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    Mayor wants to debate opponent

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001

    TARPON SPRINGS -- Mayor Frank DiDonato has challenged his opponent, Costa Vatikiotis, to a debate to discuss city finances and other issues.

    DiDonato proposes holding the debate in the City Hall auditorium at 7:30 p.m. March 17. In a prepared statement, he said he wants to refute the "misrepresentation, untruth and other disinformation circulating in the community."

    As of Friday, it was not clear whether the debate would take place on that date.

    Vatikiotis said he is willing to debate DiDonato, but he has a conflict that weekend. He questioned whether the mayor has a right to use the auditorium for a political debate, and he said if there is a debate, he wants the city manager and finance director to attend. He also said he doesn't think it is fair to candidates running for other offices to make it a debate between him and DiDonato.

    "I don't quite understand the benefit of a one-on-one format," Vatikiotis said.

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