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BELLEAIR // Newcomers will face hot issues

Four political newcomers have entered town politics at a time when traffic woes along Indian Rocks Road, commercial development and haggling among opposing civic groups are some of the more pressing issues.

Three-term commissioners John Donlan and Gloria Burton decided against running again in the March 12 election, saying it was time for new people to join the commission.

That left four newcomers, Santo "Sam" Cassella, Thomas M. Kruempelstaedter, John Daniel "Dan" Coleman, and Don Sprague, vying for the two at-large seats.

Cassella, 51, thinks his experience as a urban planner best qualifies him for office. He was executive director of Clearwater's Downtown Development Board from 1977 to 1983 and consultant nationwide.

"I disagree with those who say we can't do anything to slow down traffic in our town," he said, referring to Indian Rocks Road.

Kruempelstaedter, 52, is concerned about Belleair's civic leaders and their "back-stabbing activities." He is the chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board.

"I would like to see the continuance of younger people and families moving back into town," he said. "I hope new people get involved (in city affairs). People ought to know what is going on in their community."

Sprague, 50, a longtime IBM employee, hopes to apply his business skills to governing. He is a board member of the Belleair Civic Association and a vice president of Belleair Concerned Citizens Association.

"I have seen where towns take a business approach to governing and have seen very efficient and better services at lower cost," he said.

Coleman, 44, thinks just being an average citizen is his strength. He is a senior partner with American Laser Technology in Alexandria, Va., a manufacturer of training devices for law enforcement personnel nationwide.

"I think I could bring some new blood to the council . . . and offer some different perspectives on things," he said. "Things that would be beneficial."

At a candidates forum last week, three commissioners came out opposed to any further commercial development in town, saying Belleair residents want the town to keep its small-town feel.

Coleman, however, said any commercial activity along Bayview Boulevard on the town's northern end should be taken on a case-by-case basis.

All the candidates want to keep municipal police and fire departments, a crowd-pleaser at the forum.

The top two vote-getters in Tuesday's election will fill the seats.

Sam Casella

AGE: 51

BACKGROUND: He was born in New York City and lives at 310 Overbrook Drive. He lived here from 1976 to 1984, and returned in 1990. He was the executive director of Clearwater's Downtown Development Board from 1977 to 1983 and works nationally as an urban planning consultant. He was a chairman of the Belleair Historic Preservation Board and previously served on the town's occupational license equity study committee. He has a master of urban planning degree from Hunter College, City University of New York. He has two children and is single.

ASSETS: home, mutual fund, car

LIABILITIES: none listed

SOURCE OF INCOME: revenues from business

Thomas M.

Kruempelstaedter

AGE: 52

BACKGROUND: He was born in Chicago and lives at 6 North Pine Circle with his wife, Janice. He has lived here since 1984. He is the Planning and Zoning Board chairman. Kruempelstaedter is a self-employed architect who designs homes for Arthur Rutenberg Homes, First Dartmouth and other companies. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and has two adult daughters.

ASSETS: savings, stock, annuities, home, car

LIABILITIES: none listed

SOURCE OF INCOME: revenues from business

Don Sprague

AGE: 51

BACKGROUND: He was born in Columbus, Ind., and lives at 12 South Pine Circle with his wife, Linda. He has lived here since 1988. Sprague is a board member of the Belleair Civic Association and is vice president of Belleair Concerned Citizens Association. He has worked in network management at IBM for 28 years and has three adult children and three grandchildren.

ASSETS: home, retirement accounts, stock, car

LIABILITIES: mortgage

SOURCE OF INCOME: salary

Dan Coleman

AGE: 44

BACKGROUND: He was born in Kingsport, Tenn., and lives at 1730 Indian Rocks Road with his wife, Marie. He has lived here since 1987. Coleman is a senior partner with American Laser Technology in Alexandria, Va., a manufacturer of training devices for law enforcement personnel. He has a bachelor's degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University and has no children.

ASSETS: home, real estate in Clearwater, stock, money market, car

LIABILITIES: on0 mortgage

SOURCE OF INCOME: salary, stock dividends

THE RACE: Voters will choose from a field of four candidates to fill the two at-large Town Commission seats vacated by Gloria Burton and John Donlan. The candidates, all political newcomers, are Santo "Sam" Casella, John Daniel "Dan" Coleman, Don Sprague and Thomas M. Kruempelstaedter. The top two vote-getters in the Tuesday election fill the seats.

THE JOB: Commissioners serve two-year terms and are paid $25 a month for expenses.

POLLING PLACE: All voters will cast ballots at City Hall, 901 Ponce De Leon Blvd.

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