All the same?
The five candidates agree on the major issues, especially the importance of revitalization. Departing Mayor Fran Barford says it will come down to personality types at the ballot box.
The five candidates vying for the three city council openings can thank longtime Mayor Fran Barford for the opportunity.
Her impending departure lured two current council members - Jo Jeter and Joseph Affronti - into the race for the high-profile post. That left two four-year terms to fill, along with the remaining two years of Affronti's term.
It's a race that could turn on reputation and personality, especially in a city that prides itself on community involvement. Except for the historic first of the candidacy of African-American Eddie Adams Jr., the candidates barely differ on the major issues facing Temple Terrace - most importantly the proposed $150-million redevelopment at the southeast corner of 56th Street and Bullard Parkway.
"We really pretty much agree on everything," said candidate Glenda Venable. "Pretty much there's just some differences in approach and leadership. Certainly we agree that revitalization is the most important thing."
In addition to Adams and Venable, the candidates are real estate investor Frank Chillura, a current council member, business owner Ron Govin, and financial planner Ken DeVane. The top three vote getters automatically earn seats. Before a recently passed referendum, the council, not voters, would have chosen the person to serve out Affronti's term.
Barford, who declined to publicly support any candidates, said Temple Terrace residents pay close attention to city elections. A former council member, she said experience and teamwork are qualities voters look for in that position.
"They're all wonderful. All qualified," said Barford, who is stepping down after six years in office because of term limits. "Some people identify with personality types. I think that's going to be important."
Most of the candidates bring solid business experience to the table. They say that will be crucial in addressing the redevelopment project, from dealing with developers to keeping close watch on the numbers.
The city already has spent close to $20-million purchasing property along 56th Street. In addition to paying off those loans and choosing a main developer, the council likely would approach residents with a referendum to raise money for new roads and public buildings. The proposed referendum's current price tag is $35-million.
Govin's comments about the project are representative.
"It's exciting; it has lots of potential," he said. "I think I can help."
Redevelopment isn't the only issue candidates are talking about, though.
They support building a city-owned wastewater treatment plant, a proposal that has been held up by environmental concerns over discharges into the Palm River. Annexation also remains a hot topic, with thoughts of expanding the city's boundaries north and east toward U.S. 301.
Chillura joined Affronti in opposing a proposed annexation of the Riverdale neighborhood, saying in a recent interview that taking over the community would have stretched current city services too thin.
"Without services, you're not going to live here," said Chillura, a fierce critic of the city's public transportation provider - county-operated HARTLine.
Govin raised environmental preservation and mixed-income housing as issues. DeVane said the council should try to establish a historic preservation ordinance to protect the city's stock of Mediterranean Revival homes dating back to the 1920s.
DeVane said residents may have to pay higher taxes to support quality services in the future. The city needs a new fire station, and growth is likely to strain current finances, he said.
Adams argues that plans for a better Temple Terrace will lack substance without greater ethnic diversity in the city's leadership. Blacks, Hispanics and the largest group, Arabs and Muslims, make up an estimated one-third of Temple Terrace's population of 22,000.
Adams thinks his groundbreaking candidacy has a chance.
"A city this size should have minority involvement in everything they do," he said. "I'm running to represent people that have never been represented before."
Council members make the major policy and budget decisions. They earn $200 a month, along with a $50 a month travel and expenses reimbursement.
EDDIE ADAMS JR. , 51, is a former pulmonary technician at Tampa General Hospital. The husband and father of two received a bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida and later earned a master's degree in architecture from USF. ASSETS: home, car LIABILITIES: mortgage, car loan SOURCE OF INCOME: job and consulting work. E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org WEB SITE: www.eadamsjr.com
FRANK CHILLURA , 36, helps run family businesses that own and manage investment property. Elected in 2000, he is married with two children. ASSETS: home, car and property LIABILITIES: mortgage, property and car loans. SOURCE OF INCOME: investment property E-MAIL: email@example.com
KEN DeVANE , 59, is a stockbroker and investment adviser who runs a financial adviser business with his wife, Mindy. DeVane was appointed to the code enforcement board in 2002, becoming chairman in January 2004. ASSETS: business, home, car, IRA. LIABILITIES: mortgages. SOURCE OF INCOME: business. E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
RON GOVIN , 64, owns Mark Master Inc., a fourth-generation sign and stamp company started by his late father in 1933. The factory off N 46th St. employs 80 people. He is a former chairman of the Hillsborough City-County Planning Commission and former board president of LifePath Hospice. He is married with two children. ASSETS: business, property, home, car and stock. LIABILITIES: none. SOURCE OF INCOME: business E-MAIL: email@example.com
GLENDA VENABLE, 57, is a longtime volunteer and past member of the Barrio Latino Commission. A former public school teacher, she received both bachelor's and master's degrees in business and office education from the University of South Florida. She is married with two children. ASSETS: house, car and husband's law practice. LIABILITIES: car loan SOURCE OF INCOME: husband's law practice E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org