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Clearwater City Council | Seat 4

Incumbent Bill Jonson is seeking another term and is being challenged by David Allbritton and Konrad McCree Jr. The election is March 11. Charlie Frago, Times staff writer

Bill Jonson, 69

Retired accountant
David Allbritton, 63

Konrad McCree Jr., 29

Business analyst
Experience Jonson, who retired from Honeywell, served on the City Council from 2001-2007 and again since 2010. He takes pride in mastering policy details and being an independent voice. He emphasizes his fiscal conservatism and political experience as reasons to re-elect him. Jonson is on the board of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, is a longtime advocate for reduction of large signs and billboards, and stresses regionalism as advantageous for Clearwater. Allbritton, who owns his own contracting firm, is the former chairman of the Downtown Development Board. He says he is a common-sense businessman who will look for ways to make the city more business-friendly, including revamping its development code. He also says he wants to continue to grow the city's downtown technology sector and improve parking downtown to make it more commercially attractive. McCree is a business analyst for WellCare Health Plans Inc. and a minister of a congregation, Simply Kingdom Ministries. He says he is a fresh face that will represent the whole city, not just the beach and downtown. He has criticized the council for cuts made to neighborhood programs and parks. He said he will be a council member who listens to the community's wishes.
EducationDrake University, bachelor of science in business administration with a major in accountingAttended North Carolina Wesleyan College Florida A&M University, bachelor of arts in health administration. Andersonville Theological Seminary, master's degree in ministry
How should the City Council proceed in negotiating the lease with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for the City Hall site? Were the terms of the memorandum of understanding fair?

"The terms of the memorandum of understanding were the basis for the citizen vote where 55 percent voted affirmatively. The city should proceed with lease negotiations in accordance with the MOU. There may be instances where there may be good reasons to deviate from the MOU terms. Such situations should be fully vetted in public.""Council negotiated a good agreement with the MOU. They should stick to the original agreements that were very favorable to the city. There was much misinformation regarding terms of the MOU before the referendum. Stick to the original terms and the CMA will be successful and the result will be favorable to the city.""I believe the Clearwater Marine Aquarium site should be handled with great care. I believe candid and thorough conversations and negotiations between the city and CMA need to continue to happen. As these conversations and proceedings are handled, the public needs to continue to be made aware of progress."
Are other neighborhoods being neglected in favor of the beach and downtown when it comes to city attention and resources?"A great deal of attention and resources have been invested in downtown and the beach during the last 13 years. This investment was justified by the broken-down infrastructure that existed in 2001. I personally identified and reported more than 400 broken streetlights, most on the mainland, during my first couple of years back on the council. Such attention to our infrastructure is needed in all areas of the city.""It is prudent that the city invest in dense tax base areas that will return more money to its coffers than it has invested. The city has returned money in improvements to the East Gateway, traffic-calming roundabouts in Skycrest, and a new library in Countryside. Restoration of park services is high on my agenda.""It is absolutely necessary to point out that Clearwater Beach and downtown are important parts of the overall city. Tourism revenue and property tax dollars that these areas provide are important financial streams for the city. I definitely believe more attention and focus needs to be put on neighborhoods of the city as a whole; this includes but is not limited to traffic monitoring, speed bumps and attention to neighborhood parks."
What is the best way to continue momentum in revitalizing downtown after the Capitol Theatre and aquarium?"The city has a plan that is working and building momentum in downtown. The growth in new businesses has started. This includes the IT services downtown that organically started and continue to grow. A key strategy was to bring residential to downtown. We need to continue to attract residential into the downtown area. There is an obligation on the part of the downtown businesses to market themselves and jointly participate in downtown activities. Their involvement is so critical and I want to continue to engage them.""Many pieces of the downtown puzzle have been put in place, but there are still pieces that need to be addressed. Parking needs to be addressed if we want to attract capitalized investors. Landlords should work together to fit the needs of these new businesses. Wayfinding signs are important to guide the public to the downtown and parking garages.""Knowledge is the best way to continue momentum in the revitalization efforts downtown. We need to encourage business owners who are downtown to stay, and we need to educate and inform possible business owners on the advantages of our lovely downtown. In addition, we need people to buy into development. I believe the key is not just pumping millions of dollars into the area, but to motivate and stimulate investors toward the area."
Do you agree with the city's approach to beach development, which seeks to encourage midprice hotel rooms and eliminate free parking on the beach?"We still have a net loss of motel rooms as a result of the closure of the small, mom and pop motels that became functionally obsolete. I believe the beach benefits from a diversity of hotel price offerings. The principal reason for parking fees is to fund the infrastructure for a safe, clean beach for the public. Those who come to the beach should fund the expenses of the beach as a user fee.""Yes. We will never have enough parking for everyone visiting our beach. We need to develop alternate ways to get people to the beach. Dedicated bus lanes, ferry, monorail are just a few ideas to expand transit. I'd like to see the development of more mid-priced affordable rooms on the beach. Our beach belongs to its residents as well and creating easier access is good for all.""This is a very sensitive subject for a lot of people. As a native of Clearwater, I have seen many things change on Clearwater Beach. I do not believe the residents should have free parking on the beach eliminated. I think doing (that) will actually deter more people from frequenting the beach. I do not believe the residents should have to suffer for the redevelopment."
AssetsOldsmar townhouse. Primary residence in Countryside.Rental properties on Clearwater Beach . Primary residence on Island EstatesNone
LiabilitiesMortgage on townhouseCar loan, mortgage on rental properties, credit line on houseStudent loan, car loan
IncomeSocial Security, annuity, company retirement fund Contracting business, rental propertiesJob as business analyst.
PersonalMarried, five adult childrenMarried, three childrenMarried, three children or konrad mccree jr. for city council seat four

About the job: Seat 4 is a citywide, at-large seat with a four-year term. The job pays $20,630 a year.

Two challenge incumbent for Clearwater City Council Seat 4

Two challenge incumbent for Clearwater City Council Seat 4 02/21/14 [Last modified: Saturday, February 22, 2014 11:18pm]
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