The following is a roundup of the candidates and issues in two of the five elections slated for Tuesday.
St. Petersburg Beach
The voters in this beach community of about 9,300 will choose a mayor and District 3 representative to the City Commission. Mayor Michael Horan is being challenged by George Manthos, who is giving up his District 3 seat. In District 1, Saranan Lauck is unopposed and is automatically re-elected.
Manthos, who served as mayor between 1974 and 1978, has said he is running because he is not satisfied with the attention given to problems facing the community, such as taxes. Manthos, 70, has said that if he is elected, he will try to lower taxes and operate the city more efficiently and will push for a referendum on term limits.
Manthos is a World War II Navy veteran.
Horan, 64, has said that his accomplishments are reasons why he should get a second term in office. He points to reviving the reclaimed water issue and getting it passed in a referendum. If re-elected, Horan, who was a District 2 commissioner from 1982 to 1989, said he will continue to reduce the budget and closely watch expenses during the construction of the city's new police station.
Horan operates Horan Realty with his son.
In the other race, Cherie Gordon and Ward Friszolowski will try to replace Manthos on the commission. Gordon, 49, has said she is running for office because she wants to give something back to the community. If elected, Gordon says, she wants her district to develop its own identity and to "trim the fat" from the city's budget.
Gordon owns Oui Kan Computer Services, a typesetting and bookkeeping service.
Friszolowski, 33, is a newcomer to the political arena. He said his professional experience as an architect with Harvard Jolly Clees Toppe in St. Petersburg will fit well into the commission. He said he is a "professional problem-solver" who can lend his expertise in capital improvements to the commission.
Friszolowski has said he wants to try to lower taxes while keeping the same level of service. Like Gordon, he would like the district to enhance its identity.
The mayor and commissioners serve two-year terms. The mayor earns $600 a month, and commissioners earn $400 a month.
Voters also will decide on two referendums. After Tuesday, the city's name may be different as voters decide whether the name should be shortened to St. Pete Beach. (See story, Page 1).
The other referendum question concerns the purchase of property in the Lido Beach subdivision to be used for a public space.
Voters here will wade through five candidates to fill two seats on the Town Council, with the top two vote-getters elected. Residents in this town of 4,400 also will choose a mayor.
In that race, Mayor Lester M. Eshleman is being challenged by Harold Paxton, who is finishing his term on the council. Eshleman, 72, is a former businessman who has said there are several more issues that he would like to address as mayor: pollution control, stormwater runoff and the town's growth. While realizing that these goals might cost the town money, he has said he wants to ensure the town stays financially sound.
Paxton, 49, is emphasizing fiscal management within Kenneth City. Paxton, who has been pastor of Advent Christian Church since 1969, has said city officials ought to be financially accountable to the residents who put them in office.
In this mayoral race, both candidates are facing criminal charges. Eshleman and Paxton were charged by the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office with violating Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law, which prohibits elected officials from conducting the public's business behind closed doors.
In the council race, former council member Charles Knox also was charged with violating the open meetings law. The charges stem from a series of private meetings in 1991 and 1992, when the mayor and members of the Town Council allegedly discussed the construction of a new Town Hall and Police Department, records show.
Knox, 74, has said he is running to "bring some order to the town." Knox, a former senior planning analyst with GTE, served two terms on the council and says he has the experience to lead Kenneth City.
Knox will face off against Harlene "Honey Bee" Bowie, William C. "Bill" Gaebler, Willis W. Reese III and Elaine Vaughan, who was appointed to the commission to fill a seat vacated when Carl Schleck was killed last year in a car accident.
Bowie, 74, is president of the Kenneth City Homeowners' Association and was an organist and entertainer for 35 years. She said the council has declined to listen to residents in the past and that is why she is running, so that residents' voices will be heard by the council.
Gaebler, 77, said he wants the Police Department to improve its image and to increase police patrols through neighborhoods and commercial districts. The former superintendent and safety director of railway equipment for GATX Corp. in Chicago has said he also would like to offer a bus service or mini-bus service to the town's senior citizens.
Reese, 27, wants to improve not only the Police Department's image but the entire town's image, too. Reese, a customer service professional with MCI in Pinellas Park, was once an officer with the town Police Department. He said the town's image hampers its ability to attract new businesses, which hampers efforts to increase the town's tax base. He also has said he would like to do more for the elderly and young people.
Vaughan, 61, is the Town Council member responsible for public safety and said she wants to improve the police and volunteer fire deparments' operations. She also supports efforts to bring more business to the town. Vaughan moved to Kenneth City and went to work as an accounts clerk with the St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Deparment.
The mayor serves a three-year term and is paid $500 per month. Town council members serve two-year terms and are paid $300 per month.