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Madeira attracts multiple candidates

Unlike some previous years, the incumbents won't just waltz into office. They face a lively campaign season.

By AMY WIMMER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2003

MADEIRA BEACH -- For the past couple of years, incumbent city officials have cruised through the process in Madeira Beach. The incumbent mayor and four commissioners all got there without a fight.

But this year, the election scene is no longer sleepy in Madeira.

Two candidates for mayor. Three for District 3 city commissioner. And, for the first time in almost 10 years in office, District 4 city Commissioner Charles Parker will face opposition.

Qualifying ended Friday. The election is March 11. The eight-plus weeks in between will likely include a heated campaign.

The candidates for mayor are:

Tom DeCesare, who was first elected to the City Commission in 1991. He was appointed mayor in 1993 and has been re-elected, against opposition or unopposed, ever since.

DeCesare, 70, lives at 15316 Gulf Blvd.

Len Piotti, 63, lives at 513 129th Ave. E. He became involved in city politics last year after the city's Board of Adjustment turned him down for a variance that would have allowed him to create more space in his home for his grandchildren, who live with him.

Property owners who are turned down by the Board of Adjustment have only one place to turn: Circuit Court. Piotti sued the city, and his case is pending.

He went on to join other residents in forming a new voters organization, called WE VOTE. Piotti is the president.

Running for District 3 city commissioner are:

Brian Bornemann, 42, lives at 14201 N Bayshore Drive. According to candidate paperwork filed at City Hall, Bornemann owns his own landscaping business and is a member of the Madeira Beach Board of Adjustment.

Roger Koske, 62, lives at 706 Sunset Cove. Koske was first elected to his post in 1999, when he defeated Commissioner Tom Saxon. At the time of Koske's victory, Saxon was in a dispute with the city over a $65,783 state grant he received for his flooded home while he was a city commissioner.

Saxon ultimately sued Madeira Beach for the grant, and last year a judge ordered the city to give Saxon and his wife the state's money.

Saxon's wife is Cindy Saxon, 43, who has filed to run against Koske for her husband's old seat. Saxon, a senior buyer for Jabil Circuit, lives at 14109 N Bayshore Drive.

Running for District 4 city commissioner are:

Charles Parker, 80, was first appointed to the City Commission in 1993 and has been re-elected four times without opposition. A former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, Parker is a lawyer and worked several years as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Parker lives at 260-F Medallion Blvd.

Ken Schwartz, 42, lives at 15394 Second St. According to candidate information forms filed at City Hall, Schwartz has owned his own business for 20 years and lived in Madeira Beach for 15 years. He has been a member of the city's Visioning Steering Committee and the Planning Commission.

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