For most of her 12-year career on the County Commission, Jan Platt has coasted to re-election with little or no opposition. This year, Al Sinicrope is trying to change that. Platt, a Democrat known for her vocal views and solitary "no" votes, is seeking her fourth term. Sinicrope, a Republican and a computer salesman, hopes to capitalize on anti-incumbent sentiment and Platt's voting record in his bid to unseat one of the county's best-known politicians.
Platt says she is confident that public concern over the environment and the credibility of county government _ two of her biggest issues _ will earn her re-election. She says she isn't worried by the defeats of two well-entrenched incumbents in the primary election Sept. 4.
"During my time in office, oftentimes I am in opposition to the incumbents. I've been as angry at the board decisions as the public has," she said.
But Sinicrope, a retired Air Force officer, says Platt's choice to cast "no" votes on many issues is more a shrewd political move than an ideological statement.
He says that in many cases Platt votes against important issues she knows will pass, so "if anything goes wrong, she can say, "I was against it all along.' "
Platt says she always votes her convictions.
The two candidates differ significantly in their views of how much and what kind of growth is good for Hillsborough.
"Jan's record has been consistently anti-growth of any kind," Sinicrope said.
He says he doesn't favor the growth-at-all-costs attitude prevalent a few years ago, but he thinks some growth should be encouraged to keep Hillsborough's economy strong.
Platt says she thinks growth will continue to come to the community. But she thinks it needs to be concentrated in areas that already have the infrastructure and services to support it. Letting growth spread farther out into the county is too expensive, she says.
Platt, who has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, has mobilized several civic activists to work on her campaign. She has raised about $8,500 through contributions and loans. Sinicrope has received the endorsement of the Builders Association of Greater Tampa and has raised $11,152 through contributions and loans.
_ JENNIFER ORSI
The seven-member Board of County Commissioners sets policy for Hillsborough County government. Commissioners from districts 5 and 7 are elected countywide and serve four-year terms. Commissioners are paid $50,801 a year.
JAN PLATT, 54, is seeking her fourth term on the County Commission, having first been elected in 1978. She served on the Tampa City Council four years and was a field director for the Suncoast Girl Scout Council and a teacher. She was born in St. Petersburg, graduated from Hillsborough High School and received a bachelor's degree in political science from Florida State University. She is chairwoman of the Agency on Bay Management and a member of the National Estuary Policy Board. She serves on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and the Hillsborough County Hospital Authority and is a former member of the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority. She is married and has a son. ASSETS: Home, investment property, savings, investments. LIABILITIES: Mortgages. INCOME: Commission salary, interest.
AL SINICROPE, 52, is an office equipment and computer salesman from Town 'N Country. He was born in Meriden, Conn., and received a bachelor's degree in history from Boston University and a master's degree in business management from the University of Arkansas. He served 21 years in the Air Force and retired as a commissioned officer in 1982. During his military tour, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross. He has lived in Hillsborough County since 1974. He has served on the citizens advisory committee for the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Town 'N Country Impact Committee and is a past president of the Dana Shores Civic Association. He is married and has three daughters. ASSETS: Home, car, savings. LIABILITIES: Mortgage, loan. INCOME: Salary, Air Force retirement.