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Faces in the crowd run for council

Two candidates for Seat 4, who are regulars at Oldsmar City Council meetings, have similar views on several issues.

By ED QUIOCO

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 10, 2001


OLDSMAR -- In the race for City Council Seat 4, two familiar faces at council meetings once again are trying to move from the audience to the dais.

With less than a week until the March 13 election, Don Bohr and Dale Renbjor have waged a quiet campaign and have similar views on several issues.

Bohr, who ran unsuccessfully for council in 1993, said he would do his homework when it came to issues facing the city.

"I'm very analytical," Bohr said. "I like facts and figures. I pride myself on being as correct and honest as possible."'

Renbjor, who unsuccessfully ran for City Council in 1997, said he is an independent who will research and study every issue.

"I see political cliques already in this election and that makes me uncomfortable," Renbjor said. "I'm uncomfortable with political alliances in a small city because it does not bring any benefit to a small city like Oldsmar."

Both candidates, who are regulars at City Council meetings, have been members of the city's Planning Board. Both also say they need additional information on a proposed city-run charter middle school before they could say if they supported or opposed the plan. They both also have campaigned on the need for oversight when it comes to city growth.

"You can't stop growth," Bohr said. "We are going to grow, but it has to be done properly to get the right things in there."

Renbjor said the city's proposal for its own water treatment facility needs "conscientious oversight." He would like to search for grants to pay for expansions to the city's reclaimed water system. He also would like to ensure the city moves forward with its plans to build a park north of Tampa Road and improve other city amenities.

"I just feel it is important to manage growth in a manner which is equitable to everyone," Renbjor said. "I will vote my conscience and will not be swayed by irrational arguments presented on an issue."

Bohr said he will support anything that will benefit the majority of Oldsmar residents regardless of how he feels about the issue. He supports lobbying efforts to get the state Department of Transportation to install a traffic light on Curlew Road for the Gull Aire Village subdivision, which has been asking for a traffic light for years. Since he attends most of the City Council meetings, Bohr said, he is familiar with the issues the city faces.

"I think I'm just as qualified as (Renbjor) is, if not more so, because I have a broader range of experience," Bohr said. "I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't work."

Renbjor's top priority is to "use my skills and abilities to ensure the continued quality of life in Oldsmar."

Bohr's top priority is to "serve the people and do whatever will benefit the majority of people."

Renbjor said both of them "are on the same track" when it comes to most of their ideas and positions on city issues. The biggest difference, Renbjor said, is "my ability to communicate my message."

"I'm not a political animal," Renbjor said. "I'm riding on my skills gained through my work experience. The city needs an average citizen like me to take an active role in its management."

Both say they plan to keep the race free of mudslinging.

Said Bohr: "My philosophy is simple: Treat people the way you like to be treated."

Said Renbjor: "It's been a gentleman's race. It denotes my demeanor. Courtesy and professionalism are evident in the race I'm running."

The job

City Council members serve three-year terms and receive $4,800 a year.

The candidates

Donald B. Bohr

AGE: 65

BACKGROUND: Born in Williamsport, Pa., and moved to Oldsmar in 1973. He is a former traveling salesman and a retired Clearwater code enforcement officer. He is a former member of the city's planning board and parks and recreation advisory committee. He has a bachelor's degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport and served two years in the Army and two years in the reserves. He is married with two grown children.

ASSETS: Home, stocks, annuities, retirement account.

LIABILITIES: Mortgage.

INCOME: Social Security, annuity income.

* * *

Dale A. Renbjor

AGE: 50

BACKGROUND: Born in Uniondale, N.Y. and moved to Oldsmar in 1994. He has been a telecommunications engineer for 23 years. He was a member of the city's Planning Board for two years. He was in the Navy Reserves from 1969 to 1975. He is married with two children.

ASSETS: Home, retirement account, stocks, bonds.

LIABILITIES: Mortgage.

INCOME: Salary from his job as a senior staff sales engineer for Intermedia Communications in Tampa.

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