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Date of Issue: June 25, 2008

AM election: Four for two commission seats, mayor unopposed

Anna Maria incumbent Mayor Fran Barford will be returned to office in the November election as no candidate qualified by the June 20 deadline to run against her.

For the two city commission seats up for grabs, four candidates will compete, including incumbent Jo Ann Mattick.

The two candidates with the most votes will each earn a seat on the commission.

Also qualifying for the open seats are former commissioners Bob Barlow and Chuck Webb and political activist Mark Alonso.

Barlow was on the commission from 2000 to 2001, while Webb served from 2002 to 2003.

Former planning and zoning board chairman Tom Turner had considered a candidacy, but opted not to join the race.

Current Commissioner Duke Miller previously announced he did not plan to seek re-election after serving three terms on the commission.

“I am looking forward to this election,” said Alonso. “I think there are a lot of issues that need to be discussed.”

Likewise, Barlow said he is enthusiastic about a return to politics following a seven-year absence.

“It will be interesting to debate the issues with the other candidates,” he predicted.

While efforts to reach Webb for comment were unsuccessful, he has previously indicated his interest in helping the city adopt new land-development regulations that correspond to the comprehensive plan and eliminate any ambiguity the current regulations might contain.

In the weeks before the election, The Islander will run profiles of all the candidates, including their stand on a number of issues in the city. Those include revising the land-development regulations, how the city should define structures in its retail-office-residential area, the stormwater drainage plan and whether or not the city should re-zone districts to correspond to the land uses on its future land-use map, or wait for a request from a property owner.

The Islander will schedule a candidate forum in October.

The office of mayor of Anna Maria pays $9,600 annually, while a city commissioner earns $4,800 per year.