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Government Digest: Dec. 3 - Dec. 9

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  • | 11:10 a.m. December 3, 2010
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Twice-mayor Greco goes for third-time charm

TAMPA — Democrat Dick Greco, twice mayor of Tampa, has entered the mayor's race to compete with six other candidates.

Greco, 76, filed for the office Nov. 29, making the official announcement at a press conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Westshore. He was mayor from 1967 to 1974 and 1995 to 2003.

Six other candidates facing off in the March election are City Council Chairman Tom Scott, former Councilman Bob Buckhorn, former county commissioners Rose Ferlita and Ed Turanchik, former police Capt. Marion Lewis, and businessman Arthur Richardson. Ferlita is the only Republican seeking the post. A recent hypothetical poll with nine candidates, conducted by Logos Communications, showed Greco winning with 23% support. Ferlita came in second with 19%. Former Congressman Jim Davis, who came in third in the poll with 12%, has since announced he will not seek the seat.

Attorney fills commission seat

SARASOTA COUNTY — Gov. Charlie Crist appointed self-employed attorney Christine Robinson of Venice to fill the County Commission seat held by Commissioner Shannon Staub for 14 years.

Staub resigned the seat in mid-term to spend more time with her son who lives in North Carolina. Robinson, 36, a county planning commissioner, does not live in the district, which includes south Venice, North Port and Englewood, but plans to move into it soon. She takes office Dec. 16 and will serve the two remaining years of the term.

Robinson's husband, Eric Robinson, is a former chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, who supported Crist in his gubernatorial and senate bids. He was appointed by Crist to the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority.

Judge's ruling kills plan amendments

ST. PETE BEACH — Anti-redevelopment advocates in St. Pete Beach have won a court battle in Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Court voiding a land use plan amendment and three development regulations voters approved in 2008 under a Hometown Democracy-style city charter requirement.

Unless appealed successfully, the city's on the hook for attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs. Those costs would come on top of roughly $800,000 in legal costs the city has incurred to date related to voter approval of land use plan amendments.

The plan amendment and development regulations would have allowed increases in height and density of hotel properties as an incentive for redevelopment, but the judge ruled that the ballot language was misleading. The judge rejected some arguments of the plaintiffs, but still ruled that the ballot summaries did not meet legal requirements.

A similar requirement for voter approval of all comprehensive plan changes statewide — Amendment 4 — was rejected by voters last month by a two to one margin. One reason often cited for opposing Amendment 4 was the likelihood that complex plan amendments could not be satisfactorily worded in many cases and would lead to expensive lawsuits such as this one.

Gruters seeks RPOF chairmanship

SARASOTA — Joe Gruters, the chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, announced his candidacy for chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Gruters, 35, joins Deborah Cox-Roush of Hillsborough and Tony DiMatteo of Pinellas among the growing group of candidates. Also seeking the post are Dave Bitner from Jefferson County and Sid Dinerstein of Palm Beach County.



The Enterprise Zone Development Agency meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 6, at the University IFAS and Manatee County Extension Service, Hailey Room, 1303 17th St., Palmetto.


The Charlotte Harbor Community Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee meets at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 6, in room #119, administration center, 18500 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte. For more information, call Kathy Knee at (941) 627-3023.


The County Commission will hold an adoption hearing on an evaluation and appraisal of its comprehensive plan at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, in the County Commission chambers, third floor, 3301 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples.


The Tourist Development Council, dba Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater, will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, in the fifth floor assembly room of the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater. For more information, call (727) 6633.


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