Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland filed for re-election Friday for what would be her second and final term on the term-limited council. Her decision to run again was never in doubt, but she has drawn four challengers so far, more than any candidate in Flagler’s local races this year, with four days to go before qualifying ends for the 2020 elections.
The challengers are John Brady, Don Greene, Alan Lowe and Michael Schottey, all but one newcomers to electoral politics. Two others who’d filed to run withdrew.
Brady ran for mayor four years ago, when he and Holland were among a field of four. Holland won the mayorship outright in the primary, netting 63 percent of the vote, one point short of her first win at the county commission. The big majority made a run-off unnecessary (A runoff is necessary only if a candidate doesn’t clear the 50-percent threshold.) Brady took 15 percent of the vote in that run. Schottey was briefly in charge of Palm Coast’s communications division. He did not make it past his six-month probation period. Greene split his career between the military and as a manager for a defense contractor, and in retirement owns an art studio in Bunnell, DGreene Art. Lowe has owned a Palm Coast handyman business since it incorporated in 2016.
Holland only once before faced an uncontested election–in 2010, when she was re-elected to the County Commission. She left that seat two years later to run for a House seat, falling short to Travis Hutson, now a senator. She’s welcoming the challengers. “I can’t speak to why other than I believe in the process, I believe that everyone that wants to serve their community should have the opportunity to do so,” she said, “those who feel they want to make that contribution, I welcome that conversation.”
Holland was asked in different ways whether she saw a message in the number of challengers. Justifiably or not, people challenging an incumbent generally think the incumbent is either vulnerable or not doing the job. (Four constitutional offices’ incumbents have drawn no challenges, for example, and the sheriff has no primary opposition.) Holland’s decisive wins in first terms for the county commission and the mayor’s seat argue against vulnerability, while her first term did not lack for a series of objective accomplishments–whatever may be said for or against those accomplishments, they were not shadows–and a steady hand at the till during the Covid emergency.
But the diplomatic answer has also been one of Holland’s hallmarks: “If anything,” she said of the crowded field, “it’s encouraging that people are engaged and involve in their local government,” she said. “It just tells me that we have a level of involvement in our community that is good. The second people stop paying attention and aren’t interested, that says more about the process itself.”
Two council seats are also up in this election cycle: Council member Bob Cuff opted not to run for a second term, opening the way for two candidates so far–Ed Danko, who formerly worked in television news, and Sims Jones, a pastor with an unsuccessful council run behind him. Incumbent Nick Klufas just filed for re-election. He faces challenges from Cornelia Manfre, the commercial realtor (her husband, Jim Manfre, was twice sheriff), and Zack Shapiro, a fitness and nutrition coach. Cuff, Klufas and Holland had run as a bloc in 2016 and together were instrumental in ending the era of Jim Landon, the former city manager, and redirecting the city toward its current path, with Town Center’s Innovation District as a centerpiece–for UNF’s medical hub, culture and commerce.
“The previous one was a term of change, a lot of changes within our administration, a lot of change in our strategies and how we focus on the services we provide to our community and our community’s years,” Holland said of her current term. “The next four years I believe will be ones of true transformation in regards to us being able to start the process of building a university hub here in Palm Coast, one that is direct relation for job opportunities and job creation in the medical field, which is desperately needed and will continue to be.” Other plans include solidifying a stormwater master plan, continuing to add street lights across the city and developing Town Center’s arts and entertainment district.
Holland did not qualify by petition this time, as she has in the past, paying the $1,140 qualifying fee and the $114 administrative fee all candidates must pay. “I’ve done the petitions historically,” the mayor said. “This time I’ve been focused on our Covid response and the recent events that we’ve all witnessed, watched our community respond to.” She had no hesitation to run again, but certain things had to be in place. “There’s no doubt I had to make sure that Tori was on the road to recovery from liver transplant and was doing well enough for me to make this commitment again, which she is,” Holland said of her daughter who, with her mother at her bedside, survived a harrowing year, “which I’m grateful for. And I had to, as I always do with every campaign I step into, I want to make sure of what I want to accomplish within that term.”
Maria Darcy says
Time to vote this power hungry, media hog, spot light seeking, queen of initiatives, the hell out of office. Listen to how she speaks, how she wants to control the population, tell us what to do, thinks she is an expert on all subjects, rejects information from other sources, get rid of this boulder around our necks, VOTE ALAN LOWE, cause Holland has to go!
Go for Lowe!!
No, no more Milissa. She does not represent the citizens of Palm Coast.
Glad to see newcomers rather than same retreads. Good luck to you all.
Oooh, I can see it now, another term, this time with a HAZMAT suit! I think not! I’m sure she will find a way to make another pitcher of kool-aid. Wake up people!
C’mon man says
I don’t know who I’m working for but it’s not her.
Roy Longo says
Good luck Mayor Holland. I know you will do a good job for the next 4, 8, 12 years and beyond.
The candidate I will vote for will do the following:
1) Preserve the quality of life of the existing residents first versus approving greedy developers projects adding traffic etc.
2) Preserve our Palm Harbor Golf Course as is now no more multifamily/town houses on it. The golf course is doing great as is.
3) Preserve also the Matanzas Golf Course from multifamily development (should have been bought by the city when was sold for
over 300,000 under Netts administration).
4) Prevent our city utility reserve funds to be used for utility expansion before fixing the current decaying infrastructure.
5) Widening Old Kings Road overdue, to alleviate pass thru traffic and commercial truck violators on residential roads like FPD.
6) Finish the FPD with traffic calming methods used successfully in other cities like road humps and the landscape approved but
not delivered yet.
7 Stop the costly expansion of the fiber optic for businesses and IT departments on the pockets of all taxpayers while servicing
8 Install buoy sings in our saltwater canals with notices of “Minimum Wake Zone” so violators (often) can be stopped with fines.
9. Never bring again the idea of a “salt water canal tax district” to pay for the seawalls that owners do not care to repair. Not fair.
10, Promote the incoming of clean industry for jobs, now specially that our NASA program with Elon Musk is back in business.
11. Stop the ever increasing bureaucratic growth of new city administrative departments that take away from the services to
10, Promote the incoming of clean industry for jobs, now specially that our NASA program with Elon Musk is back in business.
11. Stop the ever increasing bureaucratic growth of new city administrative departments that take away funds from the services to
12. Start a “clean city” program to do away with growing litter in our public roads and malls…fine violators as needed.
13.Lobby the FCBOCC and request that the many foreign pilot schools operating since 2004 off the county airport “Fly Friendly”
its motus display is observe by practicing pilots only west of Rte 1 state road over the unincorporated areas of the county
other than over our residential communities causing noise nuisance and danger overhead.
14. Stop outsourcing our city taxpayers government contracts for work, creating instead jobs here with our tax funds.
15. Do not rise taxes by controlling spending specially now that pandemic reduced our city revenue by more than 25%.
16. Name Linear Park ; Councilman Jerome “Jerry” Full Park as without his battle to preserve it for us from being closed by
developers along the intercoastal we would not have enjoyed it today. Lets give credit were credit is due….no matter what
a former Mayor prefers.
17. Preserve all our current sports amenities under Parks and Recreations including our fee paying ones, tennis and golf.
PC Citizen says
Palm coaster I live in Sailboat country C section and drive to work everyday on Florida Park Drive. Obviously you must live right on Florida Park Drive and wish you were on a Cul De Sac? Because there is Never a problem. Its a feeder road, there is no problems with it. Maybe a car in front of me, maybe a car behind me but I drive it every day at 9AM normal steady 35-40 from one end to the other and reverse in 5pm “Rush Hour” afternoon, and There IS NO Problem Here! You want to fix Old Kings And PC Pkwy? just adjust the lanes so left goes left, center goes straight and right goes right even on red as traffic allows. Problems like cars backed up to Dunken Donut entrance solved. Now THAT is an intersection needs some fine tuning but not a $6 million overhaul. Leave Florida Park Drive Alone… Speed Bumps… You are crazy, Sir its a feeder road NOT a parking lot!
Yes conveniently all is find and dandy for you as” you do not reside in FPD” and endure the nuisance… for you all is normal in FPD, but is not! And when residents bought there didn’t used to be like the traffic madness that has become today… Soft humps strategically located will help to discourage fast thru regular and commercial traffic. Same way that in the Woodlands the requested and ignored for years by resident Mr Taylor of soft humps installed, would have prevented the death of a minor due to speeding. Seems like is not your problem the quality of life of the residents in FPD as long as you can cut thru at 40 MPH and only about 40 feet of some homes structures. Instead you should be lobbying for the widening of Old Kings Road North overdue with double lanes and higher speeds than 40 MPH in order to safely satisfy your daily routine.
….maybe at Coastal Cloud, Roy! She’s done enough for Palm Coast!!
Milissa Holland is a RINO. Time to get her out!!
CB from PC says
Good thing Milissa has her job at Coastal Clown (no typo).
Bye bye Milissa.
Celia, has done a good job of listing what has been ignored by the city and where corrections are needed. The problem I see we tend to ignore all these and let the city to stay on the same destructive course. I hope we’ll thoroughly check out each candidate and elect the one that will stop the destruction of our community, especially where traffic is destroying the quality of life in many residential neighborhoods. As neighborhoods deteriorate so will the quality of life for our city. Soon there will parts of the city to become unsafe and criminal elements moving in because the quality of life in that neighborhood was destroyed by traffic; we’ve all seen it happen in other cities. Do we want that happening here? NO, then we have to make sure quality of life is equal for all neighborhoods. Once the city has determined where quality of life will not be protected – then the city has determined the quality of life of the city. People that bought retirement homes here will lose their life saving – just because the city CHOSE not to protect their quality of life.
Anyone can say I care about the residents, but proving it has to seen by actions, not just talked about. Many residential streets in Palm Coast have excessive cut-thru traffic with excessive speeding. Residents have been asking for Traffic Calming using “speed humps”, which have proven effective in many cities. Take the burden off the Sheriff’s Office and let them fight crime, install “speed humps” to protect residential neighborhoods. Caring for residents, that requires ACTION, proof of care.
PC Citizen says
Speed Humps on a major road will kill motorcyclists. Unsuspecting car drivers will slam brakes resulting in rear end collisions. Humps are meant to keep people from speeding in parking lots What is wrong with you people? You ever see a speed bump on a major road in any other city? Surprise big assed Bump in the road, Hold on motorcycle passenger. SMH
Soft Humps are installed in Orange County Fl, in Deland the circles in the main road and allover residential roads in AZ…they are installed with warning signage too…and excuse me but Palm Coast has no speed humps or soft humps anywhere and motorcyclist are killing themselves and their friends on the back while careless speeding right now. As shown in Palm Coast Parkway east bound and the latest in the Woodlands. Those mainly young bikers need to stop using our residential roads and parkways as their personal Daytona 500 Speedway including the intentional noise they create with open mufflers that is a violation of our city noise nuisance ordinance at late hours of day or night! Palm Coast Code Chapter 35. This is something we will have to address soon with city and sheriff, these young bikers and or young small car drivers intentionally raving open mufflers vehicles that some include explosion sound devices…
PC Citizen FL PK DR is a residential street being used a a major road. The City has failed to protect it as a residential street. The turn lanes added made FL PK DR into a cut-thru exchanging traffic between tow parkways which has harmed the residents Quality of Life and Health. The City has chosen convenience for driver over protecting people. World wide Health Organizations have proven through scientific research that “Close Proximity Traffic to Homes” harm residents’ health; especially the elderly and children. The traffic fumes, dust, noise of 8,300 cars per day is harming residents’ health . Children’s Cognitive Development is harmed which affects their learning ability, thus robbing them of a bright future. Scientific Research shows that traffic fumes and dust harms the immune system of all residents, especially the elderly. There has already been 16+ elderly deaths on FL PK DR, more than any other street in PC. Harm to the immune system for the elderly makes them more susceptible to flues and viruses (COVID-19 come to mind). The City is aware of the health harms and has done nothing to protect residents (people). It has nothing to do with what kind of street it is – it has everything to with protecting residential neighborhoods and residents’ health. SEE health harm at: http://flpkdr.com/
You won’t have a city if you don’t support our Police. Plain and simple. Stop the pettiness and wake up. The world we live in has changed. Safety is our main concern I didn’t read one comment on support just negatively like the national media spews.
God Bless America