1. Archive

Deciding on its police force

Published Oct. 6, 2005

Besides selecting two commissioners, voters in this town of 1,200 get a chance Tuesday to directly shape their police services and budget.

For more than a decade, North Redington Beach has shared a police force with neighboring Redington Beach. Seven officers with four cars watch over both communities.

But after a Belleair police officer was shot to death last summer, several communities along the beaches are considering whether to abandon their small police forces and, instead, contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for protection.

Police services make up about 40 per cent of the town budget, which is running a deficit of more than $100,000 this year. Letting sheriff's deputies cruise the beaches would save almost that much, according to a recent estimate.

On the other hand, signs along Gulf Boulevard indicate a strong desire among many residents to control their own police.

The referendum asks voters whether they want to retain a local police force or have the commission and the sheriff "attempt to negotiate a contract acceptable to North Redington Beach."

Redington Beach will vote on a similar referendum.

Commission candidates David Yost and Don Suhadolnik say they favor retaining the present police arrangement. Candidates Ken McIntyre and Sal Crimi say they will follow voters' wishes either way.

Commissioners earn $100 a month and serve for two years.



Kendall "Ken" McIntyre

AGE: 54.

BACKGROUND: Lives at 17347 Kennedy Dr. with his wife. A native of New Hampshire, he moved to North Redington Beach six years ago after a 30-year career in the Army, where he worked on research and development of military aircraft. He holds a B.S. from Chapman College and a M.S. from Florida Institute of Technology.

PLATFORM: Wants balanced budget without dipping into reserve principal or interest. Will vote on police force whichever way residents signal in referendum. Will listen to voters. Commissioners "should represent the whole town, not just themselves."

ASSETS: Stocks, C.D.s.


David Yost

AGE: 54.

BACKGROUND: Lives at 451 Bath Club Blvd. with his son. A native of Texas, he earned a B.S. from the University of Maryland and moved to North Redington Beach in 1984 after a career in advertising. He is a Realtor with West Shore Realty and was appointed to the commission in 1988 and has been elected twice. Currently serves as commissioner of public safety.

PLATFORM: Stands on commission record of a "well run town," including "lowest tax ratio in Pinellas County," beach renourishment, town park on Gulf. Favors retaining the police department.

ASSETS: Mortgage on Fort Knox Lounge, stocks.



Sal Crimi

AGE: 68.

BACKGROUND: Lives at 17117 Gulf Blvd. with his wife. A native of New York, he served in the Navy during World War II and retired from a career as a loan officer and credit manager. Moved to Redington Beach 11 years ago.

PLATFORM: Will carry out voters' wishes on police department and will balance town budget without dipping into reserves. Possibilities include freezing employee salaries, installing metered parking at Bath Club concourse and examining budget line items such as money for culture and recreation.

ASSETS: Condominium.


Donald Suhadolnik

AGE: 55.

BACKGROUND: Lives at 17030 Dolphin Drive with his wife and son, after moving here two years ago. A native of Pennsylvania, he earned a B.A. degree from LaSalle University. After a career in sales management for large computer firms, he now owns DPS computers, a marketing company that specializes in upgrading computer systems.

PLATFORM: Favors retaining the police department. Wants to use business background to hold down costs in budget. Wants "unity in the town and on the board of commissioners."

ASSETS: DPS Computers.



Also voting on

fate of police

The town of Redington Beach, population 1,600, now shares the Redington Beaches Police Department with North Redington Beach. The town of Redington Beach had a straw ballot in December to determine whether residents were interested in an alternative form of policing. This referendum is a result of that straw ballot.

In the words of Redington Beach Public Safety Commissioner Nick Simons, "We are well satisfied with our police force, but it's primarily an economic issue." The police budget, shared between Redington and North Redington Beach is currently $460,000. Should both towns decide to contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department, the cost would be $276,000 for both towns.

"Now the thing to decide is whether we would get as good service with the Sheriff's Department," Simons said.

The referendum is not binding. Should North Redington Beach vote to accept the Sheriff's Department, and Redington Beach decide not to, or vice-verse, the total cost of the Redington Beaches Police Department would be prohibitive for just one of the towns to assume.



Two veteran

politicians aim

to be mayor

Two former commissioners, both of whom have also been mayor, will face each other Tuesday for the top job in this beach community of roughly 9,300.

Mayor Michael Horan, seeking his second term, is being challenged by George Manthos, who has given up his commission seat in District 3, to run for mayor.

That vacancy throws the District 3 race open to two political newcomers, Cherie Gordon and Ward Friszolowski. In District 1, Saranan Lauck is unopposed and is automatically re-elected.

Manthos has said he chose to run because he is worried Horan is neglecting important priorities in the city, such as efficiency and lowering taxes. Horan has countered he is doing a good job keeping expenses down and that he will win on the strength of his record, especially on the reclaimed water issue. He revived the issue, he says, and helped get it passed in a referendum.

Both District 3 candidates say they have decided to enter the political field because they have long-time ties to the community and want to give something back to it. They favor strengthening the image and identity of their district.

Also on the ballot Tuesday is the question of whether the city should change its name from St. Petersburg Beach to St. Pete Beach. The other referendum question concerns the purchase of property in the Lido Beach subdivision to be used for a public space.

The mayor and commissioners serve two-year terms. The mayor earns $600 a month and commissioners earn $400 a month.



Michael Horan

AGE: 64.

BACKGROUND: He lives at 5407 Leilani Dr. with his wife, Dottie. He is seeking his second term as mayor. Previously he was a commissioner, representing District 2 from 1982 until 1989. He retired from the Army in 1976 as a colonel after serving 25 years. He and his son run Horan Realty. He said he was running for a second term on the strength of his accomplishments in office. His biggest accomplishment was reviving the reclaimed water issue and getting it passed on a referendum. He holds a Master's degree in government from Georgetown University.

PLATFORM: He hopes to tap the knowledge and experience of the community, made up of retirees from many fields, to act as advisers for the city. He said he will continue to reduce the budget and will closely watch expense in the construction of the city's new police station.

ASSETS: rental properties, partner in Storage Units, partner in residential property.


INCOME: Social Security, Army retirement benefits, rental income.

George Manthos

AGE: 70.

BACKGROUND: He lives at 3406 Debazan Ave. and is the current District 3 commissioner. He was mayor between 1974 and 1978, and was commissioner for District 2 from 1961 and 1965. He decided to challenge Mayor Horan this year because he said he is not satisfied with the attention given to problems facing the community, such as taxes. He said his record is well-known in the community and the race will be decided by people comparing his record to the current mayor's. He is a former teacher who retired in 1986. He is divorced and has no children. He is a World War II Navy veteran. He holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of South Florida.

PLATFORM: He said he would try to lower taxes and operate the city more efficiently. He said he would like to re-establish the policy requiring the city manager to live within city limits. He also favors term limits and would push for a referendum on the issue. He opposes the merger of the city's beautification committee with the recreation committee because he feels it would weaken the commitment to beautification.



INCOME: Retirement.


Cherie Gordon

AGE: 49.

BACKGROUND: She lives at 3800 Belle Vista Drive with her husband, Bill. She owns her own typesetting and bookkeeping service called Oui Kan Computer Services. This is her first try at elected office. She has lived in St. Petersburg Beach for six years, moving here from Miami. She had also lived here previously. Her parents have lived in the community for 30 years and she said she is qualified for the commission because she understands what residents want. She is active in the Belle Vista Civic Association and a charter member of the Friends of the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum. She is the Gulf Beaches chapter leader of Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents whose children have died. Gordon had a daughter who died in 1975 at age 11 after a freak accident while playing in some sand dunes in Georgia. She was buried under the sliding sand. She also is a professional story-teller for the four-county region of the Girls Scouts. She is a long-time volunteer with the Girl Scouts. She is active with the Pass-a-Grille Community Church. She is running for office because she said she wants to give something back to the community. She attended Miami-Dade Junior College and St. Petersburg Junior College. She has one adult child.

PLATFORM: Would like her district to develop a stronger identity, similar to the Pass-a-Grille and Vina Del Mar neighborhoods in District 4. She also is concerned about the community losing green space to overdevelopment. With many years of accounting and bookkeeping experience, she said she would like to examine the city budget and "trim the fat."

ASSETS: Business.


INCOME: Business.

Ward J. Friszolowski

AGE: 33.

BACKGROUND: He lives at 4120 Belle Vista Dr., with his wife, Amber. He has lived in St. Petersburg Beach for six years. An architect at Harvard Jolly Clees Toppe in St. Petersburg, this is his first time running for office. He is a third generation Belle Vista neighborhood resident who said he has strong ties and interest in his district. He is a member of the Belle Vista Civic Association and a block captain for the neighborhood crime watch. He is chairman of the city's new Aesthetic and Historic Review Board. He is also a member of the committee to revise the city's land development regulations and improving the St. Petersburg Beach Public Library. He is a past president of the American Institute of St. Petersburg chapter. As an architect, he said he is a "professional problem-solver" who can lend his expertise in capital improvements and city construction projects to the commission. He graduated from the State University of New York in Farmingdale with an associate in applied science degree, and from the University of Texas with a Bachelor's Degree.

PLATFORM: He would try to lower taxes while keeping same level of service. He also is interested in enhancing the identity of his district. To control costs, he said he would evaluate current projects to ensure quality and efficiency.

ASSETS: Stock.


INCOME: Salary.