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Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, City Councilmember Doreen Hock DiPolito re-elected unopposed

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos and City Council member Doreen Hock DiPolito will both serve second terms. The two were re-elected Friday unopposed after qualifying for their races closed.

“The one thing that I do not like about elections is having to raise money,” Cretekos said. “I can refund in full all the contributions I received.”

As of November 2, Cretekos had raised more than $47,000. He spent just over $2,500, but plans to cover those expenses out of pocket and refund all of his contributions dollar for dollar.

During his second term Cretekos said he plans to make sure Clearwater remains the top tourist destination in the area. In addition to its pristine beaches, Clearwater is also home to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which has been featured in two major motion pictures.

Winter the Dolphin has been a giant tourist draw for Clearwater after she starred in the movie Dolphin Tale and its sequel. The aquarium had planned on moving to old City Hall in downtown, but abandoned those plans in favor of expanding on its existing property.

Though neighbors in Island Estates off the Clearwater Causeway have long complained about the aquarium causing congestion, Cretekos said he confident those concerns will be addressed and the aquarium will continue to be an asset.

He said the city will help alleviate some of those concerns by encouraging visitors to use public transportation. That includes the new ferry service.

DiPolito, the other unopposed candidate, raised just under $6,000, but, as of November 9, hadn’t spent any of it.

City Council member Jay Polglaze drew a challenger November 17. He’ll face former Clearwater Christian College communication arts department head Bob Cundiff in the March 15 election.

Cundiff is now an adjunct professor at St. Petersburg College. He has a Facebook Page for his candidacy, but not a website. As of November 9, Cundiff had raised just $200 compared to Polglaze’s $3,200.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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