By SUZETTE PORTER
Tampa Bay Newspapers
Eleven municipalities had elections on Tuesday, March 15, in conjunction with Florida’s 2016 Presidential Primary. Elections took place in Belleair, Clearwater, Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Madeira Beach, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island.
Three incumbent mayors will keep their jobs: Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson, Indian Rocks Beach R.B. Johnson and Pinellas Park Mayor Sandra Lee Bradbury. A new mayor will take over in South Pasadena with Max V. Elson’s defeat of the incumbent, Dan Calabria. Tarpon Springs also is getting a new mayor, as the incumbent David Archie must leave due to term limits. Chris Alahouzos will be taking his place.
Belleair voters chose between incumbent Tom Shelly, Spencer Connerat and Tom Kurey for two seats on the commission. Tom Kurey received the most votes, 47 percent, followed by incumbent Tom Shelly with 45 percent, and Spencer Connerat picked up 7 percent.was
Clearwater Council member Jay Edwin Polglaze was defeated by his opponent, Bob Cundiff, for the Seat 3 position. Cundiff garnered 53 percent of ballots cast.
In Gulfport, incumbent Mayor Sam Henderson gets to keep his job, defeating challenger Barbara Banno with 59 percent of the vote. Results were close in the race to represent Ward 1 on the Gulfport Council. With seven of seven precincts reporting, incumbent Dan Liedtke was on top with 50.7 percent of the vote against April Thanos with 49.30 percent.
Long-time Indian Rocks Beach Mayor R.B. Johnson will serve another term, handily defeating challenger Bert Valery with near 71 percent of the vote. Votes in the race for two commission seats were not counted, although three names were on the ballot, Jeremiah Carmody, Edward Hoffnagle and Joanne “Cookie” Kennedy. Carmody withdrew from the race after the ballots had been printed.
The same situation exists in Oldsmar where voters saw two names on the ballot for the position of Seat 2 on the city council, Daniel C. Belcher and Dan Saracki. However, Belcher withdrew from the race. Votes were not counted. Votes were counted in the race for Seat 4 on the Oldsmar Council. Becky Afonso and Jerald “Jerry” Beverland were vying for the seat left vacant by Linda Norris, who is leaving due to term limits. Beverland will be her successor, receiving 57 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Pinellas Park Mayor Sandra Lee Bradbury is still in favor with her city. She defeated her challenger, Keith V. Sabiel, receiving 57 percent of the vote. However, South Pasadena’s incumbent, Dan Calabria, was not successful in his bid to keep his job. His opponent, Max V. Elson, received 70 percent of the vote.
Voters who live in St. Pete Beach District 1 picked the incumbent Terri Finnerty to remain on the city’s commission. Finnerty received 60 percent of the vote against former commissioner Lorraine Huhn. Voters who live in District 3 chose former mayor Ward J. Friszolowski to take over the District 3 seat, currently held by Gregory Premer. Friszolowski garnered 54 percent of the vote against opponent Deborah Schechner.
Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie is leaving office due to term limits, and Chris Alahouzos will be taking his place. Alahouzos received almost 59 percent of the vote against his opponent Frank DiDonato. Term limits also created an opening for Seat 3 on the
Commission currently held by Jeff Larsen. Susan Miccio Slattery received the most votes 61 percent to Tim Keffalas with 39 percent.
Ken Keys defeated incumbent Alan Bildz to represent District 4 in Treasure Island. Only voters living in District 4 participated in this election, giving Key 60 percent of the vote.
Clearwater voters said yes to six of seven referendum questions with nearly 53 percent saying no to Question 1: Appointment of Charter Review Advisory Committee, which asked, “shall Section 7.02 of the City Charter be amended as provided in Ordinance No. 8807-15 to require the appointment of a Charter Review Advisory Committee every six years instead of every five years?”
Madeira Beach said no by 68 percent to a referendum question to require a super majority vote for the sale of real property. Pinellas Park voters said yes by 67 percent to a referendum question to allow economic development property tax exemptions for new businesses and expansions of existing businesses.
St. Pete Beach voters weren’t too keen of approving pay raises for the mayor and city commissioners with 68 percent saying no to a charter amendment to raise the compensation for commissioners from $400 a month to $600 a month and a pay hike for the mayor from $800 of month to $1,600 a month.
Both the charter amendment and referendum question passed easily in Tarpon Springs. Voters said yes by 87 percent to a charter amendment to correct grammar and scrivener’s errors and “to accurately reflect the name of the City-owned hospital identified in Section 33, formerly known as ‘Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital’ and presently known as and leased to ‘Florida Hospital North Pinellas’.” They said yes by 80 percent to the referendum question to amend the hospital lease to assist the hospital while it constructs a new emergency room.
For more election information, visit votepinellas.com.