Tag Archives: Bob Garcia

Hurricane Irma: DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia asks for help

As Hurricane Irma neared, DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia this morning urged residents to quickly complete storm preparations and volunteer if possible to help the community.

Garcia made his comments at about 9 a.m. from the parking lot of Genuine Bistro & Lounge at the crossroads of DeBary’s busiest roadways: U.S. Highway 17-92 and Highbanks Road.

He said residents should complete preparations by 5 p.m. today or, if they’re planning to evacuate, they should leave immediately.

His comments were captured by a Facebook user and posted online.

Garcia was flanked by City Commissioner Erika Benfield and workers can be seen in the background completing storm preparations.

Volusia County is facing an increased threat for tornadoes based on the latest track, according to county emergency managers.

They are expecting 8 to 12 inches of rain with some areas
receiving 15 inches.

After the storm passes and conditions are safe, residents should check on their neighbors to make sure they are safe. Garcia urged residents to clean up, but not to put debris near roadways, fire hydrants and utility poles.

He encouraged residents to join him sometime Monday after the storm passes to volunteer with cleanup efforts.

He said he expects to stage at noon Monday near the intersection to coordinate volunteers.

“I need your help,” Garcia said.  “This is not going to be sponsored by the city. This is us coming together as a community.”

Garcia made his comments shortly before a briefing by Volusia County emergency managers and Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

Chitwood said Volusia County will be under a curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 9 a.m. Monday.

Volusia County’s Citizens Information Center is answering questions from callers right now. The number is  866-345-0345.

“We do not want people in the water or at the beach today and in the coming days,” the county said in a news release this morning. “Beach officials are flying the double-red flag. After the
storm, please wait [for] an announcement that it is safe to visit the beach. There may be debris in the water and along the shore.”

The county said Florida Power & Light is expected widespread
destruction throughout its service area. More than 16,000 workers from nearly 30 states are responding.
“FPL expects 3.4 million customers may lose power as a result of Irma, and could experience prolonged outages, based on the current forecast,” the county said.

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Stephen Bacon rebuked for ‘grandstanding,’ delaying DeBary meetings

It was a routine matter — a vote to dump an old utility trailer. But it turned into a big mess, according to DeBary City Council member Mike Brady.

He blamed fellow council member Stephen Bacon.

Brady on Wednesday  (Aug. 9) rebuked Bacon for his behavior during a meeting a week earlier and during previous meetings since joining the DeBary City Council in January.

He blamed Bacon for extending what should have been a two-hour meeting on Aug. 2 by more than an hour.

Stephen Bacon
Stephen Bacon
Mike Brady
Mike Brady

“When I left the house last Wednesday, I thought the meeting would last no more than two hours,” Brady said. “After the meeting, I spoke to Councilwoman (Erika) Benfield. She said she thought, you know, maybe an hour and a half.  We’ll, we were both wrong.”

The Aug. 2 meeting clocked in at 3 hours, 10 minutes, Brady said.

Brady said Bacon also wrongly called into question the integrity of Interim City Manager Ron McLemore. Bacon’s statement that McLemore was trying to slip items onto the agenda for council approval made no sense. It’s McLemore’s job to prepare the agenda and he’ll answer council members’ questions before votes are taken.

Brady called Bacon’s allegation against McLemore “nonsensical.”

At issue was a routine request on the so-called “consent agenda,” which typically includes low-interest matters that don’t normally generate controversy. At one point, Bacon tried to steer the discussion into a debate over the role of consent agenda, a move that violated meeting procedures, Brady said.

“I repeat. The item was very routine. It concerned the disposal of a utility trailer purchased 6 1/2 years ago for less than $2,000,” Brady said.  “So how did we end up spending over six minutes on the item? Because, in my opinion, decorum and procedure were not followed, individual agendas won out and egos were not checked at the door.”

Bacon couldn’t be immediately reached for comment after Wednesday’s workshop.  His behavior came up under an agenda item called  Discussion of Council Decorum and it covered more than just the Aug. 2 meeting.

In all, Bacon was blasted for proposing an amphitheater-community center a few months ago at the same time a city task force was already studying a community center.

Brady also slammed Bacon for questioning the safety of a dam encircling the roughly 1,100-acre Konomac Lake in south DeBary.

The lake, part of the cooling system for Florida Power & Light’s power plant near the St. Johns River, and dam are safe, a company official told council members. They’ve never had any problems, the official noted.

Brady said those instances and others were examples of Bacon’s “grandstanding” and wasting time.

DeBary Mayor Bob Garia took responsibility for allowing the meetings under his guidance to move off topic and he pledged to do a better job in the future.

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DeBary’s Stephen Bacon gets lesson about collaboration

Stephen Bacon
Stephen Bacon

Stephen Bacon is off to a rough start.

The new DeBary City Council member’s vision for a multimillion-dollar community center-amphitheater went nowhere.

He’s struggling for two other ideas: 911 callboxes along county trails in DeBary and a citywide safety preparedness drill.

Then Bacon – who joined the council in January – got a lesson about how to get things done on the DeBary City Council.

“If you can convince us, then we can direct the city manager to take action on it,” DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia said during a workshop Wednesday.

Bob Garcia
Bob Garcia

Multimillion-dollar amphitheater

The debate surfaced as council members pondered the fate of interim City Manager Ron McLemore and the process of finding his eventual replacement.

The debate is expected to continue at a meeting next month.

McLemore, 71, indicated he would like to stay for roughly a year, help the city find his replacement and ensure a smooth transition.

But Bacon wanted McLemore gone within six months.

His critical assessment of the veteran government administrator comes less than a month after Bacon outlined a proposal for a community center-amphitheater.

In a 14-page proposal, Bacon described a $16 million facility with 5,000 seats inside and 7,000 more outside on donated land within the “Costa property.”

The project, funded largely with taxpayer-backed bonds, would have cost $25.6 million with interest under Bacon’s proposal.

He proposed a specific designer  — world-renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Bacon included Calatrava’s designs in his presentation, including the Information, Science and Technology (IST) Building at Florida Polytechnic University.

The $100 million building is in Polk County off Interstate 4.

During a DeBary council meeting Feb. 23, council members  thanked Bacon for his proposal but said the city had more pressing needs, including managing storm-water.

A vastly scaled-back proposal for a community center is already being studied by a task force and city consultants.


Bacon said Wednesday he is frustrated that McLemore isn’t getting results for him on fulfilling his campaign promises and other projects.

For instance, Bacon wanted McLemore’s help to persuade the county to add emergency call boxes on county trails that go through DeBary, including the ones in Gemini Springs Park.

He’s concerned a jogger will have a medical issue and won’t be able to get help.

“One of these days somebody is going to have a heart attack and they won’t be able to locate him,” Bacon said.

McLemore told Bacon he works for the council as a collaborative body and can’t take direction from one member.

That’s one of the issues involved in the high-profile ouster of former mayor Clint Johnson, who was removed from office in August because he allegedly tried to direct city staffers. That power is delegated to the manager under the charter. The council, in turn, directs the manager.

Johnson is suing the city to get his job back, and a decision from a judge is possible as soon as April.

McLemore told Bacon if a majority of other members don’t like his ideas then “they’re going nowhere with me.”

Bacon said McLemore didn’t fully explain the process.

“You should have told me that from Day 1 in January that that was the procedure because I was led to believe from others, other past council people, that by sweet talking you, you would work with me…” Bacon said.

McLemore said he’s ready to work with Bacon, but the council member has to sell his ideas to his colleagues.

“I spent four times the amount of time with you in the last three months than I spent on anybody on this council –  probably five times,” McLemore said. “And I’m willing to do it.”