!!

  8. palmcoaster says:

    I congratulate you Ms. Shipley for running again as we appreciate it so much! You have again our vote! Your contender should not have a chance after he was the mastermind that booted our clamor in the referendum to NO building a city hall yet and with Nets at the helm they did it anyway. Mr. Nets was.. what, 12 years as mayor? and he resides right off Florida Park Drive and has done zit for the proper maintenance and revitalization of it or Old Kings Road, all north of Palm Coast Parkway. Blight and permanent flooded sidewalks for lack of proper drainage just off Holland Park with a large wooded swamp filled with rotten smell water being a mosquito breeding ground for us all here that Mr. Nets never cared for. The much needed landscape all along Florida Park Drive to erase the blight and the need of maintenance litter and debris pick up never done. Is like our water front and road front homes do not pay taxes in the F section. Every year I just see a big allocation of our tax funds for improvement of Town Center , and what about improvement maintenance and infrastructure repair in the Old Palm Coast ? When are we going to get back our 5 millions “lent to the TC CRA?” Nets the architect of spending the reserves of our utility company to widen and landscape the Old Kings Road South to benefit also TC?. Nets was Mayor when city decided to buy all the lots along Boulder Rock and the millionaire infrastructure of the Boulder Rock access corner in Rte 100 to benefit TC too. Meanwhile our utility sewer here in Palm Coast is almost backing up in our homes with every storm and the brownies tank trucks star rolling destroying our right of ways sod among other nuisances,,,”but we should be happy cause keeps the s….t off our homes”. We taxpayers in this city need to demand that for the 2018 budget this council commands our administrator to fund the leaks repaired so people can use the sidewalks by Holland Park and the revitalization of Florida Park Drive with proper landscape along it from start to finish. They built the sidewalk and never landscaped along of it. For 17 years our city government increasingly and annually spends millions extending itself in new projects on infrastructure and miles of luscious landscape because ends into some new commercial or residential developer project, meanwhile here in our Old Palm Coast blight and obliviousness shines, because is the area of the old homes!
    Have we all noticed the miles and miles off North of Palm Coast Parkway on US1 …how much of our tax dollars were spent in those sidewalks and bridges overpasses and landscape that are deserted of our residents just because a developer planned a project there? Meanwhile Old Kings road still needs sidewalks and look at the OKR approach to Palm Coast Parkway no grass on median no landscape and litter allover. Yest litter too Mr. Nets, can you convince our manager in your campaign that we need the NO LITTER 500 FINE in our city streets posted? Why he keeps opposing it with excuse that don’t work? What is not posted is allowed Sir. If signs were erected give the tool to our city code enforcement officer and sheriff officers to give out citations to violators on the spot…that are many. I travel the USA and see those signs are good deterrents everywhere. We need Mrs. Shipley another term as is the only one responding to our clamors. She has been pretty much intentionally frozen in place by the other 3 voting against but she achieved what she could and we sure appreciate her for that. We are going to support her all the way. We do not need more developer geared interest in our council we have enough of those as is now and we wish the 3 will change their tune to us residents. We need our infrastructure utility sewer and drainage rebuild repaired because the excuse of our too often floods and sewer intrusion blamed in too much rain is too old of a tale. Fix the darn thing and stop using the reserves we pay in the basic utility rate to benefit developers as is also illegal. Raise developers impact fees instead, other than raise our utility rates plus sewer in our lawns streets and commodes.
    We didn’t need now either this community center millionaire cost yet, when sewer is a problem in that very same corner in the two lift stations next to fire house and next to the ATT lot. Stop projects like the one benefiting FPL with a path for kids to school that kids do not use and is dangerous and father from safety under high power lines in hurricane land. Also current Mayor has become a green flag for these projects and we do not need one more Mr. Nets. Is the time to serve the resident taxpayers and not just the developers to be “politically correct”. Stay home and seat among us in council meetings as you had enjoyed 12 years in the sun, that we endured.,..Enough.

  9. USA Lover says:

    I almost blew beer out of my nose when I read this. It can’t be true……smh

  10. BLUF says:

    Nobody wants a former mayor on city council!

  11. John Yankovich says:

    Netts shud retire to the obscurity he so justly deserves!!! John Yankovich

  12. Just the truth says:

    Enough of Netts and Landon we are tired of the old boys, PC citizens have said it over and over we want new blood to run this City. Bring in jobs, Netts never did that nor did Landon.

  13. Just the truth says:


  14. hawkeye says:

    I hope he brings back the red light cameras!

  15. tulip says:

    While some people may not want former council members to come back for whatever reason, but they also need to look at the UNaccomplishments of Shipley, and Nobile and then we have Holland, Klufas and Cuff who cater to Landon’s wishes. With the exception of Landon, none of them have very much of value to say or stand up and hold their ground for. Perhaps that’s why Landon could be so pushy so easily, no one fought back.

    So, no matter what you think of Netts, he is the only one running right now who actually knows how to work in government, submits thoughts and ideas and has a large knowledge of Palm Coast history and how things came to be and is not afraid to say and vote the way he believes. Perhaps some of you people out there who honestly feel they could do a good job should file papers and run for council person and let the city get to know him or her and judge them by what they say and then vote for whom they like.

    Yes, younger people are needed, but they need to be the kind that can give serious thoughts, both pros and cons to issues, speak their own minds, vote the way they truly believe and not be under the influence of other council members and form their own little “group” within the council.
    ents of the present council.We have Shipley, and Nobile who have been unsuccessful then we have Holland, Klufas and Cuff who seem to cater to Landon’s wishes. With the exception of Landon, none of them have very much of value to say or stand up and hold their ground for. Perhaps that’s why Landon could be so pushy so easily, no one fought back.

    So, no matter what you think of Netts, he is the only one running right now who actually knows how to work in government, submits thoughts and ideas and has a vast knowledge of Palm Coast’s good and bad points and is not afraid to voice his opinion and the reasons why he has them. I don’t agree with everything Netts has said and done, but that’s the way life is. You have to look at the person and their accomplishments as a whole enitity. Perhaps some of you people out there who honestly feel they could do a good job should file papers and run for city council and let the city get to know him or her and judge them by what they say and then vote for whom they think is the best candidate.

  16. layla says:

    Heidi, you’ve got my vote.

  17. Jack Howell PhD. says:

    People! Let’s get a focus on this situation. No matter who the two are that get elected to the city council there is a roadblock. It is no secret that three of the current council members are pretty much in lock step with the desires of the city manager Jim Landon. Further, I think they would pee in their pants rather than go afoul of Landon’s wishes and other behind the scene puppet masters. None of these three have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to him. They cower in his presence!
    I fully understand Heidi’s feelings about being the Lone Ranger if re-elected to city council. So in the end, we have to wait until these three Holland, Clueless and Bobblehead Kuff are in the queue for re-election or through some miracle become their own person.
    I gave serious thought to run for this office. However, I know when I am outgunned, and with a constant 3-2 split or maybe a 4-1 split, I could accomplish nothing. Simply put, I am my own man! There would be no way that I would allow myself to worship at the feet of Landon or the other puppet masters. As a warrior, I pick my battles, select my strategy and win. In this scenario, the cards are stacked against anybody who is their own person. So, once again Jim Landon you win. I’m truly sorry that I could not make your remaining time a living hell!
    Good luck Heidi. I support you in this quest to charge the windmill!

  18. Shark says:

    netts is just a landon lackey !!!!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Shipley says that if she wins it will probably be a 4-1 vote instead of 3-2 vote. If she is that sure that her status quo will remain at always being the underdog, why is she running at all? What has she accomplished so far?

    I would think the more people running for the same seat gives voters a much better choice and they would pay more attention to what each candidate is saying and stands for. Being given 2 choices and if the voter doesn’t care for either one of them that person may not vote at all. Not a good thing.

    Perhaps if a strong minded person won the seat and found that he or she is not going to bow down, the other 3 might get the courage to speak for themselves, voice their opinions and why they feel that way and not just vote the way the wind blows.

  20. woodchuck says:

    And I quote from Mr.Bill OH NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  21. Laurie says:

    I will NOT vote for Netts. Please go away .

  22. capt says:

    Well I don;t live in Palm Coast, but it appears to me that the voters that do not want Nets in office again had better come up with a candidate to keep him out of office.

  23. Vincent A. Liguori says:

    Heidi-Excellent decision. Thank you!

  24. Jimbo says:

    For just over two years now I have had the pleasure of knowing Mrs Shipley. Some of Heidi‘s accomplishments over her first tenure as city Council woman are starting the process of a charter review giving city Council more power on day-to-day operations of the city. Mrs Shipley has pushed for fair and equal treatment of all city employees. She voted to end Mr Landon’s open ended contract as to allow for a new city manager with some fresh ideas. She voted against the path that runs behind homes through a dense unlit FPL right of way. This path will eventually become a hangout for drug dealers and a prime location for predators to seek unsuspecting kids in the early hours. Mrs Shipley also pushed for TNR ( trap neuter release) for feral cats in Palm Coast reducing the numbers of strays. Mrs Shipley has voted time and time again for street lights in dark neighborhoods. Another of Mrs Shipley’s accolades would be the removal of Kemper Sports from the golf course. The company had been in the red Year after year with nothing but excuses. It is now operated by the city saving tax payers money. ( I hear the Golden Lion opened a restaurant there as well) but most of all I can say from personal experience that Mrs Shipley has fought tooth and nail for the little guy and will continue to do so after she wins her second term.

  25. Rosemary Baiga says:

    I’m so happy that you changed your mind Heidi and are running once again. I truly appreciate you and the fact that you listen to the citizens concerns and aren’t afraid to address them. . I understand you have felt defeated with the majority of the counsels opposition but I’m proud that you’ve chosen to return and be the strong woman that you are. You have my vote and if I can help with the campaign in anyway please let me know.

  26. Born and Raised Here says:

    I would like to see an age limit, Palm Coast really needs more youthful leadership, with open minded innovations. Many of our eldely are stuck in traditional thinking, and not willing to take the risk of moving Palm Coast into the future.

  27. Heidi Shipley says:

    I’m responding because kind words mean a lot to me. I also wanted to let you know any doubts you have I hope to prove wrong. I can be effective and win my battles and – as we were today, a great team. We don’t all have to agree to accomplish all things we are all capable of learning and adjusting. We were all strangers just a short time ago with only our own ideas on moving forward.

    I appreciate the support, the critics I hope to learn from and I hope I can show you my capabilities between now and the time you cast your vote.

  28. Just the truth says:

    Heidi you have my vote but Netts will NOT. If it were up to him he would never allow this town to grow to the future. Him and Landon milked the taxpayers with Landons outrageous salary and benefits. Landon hit the road.

  29. Anonymous says:

    It is irresponsible for the current council members to not give Landon his walking papers and allow him to be paid a exorbitant salary…..there was an administrator before him and there will be one after him and there is nothing that can’t be accomplished without him. It is time for him to go and to stop with the outrageous salaries managers have been being paid. The Mayor needs to step up to the plate and be a Mayor and not be the puppet for the Manager. This city is a circus and city council members need to open their eyes and do what needs to be done with the leadership of this city or all of you need to be voted out of office. This city is known for being unfriendly and gouging homeowners with more and more costs and that is not going to attract more people or industry here.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Netts is like the Nancy Pelosi of Palm Coast , move on. Look at Town Center , after all these years we only have a movie Theater. Our town center is a Joke compared to Port Orange or St John’s Town Center. Our TC is only good for Christmas decorations and Runs . No desire to shop or eat out here it’s worth the 50 mile drive out of here to have a nice day

  31. David.S says:

    Anonymous could not agree with you more. There will never be any development here because these ding dongs do not want it they are living in the1800’s. Even though we have lived here for 20yrs we will continue to shop in St Augustine and Volusia becouse the city doesn’t have anything to offer but fast food ….

  32. bob says:

    NO elected official should be over 65.

  33. palmcoaster says:

    So Bob then lets get rid of Trump and never should have elected, Ike Eisenhower my star, Reagan and Bush Senior plus others that don’t come to mind yet.

  34. Realist says:

    Are we so desperate that we have to recycle the losers from the past. Mr. Netts should stay retired. We need new blood with fresh ideas. I have a 25 year history here and can tell you the city is in a downward spiral.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Netts had his terms to ruin this town . Everyone must have short memories !

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