Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Four City Hall regulars vie for three Port Richey City Council spots on Tuesday

PORT RICHEY — Four City Hall regulars will compete for three spots on the City Council in Tuesday's election.

Voters will decide among second-term council member Steven O'Neill, first-term member Perry Bean, former member Nancy Britton and newcomer Terry Rowe. Three seats are up for grabs, including one being vacated by council member Phil Abts.

Two amendments — one lengthening the council's terms, the other making dissolution more difficult — will round out the ballot in Pasco County's sole city election.

The candidates show few differences on contentious issues like dredging (all support it) and dissolution (all, except Bean, oppose its consideration). One issue, though, seemed to mobilize some more than others: an end to council arguments.

"The bickering is a big no-no," Rowe said. "It wastes a lot of time, gets us nowhere and just fans people's egos. I'm really disgusted with that."

Rowe, 55, an eight-year resident active with the city's Port Authority, said he was encouraged to undertake his first campaign by others who see him often at City Hall.

The out-of-work furniture repairman said he has "walked the entire city and knocked on every door," finding that residents want drainage fixes and progress on the long-anticipated dredge.

Britton, 51, agreed that much of the city's disruptions came from the dais, including during her single council term ending in 2008.

"We need to stop the bickering, stop the vengeful governing and move forward," Britton said. "I just desire that city we used to have. ... I want a more peaceful Port Richey."

Yet while railing against the city's notoriety for top-down turmoil, Britton threw a barb at Bean, who she said was trying to take credit for work she did on cleaning up a seedy mobile home park once known as "The Web."

"I'm the one who had drug addicts spit in my face. I was the one beating down doors," Britton said. "That's just disgraceful that someone would take credit for that when they didn't do anything about it."

Britton also denounced criticism that, during her previous council term, her romantic involvement with then-City Attorney James Mathieu constituted a potential conflict of interest.

"Last time I checked I'm an adult, and last time I checked Jim's an adult," Britton said. "What we do in our private life should have no bearing on whether or not I can do my job as a council person."

Britton, a 24-year resident, mother of two and account executive with Amedisys Home Health Care, said she would also like to discuss a compromise between residents and restaurateurs regarding noise complaints from the city's eateries.

Bean, 44, said city successes like a utility fund turnaround, employee raises and the purchase of new fire equipment were reasons for his reelection.

A stay-at-home father and software engineer, Bean said further work toward the beginning of the dredge project would continue during his term. The estimated $9-million cost for the project, he said, would be better spread across all city homeowners instead of solely burdening those on the waterfront. He argued that dredging would bring benefits to the entire city, as improved water quality will help increase property values and attract higher-end housing.

Bean also repeated his support of voters' right to choose whether the city is dissolved.

O'Neill, 48, has voted against measures toward dissolution during his four years in office. A quiet presence on the council, he was convicted last year of driving under the influence after a Pasco County Sheriff's Office saw him speeding and weaving across U.S. 19 in 2008.

Three messages left for O'Neill over the last week were not returned.

Voters will also decide two amendments. One would extend council terms from two to three years, an idea that Rowe and Bean support and Britton opposes.

Another would require a four-fifths majority of the council to put forward a referendum to dissolve the city.

Last year, the council voted to repeal an ordinance that would have let residents vote on dissolving. Bean, Abts and hundreds of petitioners wanted to bring the question to ballot, as the city saw during an unsuccessful bid in 2007, but O'Neill, Mayor Richard Rober and council member Bill Colombo agreed with a legal challenge and struck it down.

Rowe and Britton said the change could curb further disruptions among city heads and relieve city employees who fear they would lose their jobs.

"The harder it is to dissolve the city," Britton said, "the better."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Drew Harwell can be reached at or (727) 869-6244.


Where to vote

The city's sole polling place — the Knights of Columbus Hall on K of C Drive, just south of Ridge Road off U.S. 19 — will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Four City Hall regulars vie for three Port Richey City Council spots on Tuesday 04/06/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 9:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation


    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.