Anonymous flyers were sent out to some Palmetto Bay residents this week lampooning village Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, who is up for reelection this November.
Some of the flyers appear to have been stuffed directly into mailboxes, others were mailed. It is not clear how widely distributed the flyers were, although several candidates, residents, and members of the village staff reported receiving them.
The mailers, which feature four cut-out images of Stanczyk adorned with cut-outs of a dunce cap, a bone through her head, and blacked-out eyes and teeth, tell the reader that “incumbent mayor Shelley P. Stanczyk suggests/commands Y’ALL” — a reference to her business, the Antique Mall Y’all – “elect me for Mayor of Palmetto Bay — or Else!”
The flyer also features what appears to be an address stamp from her store, although Stanczyk says the stamp is fake. The information is correct, but the font is slightly different than the one on the stamp she uses.
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“It’s incredibly rude and childish,” said village police commander Gregory Truitt. “But it’s not a police matter. It’s a freedom-of-speech issue.”
One polling station, the American Legion, received the mailer and filed a police report, Truitt said. The police department took the report for information, he said, but won’t be investigating since it does not appear any criminal offenses were committed in sending out the flyer.
Stanczyk believes this was probably orchestrated by one of her opponents in the mayor’s race.
“My campaign focuses on what I've accomplished in the past four years as mayor and the positive direction of our village. I welcome serious dialog with the residents of Palmetto Bay who share my vision about our future,” Stanczyk said. “Palmetto Bay is growing up, maturing, moving in a positive direction — I just wish some of my opponents could say the same.”
One of her opponents, Peter England, said he was “frankly surprised” to receive the “gross” flyer.
“Honestly, I have no idea who could have done it, but I find, knowing the other candidates in the mayoral race, I do not believe that any of them could pull that kind of scurrilous — I mean really — scurrilous campaign attack. In my estimation, it’s probably someone from Shelley’s camp that was trying to establish a level of sympathy for her.”
Council member and mayoral candidate Patrick Fiore said he hadn’t even seen the flyer and had just heard about it from another candidate.
“I don’t do that kind of stuff,” Fiore said.
Eugene Flinn — Palmetto Bay’s founding mayor, and one of Stanczyk’s challengers in November — also disavowed the flyers, saying he scanned the copy he received and sent it to the police department.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, and I hope we get to the bottom of it. I’d like to know who thinks silly stuff like that is funny,” he said.