All races contested in Oldsmar election
By ED QUIOCO
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 25, 2001
OLDSMAR -- Two longtime residents and a political newcomer are the newest additions to the list of candidates for the City Council, which means every open seat in the March 13 city elections will be contested.
Don Bohr, Deborah Chapman and Marcelo Caruso have filed papers to run for the council, joining a field that already included council member Ed Manny, former Mayor Jerry Beverland, Dale Renbjor and Jean Jorgenson. With two days left before the end of the qualifying period on Friday, everyone except Bohr also had qualified to have their names on the ballot.
"I expect a busy election," said Oldsmar City Clerk Lisa Lene.
Manny and Beverland are running for mayor. Bohr and Renbjor are competing for Seat 4, Manny's current seat. Chapman, Jorgenson and Caruso are competing for Seat 2, currently held by Ed Richards, who is leaving the council because of term limits.
Bohr, 64, is a retired code inspector for Clearwater and has lived in Oldsmar since 1973. He unsuccessfully ran for the council eight years ago.
"I think I have a fairly good grasp of government," said Bohr, a member of the Planning Board and a previous member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. "It's a critical time in Oldsmar. I'm for progress and I want things that will be right for the people."
Chapman, 41, a homemaker who describes herself as a "residential engineer," moved to Oldsmar in 1967 and has volunteered for numerous organizations and city events. She said the city should start an after-school mentoring program for children and stop chasing "pipe dreams" such as the failed attempt to open a municipal charter school.
"I don't have a hidden agenda," Chapman said. "And I'm very family-oriented. I want to preserve the dignity of this office, which is to serve the people."
Caruso, 29, who owns Caruso On Site Auto Care and Towing in Oldsmar, was born in Brazil, moved to the United States about 12 years ago and has lived in Oldsmar for three years. He filed the papers to run for the council two years ago, but at the time, he had not lived in the city long enough to qualify.
Caruso lives in the Eastlake Oaks subdivision and is active in the neighborhood's homeowners association. He said he has "seen things with City Hall that I'm not happy with" such as the recent news about some council members attending for free a dinner cruise without filing a gift-disclosure form with the state.
"I'd like to stop with the little clique group with the council, doing all the trips and not reporting," Caruso said. "You don't have to be a professional politician to run a city. To run a city, you have to be a professional businessman. If you treat a city like a business, you don't have too many losses and as a businessman, I think I'm pretty good."
In order to get their names on the ballot, prospective candidates have to obtain 150 petition cards signed by registered Oldsmar voters, pay state and local filing fees, designate a campaign treasurer and file a number of forms with the City Clerk's office.
"When we have three seats open, I anticipate a large voter turnout due to the seats that are available and we have new faces running," Lene said. "I think the interest from the November election will carry over into this election."
- Staff writer Ed Quioco can be reached at (727) 445-4183 or at href=mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com.
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