PORT RICHEY — Two familiar faces have stepped forward seeking to finish a year-a-half left on the term of former Port Richey Mayor Richard Rober.
Veterans of Port Richey politics, former Mayor Eloise Taylor and former council member Perry Bean have thrown their hats in the ring to run in a special election to pick a replacement for Rober, who resigned in March prior to pleading guilty to a federal tax charge.
Bean, 46, who served on the council from 2008 to 2010, said there will be no surprises in the race leading up to the special election, which will take place Aug. 14, coinciding with state and local primaries.
"I don't think that either of us is going to bring anything unknown. It's a small town, so people know both of us and what we will bring to the table," said Bean, who lost his council seat in 2010 in a four-person race for three seats.
Bean, a technology consultant, said he has something to offer voters that others do not: the time and desire to put his all into the job. He wants to focus his efforts on redevelopment and establishing a vibrant business corridor along U.S. 19.
"I just didn't see anyone out there who would put as much into it as I will," Bean said.
Taylor, 69, said she wanted to offer her experience as a former mayor, an attorney and political scientist to keep fostering what she sees as a new era of professionalism at City Hall that has eluded Port Richey in the past.
Key issues for Taylor include promoting Port Richey's waterfront and parks, and refurbishing its infrastructure with an emphasis on water and sewer.
"I have long been committed to the city's progress, and I think it's on fairly good and stable footing that I would like to see continue," said Taylor, who served as mayor from 2000 to 2005.
Taylor is no stranger to a special election, as she first won the mayor seat after a special election in 2000 following then-Mayor Eileen Ferdinand's resignation.
But it's Taylor's time after she served as mayor that Bean said is troubling.
"I'm not a big fan. Eloise Taylor has made it a hobby of suing the city, costing taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars," Bean said.
In 2005, Taylor lost the mayor seat by a slim margin to Mark Abbot, but remained active on city issues. As attorney for several city residents in recent years, she filed lawsuits against the city on zoning issues and contested in court a controversial ordinance that would have established a referendum to dissolve Port Richey.
Taylor said her legal stances have been an effort to counter poor decision-making by past city leaders, a trend she says has been turned around by the current council. As for Bean, she had no comment.
"I personally don't know Mr. Bean, and I don't think it's necessary to say anything. Our records will stand for themselves," she said. "Political life has become more stabilized and more civil in Port Richey, and I think it's a huge benefit."