- Name: Mike Hargreaves
- Age: 55
- Education: Basic college. Law-enforcement certification as a police officer in the state of Florida. Massive amount of police training and certifications worldwide from 1982 to present.
- Occupation: Owner and Chief of PCI SECURITY, a 100-member armed patrol agency headquartered in Orlando. Past member of the Orange County Sheriff's Office (1993 to 1998).
What inspired or motivated you to run for town council?
Our longterm hard-working mayor – who has held it all together year after year through many a storm – as you all know, is leaving. I ran for the board in my community in Dr. Phillips, and I was re-elected as the president six years in a row. And the only reason I ran and stayed on was for this very same reason. I was worried about major changes or personal agendas that might affect the small-town feeling we have all grown to love about “our” town of Windermere. Keep our hidden gem, the “town” of Windermere, as it is. The “town” of Windermere where very little needs to change. I see many opportunities to help with very little to no money from the town's budget, which is stretched so thin already. And that’s what I’m good at, so that’s why I’m running for the Windermere Town Council.
If elected, what would be your top three priorities for the town?
First, would be our traffic problem. Not only is it a headache and massive unseen debt to our budget on road repair for thousands of vehicles per day, but it’s dangerous. The No. 1 priority for the Windermere council is the safety of its residents, first and foremost. Cut-through traffic has been addressed for years and put off for months and months, when the issue is not cut-through traffic; the issue is speeding – dangerous speeding on our 15-MPH dirt roads. Most of these people do not have a drivers license, which means they do not have insurance, so driving recklessly to them is second nature. No matter if it’s a lady pushing a baby in a stroller, or kids playing beside the road, or residents walking their dogs; they speed inches past our residents.
No. 2 on my list would be to investigate how much funds are the outer lying when do nearest paying to use our name Isleworth what are they contributing to the roads to the sidewalks or towards our new police department buildings, etc. The recent shooting on 535 was viewed by many outside Windemere as it happened in Windermere, the doctor that was arrested in Keene's Point for unimaginable crimes. Again. it was stated by the media it happened in Windermere, something has to be done to protect our town's name that will also greatly affect our home values.
No. 3, the traffic flow issue. Many of our older residents have asked me: "If I’m elected, can I please do something about the traffic?" They can’t get in and they can’t get out of the side streets from their homes, and again, it is very dangerous!
Why should town residents vote for you?
I am committed to keeping Windermere as our beloved mayor has left it. I believe many negative changes will be coming very soon after this election and the only way to stop them is a strong vote! Residents cannot vote, only elected town members can vote, and believe me, I’m very loud if it’s not good for Windemere. I’ll make it known to everyone and rally the troops and let everyone know why it’s not good for us, as I’m above board and have an open-door policy to any resident at any time.
What do you feel is the best way for the town to handle its ongoing cut-through traffic issues?
I’d like to go door-to-door to every street that has the most issues to offer three simple fixes: “block certain streets” to making some streets “one-way only.” I know all too well, as I live on Ridgewood Drive with two small children who are forbidden to go to the end of our own driveway because of this urgent issue! Some things work on some streets and are in favor of some residents, but not all agree, and I understand this as every street is not the same. So one fix won’t do it. However, something has to be done now, not put off again and again for months and years with wasted money on costly, outdated, and time-wasting two-year-old outdated traffic studies.
Where do you stand regarding the town’s initiative to provide safer, modern facilities for the town’s administration personnel and police officers?
I stand 110% behind it, but not for many of the reasons discussed at many town meetings and the reasons discussed at the few recent towns “introduction to candidates” for the town of Windermere's council positions. I’ve heard (there's) little space for meetings. I’ve heard the walls are paper-thin, so you can hear the meetings going on next-door. I’ve heard 70% of the materials used are inferior, and will not hold up to hurricane winds.
However, I have not heard the “number one” important reason for this building: Our police officers that put their lives on the line daily, patrolling the streets of Windermere for only one reason: to protect “us” the residents of Windermere. So let’s pay them back and protect them by building a safe facility for vital life-or-death and much-needed training areas, to give them a fighting chance in today’s dangerous world. They lack the basics in the current facility to give them the much-needed support to do their jobs safely and effectively.
Some believe the town needs better protections for its trees. What specific changes, if any, would you like to see in the town regarding environmental protections?
I believe this question is about the $42 million dollars proposed by some on wanting to spend this crazy amount of our budget to move our above-ground power cables underneath the ground, versus having trees with the V shape because the trees grow around and are trimmed around the power cables.
I was asked this same question at the town of Windemere's introduction to candidates meeting, and my answer is still the same. $42 million so that the trees will not be trimmed around these cables, and I stated then and I state now that after every major storm or hurricane, our trees are damaged and they don’t come out looking so beautiful. It’s a shame, but that’s Mother Nature, so no matter how much money they wish to waste, it can’t be helped.
How would you improve communication between the town administration and residents?
Good question, and why this has not been done in the last five years is a mystery to me today. Our neighbors to the north have had a live video feed at their town meetings for many years. The city of Ocoee has spent very little effort and money to have all meetings aired live and stored on their website for the convenience of their residents.
Many Windermere residents have voiced their concerns on this at town meetings, and to me, personally. Some are away on business or visiting family for weeks at a time and would love to know what’s going on in their town. I would vote YES to have this done at once, as it will be a low-cost quick fix for our residents. Vote for Mike Hargreaves on March 12, as it’s urgent to protect our small town of Windermere and to follow our mayor's lead, dedication and hard work for the residents of Windermere.