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2 incumbents win, another defeated by former chief

Susan Kirk and John Kendall are voted back into office, but ex-police Chief Jim Farley ousts Kitty Ebert.

By RAGHURAM VADAREVU
Published November 3, 2004


CRYSTAL RIVER - City Council member Susan M. Kirk easily won re-election Tuesday, while her council colleague John R. Kendall narrowly won another term.

But a third incumbent, Kitty Ebert, lost to former city police Chief Jim Farley.

According to unofficial results, Kendall defeated challenger John M. Kostelnick by 23 votes out of 1,593 ballots cast. Farley defeated Ebert 973 to 634 and Kirk collected 1,193 votes to 400 for challenger Phil Jannarone.

Kostelnick said he would ask for a recount. The unofficial tally Tuesday was 802 to 779 in Kendall's favor.

"It's so close," Kostelnick said. "If it was a big margin, I wouldn't do it."

Meanwhile, Kendall was breathing a sigh of relief, thanking his supporters "who worked so hard to make this victory possible."

"I'm quite elated," he said. "It only takes one vote to win."

After defeating Ebert, who already has served three council terms, Farley said, "I think the community wanted a change. I don't think the community is happy with the direction they (the council) have taken over the last few years."

Kirk is often the lone voice of opposition on the council and was the only council member to vote against the controversial annexation of 500-plus acres. "I think the people like what I'm doing. I think that's what they are telling me when they filled in that little oval for me," she said.

Ebert could not be reached for comment. Jannarone deferred an interview request until today. The new council members were sworn in to office on Tuesday night.

In related news, a charter amendment that reduced the number of council members from five to four - with the elected mayor becoming the fifth council member - passed by a 840 to 781 vote, according to unofficial results.