August 30 election: Community-friendly airport advocates speak out on commissioner candidates


From The Witham Airport Action Majority (WAAM) Board [WAAM is a watchdog group of concerned citizens, 100% volunteer, dedicated to keeping Witham Field a community-friendly general aviation airport. Several thousand Martin County residents look to WAAM’s guidance for action regarding airport and local issues.]:

By now, those of you who vote by mail have received your ballots. It is therefore time for WAAM to give you our thoughts and recommendations on the candidates running in this years county commission election. We interview candidates whenever possible and then make an effort to give you our honest opinion on who would best serve you as a Martin County Commissioner. Airport growth and noise issues, environmental issues including adherence to our Comprehensive Growth Management Plan are at the top of our list. As we are sure most of you are aware, these issue are tied together at the hip. Because of this, our recommendations for the 3 commission seats that you will be voting on this election cycle are an easy task for us. Remember in Martin County, you vote for all 3 District Commissioners.


District 1

Doug Smith:  Commissioner Smith has never met an airport growth issue that he didn’t love. From airport expansion to customs, with complete disregard to how the airport impacts its neighbors, Smith has voted to expand the airport and airport operations. In watching Smith vote for land use projects, it would seem Smith not only thinks the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan is a hindrance that must be overcome, but would if possible, dismantle the protections the plan offers Martin County residents.

Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch:  As a Sewall’s Point Town Commissioner and Mayor, Commissioner Lippisch has voted to protect the citizens of Sewall’s Point by insisting that Witham Field remain a community friendly airport. Her stand on environmental issues is exemplary with her work on the Indian River Lagoon, being most notable. She has worked to protect the Indian River Lagoon from the disastrous Lake Okeechobee discharges and will continue to do so if elected. Lippisch has been a strong supporter and promoter of the grassroots Sewall’s Point youth movement, River Kidz.
Lippisch will be a strong voice for the citizens of Martin County. Her record and promise to enforce the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan makes our support for Commissioner Lippisch an easy pick.

We strongly support Commissioner Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch for District 1


District 3

Harold Jenkins:  Mr. Jenkins is relatively unknown to us. The only information we have on Mr. Jenkins is what he has said during the course of his political campaign. He is for airport growth and strongly supports customs at the airport. Although he says he is for adhering to the rules of our Comprehensive Growth Management Plan, he has an unproven track record. That plus the fact that his supporters are a who’s who in the development industry, makes us believe that he will be a good friend to developers who want to violate our Comp Plan once elected.

Anne Scott:  Commissioner Scott has fulfilled every commitment made during her first term. Scott has been a strong vote for the people of Martin County. She has voted to protect and strengthen our Comprehensive Growth Management Plan despite continued efforts by developers to weaken the plan. She has worked tirelessly to protect the Indian River Lagoon from the disastrous Lake Okeechobee discharges. 
Commissioner Scott has voted numerous times to keep Witham Field a community friendly airport. Anne Scott’s decisions have always been carefully thought out and always made with the welfare of the residents Martin County in mind. She has earned and deserves our vote in the upcoming election.

We strongly support Commissioner Anne Scott for District 3


District 5

We have a special note to the voters of Martin County in this race. Please see our comments on Commissioner John Haddox below.

Edward Ciampi:  Former Commissioner Ciampi has a record as a former county commissioner, so we can comment on where he has and will probably stand on the issues. As a sitting commissioner, he voted to expand Witham Field and for a customs facility at the airport. On airport issues, Ciampi has an unacceptable record. On growth issues, he voted and supported developer growth. His record on environmental issues is weak. A letter in the last few days from a PAC in Tallahassee Florida asking the voters to support both Ed Ciampi and Doug Smith says it all. Pro-airport and pro-development.

John Haddox:   Commissioner John Haddox is a special case. Special in that in 2012, WAAM fully supported Mr. Haddox based on interviews and his public statements on the issues. Mr. Haddox met two times with the WAAM Board and local residents. He met privately with the President of WAAM and with community leaders. At each meeting Mr Haddox assured those attending that he would ensure that Witham Field would remain a community friendly airport and he would never vote for a customs facility. He also assured us that he fully supported the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan and would ensure the our Comp. plan would be strictly enforced. Never before has our group been lied to as blatantly as was during our meetings with John Haddox. We have had candidates change their minds on issues after spending time in office, but It was obvious from the day Mr. Haddox took office, that he never had any intention of controlling growth at the airport. Haddox not only voted for customs at Witham Field, he was instrumental in the planning stages of the customs facility. In watching his votes as a commissioner, it became obvious that he fully supports development outside and in violation of our Comp. Plan. He has voted to dismantle the protections of our Comp. Plan at every opportunity. What has made this entire issue so disappointing is that Mr. Haddox is a retired military officer and spent 12 years as a Veterans Services Officer in Martin County. If there was ever anyone that we felt would honor their word and commitments, that person was John Haddox. It turned out that we supported a man that cannot be trusted and a man without honor.

Donna Melzer:  Former Commissioner Donna Melzer has been one of Martin County’s greatest advocates for protecting our Comprehensive Growth Management Plan. For over 16 years, she as chair of the Martin County Conservation Alliance, has worked tirelessly to protect the citizens of Martin County. We have never seen an individual more devoted or who has worked harder for the citizens of Martin County. Melzer has given her solid support for keeping Witham Field a community friendly airport. She opposes approving a customs facility at the airport. Melzer is passionate, truthful and works to consolidate local leaders who are working for environmental issues including cleaning up the Indian River Lagoon, opposing “All Aboard Florida” and stopping Lake Okeechobee discharges. We can’t think of a candidate that would work harder, is more trusted and who is more deserving of your support and vote, than former Commissioner Donna Melzer.

We strongly support former Commissioner Donna Melzer for District 5



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