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Safety Harbor | Seat 4

Carlos Diaz, a 12-year city resident, and Ray Irvin, who has lived in the city three years, are both vying to fill the seat being vacated by Commissioner Nina Bandoni. Diaz has never held elected office, but Irvin was a local elected official in Indiana. The election is March 11. Josh Solomon, Times staff writer

Carlos Diaz, 49

Business owner
Ray Irvin, 67

Retiree, business owner
This is Diaz's first run for public office. He owns his own business consulting company and had a nine-season career as a catcher for Major League Baseball. Formerly a CPA, Diaz would do accountant work in the offseason. He is a graduate of the city's Citizens' Academy and was previously involved in the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Diaz said his focus, if elected, will be on driving business into the city. Experience Irvin was a city-county councilman in Indianapolis for four years. He spent 18 years managing greenways for Indianapolis and was appointed to director of bikeways, greenways and blueways in the state's Department of Transportation. Irvin serves on Safety Harbor's Finance Advisory Committee. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and has taken to boating, starting a boat inspection company.
Oklahoma State University, bachelor of science in accountingEducationAttended Eastern Washington State College and Spokane Community College

Graduated from U.S. Air Force Air University
"The waterfront property was purchased by the taxpayers of Safety Harbor and this community should not have to wait years to enjoy it. The project should be developed with the interests of the whole community as its priority. I would love to include trails, open areas, beaches and family-oriented amenities. These could include a splash pool and a light food and drink stand, as well as smaller retail, such as a bait shop or canoe rentals or other amenities that are needed for outdoor activities."What kind of development do you support at the Waterfront Park, and over what time period?"I suggest we pursue low-impact projects (projects that do not damage the environment or compromise the property) for this unique waterfront park. It may include the installation of walking paths, bird and nature viewing areas, an art park, and the re-establishment of a sandy beach with volleyball court along the water's edge. Leave the grassy lawn and install a collapsible band shell. The Parks Department can manage the venue by booking entertainment like bands, quartets and plays. Visitors can bring chairs, blankets and picnics for an evening under the stars by our beautiful bay. I do not see the taxpayers of Safety Harbor buying land for private interests to build restaurants on."
"I would say it has been a success. There is cost savings and it is environmentally conscious. It has been a change and change is sometimes difficult. There are possible drawbacks that we will have to take into further consideration, such as the decay of perishables in the summer that may pose a change in the way the community handles throwing out garbage. With time and educating the community, these drawbacks may be overcome."Has the new garbage pickup program been a success or failure?"This is more complex than just trash pickup. It's been somewhat inconvenient to adjust to recycling for some, but I believe creating a recycling waste stream is important for our community to embrace as a city that values a sustainable quality of life and is a requirement for 21st Century communities. By not taking steps to reduce the waste stream, we will see our waste dumps fill to capacity, requiring new ones. When that happens, cost will go up substantially for homeowners. The charges for waste removal could have been better explained by city leaders."
I would rather see light industry or offices that house medical, education or backroom support in a noninvasive capacity. The reason being is that we need to preserve economic zones in Safety Harbor to keep jobs locally. We must encourage economic development and not chase it away. These economic zones are part of Safety Harbor's diversity and are one of many unique characteristics that distinguish us from our neighbors."Would you rather see industrial or residential development on the Firmenich property?"I'd like to see high-quality homes/condos with a low-density configuration and a focus on the preservation of the environment. This area is the fragile head waters inclusive of a lake, wetlands and a stream for Alligator Lake and our mangrove bay. The light-industrial area along State Road 590 should be considered for redevelopment and job creation based on its proximity to neighborhoods. I do not favor the current plans and see problems – traffic congestion, lack of parking, impact on the environment, storm water runoff and compromised access by emergency responders – from this hastily considered, forced project bringing urban sprawl to Safety Harbor."
"The main issue is whether we progress or whether we remain stagnant. We have a tremendous opportunity to maintain Safety Harbor's progress as a thriving small town that engages the whole community – businesses, arts and culture, families, working adults and retirees. There is a city vision that was created by representatives from every part of our community. We could do much more to move it forward in a balanced and rational way so that our whole community benefits and not just one special group. I would work to gain a consensus that enables us to make progress on this plan. By driving forward government initiatives, such as the waterfront park, the library and the arts and culture community, we can continue to keep our community engaged and our charming town moving forward." If you are elected, name one issue or project you want to tackle immediately.Safety Harbor is at a crossroads with two city visions up for election One wants more development immediately, driven by developers intent on exploiting our small town with high-profit projects for themselves and urban sprawl for the residents of Safety Harbor. The other, which I am campaigning for, wants preservation of our community, with a focus on examined growth to long-term ramifications. We have not been listening to our residents and I will launch an organized solicitation of Safety Harbor residents' ideas and concerns in order to get the true picture and go about accomplishing their wishes, making Safety Harbor one of the best places to live in Florida."
Home in Safety Harbor and condo in ClearwaterAssetsHome in Safety Harbor, condo in Indianapolis, sailboat
Two home mortgages and one car loanLiabilitiesHome mortgage on condo and boat loan
Founder and owner, WWT America business consultingSource of IncomeHis business, Polaris Marine Services. Also, retirement from the Indiana Department of Transportation, Social Security disability, and U.S. Air Force Veterans Affairs
Married, two childrenPersonalMarried, three children

About the job: The winner of this race will serve a full three-year term. Commissioners are paid $8,147.40 a year.

Safety Harbor commission candidates, Seat 4



Safety Harbor commission candidates, Seat 4

02/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 3:20pm]
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