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Gulfport contenders for council share stage

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 3, 2002

GULFPORT -- There were hot-potato questions about the viability of the police department and saving the city's tree canopy, but there was little difference of opinion between the two City Council candidates who will face the city's voters Tuesday.

Harry Brodhead, 47, and Iris Manley, 68, are competing for the Ward 3 seat vacated by Lynne Brown, who is not seeking re-election. On Tuesday, the candidates spoke at a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

"I try to be straight. I may not always agree, but I'll listen and be fair," said Brodhead, who cited his 20 years of management and negotiating experience.

Manley, who said she is not a good speaker, said her 29 years of volunteering and her love for Gulfport prompted her to run for Council.

When asked about the city's new floating docks, Manley said she doesn't fish and would have to study the issue. Brodhead said he thinks the docks "are a great thing" that will help relieve congestion on the city's waterfront.

Both candidates said the city has enough high-rise buildings and would be hesitant to approve any new ones. Manley questioned whether the city could support the water demands of intensive development, while Brodhead said there would have to be a compelling reason to consider allowing such development.

When asked about the need to protect the city's tree canopy, Brodhead suggested a stronger review process and consulting an arborist before approving any tree removal permits. "We need to take a hard look at taking down any trees," he said.

"Mr. Harry has said it all," Manley said. "That's exactly how I feel. The trees have to be protected."

On the subject of turning police dispatching over to the Sheriff's Office, Manley said she "could not say one way or the other" without further study. Brodhead was firm, however, in his belief that dispatching should remain in the control of Gulfport police who are more familiar with locations and landmarks within the city.

Both candidates said they opposed any move to disband the police department and supported creation of a police substation on 49th Street S.

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