Candidates speak out

Published 8:28 am Saturday, April 22, 2017

From staff reports

As Election Day approaches, The Orange Leader asked the six individuals running for Orange City Council to answer four questions to give the residents a better understanding of each candidate.

Answers to the questions are unedited. We are publishing them as presented. To allow for space, first and last name will be used in the first question and the candidates initials will be used in the remainder of this article.

Answers will be list by District 3 followed by At Large candidates, while in alphabetical order by last name.

This is an opportunity for Orange citizens to know the candidates better prior to casting a vote on May 6, 2017.

Orange Leader: What are the duties of a councilmember? What is your plan of focus for your term should you win the election?

 Essie Bellfield: Duties are to serve the community, the people who elected them and to ensure the departments run smoothly such as the Fire Department and the Police Department. We have had a need for people to volunteer for several boards and committees. One person cannot do this by themselves, it takes the whole council working together.

Terrie Salter: A city councilman is a person who is elected to office by the people within a certain area of the city, broken off into districts, as in my case I am running for District #3 or the at large position, which represents the entire city of Orange.   It is important that each member be knowledgeable of the laws that regulate city government. Members are required to devote time to problems of basic policy and act as a liaison between the general public and the city. It is the job of each council member to establish the parameters of local government, acting as a member of the legislative branch of the city government.   I care about the welfare of my city and am concerned not only with the conduct of the daily affairs, but with the future development of our great city of Orange. There are other major areas of council authority and responsibility such as setting and interpreting rules governing its own proceedings, creating laws, directing the enforcement of city ordinances, appointing administrative personnel, transacting city business, managing the city’s financial operations, conducting the city’s intergovernmental affairs, providing community leadership for the people and most of all protecting the welfare of the city and its inhabitants.   My ultimate goal is to represent district #3 at city hall. It is my goal if elected to listen to the people’s concerns respond with feedback in a timely manner. It is my every intention to work hard for public awareness and community acceptance for projects that will push Orange in the path of growth. I want to find ways to get citizens throughout our city more involved in the affairs that promote us moving forward in a positive way. I think it is important to be more transparent because communication is the key.   I will make sure I do a though assessment of my district. It is important to me to build a great rapport with the people of district #3. I think it is important for me to be accessible not only during campaign time, but once I get elected.

Next I want to make sure Orange remains safe. It is important to make sure we keep our Police Department at a full complement of officers. Next on my agenda is the beautification of the city, which includes cleaning up our streets, parks and neighborhoods from litter and other eyesores. Before we can attract businesses our city must be desirable. So I look forward to joining forces with the well- known “trashy ladies” coming up with innovative ideas to keep our city clean. I then will look to the city’s goals, fiancés, needed projects, citizen’s needs, concerns and infrastructure improvements ranging community growth to land use. I will look for ways to strategically manage funds allocated to the city.   My ultimate goal is to work with the other members finding great ways to build the community and unite our neighborhoods, get organizations throughout the city involved in our progress on a larger scale. I will work hard to attract new businesses that will bring in revenue and jobs, which attracts people to the area. Statistics show that people between the ages of 25 and 34 drive the growth of a city, so we have to come up with ways to attract our city to what is called the Millennial’s.   I want to find ways to draw back our college graduates that have went away to be educated to return back to Orange to work and give back to our community. As you know anytime we want to go out to a nice well known restaurant we have to travel up and down Interstate I-10 going East or West. I believe that surrounding cities like Beaumont, Port Arthur and Lake Charles are growing at a rapid rate due to not only being supported by their residents, but also from the residents of Orange. We need the necessary businesses, so that our residents will keep their money in our city. Supporting our city is important that’s why I make it a point to spend my money locally first! I want to encourage and educate our citizens why it is important to buy local. We must keep in mind that people are our strongest asset, so networking is essential. We have to come together as members and cater to our strengths and identify what our needs are. I want to work closely with the other members and the mayor finding ways to raise more total revenues making raising property taxes the last result.

Michael Smith: The duties of a councilmember are to serve and represent all citizens in the city of Orange, Texas to the best of their ability. A councilmember should be available to listen, and act on the concerns of the citizens. They should prepare before each council meeting by researching, studying, and visiting with constituents on council agenda items that would allow them to make the best possible decisions. Council members should establish goals in order to improve and grow the city. As city leaders, they are involved with the budget, making sure the money is correctly used for the improvement of the city.

When elected, my plan of focus will be to strengthen the sustainability of our city. This begins with developing a cleaner city initiative. A cleaner city doesn’t just stop with aesthetics. Cleaning up our city, entails safer neighborhoods, community involved recycling, possible community gardens, farmer’s markets, and a recreational facility for our youth to be active. I believe promoting such a lifestyle will not only create positive civic interaction, but will also make Orange attractive for new businesses to invest here, which equals more job opportunities.

I will also focus on incentivizing opportunities to get businesses that will have a positive impact on our community. For all of the aforementioned to be possible, we must have a safe city. I support ensuring that our Police Officers have the training and equipment needed to do their jobs with excellence. I would like to work with city leaders, citizens, and Police Officers to find creative activities to bridge the gap of relationships and trust.

Mary Ekene : The duties of a council member are to be the voice of the community. To look in every avenue of the city involving economic change, pollution, youth of the community, city limits, education, crime, finances in the city etc. Their job is to be that voice of reason to fight for the citizen of the community by hearing their complaints, bringing it to the council meetings and simply come together to come up with a solution. Now of course, every problem in a city will not be solved in one hour, or one day, or one week, or one month, maybe not even in one year. But the goal for the council member is to show THEY CARE about the people in the community and the status of the city.

My goal if I become a council member is to address these issues and find solutions to these problems. But one of my main issues I am focusing on is our youth. Not that one issue is more important than the other, but our youth hits a real soft spot for me. Our kids are very complacent in this city and some have nowhere to go to for direction. Some are homeless, do not know both of their parents, are not in school, going into a life of crime, addicted to drugs and alcohol. It is very necessary to implement programs in our city to get our kids off the street and present them with better life decisions. One of my goals is to organize and have a recreational youth center that involves different classes that will teach drama, music, writing, poetry, have sports, gymnastics thing that will keep our kids busy and focused. This I believe will be a really positive thing in our community not only for our youth but for the parents as well. My goal is to raise money and have it opened Summer of 2018.

Larry Spears, Jr.: The duties of a council member are to uphold the rules set forth by the city charter as well as implement new ordinances to help promote growth and a sustainable future for the citizens of the community. The questions, comments and concerns of the citizens should be a priority for every council member for the communities needs are vital to reaching our goal of a better Orange for everyone. The city should not be divided but instead unified which will help to establish better jobs, stronger education and produce economic development.

Veronica Woodle: The duties of a councilmember include:

  • Review and approve budget
  • Establish long and short term objectives and priorities
  • Oversee performance of local empoyees
  • Oversees effectiveness of programs
  • Establish Tax rates
  • Enter into legal contracts
  • Pass ordinances and resolutions
  • Modify the Charter
  • Regulate Land use through zoning laws
  • Regulate business activity through licensing and regulations
  • Exercise power of Eminent Domain
  • Communicate policies and programs to residents
  • Respond to Constituent needs and complaints
  • Represent the community to other levels of government

Councilmember duties are to be performed by the council as a whole, not individual members. Councilmembers should devote their official time to problems of basic policy and act as liaisons between the city and the general public. The most important single responsibility of a council member is participation at council meetings . The council member has the authority to make and second motions, participate in discussions, and vote on every matter before the council.

Should I win the election, I would like to focus more on being a liaison between the residents and city council. I have observed over the course of the years that the residents here have lost faith in the system. They feel ignored and even if they do participate in council meetings that nothing changes. Across the board, the moral is low. I want to address the needs of the community by meeting with them face to face. I want to give them their time to give input on what they want and how they want it. I want to ensure them that I understand the needs of the community and when it comes time to make a decision on their behalf, I bring their interests to the table. I want the residents to understand what decisions are on the table and how it will effect them. I want to explain the process of how decisions are made on city council because I realize many people lack an understanding of the process. Orange is too small to have so many people unhappy and not connected. If we want to grow and attract new business and residents, we have to bridge the gap of communication with what we have now. Im running for the AT LARGE position, therefore, the residents will have the elected official for that district and myself to communicate with. I will be an excellent addition to council because I have worked as a police officer here for the past five years and I understand the trends of the different communities. I want the residents to be heard and represented. I want to be their voice and that is my primary reason for putting my name on the ballot.


OL: Several citizens have focused attention on the problem of trash in the community.  Litter, abandoned buildings, poorly maintained lots and damaged buildings are not only an eyesore but they drive newcomers and business to choose other communities for relocation.  Do you think this is a problem and why?  What plans do you have for addressing this problem?

 E.B.: One of my main priorities is to beautify Orange by addressing abandoned vehicles and piles of refuge in lots. My concern for cleaning up the area is not solely for District 3 but for all of Orange. Helping our veterans, health care and more for the youth and elders of the city to do are also on my agenda. We need to also work on the streets on the East side of town, as well as Brownwood and Dupont Drive.

T.S.: Abandoned buildings, and vacant lots are common in neighborhoods where buyer demand is weak to non-existent. We know that when there are a lot of homes and commercial buildings vacant it is a sign of neighborhood or city distress. During my campaign process, I have had an opportunity to go door to door meeting the residents of district #3. I have noticed several overgrown lots in neighborhoods like Brownwood, Navy Addition, Claremont and near Simmons Drive. Although our city appears to be fairly clean, we do have areas that need to be more attended to such as Claremont, where I noticed a lot on the corner of Claremont and Byron that people were using as a dump site. There is a vacant lot on the corner of Putnam and 16th Street that often is covered with litter. I have made it my point to assess not only my district, but the other neighborhoods so that I can be aware of the needs of the city collectively. While district #3 is my focus, it is important to make sure our entire city thrive on every level meeting the needs of the people. So, yes we do have some poorly maintained lots and damaged buildings that are an eyesore that need to be addressed. I believe that as a council member that it is our job to work closely with Code Enforcement to make sure that residents understand that unkempt properties , vacant building, and abandoned buildings, have a negative effect on the community. Residents need to be educated on the importance of maintaining their properties avoiding violations of a municipal ordinance resulting in fines. No one wants to see trash when they walk outside their home. Everyone in our city has a right to a clean neighborhood. Everyone should feel good about where they live. I believe residents have to take responsibility for their properties keeping them maintained, as well as the city making sure lots in the possession of the city/county are maintained. We need to enforce buildings that are damaged either be torn down or rejuvenated by the owners and failure to do so would result in a demolition by the city or finding the owner and engaging in direct talks about how to make the transition back to a well-cared- for property, but no matter what we need to find an acceptable solutions. We can no longer allow eyesores to be throughout our city when we are working on improving the overall look of the city.

As an elected official who represents the people, it is important never to forget who voice and opinions matters. I want to know how these things affect them and what suggestions and solutions they recommend. The people’s input and involvement are just as important. I believe as a council member that not only my observations of poor maintenance are the answer. I will notify appropriate authorities such as Code Enforcement to address the issues. After taking these steps I will make sure I follow-up on each matter in a timely manner and report back. Again, communication with the resident is “key”. I also believe between involving Code Enforcement along with various local organizations, and residents throughout the city our council members can organize events such as frequent community clean-ups. Cleaning up neighborhoods, parks, empty lots and streets throughout our city offers immediate and tangible results leaving everyone feeling good about the beautiful city of Orange.

M.S.: Yes, I agree that this is a problem. I would like to see a committee of councilmembers and citizens travel together throughout the city to witness our litter and trash problem. As I drive around our city, I am very aware of the trash problem such as litter, yards not being maintained, and abandoned buildings. These are things that will hold back the process of new business, and families from coming to town. We need to step up our code enforcement. We need to hold businesses accountable for their appearance and cleanliness. I will encourage a regularly scheduled city wide clean up, and make it a competition with incentives. We will foster pride in our city by rewarding those that are intentional about beautification of their properties; commercial and residential. I will also research grants available, as well as what other model cities with successful recycling programs are doing.

M.E.: Yes I do believe this is a major problem in our city. We cannot expect visitors who visit our city to and they want to even consider living in Orange if our city I polluted. I drive by so many businesses and houses where all you see is trash. Me, myself have personally picked up trash in front of some houses and threw them away. This is a problem that invites the uncleanliness of our city, shows the community we do not care, makes it seem littering is ok and neglects the beautification of our city. I want to invest money in our abandoned and damaged buildings as well. Bring life into them again with coming together to make them look new again by investing money in them and cleaning them. When buildings are clean and look appealing to the eyes, it invites new business. I want to address the problem by myself being an example and being the one to continue to help clean up the city and presenting ideas how we can financially restore our poor lots, damaged buildings to invite businesses that come through Orange to want to relocate because they see our city is clean and beautiful; simply because we care.

L.S.: The amount of discarded debris that is found on our roadways, in our ditches and neighborhood street corners is an issue that will take a community wide effort to see come to an end. We are directly responsible for our own mess and the main question is how do we address the issue? We must begin to enforce heavier fines upon those that are obviously and habitually in noncompliance with our current code enforcement. We must hold those that are responsible or caught in the act to suffer the consequences or else we will never see some type of resolve. Businesses in Orange and property owners must do better, for how can we expect someone to invest in our community when we ourselves are causing the most damage by littering.

V.W.: Orange has great potential, but, honestly the current state of Orange appears neglected. Not only does it look bad for newcomers, it is causing current residents to leave. The lack of maintenance causes a decrease in property value and it gives the appearance that there is a lack of pride in our city.

What I would like to do is enforce the litter law. For example, Ms Marva Paul owns DJ’s on Simmons stated that she spends countless hours cleaning and it would help to have the police enforce the litter law. She stated, “give one ticket and I bet they would stop.” Make an example out of someone. She explained that she can work hard to prepare her place for a party but the trash is a reflection of her business and will turn good customers away.

I would also like to encourage the city to pay residents to maintain the empty lots on their street. For example, if there is an abandoned home or an empty lot that needs to be cut, maybe we could get someone on that lives on the street to keep the lot cut. When they cut their own lot they can cut the empty lot as well. Right now, the city has a contractor that cuts the lots. I feel that we can work with our own residents and pay them to maintain the area around where they live. I have seen it in other cities and I believe it could work here.I believe it would make code enforcements job easier and give our residents the option to do the work themselves.

OL: In the candidates forum held at Lamar State College – Orange several candidates expressed an interest in improving communication between citizens and the city.  What communication problems exist?  Can you provide evidence of collaborating successfully with opposing voices?  Are you willing to step on toes when necessary?

E.B.: Yes there is a communication problem because sometimes people forget where they came from. I have worked most of my life for civil rights such as integrating a park in Galveston, the March on Washington and have been a delegate at the Democrat Convention several times. I have also been appointed to several state committees by Governors. I have no problem ‘stepping on toes’ and speaking my mind for the benefit of betterment.

T.S.: I have had the pleasure of meeting many new people in the district #3 area and several residents have stated that things get done in the city without them knowing. We have to come up with a better way to bridge the gap between city officials and the citizen. I would work hard to make sure residents are aware of the telecasted council meetings held on demand. I will always encourage all residents to attend the scheduled meetings monthly, but if unable to attend make sure they stay informed. I recognize that everyone’s situation is different, therefore it is important to address each resident individually regarding their concerns. I will respond to all that come to me with an issue in a timely manner, even if it requires a phone call or visit. Now when it comes to opposing voices, throughout my life I have faced this from time to time whether it has been in my career or in relationships. As people we are faced with many challenging decisions on a daily basis often requiring us to go against the so called “norm” of things, which is a part of life. But over the years I have come to recognize that it is acceptable for everyone to have his own way of doing things. Being around different people from us allows us to be more creative, more diligent and hard-working. I have been a nurse since ‘1995 and over the many years of providing care I have often experienced times where I haven’t agreed with decisions, but have had to do what was best for my patient. The first thing anyone should ever do when faced with opposition is to hear out all views and facts , so and you can determine if there are other ways of solving the solution, because confrontation is never the answer. I believe that as long as the focus is on the needs of the people then the council member has the obligation to fight for what is right in a constructive manner that is conducive to a positive outcome. As a council member it is my duty to uphold what is right at all times, even if it means stepping on toes. I believe that it is vital that all parties are aware of their distinct duties and roles to avoid confusion, hard feelings and possibility of stepping on toes. There will be times where council member not see eye to eye on issues, but it is nothing personal. Communication will always be the key, rather it is with the public or among the members and the mayor. I know that at the end of the day it is all about what the people wants, desire and deserve. We are here so that the needs of the residents are met. Members must keep an open mind always remembering that our decision should never be based on what we personally want, but make sure it is always for the people as a whole. I will always stand by what I feel is best for the people with no regrets, whether it is a popular decision or not. So yes, I may have to step on a toe here or there, but I am polite. I am polite and was raised with morals. I know how to say excuse me and keep moving forward.

M.S.: Communication is the best tool we can use to let the citizens of Orange know what is going on. The city recently hired a media person who has done a good job updating the city’s website. One problem we have to correct, is making sure the citizens know they are a part of the process. The lack of information, breeds negativity. To increase communication, I would propose social media surveys, and dialogue to bring awareness to each side so that progress can take place, instead of confusion and complaining. The citizens’ concerns are valid, and deserve the proper channels to submit those concerns. I would like to see more of the citizens attend meetings. The meetings are open to the public and need to be advertised, and possibly broadcast live on social media, which would improve communication with the city’s leaders and its citizens. As for stepping on toes, I speak the truth, and if that makes anyone uncomfortable, I’m ok with that.

M.E.: First and foremost, if the people in our city are complaining they need to attend the council meetings. They need to come and voice their complaints to the council so the council can physically hear what some of the problems are. That is where communication between citizens and the city will begin. Now for the ones who are too timid and shy to voice their opinions, that is where we come in as being “their voice”. We should represent sincerity and compassion for our fellow citizens and hear what they have to say. It is our job to have an open ear and fight for what is right to sustain growth in the City of Orange. Collaborating successfully with opposing voices would never be an issue for me because I am team player. I know that being a listener as well as being vital in any conservation is very important. In order for one to lead, they must be able to follow also. I would know how to hold my ground and speak assertively when necessary in order to bring about change order. I would not “step on anyone’s toes” to bring confusion or chaos, but if it lead to solving a problem that was necessary, then I know I have done my job. There has to be communication between the citizens and the city, without it there would be neither clarification nor peace.

L.S.: The current communication problem exists because many citizens are not able to attend council meetings due to work or other obligations that demand priority. The city has taken a step forward by producing an audio and video production of each meeting that can now be watched through the internet which will allow citizens to see and hear exactly what is being said in such meetings. The concerns of the citizens should be a main priority for the council and when you are making decisions for the city there are times that you must face opposition regarding items on the agenda. One thing that we must realize is that just because someone has a difference of opinion doesn’t mean they are wrong, it is an opportunity to work together to what’s best for the community. This type of situation occurs regularly whether it be about funding or implementing new ordinances, some people call it stepping on toes, I like to refer to it as speaking up for those that you represent. This is a team effort and everyone involved won’t always agree on things but the least we can do is respect one another to find common ground to do what is best for the citizens of Orange.

V.W.: Because I have been a representative of the city as an officer, I know firsthand that there are communication issues. Many of the residents here asked me questions that should have been answered by city council representatives. Many of the residents don’t even know who their elected official is and in my opinion that’s a problem. The perception is that poor people don’t know. I have been questioned by ALL people. In my opinion, there is a missing link when there is a large population across the board that does not know who represents them. Many people don’t know that when they have an issue with their water, they don’t have to call the city manager, they should call their elected council member. When there is an issue with a police officer, they call the Chief. They should call their councilman. That’s what they are elected for. In my opinion, the Chief is bombarded with menial calls and issues that their elected officials should handle. I have seen it first hand, but as and officer, it wasn’t my place at the time to point that out. Which is why I am running now. The objective of my campaign is to communicate with all to make the systems and policies work better for everyone. I

I have been in public service for over 20 years and a police officer for 12. Many people mistake my passion for aggression. I am a passionate person and those that know me know that I will go above and beyond. When I took the oath to protect and serve, The oath was for all. I have had officers that didn’t necessarily like me, but did respect that I would have their back and made sure that I did what it took for all of us to go home SAFELY, whether they “liked” me or not. It is in my heart to take that same passion to public office. The fact that I haved lived and worked as a police officer in this community and I can come back and walk the streets where I have arrested and patrolled and given citations should speak volumes about my character and reputation. Most officers cannot go back into the community that they worked without a gun or cover.

You don’t have to like me and I don’t have to like you. But we will come together to make the best decision to benefit ALL. Most people that don’t have that same mentality are not comfortable around me and I am OKAY with that. I will stand for right at all times. With that being said, If there is someone in the room that is not for right, they need to be comfortable with the fact that I WILL STEP ON YOUR TOES. I am confident, educated and not scared to address opposing voices, after all I have been doing it for over 20 years. I represented the city for 5 years and now I would like to represent the people.

OL: The city council approved hotel/motel occupancy funding of $634,000 for fiscal year 2017; $218,000 was allocated to a variety of projects such as the Mardi Gras parade, Orange Trade Days and the Gulf Coast Cajun festival and $416,000 allocated to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Is the City of Orange making effective use of those funds?  What will you to hold the recipients of those funds accountable to the goal of attracting visitors to Orange County?

E.B.: This needs to be studied further as there is more that can be done to encourage people to come to Orange more than what is being done now.

T.S.: I hope to believe the members who currently serve on the council has to the best of their ability allocated the approved hotel/motel occupancy funding available to the different events, entertainments or other happenings that bring in crowds of people to has been used appropriately to generate money. I believe that while these ideas have raised money we must continue to brainstorm and find new strategies for generating revenue such as expos and other events that gather communities. These types of entertainment have been a success, because these events are bringing families together, ultimately bringing communities together. I also believe the recipients of the funds should be held accountable not only to the goal of attracting visitors, but all of the purposes authorized by the section of Article of the Code of Ordinances as amended.   I would like to see the council follow-up on all projects making sure all funds are used or returned. I believe that it would be in the best interest of the council and public to have those who received funds for projects present a report with feedback on the event. The report should be detailed with full ledger showing all transactions. I believe this information should be public allowing for citizens to have a full understanding of how their money is being spent.

M.S.: I feel like there is always room for improvement, and growth in any situation. Once elected, I will not take the job of allocating our city’s budget lightly. I would like to see our city known for an event. One that really puts us on the map. When allocating these funds, I would require the recipients to use a certain percentage on advertising, and provide statistics of the most successful advertising methods and resources so that the money is not wasted, and that information can be easily duplicated. I would propose an open workshop, before budget meetings begin, to explain the requisition process to potentially interested organizations to broaden the potential impact on our city.

M.E.: I feel as if funding for these projects is essential if we want Orange to grow. Of course if someone comes from out of town to partake in the Mardi Gras parade, Orange Trade Days and the Gulf Coast Cajun festival they would need somewhere to stay to lay their head. Approving $634,000 overall for hotel/motel occupancy seems reasonable to me.   I do feel the city is making effective use of those funds and I would hold the recipient of those funds accountable to the goal of attracting visitors to orange by making sure all documents are set forth and signed by all personnel to show where money is being allocated. To make sure we are following proper procedures to ensure our visitors are being taken care of and experiencing something wonderful in Orange, TX. Every visitor when they leave our great city should have a feeling of; oh I cannot wait to go back to Orange. The food was awesome, the people were friendly, the events were spectacular, and the city is so clean and beautiful. This is how we want both our citizens and visitors to feel every time an event is being held in our great city.

L.S.: The funding that is generated from the hotel/motel occupancy tax is very effective for it provides entertainment opportunities and events that promote social interaction among the community. It establishes the opportunity to invite tourists and visitors to our town which in turn increases the possibility of new business and citizenship. I want to continue to pursue and establish every possibility to improve the quality of life for our citizens. These fun-filled and exciting events are vital to our community. We as city council have requested those entities to provide feedback as well as documented proof of attendance and overnight stay at our local hotels. Our local restaurants, gas stations, private business as well as commercial business have definitely reaped the benefit from hosting these events and I personally look forward to the promise of more to come in the near future.

V.W.: This question is too generalized for me to give an opinion about whether the City of Orange is making good use of the funds. $218,000 appears like a lot of money. But when you split it up between 3 organizations, I don’t know how its divided and what the organizations plan to do with the money. The same with the Convention and visitors Bureau. I don’t know enough about the details to give an opinion yet.The only way to hold them accountable is to have knowledge of what they got the money for and if they used it for what they got it for.

I will give my opinion about Mardi Gras. When we look at what the surrounding cities are doing when it comes to celebrating Mardi Gras, Orange is not doing anything to attract visitors. I would like it to grow to more than just a parade. I would like to see a festival. We have several trail riding groups, motorcycle groups and local talent that do not participate in the Mardi Gras festivities like we see in Port Arthur. In order to attract visitors, there needs to be more diversity ESPECIALLY in the parade. West Orange Band is the best band in Orange County (in my opinion). I have seen them capture the crowd at football games, basketball games and pep rallies. Many would have been entertained by their performance in the parade. I want to see the parade grow so that we can attract visitors and vendors.