If you weren’t able to see Thursday’s candidates forum at City Hall or watch it live on C-View TV, you can view the 90-minute video on MyClearwater.com.
It was hosted by Channel 9 news anchor Al Ruechel. He asked a wide range of questions, including one about the Aquarium and one about Scientology.
Three of the candidates are veteran elected officials: Jonson (incumbent), Hamilton, and Allbritton.
Two of the candidates (McCree, Rosa) are young — approximately 30 years old — and have a great deal of enthusiasm but virtually no experience in holding a government office. A vote for them would be a vote for fresh faces and fresh attitudes, but they would clearly have a steep learning curve.
If you prefer to vote for experience, Hamilton would be the choice for Seat 5.
For Seat 4, the choice vote for experience would be between Bill Jonson and Dave Allbritton. This will be a tough decision for many downtown residents. Both Bill and Dave have strong track records as elected officials over the course of many years. Both are good friends of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and both are very active in the community. Each brings a lot to the table.
Bill Jonson is a former accountant who keeps a close watch on city spending and emphasizes being a prudent steward of public funds. He is also the current president of the Suncoast League of Cities. He would like to see more ongoing entertainment downtown and more effort by the City to make downtown a fun place to go.
Dave Allbritton has been the Chair of the Downtown Development Board for many years and he feels that we’re on the cusp of a thriving downtown because many of the pieces of the puzzle are already in place (most of which he had his hands in directly). He emphasizes changing the City’s culture and codes to be more business-friendly.
It’s unfair to attempt to describe their positions in a few words, so please watch all or part of the video to get a much fuller sense of their views and priorities.
And don’t forget to vote on March 11! To request an absentee ballot, call the Supervisor of Elections at (727) 464-6788. If you already have an absentee ballot, please mail it in (or deliver it to the downtown Elections Office at 315 Court Street) before 7 pm on election day.