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Three candidates to vie for Tarpon Springs seat in March; Tarapani gets new term

TARPON SPRINGS — The campaign for the March city election will have a three-way race for one vacant seat on the City Commission.

Chris Hrabovsky, Rea Sieber and Joe Muzio will face off for Seat 2, now held by term-limited Commissioner Susan Slattery.

Commissioner Townsend Tarapani was automatically re-elected to Seat 1 when no one filed to run against him.

"I am so honored and humbled by the confidence the voters showed in me by not fielding a candidate to oppose me in this year's coming election," said Tarapani, 28. "I appreciate the opportunity to complete many important ongoing and future projects within my second term."

Sieber, 61, owns two Sponge Docks businesses and is head of the Tarpon Springs' Merchant Association, recently making both friends and enemies by pushing for an ordinance to restrict outdoor displays at the Sponge Docks.

She frequently helps organize downtown and Sponge Docks events including wine walks, food truck rallies and Oktoberfest. She also sits on the city's Budget Advisory Committee and a city tourism council.

She's a good candidate, she said, because she understands the needs of the business community. She also wants to keep the Anclote River and the bayous clean and make Tarpon Springs more walkable. She's raised about $3,000 for her campaign, she said.

"I've committed a lot of time to promoting Tarpon Springs and bringing visitors here," she said. "I think people will see that and support me."

Hrabovsky, 44, a hypnotist in private practice, comments frequently at commission meetings and is perhaps best-known for his opposition to proposed Walmart stores in Tarpon Springs and St. Petersburg. He has raised about $3,000, he said.

He believes a lot of big-picture issues can be addressed locally and said he has a plan to use the city's code enforcement board to fight banks and shield people from foreclosure.

He also wants the city to start its own utility company. And he wants to implement small changes such as including a monthly calender of events in residents' water bills.

"This is a cheap way to advertise events to everyone in town and it just makes logical sense," he said. "It's practical stuff like that people appreciate."

Muzio, 62, a Realtor, said he only recently started sending letters out to raise campaign funds. He's interested in Tarpon Springs' homeless issue, he said, although he hasn't picked a policy stance yet.

He ran and lost to Commissioner Jeff Larsen in 2010.

A 27-year resident of Tarpon Springs, Muzio said he will spend the next three months going door to door.

A veteran who formerly worked for the Home Shopping Network, he believes he has the combination of skills that would make him a good commissioner.

"I'm open-minded, I'm flexible and I listen to everybody," he said.

All races are nonpartisan. Winners of the March 11 election will serve three-year terms. Commissioners earn $8,000 annually.

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at bdavis@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4155.

Three candidates to vie for Tarpon Springs seat in March; Tarapani gets new term 12/06/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 6, 2013 6:01pm]
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