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Voters in eight Pinellas cities go to polls

Voters go to the polls in eight cities Tuesday to elect mayors and council members and decide about development issues.

The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a list of polling places or other election information, call the Pinellas County supervisor of elections at (727) 464-8683 or go to votepinellas.com.

Here's a summary of the races and issues:

Belleair Bluffs

Voters will select two members of the Belleair Bluffs City Commission. The choices: Vice Mayor Suzy Sofer, council member Jack Nazario and challenger George Lawton.

Gulfport

This city will get its first new mayor since 1991 now that Mike Yakes decided not to run for re-election. The choices for mayor are Sam Henderson, the current vice mayor, and Bob Worthington, a former City Council member.

Henderson, who has described himself as the "environmental candidate," was first elected in 2009, when he bested an incumbent and was re-elected without opposition in 2011. He works in the special-collections department of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Library, where he is enrolled as a master's student in the Florida Studies program. He is married and has a daughter. Worthington is a native of Gulfport who built space shuttles for Honeywell for more than three decades before retiring in 2001. He was elected to the City Council in 2004 and served for six years before stepping down.

Kenneth City

Voters here will select two council members. Although only one candidate, Troy Campbell, is an incumbent, the other three are equally familiar. Albert L. Carrier, Joanne DeSimone and Wanda Dudley are all former council members.

Campbell was first elected to the council in 2011 and oversees the town Police Department. Carrier is retired and has served on the Kenneth City Board of Adjustment.

DeSimone is a former Redington Beach city commissioner in charge of the finance and building departments. She served on that town's planning board. She also served on the board of directors of the Gulf Beaches Public Library. She was elected to the Kenneth City council in 2010 and lost a 2012 bid for mayor to Teresa Zemaitis.

Dudley was elected to the council in 2006 and left in 2012 because of term limits.

Oldsmar

Three political newcomers are seeking the council seat vacated by Doug Bevis, who is running unopposed for mayor. Gabby McGee works for Cisco Systems and hopes to bring more businesses to Oldsmar. Dan Saracki owns Impact Grafx and wants to attract more retailers and housing developments. And Suda Yantiss-Colon owns Weddings by Suda and Sudagraphics and wants the city to invest in art-focused youth programs.

Seminole

Four candidates are listed on the ballot for the two council seats, but it appears only three of them really want the job. Political newcomer Matt Nilssen tried to pull out of the race this year, but did not after discovering the cost to taxpayers of informing voters of the change. He has since failed to campaign and has not returned phone calls or emails asking for comment. Still in the race are incumbents Thom Barnhorn and Jim Quinn, who have been campaigning together. They are challenged by Tom Christy, who is making his fourth attempt at a seat on the council.

South Pasadena

Mayor Larry Crowley, who is seeking re-election, faces Dan Calabria. Crowley was appointed mayor in November, filling the seat vacated by Kathleen Peters, who was elected to the state House. Calabria had also applied for Peters' seat, but the City Council turned him down. Now he's trying again, running on a platform of no tax increases or pay raises for elected officials and a promise to give $1,000 of his salary to the South Pasadena Scholarship Fund every year.

Tarpon Springs

Four candidates are vying for an open seat on the City Commission, which Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos is vacating because of term limits. Tim Keffalas is making his second run for the council. Other candidates are Jim Bouldin, a newspaper consultant; David Banther, the chief financial officer of his family's consulting firm; and Tommy Frain, who works at a restaurant in Holiday.

Treasure Island

No offices are up for grabs in Treasure Island, but voters do have five referendum questions on the ballot:

1. Should Treasure Island increase the maximum building height by 2 feet citywide, allowing developers to compensate for flood safety requirements that they build the first floor of buildings 2 feet higher?

2. Should the city increase density up to 24 residential units per acre as part of a mixed-use development project in the core district of the downtown redevelopment district?

3. Should the city increase density up to 60 hotel or motel rooms per acre in the core district of the downtown redevelopment district?

4. Should the city increase density up to 15 residential units per acre in the Gulf Boulevard District of the downtown redevelopment district?

5. Should the city increase density up to 60 hotel or motel rooms per acre in the Gulf Boulevard District of the downtown redevelopment district?

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

Voters in eight Pinellas cities go to polls 03/12/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 4:32pm]
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