Does Your Vote Matter in Valparaiso? Republican Activist Says No After THIS Decision By Commission.

After 15 months' effort - a referendum and more than 500 petitions, a Republican activist in Valparaiso Fl says the City Government's decision flouts the ballot box.

In Brief:

  • Valparaiso City Commission maintains ban on chickens despite previous voter support.
  • Missy Reeh-Weakley criticizes Commission’s decision, vows to mobilize public opinion.
  • Voter turnout and future implications for city commissioners discussed in light of the controversy.

Missy Reeh-Weakley promised vengeance against the Valparaiso City Commission. Those elected officials, who make rules and ordinances for the city, voted unanimously to maintain the ban on chickens inside city limits, Despite a citywide vote in March that delivered a five percent, 32-vote margin in favor of allowing hens (but no roosters), the Commission retained the ban at Tuesday’s meeting. 


“Someone can’t come here and get a little bitty resolution passed because of how deep and how bad the establishment and the corruption is in this town, and that’s a fact,” Reeh-Weakley said, “That’s what we witnessed in there; and I will continue to tell everyone I talk to. I see a lot of people every week. A lot of people. I run a part-time ministry. I’m a member of a big church. I’m elected at the county level to represent Valparaiso. I will continue to tell everybody that the government here in this town is corrupt and broken until we can get every single one of them voted out and get new people in there who care about the will of the people who care about what the people want.”


The Valparaiso Commission Decides: No Chickens


After 15 months, several uncomfortable meetings, multiple venting sessions, a presidential primary ballot vote, and a final commission poll, the City of Valparaiso’s Commissioners decided unanimously to keep their ban on chickens inside city limits. 


RELATED: Trump and Chickens Victorious in Ballot in Okaloosa and Valparaiso. 


Mayor Brent Smith motioned to shoot down the flightless birds’ ability to live within city limits, which Commissioner Chris Wasdin seconded. The Commissioners quickly voted in favor of upholding the ban. 


“As the commission board, we have to represent all of the citizens on this,” Smith said to the two advocates for allowing the raising of chickens in the city who came to the meeting, “We had a bad turnout, because we didn’t have anything else on there, other than the presidential primary.” 


“Buddy, it was only 100 more people that showed up to vote you in as mayor,” Reeh-Weakley said about Mayor Smith outside the chambers after the vote. 


The Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Office shows Smith won his election 375-309, a difference in total turnout between the two elections of 128 voters at the polls (or voting by mail). There are 3240 registered voters in Valparaiso as of April 1, 2024. 


In March, the commission chambers were emptier than the polls when the commissioners unanimously decided to uphold the ban. 


556 of 3240 eligible voters voted in the election – which delivered a 32-vote margin in favor of allowing chickens in the city limits. 


Two people, including Chickens-in-city-limits advocate Missy Reeh-Weakleyspoke in favor of changing the city’s rules on the birds. 


“What happens tonight is going to show people in this little town that when you follow what’s supposed to be correct procedures, even though there are a few mistakes made along the way,” Reeh-Weakley said to the Commission from the speaker’s podium, “It’s going to show the people in this town whether or not the government in this town is broken or not.”


She added that about 500 people, roughly double those who voted in favor of the measure on primary day, signed petitions to ask for chickens in city limits. 


Bob Bachelor, the chair of the Valparaiso Planning Commission, stood as a private citizen in front of the Commission to express his opposition to the motion. “When you’ve got 3200 people who live in the city, and a large number of them choose not to vote for whatever reason,” Bachelor said. He added that if the Commission did decide to allow chickens, multiple ancillary fees should be levied on their owners to cover the costs of the city’s chicken-related maintenance. He hypothesized these costs would include everything from additional sanitation fees to costs for code enforcement. 


What’s Next?

For now, the city commission does not have to take up another vote on chickens or make any changes to its ordinances regarding domesticated animals – barring a state law that would force it to do so. 


As for Reeh-Weakley’s promise to end the political careers of all five city commissioners, the Valparaiso Republican Party Precinctwoman has ample time to plan her revenge. Two commissioners, Chris Wasdin and Kay Hamilton, were reelected without opposition in March and have four-year terms. Commissioners Ed Cox, Tom Browning, and Mayor Brent Smith will face possible re-election in 2026. 


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