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Voters in eight Pinellas cities head to the ballot box Tuesday

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Municipal elections are being held in eight Pinellas County cities this Tuesday. Belleair, Belleair Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Kenneth City, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island will all have polls open for voters from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The elections are a sprinkling of races for City Council and commissions with a smathering of ballot questions amending city charters.

Indian Rocks Beach will choose a city commissioner. Voters will choose from three candidates, Bill Dotson, Terry Hamilton-Wollin and Phillip Hanna. Voters will choose up to two of the candidates. Hamilton-Wollin and Hanna are both incumbents.

However, those same voters will face 13 ballot questions. Questions include providing gender-neutral language throughout the city charter, eliminating mandatory management evaluations of commission activities, deleting obsolete language from the charter and several deletions and amendments to the charter that would alter or remove certain language.

Safety Harbor will choose two city commissioners. Janet Hooper, executive director of the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center, and businessman Chris Logan are facing off for Seat 1 currently held by Richard Blake. Blake is not seeking re-election.

Seat 3 incumbent Andy Zodrow will defend his spot on the commission against former Mayor Joe Ayoub.

The city has six ballot questions before voters. Included on that list is a change to the rules for residency for the city’s mayor. If approved, question 6 would require the mayor to have lived within the city limits within one year of the day they take office. Another measure would prohibit commissioners and the mayor from being counted toward petition signature requirements for referendum initiatives.

Oldsmar voters are also looking at three ballot questions. One would correct gender references in the city’s conflict of interest provision from “he” and “his” to “their.” Another measure would change the qualification period for elections to between 17 and 49 days before final ballot language approval. The other measure increases the period of time council members have to schedule a special election to fill a vacancy.

Oldsmar voters will choose one council member. Three candidates, Daniel Belcher, John Mastromarchi and Eric Seidel, will face off to replace Seat 1 incumbent Jerald Beverland.

In Belleair Beach four candidates are vying for three seats. Incumbents Leslie Notaro and Mitch Krach are defending their seats while two challengers, Pamela Gunn and Stan Sofer, are also running. Only one candidate will go home a loser.

In neighboring Belleair, three candidates are running for two seats. The incumbents, Deputy Mayor Stephen Fowler and commissioner Michael Wilkinson, face challenger Karla Rettstatt.

St. Pete Beach has one race on the ballot. Local activist Joanne Lentino is trying to oust incumbent Rick Falkenstein.

Just north on Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island Mayor Robert Minning faces Melinda Lenehan for the top spot in that beach community. Minning has been mayor for two terms. He also served one term as a city commissioner. Lenehan is a Sunset Beach resident who works in real estate.

In Kenneth City, voters will choose a new mayor. Teresa Zemaitis cannot run for re-election because of term limits. Voters rejected a ballot measure in November that would have eliminated them. Instead her husband, Leonard Zemaitis, is running against current City Council member Wanda Dudley, who teaches elementary school at Westgate.

Six candidates are running for three open seats. Joanne DeSimone is running for re-election. Philip Redisch is a former council member and is running to get his job back. He served from 2003-2009 before leaving office due to term limits. He came back to the council in 2012, but was defeated last year.

Newcomers to the election are Ryan Boberg, Lawrence Hauft, Linda Marsella and Carl Troup.

More information about polling places and how to vote are on the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections website.

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 [email protected]

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