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St. Pete Beach hands over City Commission to hotel interests without a single vote cast

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

From Sheila Mullane Estrada:

ST. PETE BEACH — The city’s political wars over development ended Wednesday without a single vote cast. The apparent winner is the political action group, Save Our Little Village (SOLV), which supports tourist-oriented development of hotels and related businesses on the beach. All five members of the new City Commission that will assume or continue in office in March are either ardent or tacit supporters of SOLV’s goals.

Two commission seats, currently held by supporters of the rival political action group, Citizens for Responsible Growth (CRG), were supposed to be contested in the upcoming March election. One incumbent, Harry Metz, decided not to seek re-election. The other, Linda Chaney, said she wanted to run again, and even picked up candidate qualifying forms from the city clerk. But when the qualifying period ended Wednesday, only two candidates actually filed to run — Beverly Garnett for Metz’s District 4 seat, and Jim Parent for Chaney’s District 2 seat. Neither Chaney nor Mary Hacker, who had pulled papers for the District 4 seat and who was supported by Metz, turned in their qualifying papers.

With no opposition for the open commission seats, St. Pete Beach’s March election was canceled by the city clerk.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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