Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Politics

Tuesday election have local issues for three North Pinellas cities

RECOMMENDED READING


Voters in Clearwater, Safety Harbor and Tarpon Springs who aren't Republicans may think they have no reason to go to the polls during Tuesday's Republican presidential primary.

But Clearwater will elect a mayor on Tuesday, and Safety Harbor voters will choose two city commissioners. Also, Clearwater and Tarpon Springs both have referendums on the ballot.

Registered voters of any party — or no party — in these three cities can vote in their respective elections.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Besides Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, here's a roundup of what else North Pinellas voters will see on the ballot:

Clearwater

Voters will choose their next mayor — either City Council member George Cretekos or political newcomer Christine Marketos-Cuomo.

The new mayor will be sworn in Feb. 13, succeeding term-limited Mayor Frank Hibbard.

Two other open seats on the City Council won't be on the ballot, as they're being automatically filled by candidates who are unopposed.

Clearwater voters will also decide three city referendums. The yes-no questions are on:

• extending term limits for the mayor and council members from two four-year terms to three, starting with candidates elected this year;

• requiring the city to publicize its annual audit when it is released;

• convening the Charter Review Committee, a volunteer board that recommends changes to the city charter, every six years instead of every five.

Safety Harbor

Four candidates, including two newcomers to city politics, will be competing for two seats on the City Commission in the Tuesday's election.

Incumbent Commissioner Nancy Besore, a high school teacher, is being challenged by retired city accountant Elise Vinson. Incumbent Mary Lynda Williams, who retired from Honeywell, drew a challenge from first-time candidate Cliff Merz, an engineer and faculty researcher at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science.

Safety Harbor's campaign season was compressed this year because the City Commission decided to hold the election in conjunction with the presidential primary to save money. City elections are normally in March.

Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs also has a referendum question.

The Tarpon Springs Hospital Foundation wants to sell less than an acre of undeveloped land at Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital to a developer who needs it to complete a medical office building next door.

In exchange, the hospital foundation would get $500,000 and the developer would improve the parking lot in front of the hospital.

Hospital officials have said they don't need the 0.62-acre sliver of land on the north end of their parking lot, but they are eager to see the medical office facility built next door. They think it could help them recruit medical professionals to the hospital.

Voters approved this land sale 1,960 to 505 in 2008. That approval can't be used now, though, because the 2008 referendum question stated that the developer, in exchange for the land, would build a parking garage the hospital could share. But the developer has downsized the plan for the medical building from 195,000 to 60,000 square feet and needs only a surface parking lot, not a garage.

The property sale cannot go forward unless voters approve.

Comments
2nd woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching

2nd woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A second woman has accused Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching.Lindsay Menz tells CNN that Franken placed his hand on her bottom as they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, two years into Fran...
Published: 11/20/17
Before budget ax fell, Visit Florida executives ran up hefty travel bills

Before budget ax fell, Visit Florida executives ran up hefty travel bills

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott’s tourism chiefs at Visit Florida spend a lot of public money taking trips to exotic places to promote Florida as a top worldwide destination. Four former top-level staff members at the state’s tourism...
Published: 11/20/17
Senator Nelson on tax reform bill: Small business will ‘get it in the neck.’

Senator Nelson on tax reform bill: Small business will ‘get it in the neck.’

TAMPA — A week ahead of the expected vote on a controversial tax reform bill, U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., visited Tampa to deliver a message to small businesses: This bill will hurt you."Small businesses are the economic engine of F...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/20/17
As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said Sunday that the White House is willing to remove a contentious provision taking aim at the Affordable Care Act from the GOP tax overhaul plan if politically necessary, a move ...
Published: 11/19/17

Many Christian conservatives are backing Alabama’s Roy Moore

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama’s Christian conservatives see Roy Moore as their champion. He has battled federal judges and castigated liberals, big government, gun control, Muslims, homosexuality and anything else that doesn’t fit the evangelical mold. ...
Published: 11/19/17
Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

WASHINGTON — It’s been nearly six years since the Senate Ethics Committee conducted a major investigation of a sitting senator. Next year, the panel could be working nonstop, deciding the fate of up to three lawmakers, including two facing allegation...
Published: 11/18/17
PolitiFact: Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Here’s why

PolitiFact: Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Here’s why

Before gobbling turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie — or engaging in a well-informed political spat with your family — some of you might wonder where the Thanksgiving tradition originated.We wondered, too. So we talked with historians to get the facts s...
Updated: 5 hours ago
In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

UTICA, N.Y.Pat Marino pulled into the shop on a cold, wet Thursday and stood close as a young mechanic with gelled-up hair and earrings lifted the truck and ducked underneath."You need a little bit more oil," the mechanic said."Five quarts wasn’t eno...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/20/17
Hillsborough seeks payback for ethics complaint but history shows that could be pricey

Hillsborough seeks payback for ethics complaint but history shows that could be pricey

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners recently decided to go after the pocketbooks of several residents who filed unsuccessful ethics complaints against one of their colleagues.If history is any indicator, the maneuver is more likely to cost taxp...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/19/17
As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

WASHINGTON — "You can do anything," Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The man who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts — but denied he really did so — w...
Published: 11/17/17