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Pinellas Suncoast race close; fee hike fails

Times staff writers
Published November 3, 2004

The race for Seat 2 on the Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue District commission was too close to call late Tuesday.

Challengers Patricia Muneio and John Todia were nearly tied. Incumbent Bill Ripley, a nine-year board veteran, was close behind.

They were competing to represent the city of Indian Rocks Beach on the board.

A referendum asking voters in five cities to increase fire service fees drew Muneio and Todia to the race. Both were angry at the attempt by the commission - which put the referendum on the ballot - to forego the district's current flat fee structure and charge homeowners 17 cents per square foot.

The referendum failed Tuesday. This means residents will continue to pay a flat fee of $190 for fire services.

Ripley was the only person on the five-member commission to face a challenge to his seat. Commissioners Dan Madura and Robert McEwen will automatically return to their seats after the election.

JADE JACKSON LLOYD, Times staff writer

East Lake Fire District

EAST LAKE - With all precincts counted, two longtime commissioners won races for seats on the East Lake Fire Commission.

Incumbent commissioner Jim Galloway received about two-thirds of the vote in the Seat 5 race, defeating former commissioner C.G. "Chuck' Schult.

In the race for Seat 3, Jim Nobles won nearly 56 percent of the vote over newcomer Mark "W+

9' Weinkrantz.

The nonpartisan race heated up last month when Weinkrantz filed a formal complaint against Nobles, alleging he tried to intimidate fire department employees who contributed to his opponent. State elections officials concluded that the complaint doesn't meet their standards for an investigation.

Nobles, who stepped down as commissioner for the last two weeks of his term after the intimidation charge was made, didn't campaign for this election, he said.

"I've been here for 25 years and they know who I am," he said Tuesday night.

Galloway said he was surprised at the preliminary results.

"I didn't do much campaigning. He did and I just said, "Well, he probably wants it,"' Galloway said Tuesday night. "I'm very happy about it. It's quite a challenge, and I want the residents of East Lake to know I'll do my best again."

NORA KOCH, Times staff writer

Lealman Fire Board

LEALMAN - Only one of three incumbents retained a seat on the Lealman Fire Board.

Linda Campbell turned away two challengers to retain Seat 1. In an upset, Julie A. Adams easily unseated long-time incumbent Mike Brophy in the race for Seat 3.

The race for Seat 5 was tight, with Vivian Diane Campbell squeaking out a win over incumbent W. A. Adams and another first-time candidate, Marion Boyle.

"I expected it to be a lot closer than that," said Julie Adams, who is no relation to W. A. Adams. "(I am) very pleasantly surprised ... I'm looking forward to serving the residents of Lealman."

Julie Adams credited her victory to the support of the fire union and her efforts to meet and talk to as many people as possible. She praised Brophy for his past service on the board and for his gentlemanly conduct during the campaign.

Vivian Campbell said hard work and her past involvement in the community got her elected.

"It's just honesty. Hard work and honesty ... I think it's a matter of knowing who I am," she said. "I'm pleased. I will do a good job."

Linda Campbell, who is not related to Vivian Diane Campbell, said she thinks her 11-year record on the board got her reelected.

ANNE LINDBERG, Times staff writer

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