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March 11: Kenneth City voters choose change or status quo

KENNETH CITY — Voters here have a chance to put two new faces on the council and change the direction of town government.

Political newcomers Ellen Dalbo and Barbara Roberts are facing off against incumbent Phil Redisch for the two available seats on the Town Council. The two top vote-getters in Tuesday's election will take office.

Dalbo and Roberts are campaigning on platforms of change while Redisch says he's happy with things the way they are.

"I want to keep it just the way it is," Redisch said. "I don't want any radical change in the town."

Redisch, 78, is retired and owns two cabs. He is a part owner, vice president, treasurer and past president of Independent Taxi Co. He served on the Kenneth City council from 2003 until 2009 when he termed out. He was again elected to the council two years ago.

"My only agenda is I want to keep the town peaceful," he said.

Redisch said he's philosophical about possible outcomes of Tuesday's election, having lost in the past.

"If I win the election, I'm going to be happy," he said. "If I lose the election, I'll be sad for a half hour. Life goes on."

Roberts, 61, works in purchasing for Tandel Systems. She served on the town's charter review commission. She has said she's running to curb unnecessary spending and keep the town safe.

"I want to get back to community policing and spend our tax dollars wisely, not extravagantly," Roberts said. "I am not part of the old guard. I'm ready to work with the town manager to move Kenneth City forward, (to) see positive outcomes and reap the rewards."

Dalbo, 55, is an exceptional education assistant at 74th Street Elementary in St. Petersburg. She has become a familiar face at Town Council meetings over the past few months, speaking to issues that include questioning expenditures for the Police Department. Those expenditures include ballistic shields, heavy-duty weapons and SUVs rather than cars. She also opposed a proposal to add a canine unit to the department's 12-officer force.

"I hope the residents will vote for change, more communication and information, less infighting and for the future of Kenneth City," Dalbo said. "If this is what they want, then vote for Ellen Dalbo and Barbara Roberts."

Kenneth City just completed transitioning to a council-manager form of government in which a professional manager oversees the daily running of the town and supervises all departments and employees. A council consisting of a mayor and four members sets policy, passes a budget and hires the manager and a town attorney. Those who are elected will be the first to operate under the new form. Council members serve two-year terms. They hold at least one meeting and one workshop a month and earn $300 a month. They run at-large in a nonpartisan race.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450. Follow @ALindbergTimes on Twitter.

Fast facts

Tuesday is election day

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Go to votepinellas.com to find polling places and for answers to other election questions.

March 11: Kenneth City voters choose change or status quo 03/06/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 6:25pm]
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