Local eye doctor to run for Vero City Council

Val Zudans running for city council

VERO BEACH — Local Ophthalmologist Val Zudans has thrown his proverbial hat in the ring, announcing that he’s running for one of two seats on Vero Beach City Council that will be up for grabs in this November’s election.

Zudans, who made his candidacy public during the Aug. 9 Taxpayers Association Luncheon at Vero Beach County Club, has pre-qualified to run for office. Also pre-qualified are former council member Randy Old and incumbent Harry Howle.

Dick Winger’s seat is also up, but thus far there has been no indication whether he will seek another term.

In an interview Aug. 11, Zudans listed four key issues he would address:

  • Parking on Ocean Drive
  • The sale of Vero Beach Electric
  • Improving the health of the Indian River Lagoon
  • Preventing All Aboard Florida from using the local rail line

Parking at the oceanfront has been a chronic issue. Like many locals, Zudans said employees of businesses often use spaces intended for shoppers and tourists.

“I’ve seen them move their cars from one spot to the next,” he said. “I’ve even seen them wipe the chalk mark from their tires.”

Those chalk marks are how police determine a car has been parked longer than legally allowed. Zudans suggested an “electronic chalk mark,” which is tantamount to police taking a picture of each car’s license plate. When they return two hours later, if the car with the matching plate is still parked, they get a ticket.

Other proposed remedies haven’t worked. The free Go-Line bus was put into service to ferry employees from parking lots at Riverside Park to their jobs on Ocean Drive.

“I rode the Go-Line,” he said. “There was no one on it but me. Every season we have this problem. We should be doing something about it.”

In terms of the sale of the electric utility, Zudans is all for it. The downside is that the city reaps about $6 million from an annual transfer. He has pledged not to put the onus of that cost on the taxpayers, saying “I will not vote for any increase in taxes.”

Zudans is opposed to All Aboard Florida, a high-speed train that would travel between Miami and Orlando. Its stops include Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach – but not Vero Beach.

“There’s no local benefit,” he said. “It would use our only track, and because of the speed, the gates at crossings would have to be lowered sooner, stopping traffic for a longer period of time.”

He also doubts its ability to be a commercial success, notingit’s not viable without government support.

Zudans also want to work to improve the health of Indian River Lagoon.

“We need to find ways to decrease the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous in the lagoon,” he said, noting that the two chemicals are prevalent in lawn fertilizers.

Part of the problem is the topography of the lagoon in Vero Beach. There’s no nearby inlet to the ocean that would allow the cleaner saltwater from the ocean to come in, while the outgoing tide would pull the chemical-laden water out to sea. One way to do that is to fashion a pump that would serve the same purpose as the tide.

Related Articles

Comments are closed.