Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Politics

Voters pick incumbents in Zephyrhills, newcomers in New Port Richey

Pasco voters kept two familiar faces on the Zephyrhills City Council and picked two new ones for the New Port Richey council — though one of those seats hinged on just a handful of votes.

Zephyr­hills City Council members Kent Compton and Lance Smith sailed to re-election on Tuesday, each garnering about two-thirds of the vote.

Meanwhile, insurance agent Jeff Starkey won a New Port Richey council seat, clinching 21 percent of the vote in a seven-person race. Starkey, who pledged during the campaign to combat prescription pill abuse and blight on U.S. 19, said Tuesday his first order of business will be to push for a nuisance property ordinance to deal with problem motels on the thoroughfare.

"I think that's going to be a great way to start cleaning the area up," said Starkey, 38, owner of Great Florida Insurance (and no relation to the Starkey family known for development, parks and politics in Pasco). "That's the first thing I would like to see me being a part of on council. I just think it's really going to help our city."

The second open seat in New Port Richey remained too close to call, though. Just nine votes separated Chopper Davis, a 65-year-old sales associate for a financial transaction service, from Rose Mohr, the 65-year-old owner of the Market Off Main. After the initial tally, Davis had 295 votes and Mohr had 286 — a margin so close that elections officials began a recount Tuesday night.

Either way, the outcome will mean two newcomers to the New Port Richey council.

Incumbent Bob Langford, 70, who finished fourth with about 13 percent of the vote, failed to secure another term Tuesday. Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe, 59, decided not to run again.

The Zephyrhills races were all decided by strong margins.

Compton, 48, the council president who works as an assistant state attorney, took 64 percent of the vote for Seat 3, handily defeating Rose's Cafe owner Rose Hale, 45. Smith, 50, the council vice president who works as a self-employed licensed contractor and real estate broker, received 68 percent of the vote for Seat 1 over challenger Manny Funes, 68, a Realtor and retired law enforcement officer who previously served on the council.

"I am truly humbled by all of the support I got, a lot of it unsolicited," Smith said. "It was a total team effort. I'm looking forward to continuing to work with the council."

Zephyrhills voters also overwhelmingly passed measures to extend council and mayoral terms from two years to three, and to allow the vice president to preside over a meeting when the president is gone.

Also on Tuesday, voters in the east Pasco town of St. Leo picked two new city commissioners. James Wells won Seat 2 with 70 percent of the vote, outpacing Gregory Smith and Sean VanGuilder. Robert L. Inslee won Seat 4 with nearly 68 percent of the vote over Bill Hamilton.

Wells and Inslee are both residents of Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club, a neighborhood that has made several attempts over the years to remove itself from St. Leo and the tiny town's tax rolls.

Comments
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Published: 06/17/18
Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

The Trump administrationís move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has grabbed attention around the world, drawn scorn from human-rights organizations and overtaken the immigration debate in Congress.Itís also...
Published: 06/17/18

Pasco Political Notebook

Perenich to ĎWalk the DistrictíStephen Perenich, Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Florida District 12, will be "Walking the District" June 25-29. Perenich will be walking 55 miles in five days, starting in Dade City and heading...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18
GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans distanced themselves Thursday from the Trump administrationís aggressive policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border even as the White House cited the Bible in defending its "zero tol...
Published: 06/14/18
Sarah Sanders and  Raj Shah are planning to step down, per CBS report

Sarah Sanders and Raj Shah are planning to step down, per CBS report

Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah are considering stepping down, according to a CBS report. Sanders promptly responded in a Tweet saying, "I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS." Does @CBSNews k...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

WASHINGTON ó The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaled that it may step up its pace of rate increases because of solid economic growth and rising inflation. The Fed now foresees four rate hi...
Published: 06/13/18
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister hits $1 million mark in first bid for election

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister hits $1 million mark in first bid for election

TAMPA ó Law enforcement officers never want to be outgunned. Neither do political candidates.Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister need not worry.The Republican candidate has amassed what appears to be a record-sized war chest of just more than $1 mil...
Published: 06/12/18
Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

So the Supreme Court is in favor of voter suppression.Or is it election integrity?I suppose your interpretation depends on your party affiliation.Liberals seem convinced that an Ohio voting law upheld by the Supreme Court on Monday is a devious plot ...
Published: 06/12/18
Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

So the Supreme Court is in favor of voter suppression.Or is it election integrity?I suppose your interpretation depends on your party affiliation.Liberals seem convinced that an Ohio voting law upheld by the Supreme Court on Monday is a devious plot ...
Published: 06/12/18
Trumpís tougher Cuba policy having little impact on Tampa area

Trumpís tougher Cuba policy having little impact on Tampa area

TAMPA ó June 16 will mark a year since President Trump announced a tougher Cuba travel policy, but unlike in much of the nation, the changes donít seem to have hurt local bookings to the island.The number of people traveling between Tampa and Havana ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18