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SIERRA CLUB RELEASES ITS PINELLAS ENDORSEMENTS

The Suncoast Group for the Sierra Club, which claims 2,500 local members, is endorsing the following in the Nov. 4 race:

Pinellas County Commission:

District 3: Rene Flowers, D

District 5: Karen Seel, R

Florida House:

District 48: Carl Zimmerman, D

District 51: Janet Long, D

District 52: Bill Heller, D

Federal races

U.S. House, District 11: Kathy Castor, D

President/vice president: Barack Obama/Joe Biden, D

Pinellas candidate forum Monday night

The Council of North County Neighborhoods will hold its second candidate forum Monday night. Al Ruechel from Bay News 9 will moderate. Pinellas candidates for sheriff, property appraiser, County Commission and the state Legislature are to attend. The event will be at Crescent Oaks Country Club, which is on East Lake Road between Tarpon/Keystone Road and Trinity Boulevard. There's a meet and greet from 6:15 to 6:55 p.m. The forum is 7 to 9 p.m.

Friedlander radio ad links Dubov to Smith

Pinellas County Democratic candidate for Property Appraiser, Ben Friedlander, has a tough radio ad that hit the airwaves last week. It criticizes his Republican opponent, Pam Dubov, a longtime chief deputy in the appraiser's office, for allegedly standing by her scandal-plagued boss, Property Appraiser Jim Smith, "instead of the taxpayers."

The ad, which claims Smith's controversial sale last year of land to Pinellas County cost taxpayers over $1-million, began airing Tuesday on WDUV 105.5 FM. Friedlander says he plans radio ads through Election Day. Dubov has maintained that she told Smith not to go through with the deal because the public would look unfavorably on a sale price nearly quadruple the property's assessed value.

Foes of Amendment 2 adding seniors to ranks

Opponents of Amendment 2, a measure that would ban gay marriage in Florida, are working on adding seniors to their ranks.

A little more than two dozen senior citizens gathered at the Sunshine Senior Center in St. Petersburg last week for a news conference held by Florida Red and Blue, an organization fighting the amendment.

Speakers talked about how the amendment could affect elderly people who live together. Their current legal protections, such as being allowed to visit each other in the hospital or sharing long-term care decisions, could be taken away if the amendment passes, the organization warned. Those seniors could be forced to get married, which could make them lose Social Security benefits or their pension plans, said Derek Newton, campaign manager for Florida Red and Blue.

"We wanted people to understand that the consequences of Amendment 2 are far and wide and very dangerous," Newton said.

St. Pete creates 'clean zone' for World Series

If the Rays make it to the World Series, say goodbye to T-shirt hawkers outside the Trop.

The City Council unanimously approved Thursday an emergency ordinance creating a "clean zone'' around Tropicana Field if the Tampa Bay Rays make it to the World Series. The zone is from Eighth to 19th streets and from First Avenue N to Sixth Avenue S.

The zone bans unapproved signs and the sale of counterfeit T-shirts. Any outdoor activity must be conducted in a white tent. It also limits the colors vendors can use on their signs and how people sell food and alcohol.

"What we are trying to do is present a constant look, if you will, in that district," said Kevin Dunn, the city's special projects manager.

Times Staff Writers Will Van Sant, Nicole Hutcheson and Cristina Silva contributed to this report.

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