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4 run for commission seats; 1 gets by easy

Tarpon Springs Commissioner Robin Saenger slips in unopposed. Three others, not so lucky.

By ELENA LESLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published November 30, 2007


TARPON SPRINGS - City Commissioner Robin Saenger will sail to another term unopposed while three candidates face off for the seat vacated by David Archie.

Herb Elliott, Susan Slattery and Tod Eckhouse all registered to run for Commission Seat 2, which Archie must vacate due to term limits.

Saenger said she is "excited and looking forward to another term" on Commission Seat 1.

Candidate qualifying ran from Nov. 20 through Nov. 28.

All three candidates for the competitive seat are regulars at commission meetings and say they favor sensible growth.

Elliott, 61, has a long history with city government. He served as city attorney from 1978 to 1987 and 1992 to 1996, and chaired the charter review commission in 1999.

He currently works as a local attorney, assisting clients with issues related to land use and zoning.

"I'm interested in the city's welfare, and I think they need my experience," he said.

If elected, Elliott said he would focus on reducing the cost of government and building ties between the city and professional and business communities.

Slattery, 43, also is interested in the city's relationship with local businesses. A member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Tarpon Springs High School graduate owns her own mortgage broker business.

"The city and chamber need to stick together," she said.

Slattery has one son, a senior in high school, and is treasurer of the Tarpon Springs High School Parent Teacher Student Association.

"I've been sitting at commission meetings for the last three years, and I think the city is ready for a change," said Slattery.

She's a member of Friends of the Anclote, a group fighting development of a Wal-Mart Supercenter, but she said she's not "antidevelopment, just pro-smart development."

Though he hasn't lived in Tarpon very long, Eckhouse said he is already deeply invested in the community. A longtime resident of Palm Harbor, he bought and renovated a house facing Spring Bayou three years ago and has served on the city's Planning and Zoning Board for the past year.

"I've been warmly embraced here," said the real estate broker. "I want to be part of the growth of this town."

Eckhouse, 60, the father of an adult daughter, said he wants to make Tarpon more green and walkable and thinks he can bring "a lot of common sense" to the commission.

The city's general election is March 11, 2008.

Elena Lesley can be reached at or 727 445-4167.

[Last modified November 29, 2007, 22:28:55]

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