- Published on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 19:19
- Written by Super User
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - Following an October 6th, boat cruise aboard the Winner Party Boat to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis, Mayor Bob Lewis' wife - Kim Lewis - made accusations online about two candidates saying they passed out politically motivated flyers to people boarding the boat.
The flyers informed everyone not to pay for parking in a Town parking lot because parking was paid for the event organizers. The candidates say Lewis' accusations are not true.
The Carolina Beach Town Council agreed to not waive parking fees for the local fundraiser at their October 1st special meeting. On October 6th, the organizers of a boat cruise to benefit Michael McGowan’s Cystic Fibrosis fund posted notices on parking pay-stations near the Carolina Beach Municipal Marina telling ticket holders not to pay for parking.
Lisa Wilkins sent an email to Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin on September 26th. She wrote, "On October 6th we are hosting a fundraiser for Michael McGowan’s Cystic Fibrosis fund. We have sold 300 tickets and are doing a sunset cruise on the Winner Boat. We are asking the town to waive the parking fees for the event which will be at 5:30pm till 8:30pm on that Sunday evening. Thanking you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter."
Parvin responded, "This sounds like a great event that will be successful! Unfortunately, although we would like to, we can't waive parking. If we waive parking for your fundraiser then we would have to be consistent and waive it for everyone. Thank you for the note. Please let us know if we can help in another way."
The sign posted on the pay-stations prior to the cruise stated, "Do not pay any parking fees" and, "Parking fees donated by McGowan and Wilkins families in honor of Michael McGowan's fundraiser. We know we are going on a boat ride but because it is not a regatta and we are not going fishing the Town Council had voted no to waive the parking fees for the 45 minutes. Do not forget November 5th."
During the Council's Tuesday October 1st, Special meeting at 4PM at Town Hall, Mayor Bob Lewis said, "They were asking if we could waive parking between 5:30 to 7:00PM. Seems like we've waived parking before. We did the beach sweep... there was a waiver of parking in certain areas."
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said when events such as Wing Fling or the Got-Em-On Live Bait Club fishing tournament occupy public parking areas the Town doesn't lose the revenue because people park elsewhere and pay for parking.
Brenda Butler is in charge of event permitting for the Town and said, "We’ve never given all parking free. We might give four or five spaces or one row of parking, but we do not give away a whole events parking."
Parvin explained, "It's a fundraiser they want to do. It's a private thing. They are going out on the Winner Boats. Just like anybody else. My concern would be setting a precedent. We need to have a policy of what types of fundraisers that would apply to because anybody could have a fundraiser at anytime and you could really open yourself up."
Councilman Tom Bridges said, "I agree with that. If we don't have a precedent before we don't need to start now."
Lewis explained, "Out of 300 people that bought tickets there will probably be 70 cars that don't have a pass." Lewis estimated it would be around $150.00 at $2.25 for approximately 70 cars.
Friede said, "I have some concerns about the precedent we are setting and this is not an event, a Town event that went through Brenda or the Arts and Activities Committee. This isn't a parking lot we are closing or staging area which is what we do for some of these other things. And I think its really difficult for us as a Town to say yes we like you, we'll do it for you, but we don't want to do it for whomever else comes and asks. I don't know that you can do that in all fairness."
Public parking is free from November 1st to March 31st.
The Council has suspended parking fees and enforcement for events in the past. One example, in August of 2009 the Council suspended parking fees for the Salty Paws Festival at the Carolina Beach Lake.
Following the October 6th fundraiser, Mayor Lewis explained, "The decision was that if we waived the parking for one (very worthy cause) we would have to consider waiving it for all. My wife and I had tickets and participated on the cruise with other friends and I would of paid $1.50 for a hour of parking if I didn't have a parking sticker. I felt most likely their would be little or no enforcement of the parking for the last hour of the day on an October Sunday night and did not feel anyone who was supporting the cause would complain about $1.50 parking fee."
Lisa Soehl-Wilkins of Wilkins & Wilkins General Contractors in Carolina Beach explained Tuesday October 8th, "I want to lay to rest the rumors going around town. My husband and I were the ones who put the signs on the parking meters after we decided with Shelly to pay for the parking up front. Someone out there is lying and spreading rumors. We take full credit to show what Town Council decided. Yes, at first it was the interim Town Manager that denied the request via e-mail, however at the Town Council meeting on October 1st is was decided by all members there that they would not support to wave 45 minutes. The boat left at 6:15 and the Town Parking ends at 7pm. We want everyone to know that the only people that made money that evening was Carolina Beach Town Parking. I personally listened to the recordings from that meeting, it was not "voted" on but they all decided to not waive the fee. Do not forget to Vote in November and vote the 3 out! 3 down 2 to go! We raised over $10,000.00 that evening to honor one of our own. MICHAEL MCGOWAN LIVES ON IN ALL OUR HEARTS FOREVER!"
Wilkins said their company and Michael's Seafood Restaurant paid the Town's parking enforcement company, Lanier Parking, with a check in the amount of $150.00. She said a representative of Lanier said the parking office was closing at 4PM that day but Wilkins said they paid for the parking anyway to be sure there were no tickets issued.
Wilkins explained, "The parking was paid in full by my husband and myself and the McGowan family. It just would have been nice for the Town to show their support and reciprocate as Michael and Shelly have done for over 15 years of countless volunteered hours from serving on the Chamber to Michael's coaching Pleasure Island sporting events. I could name another two dozen things but it was the point."
Mayor Lewis said the upcoming Dragon Boat Regatta event set for October 25 and 26 at the Carolina Beach Municipal Marina at Canal Drive and Carl Winner Street. Lewis said parking will not be waived for that event. People will have to pay to park in area public parking lots.
Last week Kim Lewis posted on Facebook, "Have to share this with all of you.. Was getting on the winner boat Sunday evening excited about celebrating Michael's life and what do I see but Wilcox and Doetch standing in front of the line handing out a paper to each guest as they were getting on the boat with fabricated information. . Had to just shake my head..... at the bottom of the paper he was handing out it said... remember this when you vote in this election. I was felt so much better when all those citizens who were in line with me for a fun exciting evening found his behavior as appalling as I did. I guess this is what he has to do when he has nothing to be proud of to run on. Politics should have been left at home... This cruise was for Michael. Lots of people in line really did not like it. And neither did I. So sad... They will remember... and vote accordingly."
It should be noted the flyer did not use the word "vote." It said "Do Not Forget November 5th."
Candidate for Town Council Gary Doetsch wrote to Kim Lewis explaining, "Hi Kim, Just read a post you made on fb and wanted to let you know that first you spelled my name incorrectly and second of all you are incorrect about me handing out flyers. I did read the piece of paper but was on the boat second level and handed it back to the person who handed it to me. Sorry your imagination must have been running away with you. I do not spread any information about anybody good or bad you guys seem to be doing a good job of that. My integrity is worth more than that."
Kim Lewis responded, "Sorry about the misspelling of your name. But Gary when I was standing in line to get on the boat both you and Dan were standing outside the boat near the entrance and you both had green papers in your hand handing them out. Might not be good to deny this because there were at least 10 local business owners who were standing right in line in front of me and behind me who witnessed the same thing I saw. Just was very poor judgment on your part and Dans as well. This day was to celebrate Michael. Plenty of time to politic. Shame shame."
Doetsch responded, "Kim, I was standing with Janis Boroznoff, Will Killough, Fred Grady and others. Who will be happy to tell you are wrong. Actually when I got on the boat I helped a young lady with a blind gentleman get on the boat. Paul Boroznoff even took a picture of us standing together. So you and the others you mentioned are either wrong or lying. I did read the paper but it was on the boat when I did but was never handing them out. If I had been handing them out you and Bob would have been the first I would have handed one to I'm not ashamed of my actions and always conduct my actions openly and honestly. I'm sorry you put politics ahead of your integrity. I would never do that. Pictures don't lie people do and I'm sure after this is exposed over face book more people will understand this matter."
Kim Lewis responded, "Its OK you can stand by that behavior if you want. The line was long. Lots if people there to see. You can call me a lier if you want. But you were standing there with Dan...the Wilkins and you all had the green papers in your hands. You might have got there earlier with the others but I promise you you were not standing there with Willard outside when I saw you because when we walked up to get in line Willard was over at the pay station taking a picture of the same sign you were all handing out. Perhaps you took a photo with him outside when he arrived earlier before I arrived. He did not go on the boat ride. We saw him leave as I said. We got there right before the boat was ready to close still at least 50 people in line when we walked up. Still sticking to my story Gary. Might have even got a video on my phone I have to go back and look through the video I took that night. Will let you know."
Lisa Wilkins wrote, "My name is Lisa Wilkins and my husband and I want to publicly apologize to Dan Wilcox and Gary Doetsch for their names being dragged thru the mud, although we can not control what other people lie about I am here to let everyone know the whole truth. My husband and I donated the whole evening in honor of our dear friend Michael McGowan for a donation to be made in his honor to Cystic Fibrosis. The only thing I asked the Town Manager at the time was to waive the parking fee for the 45 minutes from 6:15 pm to 7pm. We were told NO! It then was discussed at the Town Council meeting on October 1st, we had really thought they realized a mistake was made and would make it right. The four Town Council members said NO AGAIN! Well at that point we were very upset and felt FREEDOM OF SPEECH! So yes we take full credit for posting the signs on the meter bases and my husband Jim Wilkins was the ONLY ONE passing the flyers out. We also have the security tapes showing this activity. No one was involved except my husband and myself. We chose to speak up and Kim Lewis had the audacity to take what we did and turn it into her political 'DIRTY POLITICS" and LIED about everything she wrote. She DID NOT see any one except my husband handing them out and as a matter of fact my husband directly put one in her husbands hands, Bob Lewis, while she stood right next to him. If any one wants the truth they can call me directly 616.9167. I would be willing to take a lie detector test. Would she and her 10 friends do the same? I would like to know who the 10 friends are so that I know who the other LIARS are too! According to her own statement the cruise was for MICHAEL and everything he has done for our Town the least the town could have done was waive the lousy fee. What is really sad is that the only ones that made money was the Town Parking! It wasn't about the money it was about Michael. If we had more business owners that did what Michael has done for our Town imagine what how much better off our Town would be."
Wilcox denied the accusation saying he was handed a flyer by someone else after he got on the boat but was not passing them out to the public.