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Politics

City Council members select two replacements

From a pool of 49 applicants, Chip Fletcher and Frank Reddick were chosen to fill vacated seats. They will serve until after the March city elections.

By JANET ZINK
Published December 1, 2006


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TAMPA - No campaign signs, no touch screen voting machines and no demands for recounts.

As elections go, all went smoothly Thursday, and the Tampa City Council has two new members.

City Council members selected lawyer Chip Fletcher to fill the open citywide District 2 seat and Sickle Cell Association president Frank Reddick to represent District 5, which includes East Tampa.

The two will be sworn in Dec. 7 and will serve until after city elections in March.

The seats were left vacant last month when Rose Ferlita and Kevin White resigned to run for the Hillsborough County Commission.

The five sitting City Council members chose their new colleagues from a pool of 49 applicants.

"I'd like to thank all the applicants before 47 of them are disappointed," said council member John Dingfelder before the votes. "There are some great people."

Council member Mary Alvarez agreed.

"I would have been proud to serve next to any one of you," she said.

But there could be only two winners.

It took two rounds of votes for Fletcher to get a majority, beating out lawyer Seth Nelson. It took four rounds of voting for Reddick to win. His next closest competitor was Beverly Morrow, a community activist in Seminole Heights.

Reddick, 51, is running for election to the District 5 seat in March. The temporary appointment to the council could either help or hurt him, he said.

"In the short time I'm there, the voters in the district will have an opportunity to see me at work and they can be pleased with what they see or disappointed and not select me in the March election," Reddick said.

Reddick, who was not at City Hall when the council made the selection, has run for public office three times before. He made failed bids for the City Council, Hillsborough County Commission and Florida House of Representatives.

Reddick, who is single, was born and raised in Tampa. He said as a council member he'd like to expand the duties of the environmental police who monitor activities in East Tampa to cover the entire district.

"One of the biggest problems faced by the residents in the district I represent is illegal dumping," he said.

One of the biggest issues Reddick is likely to face in the coming months is a proposed ordinance that would prohibit some sex offenders from living closer than 2,500 feet from schools and day care centers. The current state law sets the limit at 1,000 feet.

"I would support extending boundaries if it can be legally done," he said.

Fletcher shares that view.

"I have a daughter who's 3, and my personal belief is we should limit exposure of children to known sex predators," he said.

Fletcher said he has been attending City Council meetings since September to get a feel for how things work. He was there Thursday, and stayed throughout the meeting, earnestly taking notes.

Fletcher grew up in New York, and earned a law degree at Florida State University.

His wife, Leigh, also is a lawyer. They have lived in Tampa for 10 years.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or 813 226-3401.

[Last modified December 1, 2006, 05:46:35]


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