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KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES

(ran West edition)

THE HOT ISSUE

A month ago, we asked our readers what questions they would ask Pinellas Park's candidates. Most wanted to know what elected officials would do for low-income residents whose mobile home parks are being bought out to make room for condos and townhouses. Developers gobbling up mobile home parks has become a hot-button issue throughout the county. The Golden Lantern Mobile Home Park in Pinellas Park - which a developer wants to convert to townhomes, apartments and a retail center - has been at the center of many discussions.

THE JOBS

The City Council has four members and the mayor who meet at least four times a month: twice for regular meetings and two times for workshops. They set policy for the city, approve large contracts and the budget, which is about $45.5-million this year for operations. They also serve as the city's redevelopment agency.

Council members run at large for numbered seats, serve four-year terms and earn $14,252 annually, plus automatic annual raises at the same rate as city retirees. The mayor serves a two-year term and earns $16,444 a year. Like council members, he receives an automatic raise at the same rate as city retirees. They are eligible for life and health insurance benefits and city pensions. Pinellas Park has a population of about 48,000.

THE CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR

RANDY HEINE, 54, was born in New Britain, Conn. He moved to Pinellas Park in July 1969. He is a 1970 graduate of Northeast High School and has an associate's degree from St. Petersburg Junior College and a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. He is president of Self-Service Storage of Florida and Rockin Cards and Gifts. He is a state-certified building contractor and a building inspector. He is also a licensed real estate broker. He is a member of the Pinellas Park/Mid-County Chamber of Commerce, the Pinellas Park Historical Society, the St. Petersburg College Alumni Association and the University of Florida Alumni Association. He was nominated in 2004 for retailer of the year by the Florida Retail Federation, is past president and director of the St. Petersburg Jaycees, president of Citizens for Pinellas Park's Future, precinct 173 committeeman, and coordinator of Florida State House District 53 for the Democratic Party. He is divorced.

SOURCES OF INCOME: Real estate and business investments.

ASSETS: Real estate, stock, IRA and certificates of deposit.

DEBTS: None listed.

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: www.randyheine.com.

BILL MISCHLER, 64, is a native of New Brunswick, N.J., who moved to Pinellas Park in 1967. He has training in computers from IBM Computer Technology in Philadelphia, Pinellas County Adult Education and St. Petersburg College. He is the former lead computer operator at Columbia Broadcasting System Educational Division in Princeton, N.J., and retired after 34 years as lead systems analyst with Jim Walter Computer Services in Tampa. He served as a member of the Pinellas Park Planning and Zoning Commission for nine years, five of them as chairman; the Pinellas Park Housing Authority; and the Pinellas Park Civil Trial Commission. He served 18 years as a City Council member and has been mayor since 1998. He represents Pinellas Park on the Metropolitan Planning Organization and is the immediate past chairman of that group. He is the immediate past president of the Pinellas County Mayor's Council. He serves on the Pinellas County Drug Paraphernalia Task Force and is on the Florida Regional Community Policing Institute board of directors. He is a member of Pinellas Park Wesleyan Church. He is married, has one daughter and two grandchildren.

SOURCES OF INCOME: Pension, mayor's salary, dividends and rental property.

ASSETS: Two homes, automobiles, stocks, certificates of deposit.

DEBTS: Mortgage.

Q&A

Why are you running for election?

MISCHLER: I feel that the city of Pinellas Park is moving in the right direction. I have been part of it in the past, and I would like to continue to be part of it in the future.

HEINE: I want to put the government back into the hands of the people again. My belief is that eight years in office (for Mischler) is enough, and 30 years is definitely too long.

Why should Pinellas Park residents vote for you rather than your opponent?

MISCHLER: Experience. My opponent has absolutely no experience in public office. He is always opposed to everything that our City Council tries to do for our community. . . He has no concept of how government is run. By this I mean of his remarks, "When I become mayor I will do this or that." The mayor is only one vote on council, and he/she has no additional voting powers.

HEINE: If you choose to elect me as your mayor, you will be getting someone who has lived and worked in Pinellas Park for over 34 years and who wants to make our city into a city where everyone is treated fairly and equally.

With so many mobile home parks being bought and converted to condominiums, what can be done to help the low-income from becoming homeless?

MISCHLER: This was recently addressed by our City Council. We have adopted Resolution Number 06-10, which essentially is the same one adopted by the Board of County Commissioners. This resolution will address those types of problems over the next 10 years. Also, we will be adopting an ordinance (mobile home transition program) similar to Pinellas County on addressing tenants that are being evicted because of a change in their zoning.

HEINE: I support the rights of mobile home park residents to determine their own future.

List the three most important character qualities of a leader and give an example of how you demonstrate those qualities.

MISCHLER: Being able to work with not just the other council members, but also our administrators as well as with other county, state and federal agencies. I insist on the highest standards of integrity, dedication and efficiency in our city government. Someone who keeps an open-minded approach and represents all the people regardless of their age, race, gender or religion. I have, and always will, try to live up to this standard. When I was first elected to City Council, I took a self-initiated oath: The residents entrusted me to represent them, and I will do that to the best of my God-given ability. I still maintain that oath today.

HEINE: I learned from running my own business for the last 30 years that good old-fashioned hard work gets the job done. I lead by example, and you can ask any of my employees. I would never ask them to do anything that I would not do. I like to treat them like I like to be treated. I try at least once a week to treat them to a free lunch.

THE CANDIDATES FOR COUNCIL

MARSHALL COOK, 59, was born in Alexandria, Va., and moved to Pinellas Park in the mid 1970s. He is a high school graduate and attended aircraft maintenance schools, mechanic schools and seminars, and received military training. He is retired, and is a former Pinellas Park city employee, business owner and mechanic. He is a member of the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee. He also serves on the Pinellas Park equestrian board and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board. He is a past Cubmaster, former member of the Pinellas Park parade committee and of Community Spirit in the Park. He held the offices of steward, chief steward and acting president of ACFSME, the employees union for the Pinellas Park public works employees. He is a disabled veteran. He is married and has one son, one grandchild and one step-grandchild.

SOURCES OF INCOME: Military disability pay, Social Security.

ASSETS: Home.

DEBTS: None listed.

ED TAYLOR, 57, was born in Tampa. He lived in Pinellas Park from 1962 to 1980, when he moved to Highlands County. He returned to Pinellas Park in 1994. He holds an associate's degree in mortuary science from Miami-Dade Community College. He owns Taylor Funeral Home. He is a member of the Pinellas Park Kiwanis Club, the Pinellas Park Rotary Club, the Pinellas Park Art Society, the Pinellas Park Historical Society, Friends of the Pinellas Park Library, OTHERS of Morning Star School, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Knights of Columbus. He serves on the Diocesan Board of Catholic Formation and Education, and on the board of trustees of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. He is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. He has served on the Pinellas Park City Council since 1998. He is married and has two sons and a cat.

SOURCE OF INCOME: Taylor Funeral Home.

ASSETS: Taylor Funeral Home property in Pinellas Park.

DEBTS: None listed.

THE ISSUES

Why are you running for election?

TAYLOR: To continue my role as a policymaker and my style of guidance and support of the management team that has lead our city through eight years of unprecedented growth and improvement!

COOK: I feel that it is time the average citizen is represented and listened to, and I feel we have a runaway government that needs new people to put it under control.

Why should Pinellas Park residents vote for you rather than your opponent?

TAYLOR: I have always acknowledged the privilege and opportunity to serve this community that our residents have provided me. I am confident in the knowledge and experience that I have acquired through "on-the-job-training" and will continue my efforts on behalf of our residents and their city.

COOK: I feel that I can do a better job and listen to the taxpayer. I think we need new ideas because some of the old ones are not working.

With so many mobile home parks being bought and converted to condominiums, what can be done to help the low-income from becoming homeless?

TAYLOR: This is at least a three-part problem that has widened beyond mobile home parks into established apartments. Everyone involved has rights: The property owner, the developer and the tenant. Homelessness is only one possible outcome, and the best solution will only be a beginning.

COOK: Find ways to protect the homeowners and renters. We can make up rules to outlaw wheelchairs and other things that people in power do not like, so we can make laws to protect them. I would work to protect all homes as they are under attack from all directions.

List the three most important character qualities of a leader and give an example of how you demonstrate those qualities.

TAYLOR: Vision: knowing where our city was, is and moving it forward to where it should be in relation to the county, the region and other cities. Delegation of authority: recognizing the abilities of others, then get out of the way and let them do their job. Determination: when you're right on an issue or project and stay with it until complete or resolution. When you're wrong, admit it and move on.

COOK: Honesty, willingness to listen, willingness to work and put in the time necessary. I live by these.

WHERE TO VOTE

Polling places for the March 7 Pinellas Park election:

PINELLAS PARK WESLEYAN CHURCH

4400 70th Ave. N

Precincts 174, 271

SUNSET PALMS MOBILE HOME PARK

3401 Gandy Blvd.

Precinct 191

MAINLANDS OF TAMARAC BY THE GULF - UNIT 4

9950 Mainlands Blvd. E

Precinct 192

THE LAKES HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION

4591 Lake Blvd., Clearwater

Precincts 193, 656

MAINLANDS OF TAMARAC BY THE GULF - UNIT 2

4320 Mainlands Blvd.

Precinct 194

GERMAN AMERICAN CLUB

8098 66th St. N

Precincts 259, 265, 268, 273, 276

OUR LADY OF GOOD HOPE OLD ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

5501 62nd Ave. N

Precincts 269, 272, 288

PINELLAS PARK CITY AUDITORIUM

7690 59th St. N

Precincts 277, 278

SKYVIEW RECREATION CENTER

9010 54th Way N

Precinct 279

PINE GROVE COMMUNITY CHURCH

9200 49th St. N

Precinct 280

PLANTATION GARDENS APARTMENTS

5501 110th Ave. N

Precinct 281

MINNREG BUILDING

6340 126th Ave. N

Precinct 282

PUBLIC WORKS/TECHNICAL SERVICES BUILDING

6051 78th Ave. N

Precinct 285

FORBES RECREATION CENTER

6401 94th Ave. N

Precincts 286, 290

LIGHTHOUSE OF PINELLAS INC. (formerly Watson Center Inc.)

6925 112th Circle, Suite 113, Largo

Precinct 292

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