Atlantic Beach Businessman Chooses To Run For Commissioner Because Of HRO

Aug 12, 2015

“I chose to run for office because during the [human rights ordinance] debate I heard the comment was made that some things are too important to let the voters decide,” Stinson said.
Credit John Stinson / Twitter

Atlantic Beach businessman John Stinson is running for city commissioner against incumbent Maria Mark this month.

During an appearance on WJCT's “First Coast Connect,” Stinson talked about some of the leading issues in his campaign.

“I chose to run for office because during the [human rights ordinance] debate I heard the comment was made that 'some things are too important to let the voters decide,'” Stinson said.

Mark passed the human rights ordinance in August of 2014. The ordinance bans discrimination of LGBT residents and visitors in Atlantic Beach.

“I’m not really in favor of the HRO as written,” Stinson said. “First it puts our city manager in a position of reviewing claims and cases and we don’t have a judicial system in place to handle those things.”

Stinson says he thinks the human rights ordinance puts some of Atlantic Beach’s businesses at risk. 

Listen to the full conversation with John Stinson on Wednesday’s episode of the “First Coast Connect” podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. wjct.org/podcasts

But Stinson says he isn’t campaigning on the human rights ordinance. He says there are other issues that need to be addressed.

Some of these issues include emergency management, the environment and education.

“Our city is ill prepared to handle emergencies,” Stinson said. “Our emergency management plan considers hurricanes, but not any of the other types of emergencies or issues that they might need to deal with.”

Stinson says he would like to also have an industrial development council of local businesses and residents.

“Sit down and let them decide what they need to improve that area instead of it being a top-down from the elected officials approach,” Stinson said.

Stinson says he wants to hear the voices of the people he’s representing.

“My upbringing in a small town in Southeast New Mexico, I was always taught that my vote was important and that it mattered,” Stinson said.

The primary election for city commissioner is scheduled for Aug. 25 in Atlantic Beach.

Listen to the full conversation with John Stinson on Wednesday’s episode of the “First Coast Connect” podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.