tampabay.com

After two years of turmoil, now it's up to voters

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published March 7, 2007


Voters here will get a chance Tuesday to officially react to the last two years of political turmoil, highlighted by a failed attempt by some residents to recall two of the town's commissioners.

Three seats on the five-member commission are up for grabs - giving voters the option of ratifying or rejecting the commission's sometimes controversial recent actions.

Two candidates are vying for an open mayoral seat - former Commissioner Nick Simons, who is highly critical of the present commission, and a resident, James Hoffman, who strongly supports the present commission's efforts to gain tighter control over employees and the town's finances.

Simons says voters "have the opportunity to change the face" of the town's commission. Hoffman says the town's government is "more complex" than ever before and points to his experience to help the town find "win-win" solutions.

Incumbents now filling two commission seats, Sam Maniotes and Anna Yadevia, are vying for re-election against two highly critical candidates, Mark Deighton and Fred Steiermann. The commission seats are elected at-large and will be filled by the two highest vote-getters.

Last year, Maniotes fought a successful legal battle against a formal recall when a judge ruled that the recall petition signed by more than 200 residents was legally insufficient under Florida law to force a recall election.

Maniotes says he is "proud of the work we've accomplished in the last two years," particularly in the areas of increased public safety, reduced property taxes, and upgrading the town's storm water system.

Yadevia, another incumbent, has also been criticized for her role in the censuring of and subsequent attempt to impeach Mayor Linda Wilson and for the recent firing of assistant clerk Cassie Alsop.

"If re-elected, I will do what I have done for the past year - listen to the residents of Redington Beach," Yadevia says. She says she does not "play favorites" and will work for lower taxes, preserving the town's beach, focus on public safety.

Deighton and Steiermann see the past two years very differently.

"The incumbents have consistently exhibited an unwillingness and an inability to conduct the town's business and manage its employees.

It's time to return responsibility and civility to our town government. It's time for a change," says Deighton.

"The citizens of Redington Beach are unhappy. Our employees are unhappy. The choice has never been more clear," says Steiermann.

The jobs

Mayor

Two-year term, election at-large. Salary: $1,200 annually

Commissioner

Two at-large seats open; the two highest vote-getters will serve two-year terms. Salary: $600 a year.

Mayor candidates

James Hoffman

Age: 55

Background: Hoffman, a native of Chicago, has lived in Redington Beach for four years. He is a graduate of Thornton Community College in Illinois. He serves on the town's Board of Adjustment. Hoffman is a mortgage and real estate broker and has worked in national and international management positions. He has a life partner.

Assets: Interest in home at 15910 Redington Drive; 100 percent ownership of real estate sales business, James M. Hoffman LLC; money market and stock investments.

Liabilities: None listed.

Sources of income: Mortgage In Minutes; Charles Rutenberg Real Estate sales.

Nick Simons

Age: 59

Background: Simons, a native of Philadelphia, moved to Redington Beach in 1955 and has lived in his present home for 19 years. He and his brother have operated a beach concession business since 1971. Simons served on the commission from 1990-1996 and was appointed to the commission in 1997 by then-governor, Lawton Chiles, when a series of resignations left the Redington Beach Commission without a quorum to conduct business. Currently, Simons is chairperson of the Gulf Beaches Public Library and the Redington Beach-Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade Committee. He is a member of the town's Finance Advisory Committee and a past president of the Redington Beach Property Owners Association. He is married and has two daughters.

Assets: Home at 16046 Redington Drive; half ownership in business,

Beach Service West Inc.

Liabilities: Mortgage.

Sources of income: Beach Service West Inc.

Commissioner candidates

Mark R. Deighton

Age: 65

Background: Deighton, a Chicago native, has lived in Redington Beach since 1993. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin and a master's degree in marketing and finance from the Columbia Graduate School of Business. Currently retired, he worked in advertising, sales promotion, industrial theater and computer graphics. He was elected to the commission in 1996 and was appointed mayor when Julian Cave resigned in 1997. He currently serves on the town's finance committee, is vice chairman of the Planning Board, serves on the executive board of Santa's Angels, and is a past president of the Redington Beach Property Owners Association. He and his wife have been married for 31 years.

Assets: Home at 15928 Redington Drive, real estate in Seminole and Marion Oaks, investments.

Liabilities: None listed.

Sources of income: Social Security

Sam Andrew Maniotes

Age: 39

Background: Maniotes, a native of Chicago, has lived in Redington Beach for about six years. He holds a degree in computer information systems from Purdue University, as well as a master of science in computer information systems from the University of Phoenix. As a computer programmer, he has worked for Kronos Inc., Bayfront Medical Center, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Chicago Title and Trust Company, Quaker Oats and Inland Steel. He was elected to the commission in 2005 when he ran unopposed. He is married.

Assets: Home at 16017 Redington Drive, stock investments.

Liabilities: Mortgage.

Sources of income: Kronos Inc.

Fred Steiermann

Age: 49

Background: Steiermann, a New Jersey native, has lived in Redington Beach since 1999 and from 1990-1993. He previously served as an elected town meeting member in Plymouth, Mass., and currently serves his second term on the Redington Beach Board of Adjustment.

Steiermann is an active member of the Redington Beach Homeowners Association. He is a realtor, is active with the Madeira Beach Elementary and Middle School Advisory Councils, and serves as a soccer and little league coach for the Madeira Beach Recreation Department. He is a part-time real estate agent, is married and has four children.

Assets: Home at 16227 Redington Drive, mutual funds, certificate of deposit, IRA investments.

Liabilities: Credit Card.

Sources of income: Century 21 Real Estate Champions

Anna Marie Yadevia

Age: 42

Background: Yadevia, a native of Michigan, as lived in Redington Beach since 1985. She was elected to the town commission in 2006 when she ran unopposed for a one-year term. She is co-chair of the Neighborhood Watch program, and is an active volunteer in the Sea Turtle Nesting Program and the annual Coastal Clean-up program. She is a member of the Neighbors Ensuring Sea Turtle Survival Program. She also was vice president of the town's homeowners association. She currently works for Bankers Insurance, assisting victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She is married and has three children.

Assets: Home at 302 162nd Ave. E.

Liabilities: Mortgage.

Sources of income: Bankers Insurance