SAFETY HARBOR — City Commissioner Nancy Besore resigned her commission seat Tuesday and plans to run for mayor in the March election.
Besore, 56, said she didn't want Mayor Joe Ayoub to run unopposed and was concerned that no one else had stepped forward.
She said she made a quick decision over the weekend and resigned right away so others would have time to file for the commission seat she is vacating, thereby preventing the City Commission from filling the seat by appointment. Her resignation will be effective March 17, even if she loses the race.
The City Commission will meet in special session at 11 a.m. Wednesday to discuss and vote on a resolution to add Besore's name to the March ballot.
"I feel we have issues in the city that need to be aired," Besore said. "I talked to my friends and mulled it over over the weekend ... I said, I'll just go ahead. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Besore said she had considered running for mayor last year, but didn't want to oppose Ayoub because she considered him an ally. "But since, we have tangled at every turn, just about," she said.
Besore has gained both support and notoriety in the city for loudly and publicly opposing issues approved by a majority of the commission.
After a majority of the commission approved a high-end apartment complex for the former Firmenich industrial site on County Road 590 in February, Besore led protests against that vote.
The project later went to the County Commission, which voted against it after opponents — Besore included — testified. A state hearing officer later ruled that the county's denial of the project was improper. Now the county and the City Commission must hear the case again. Besore said she wants to be in the mayor's chair when that happens.
"I want to be the one talking to the people, I want to be the one talking about the quaintness of the city," she said.
Besore hopes the city's voters will elect others to the commission who share her views. That was one of the reasons she hurried to resign and open the door for candidates to run for her seat.
"Most of the time I'm up there fighting alone," she said. "This is also about getting me some company ... commissioners with compatible thought and vision."
Since Commissioner Nina Bandoni also recently announced that she won't seek re-election next year, there is potential for a majority of the five-member commission to change.
Besore said that if the voters don't support her for mayor and don't elect other commissioners with similar vision, "that's something I need to know."
Besore was first elected in 2009 after she successfully crusaded against a subdivision planned near her home. She teaches government, economics and history at Armwood High School in Tampa.
Diane Steinle can be reached at (727) 445-4152 or firstname.lastname@example.org.