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OLDSMAR // Activist, newcomer join council

A newcomer and a familiar face won election Tuesday to two-year terms on the City Council.

Linda Macdonald, a longtime activist in Oldsmar affairs, easily beat former City Council member Bob Wright in the race for Seat 3. She took 70 percent of the vote to 30 percent for Wright.

In his first run for office, Jeffrey Sandler took 42 percent of the vote in topping a four-candidate field for Seat 1. Joseph Myers finished second with 34 percent of the vote, Gary Brelsford was third with 19 percent, and Milton Pasco finished last with 5 percent.

"I'm just so happy. Now the real work begins," said Macdonald, 49, whose husband, Jon, is a former council member.

"So be it," Wright said of his loss. Wright, 67, served on the council from 1986-88.

Sandler, 38, a real estate lawyer, thanked his supporters and his opponents. "I would like to thank my opponents for keeping it a level-headed race about issues and not about people," he said.

All the candidates remarked on the positive tone of the campaign.

"It was a good race. It was fun," Brelsford said. "I think Jeff will make a great city councilman. I think the citizens won."

"Second place. That's fine," Myers said. "They'll be well-represented."

Pasco was not disappointed by his finish. He hopes his run for office cast some light on his Bayview neighborhood. "I hope that they will pay more attention to this side of town," he said.

Seat 1 was vacated by Rosemary Wiseman, who could not run because of term limits. Tom Pinta had held Seat 3, but did not seek re-election.

About 24 percent of Oldsmar's 5,293 registered voters cast ballots, according to City Clerk Cheryl Mortenson.

Managing the city's growth was the dominant campaign issue, but residents leaving the polls had other concerns as well.

"My main concern is finishing paving the dirt roads because I live on a dirt road," said Pam Young, a resident of Lafayette Boulevard.

"I remember when Oldsmar had more here _ recreation, businesses," said LingTee Hailey. "I'd like to see it that way again."

Others spoke of a return to professionalism on the City Council, whose meetings over the past year have been marked by contentiousness.

"I'm hoping that the people who get elected make it less of a circus," said Shirley Egan of Gull Aire Village. "I'm hoping I can read the news about Oldsmar without hanging my head."

"I voted for a couple of new people, so we'll see what happens," said resident Gary McLaughlin.