Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
July 16, 2015 4:50 p.m.
Before you can begin to think about politics at all, you have to abandon the notion that there is a war between good men and bad men. ~Walter Lippmann
On November 3, 2015, Fernandina Beach voters will go to the polls to elect commissioners for City Groups 4 and 5. Those seats are currently held by Pat Gass (Group 5) and Ed Boner (Group 4). Boner has announced that he will not seek re-election; Gass has not announced her intention.
Fernandina Beach elections are non-partisan. To date, three candidates have filed to contest the Group 5 Seat: Clinch Kavanaugh, Len Kreger, and Roy Smith. No candidates have filed yet to run for Group 4.* Qualification will take place between 8:00 AM on August 24, 2015 and 5:00 PM on August 28, 2015.
Candidates may qualify by paying a qualifying fee or submitting petitions signed by 95 eligible voters in the city of Fernandina Beach. If candidates elect the petition method for qualification, those petitions must be submitted to the office of the Supervisor of Elections of Nassau County by noon on August 14, 2015.
Election laws covering qualifying, financial reporting requirements, legal authorities and other information are contained in the 2015 City of Fernandina Beach Candidate Handbook, available online from the city’s website (www.fbfl.org) or from City Clerk Caroline Best, Fernandina Beach City Hall, 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034 (Phone: 904-310-3115 • Fax: 904-310-3454 • TTY/TDD 711 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Also appearing on the November ballot will be referendum questions on charter changes and the annual straw vote for mayor. Referendum questions will deal with commission terms. Traditionally, names of sitting city commissioners not up for re-election appear on the straw ballot for mayor, meaning that voters will be asked to express a preference for Robin Lentz, Johnny Miller or Tim Poynter. Commissioners have the option of removing themselves for consideration, so it will not be until the end of qualifying before voters know which commissioners, if any, want to be considered for the position of mayor.
It is the policy of the Fernandina Observer to inform voters, but not endorse candidates. Once candidates have qualified, the Fernandina Observer will provide the public with information about the individuals and their platforms as provided by the candidates, in addition to sponsoring a public forum in October.
*Update: Following publication of this article, candidate Roy G. Smith, Jr. announced that he has withdrawn from the Group 5 contest and re-filed to run for Group 4. To date he is the only candidate in that race. See his comment below. Smith’s action leaves only two candidates–Clinch Kavanaugh and Len Kreger–contesting the Group 5 seat.