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Oldsmar candidates speak out

Residents' safety is focus of Seat 1 hopeful

+ EDITOR'S NOTE: Today the St. Petersburg Times provides space for Oldsmar City Council candidates to respond to the newspaper's editorial recommendation of their opponents.

Brian S. Michaels, candidate for Seat 1, sent the following response to the Times' recommendation of the Seat 1 incumbent, Jim Ronecker.

Being the underdog is not new to me. As a former Oldsmar City Council member, I have fought for many city issues that some would say it's impossible to do! The reason I am running for office is to give the voters a choice and work with the residents to enhance the quality of life and safety in Oldsmar.

Safety has been a main concern of mine and I have worked hard to make Oldsmar a safer place, from working with the Florida Department of Transportation for street lighting on Tampa Road, to Project Red Light for the traffic signal for Gullaire residents.

I worked with the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization for the traffic signal at Pine Avenue and Forest Lakes Boulevard and the soon-to-be traffic signal at Lakeview Drive and Forest Lakes Boulevard. Also, the new sidewalks on Forest Lakes Boulevard between State Road 580 and Tampa Road that will be installed this year.

Safety of the residents is my No. 1 goal. I have a 15-point safety plan to address the concerns of residents. Oldsmar should be the leader in safety in Pinellas County. Some examples: uniformed guards at school crossing zones in Oldsmar; forming a Citizen and Staff Safety Committee to review trouble spots in the city; adding Sunstar Ambulance to Oldsmar's Opticon system so they can travel through Oldsmar safely, with green lights at all intersections when transporting patients who need critical care.

My other plans include holding the line on taxes; reducing permitting fees; expansion of reclaimed water use in the city; supporting work on Oldsmar's own water supply; support for building a new cultural arts/ convention center; support for downtown development.

I hope that I can bring new ideas and vision to the City Council and work with the residents to enhance the quality of life and safety in Oldsmar.

Brian Michaels, candidate for Seat 1

Seat 3 candidate wants

to use business skills

+ EDITOR'S NOTE: The following letter was received from Eric Seidel in response to the Times' recommendation of his opponent, Seat 3 incumbent Janice Miller.

My name is Eric Seidel, and I want to be Oldsmar's next City Council member.

While I was disappointed that the Times chose to endorse my opponent, I was not surprised, as I don't always agree with the Times and learned none of the Editorial Board lives in Oldsmar.

With that said, let's focus on why I believe a vote for Eric Seidel is a vote for the brightest possible future for Oldsmar.

I've lived in Florida for nearly 40 years, and in North Pinellas since 1997. I moved our company (its nearly 100 employees) here in 2002, buying a home in Oldsmar a year later. I love this city, its people and its natural beauty, and like so many others, I plan to retire here. But our city has new challenges requiring leadership with real-world executive experience.

I received the endorsement of our local firefighters union because of their firm belief I have the executive skills to solve our complex challenges. I'm proud to have received this endorsement from the people who work in our city every day risking their lives for our well being, and many of them living here.

The city government of Oldsmar is like a $31-million business, one entrusted with providing top-quality service to its stakeholders - you and I - at the lowest possible price - our taxes - while simultaneously working to improve the product that it delivers - our quality of life.

I am uniquely qualified to carry out that mission, as I have a track record of success running a multimillion-dollar, publicly traded business. Closer to home, I've sponsored local softball teams; volunteered at Oktoberfest, the Relay for Life and Oldsmar Days; donated bikes for needy kids; chaired hurricane relief efforts; and much more.

I ask for your vote on March 14.

Eric Seidel, candidate for Seat 3