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Madeira Beach commission stalls on filling District 2 seat

Pinellas County

NRCC: Charlie Justice vying for 'biggest flop'

Andy Sere of the National Republican Congressional Committee is howling over state Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg, for raising just $77,000 in the past quarter for his campaign against U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores.

"With a 38 percent burn rate — shockingly high this early in the cycle — Justice has barely $100,000 to show for six months of fundraising. Keep in mind that Justice has the Democrat field in Florida's 10th Congressional District to himself.

"Is Charlie Justice the biggest flop of the 2010 election cycle? Or is his inexplicably high burn rate part of a clever effort to show deep-pocketed Washington Democrats that he'll be a profligate spender just like them if he ever makes it to Congress?"

Young has about $415,000 on hand. He raised $3,900 in the past quarter.

Madeira Beach

Commission stalls on filling District 2 seat

City commissioners are having a tough time deciding who to appoint to fill the District 2 seat vacated when Sarah Nichols resigned last month.

The commission must appoint a replacement by Wednesday or face violating the charter.

"I have never seen this happen before in Madeira Beach. It is unethical to go against your charter," Mayor Pat Shontz said Tuesday after the commission deadlocked twice in choosing between three candidates.

The city charter also requires a three-vote majority to pick a new commissioner, but after two ballots, no votes changed.

Shontz and Commissioner Terry Lister favored Earl Barrett, who served on the commission in the 1970s.

Vice Mayor Nancy Oakley wanted Carol Reynolds, a retired schoolteacher and 17-year resident of the city.

Commissioner Steve Kochick opted for a "fresh face" — Carol Kellaway, who recently moved to the city from New Jersey, where she worked for the Ocean County government.

Kochick offered to switch his support to Barrett but, in a pique, changed his mind when Shontz admonished him for comments Kochick made about Barrett's previous history as a commissioner.

The commission will try again at 5 p.m. Monday.

Pinellas County

Latvala outpaces Hayden in fundraising

Pinellas School Board member Nina Hayden's campaign donations amounted to $7,900 for her first quarter of fundraising — roughly a 10th of Republican Jack Latvala's take in the same period in their campaign for Senate District 16.

Hayden goes up against a candidate who raised $90,000 and has more than $302,000 on hand.

St. Petersburg

AFL-CIO group endorses Kathleen Ford for mayor

Members of the West Central Florida AFL-CIO unions have endorsed Kathleen Ford for mayor, according to executive director Cheryl Schroeder.

Her opponent, Bill Foster, did not respond to several requests to meet with the unions, Schroeder said. He cited scheduling conflicts. He also did not respond to a request to fill out their candidate survey.

"We have a perception that either because of our questions or for what we stand for, he perceived that there was no reason to meet with us," she said. "So, why did we support Kathleen Ford? First of all, it is not by default. We were impressed by her reasoning."

For example, the union asked whether there should be a living wage policy for city employees and contractors who work with the city. Ford said yes, but said she would need to study the issue to see how it could legally be implemented.

"She wasn't just 'yes ma'aming' us," Schroeder said. "She was actually giving us her true opinions on the issues."

The union also endorsed City Council candidate Steve Kornell in the District 5 race and Leonard Schmiege in the District 8 race.

ST. PETERSBURG

City Council's Newton endorses Ford for mayor

City Council member Wengay Newton endorsed Kathleen Ford last week, becoming the first elected official to support her campaign.

Newton, the only black City Council member, said it is unfair that some people paint Ford, who is white, as a racist for questioning Goliath Davis, who is black, when he was police chief and she was a council member.

Newton said he questions police Chief Chuck Harmon, who is white, all the time, and no one calls him a racist.

"There are a lot of people who get uneasy when you ask questions; I am experiencing that right now, but that's our job," he said.

He said he could not support Foster because Foster said he had complete confidence in Harmon despite growing concern about the city's crime rate.

Ford said she would fund the city's summer youth employment program, but Foster seemed less committed, said Newton, who rallied unsuccessfully to get the council to fund the program with local dollars.

ST. PETERSBURG

What Foster said about black businessmen

Mayoral candidate Bill Foster made a comment regarding black contractors applying for city deals during a recent debate that sent tongues wagging.

He said: "I've represented many minority businesses in this community throughout the years as an attorney and one thing I've found: They may be wonderful contractors and know the Florida building code inside and out, but they may be lousy business owners as far as the entrepreneurial skills. And I think that we as a city can do better with partnering with the chamber and other organizations to make sure that we provide opportunities for entrepreneurial education."

St. Petersburg

Bay News 9 will show Foster vs. Ford again

Voters will have another chance to see mayoral candidates Kathleen Ford and Bill Foster make their case to be elected. Bay News 9 will today rebroadcast the one-hour A Conversation with the Candidates that aired live Oct. 12.

The forum may also be viewed on Bay News 9's On Demand Channel 342. Scroll over to the Politics category and select St. Pete Elections.

Staff writers Adam C. Smith, David DeCamp, Cristina Silva and Times correspondent Sheila Mullane Estrada contributed to this report.

Madeira Beach commission stalls on filling District 2 seat 10/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 17, 2009 5:31am]

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