The following is a written explanation from Michael Schottey detailing his endorsement, followed by a response from Alan Lowe.
Michael Schottey’s Endorsement:
When I walked into the Portuguese American Cultural Center for the one and only debate of the primary election, I had a lot of preconceived notions.
By then, I already knew that Milissa Holland wasn’t showing up because she had refused to work with the Daytona Beach News-Journal on the month-long process of finding a date, only to claim at the last moment that she had a conflict. I also generally knew the other candidates and had every reason to believe the evening would be utilized by each of us to position ourselves against an incumbent with extremely high name recognition but middling likability. All that came true.
One of my preconceived notions, however, was blown out of the water. Although some of his supporters made it their goal in life to trash anything my campaign did on social media (and were downright nasty in the process), I found myself talking to Alan Lowe both before and after the event. We found plenty of common ground during the debate itself, but it was in the quiet, unbroadcast moments that I realized he wasn’t the sum of the rudest of his supporters. I enjoyed my time getting to know him and remarked to many people after the event that they had been wrong about him and even told my wife that night that if I couldn’t get the job myself, I’d be voting for Lowe.
After the primary, which saw Lowe take second and Holland vastly underperform her results from four years ago, Lowe reached out almost immediately to look for common ground once again. The two of us make an odd set of dining companions, as we agree on almost nothing when it comes to extremely divisive national politics. However, in a world where Donald Trump and Joe Biden (along with most senators and congressmen) couldn’t find Flagler County on a map with a full set of lifelines, Lowe and I line up pretty nicely when it comes to what’s best for the city both of us love.
I’ve long been on the record as to why I decided to run against Holland and I still wholeheartedly believe the state ethics commission will have something to say about her corruption when they meet later in October.
Rather than continuing to focus on her wrongdoings, however, Here is why I’m voting for Alan Lowe this November.
- Leadership: The City of Palm Coast is not currently being run in the way the City Charter says things should legally be done. The mayor’s “vision” currently trumps everything, and while I once bought into that vision, the mayor should have no more say over the direction of the city than the other council members. Yet, thanks to well-funded and coordinated efforts by local business leaders who have supported Holland since her early political days, she is singlehandedly running the city for her purposes rather than for the good of the people. Like myself, Alan is running to put the government back in the hands of the people, not a small group of political donors.
- Qualifications: Milissa Holland has been a politician for her entire adult life. She does not have a proper education nor does she have any real experience in either the public or private sector. All of her jobs have been either in political office, running for political office or in placeholder positions to keep her relevant between political posts. I’ve personally watched as she struggled with basic computer functions (remember, she’s supposedly a director for a tech company) and was privy to phone conversations where the City Manager fed her questions to ask during council meetings in order to look smart. Meanwhile, Alan is a business owner who has actually needed to do things like balance a budget and cut expenses. Holland’s public persona is nothing more than a well-crafted charade. Having spent time behind closed doors with both candidates, Lowe is far and away the more qualified of the two.
- People Skills: For all the talk of Milissa Holland’s vision, it’s worth noting yet again that the office of mayor is largely a ceremonial role when compared to the other council members. One of the things I was often asked to do as Communications Director for the city was “protect” Holland from the public she was supposedly elected to represent. In short, she doesn’t like people very much. In private conversations, she rarely has much (if anything) nice to say about anyone—even some of her closest political allies and supporters. Both in private and from the council dais, she treats the public with contempt. In contrast, although I disagree with him on quite a lot, I’ve never seen Alan treat anyone with the same level of disrespect and (especially since the end of the primary), I’ve seen him reach across to many people he disagrees with to build coalitions rather than consistently burn bridges like Holland.
- Honesty: By all rights, the last gasp of Milissa Holland’s political career should’ve been the interview she did for Flagler Live before the primary election (along with the other candidates) when she claimed that she had never raised taxes as Mayor. Although he’s a longtime friend and supporter, Pierre Tristam called out Holland’s boldfaced lie—she’s raised taxes EVERY year as Mayor, and even the milage rate has gone up considerably over that time. That’s not a little misstatement open to interpretation, it’s literally proof she either doesn’t understand what she’s doing or (worse?) she doesn’t care enough about the people who elected her to give them anything resembling the truth. Almost every politician (myself included) is taught to soften the edges of things that may be controversial, but Holland is a chameleon—holding no opinions other than those that might help her win. She is, easily, the most dishonest person I have ever met. In comparison, while I might not like everything Alan Lowe believes, I’ve never once felt like he was hiding his opinions.
Finally, I want to speak directly to any registered democrats or independents reading this who might be holding their nose and voting for Holland because they believe she is the “lesser of two evils” in comparison to a full-fledged member of the “Trump Republican Club.” That misconception couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, when the worst of the “Tea Party” was clinging to their offices with birther conspiracies about President Obama and Donald Trump was rising quickly up the ranks of the Republican Party, Milissa Holland decided to switch her lifelong political affiliation (which sh
e had once vowed never to do, as it was also the lifelong political affiliation of her father) to support Trump and the rest of the Republicans. She is a crass, corrupt political operative who lies just as easily as the president local democrats claim to hate and treats the people of Palm Coast (even her supporters) with the exact same level of contempt. She has the full support of the Republican Party (see: Hutson and Renner endorsements along with Mori Houseini’s $10K in donations) and has never, ever taken any action to say anything but political doublespeak about the local Trump standard bearers like Joe Mullins—whom she absolutely trashes in private but maintains as a close political ally in public.
Moreover, the ONLY litmus test for Holland is unabashed and unqualified loyalty. Since City Manager Matt Morton took over, over a dozen good city employees have lost their jobs simply for asking the wrong kinds of questions about the ethics or legality of some of the mayors actions.
The fact that she was a lifelong Democrat shouldn’t be a positive for any Democratic voters. It should be disqualifying.
Do I think Alan Lowe will be a perfect mayor? No, but from the night we met at the primary debate he was always my second choice after myself for the position. I believe he knows what he doesn’t know and is seeking to learn by asking the right questions. I trust that he will do his best for the people of Palm Coast where Holland has failed us time and time again.
I will be proud to cast my vote for Alan Lowe and I invite you to join me.
Alan Lowe’s Response:
I met Mike Schottey in person the night of the primary debate and was also happy to see there was considerable local level agreement. I know it took a lot for Mr. Schottey to endorse me and will no doubt receive backlash For it. Our mutual goals, as well as all the candidates opposing Holland, align on making Palm Coast the best possible community to call home. I thank Mr. Schottey for the
endorsement and will call on him in the future to help make our goals a reality.
AskFlagler has reached out to Milissa Holland for response, but has not yet heard back. We thank Michael Schottey for choosing us to announce his endorsement.