Clearwater City Council candidates differ on major issues
At a City Hall forum moderated by retired Tampa Bay Times editor and reporter Joe Childs on Tuesday, residents had a chance to see just where the Clearwater City Council Seat 3 candidates diverged on some major issues.
Perhaps the most glaring difference is how incumbent Jay Polglaze and challenger Robert Cundiff would approach the city's ongoing mission to solve traffic gridlock on Clearwater Beach.
Polglaze wants to explore the cost and feasibility of all modes of transportation, including a bus rapid transit system and building an express lane on the Memorial Causeway.
The bus system and express lane are being researched by the region's Metropolitan Planning Organization and could be funded through a combination of local, state and federal dollars.
Cundiff said a bus system is “one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard” and instead wants to see the private sector go after a fledgling elevated transit system that runs on solar energy called skyTran.
According to its official website, skyTran is technology headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center in California and is being proposed in Israel, France, India and other countries.
Polglaze supports the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s proposed $45 million expansion for its facility on Island Estates but cautions the City Council must ensure residents maintain an "ease of access to their community." Cundiff said Island Estates residents feel they were left out of the planning process before the Community Development Board approved the expansion last month.
The forum drew a crowd of about 30 people and only lasted roughly 45 minutes. As a reminder, voters will see Mayor George Cretekos and council member Doreen Hock-DiPolito on the ballot March 15, but both are running unopposed for their respective seats.
Check tampabay.com on Thursday for a complete profile story on the candidates or pick up a copy of the North Pinellas & Clearwater Times regional section on Friday for the story.