The Clearwater Times invited the Safety Harbor City Commission candidates to submit for publication statements explaining why they believe they should be elected March 13. The statements of the Seat 2 candidates were published Thursday. The statements of the Seat 3 candidates appear today.Kathleen Bambery
In recent years much of the campaign rhetoric has focused on more open, responsive government in Safety Harbor. Those candidates promising to make City Hall more open and responsive were heralded by involved citizens and soon voted into office.
But City Hall remains far from being open and responsive to its citizens. Behind the ambiance of our beautiful city is a city government in turmoil.
Safety Harbor's controversies still consist of citizens denied access to public records, activists receiving anonymous threats, commissioners accused of nepotism, a city manager's questionable sense of ethics and, most recently, the city's choice to run a deceased candidate in the coming election.
A list of controversies revolving about City Hall goes on. Why must it?
Is it not time to end the turmoil in City Hall? My candidacy is a direct effort to end this perpetual controversy. It is time for the voters to take responsibility and have the final word as to whether we need a change, or decide if we are satisfied with the current leadership.
I believe the time has come for Safety Harbor to move forward in a more positive direction by voting for a candidate who is committed to change. People in Safety Harbor want integrity and courage _ characteristics held by me to be in the highest regard.
I believe a system of checks and balances should be implemented. This can be accomplished by first ensuring a more open government. I will make myself accessible to hear citizens' concerns, and listen and act upon them.
I will accept ideas and suggestions from advisory board members. I will recognize the many knowledgeable city residents who hold various skills, experience and expertise, and I will research and propose solutions.
I will remain an independent voice on the commission, holding on to my integrity and courage, standing for what is ethically and professionally correct for the betterment of Safety Harbor.
We all have investments in our family and community. Let not one of us by apathy leave our investments to the decisions of others. Each one must vote for what he or she wants and believes to be in the best interest to protect our investments.
Safety Harbor on beautiful Tampa Bay, the marina, the museum, the pier, Philippe Park, Main Street and the spirited citizens are just a few of the attractions of Safety Harbor.
Our city government also should be a positive attraction. A vote for Kathleen Bambery, Safety Harbor City Commission Seat 3, on March 13, is a vote for change that will protect our investments.
Last year the voters of Safety Harbor elected me to seat 3 of the City Commission. The main theme of my campaign was a city government responsive to the needs of the residents.
In 10 months your commission has accomplished quite a lot. The city now has a master plan to manage the storm water that in the past threatened and sometimes invaded homes. There has been a massive cleanup of the creeks and ditches throughout the city. Structural changes to Harbor Woods Drive and Ninth Avenue allow water to flow more readily and not back up.
The city installed street lights in one neighborhood that desperately needed them because of a drug problem. In addition, the Sheriff's Department conducted a very successful raid that resulted in several arrests. That neighborhood joined to form an active Neighborhood Watch program to help counteract such problems.
I will continue to pursue opportunities to meet our residents' needs. The focus will be on the delivery of city services and the quality of that delivery. My goal is hassle-free city service, making it easy for everyone to have access to the city and its services.
Financially, the city is in good shape. Safety Harbor enjoys one of the lowest tax rates in the county. We also have one of the lowest city employee-to-resident ratios. I will work to maintain the city at this level, recognizing that we have to be prudent.
The city needs to begin to manage finances as growth slows. We must avoid double-digit tax increases. I have and will continue to encourage setting aside money in the contingency account. It is good business to plan and build up this rainy-day savings account to pay for damage to city property from whatever cause.
I have and will continue to urge and seek more participation in the government of our city by all. Important to this participation is information. The most important asset any city has is a public well-informed about civic affairs and business.
Recreation for all ages also is one of my priorities. The recreational programs we now enjoy are one of our greatest assets. Such programs must continue and be easily accessible to all areas of the city. This is especially necessary for our young people. No longer is the goal of a recreation program a strong body and development of the right attitude. Programs such as these become the positive alternative to idle mischief and dependency on drugs.
It is no secret that the battleground for the war on drugs is on the streets of every city in our country. As a city, we must acknowledge that fact and actively wage that war with every weapon at our command.