Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Safety Harbor mayoral candidate unopposed, so wins automatically

SAFETY HARBOR — The city will get a new mayor in January, but his name won't appear on this year's city election ballot.

Vice Mayor Joe Ayoub was automatically elected mayor Friday when no one filed to run against him.

Ayoub will finish out the unexpired term of Mayor Andy Steingold, who is running for judge and must leave office in January whether he wins or loses his judicial race.

There will still be a special city election on Nov. 6, however, because when candidate qualifying ended at 11:59 a.m. Friday, three people had filed to run for Ayoub's seat.

They are Richard Blake, Ray R. Irvin and Robert Saltzman.

Only Blake was available for comment Friday. The 34-year-old real estate agent is a native of Pinellas County who has lived in Safety Harbor for more than 20 years. He serves on the city's Planning and Zoning Board and the Waterfront Park Steering Committee.

Blake said he has no political aspirations beyond Safety Harbor and decided to run "just to make a great place we live in even better."

Ayoub, who currently has the rotating title of vice mayor, was just reelected to his City Commission seat in January, but after Steingold announced he would be leaving the mayor's post, Ayoub was clearly in the running for mayor.

He had heard that someone else would also be seeking the post, but no one else came forward by the deadline Friday.

"I'm humbled by the opportunity to serve as mayor of Safety Harbor," Ayoub said Friday. "I'm going to work real hard to keep the city going in a good direction."

Steingold will be leaving the city in good shape, Ayoub said, "and I want to build on that."

Ayoub, 36, works for a computer company called Data Blue, which is headquartered in Atlanta. He has a degree in accounting from the University of Florida and has been a city commissioner since 2007.

Ayoub, along with the winner of his commission seat in the Nov. 6 election, will be sworn in at a City Commission meeting in January.

As mayor, Ayoub said, he wants to make sure that commissioners continue their respectful attitudes toward each other — something that hasn't always been present in Safety Harbor.

He said he also wants to work on getting commission consensus on big issues before moving forward.

Examples of big issues he mentioned are development of the city's new bayfront parkland and how the city should spend its revenue.

Diane Steinle can be reached at (727) 445-4152 or

Safety Harbor mayoral candidate unopposed, so wins automatically 07/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 27, 2012 7:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa man crashes into parked cars, gate at the Islamic Society of Tampa Mosque


    A Tampa man intentionally drove his pick-up truck into two parked vehicles before smashing through the locked gate of the Islamic Society of Tampa Mosque, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Shaun H. Urwiler, 42, was arrested July 16 for intentionally driving his pick-up truck into two parked vehicles before smashing through the locked gate of the Islamic Society of Tampa Mosque, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. USF hoops to play at Indiana in November


    The USF men's basketball team is set to get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse in non-conference play next season.

  3. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  4. Florida's school grades improve as educators get the hang of a new system


    Following a trend, Florida's school grades showed strong gains in the third year after the state changed its grading formula and the standardized tests that students take every year.

    After finding out earlier Wednesday that her school went from a low C to an A,  Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates with her students in the YMCA After School program at the school in St. Petersburg. Houston is giving a high five to rising fifth grader Jonaven Viera. Rising 4th grader Jonathan Cafaro is in foreground with his back to camera. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  5. Tampa Bay woman, 11-year-old boy had sex up to 20 times the year their baby was born, detectives say.


    TAMPA — A woman sexually battered an 11-year-old Brandon boy, got pregnant and raised the baby for three years before a tip led to her arrest, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, first said the boy raped her, then changed her story, detectives say.