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Date of Issue: November 05, 2009

Zaccagnino zips up with Holmes Beach commission race

David Zaccagnino ran away with a win in Tuesday night’s Holmes Beach city commission election, garnering 715 votes.

Filling in the other two commission seats will be newcomer Al Robinson with 530 votes and incumbent Pat Morton with 520. Ballots were cast at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.

Andy Sheridan, running for the first time, picked up 485 votes, while Pat Geyer, who began running for Holmes Beach city council in 1977, had 458. Commissioners will serve two-year terms.

Zaccagnino, who has lived on the Island for nine years, will be serving his third term. He said he wants to fight Gulf oil drilling and hopes the city can piggy-back with some of the other cities in the county to oppose any drilling.

Zaccagnino was humble despite a win over the next highest vote-getter by 185 votes.

“I hope it means I’m doing a good job and people are appreciating it,” Zaccagnino said. “It’s just me putting the time in and listening to people.”

Robinson will serve his first term.

“I’m humble,” he said. “I’ve heard what the Island wants.

When I went door to door, they were looking for fresh blood. They were knowledgeable of my resume and who I was. It was pleasant talking to them. They made up their mind.”

Morton was elected to the commission for his fourth term.

“I’d like thank the Lord and, second, the citizens for coming out to vote me in for another two years,” Morton said. “I want to thank my wife especially — it’s been some wild times.”

Morton said those wild times came from going door-to-door to some 350 to 400 Holmes Beach residences during the past month. He said he spent four hours a day speaking to those residents.

“I don’t do it for me,” Morton said. “I do it for the people who put us here.”

Sheridan said that although he did not get elected in his first time running, he will continue to attend city commission meetings and be involved.

“And I’m going to continue to encourage other citizens to speak,” he added.

Geyer, meanwhile, has a long history on the Island. She moved to the Island in 1961 from Cincinnati. She lost her first election to what was then called the city council in 1977.

In 1978, however, she won a seat that she held until she took over as Holmes Beach mayor from 1990-94.

Since, she has served three terms on the city commission.

As far as running again in 2011, “We’ll see,” she said.

“Al Robinson was the big one who said he’d lower taxes,” Geyer said. “I want to see how he does it now.”

Ballots were cast from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and some voters traveled long distances to make their opinions count.

Dave Leasing arrived from Charlotte, N.C., Monday for the election, and makes sure he is in Holmes Beach six months out of the year.

“I’m an interested citizen,” he said. “I know a heavy issue is ‘Why did the tax rate have to go up?’ And it’s obvious that it’s because the property values have gone way down.”

Jayne Christenson was working in Miami and drove across the state to cast her ballot.

“My main concern,” Christenson said, “is with children on the Island and having the population to sustain families. It’s such a tourist attraction that’s pushing families out because they can’t afford to live here. So I wanted a commissioner who will support the needs of families who live on the Island.”

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