Key candidates strategize

Associate Publisher

As more residents turn in qualifying paperwork to Town Hall to run in the March Commission election, more contested races are emerging.

To date, in the March 19, 2013 Longboat Key election, two out of the four open commission seats will be contested.

One of the two contested seats is the At-Large seat, which has one year remaining, as it was vacated by former Commissioner Hal Lenobel halfway through his two-year term.

Terry Gans was appointed to fill Lenobel’s seat, and Gans will run for the seat in the upcoming election. Gans’ qualification confirmation is anticipated Monday, Oct. 29, according to Town Clerk Trish Granger.

Joseph Iannello has also qualified this week and will run for the seat against Gans. Former commission candidate Ray Rajewski has taken out paperwork to run for the seat, and if he chooses to qualify for the race there will be a preliminary election to narrow the candidates to two. An additional $20,000 is used out of the town’s budget for a preliminary election.

Rajewski says he is still weighing his options.

“The expansion of the Longboat Key Club was the main reason I was running and now that issue has seemed to have gone away,” said Rajewski.

Rajewski said he is happy that other candidates are coming to the fore, and want to make changes.

“For me the bottom line was when George Spoll was Mayor; he and those Commissioners made a huge mistake in approving the Key Club,” said Rajewski.

Rajewski said running for election is a large commitment and he will soon decide. He said he hopes that Ocean Properties proposes something far more realistic that will bring the community back together.

The other contested seat is the At-Large seat which has a full two-year term, and is currently held by Commissioner Phill Younger. Younger has qualified for the March election, and he will be running against former Commissioner Gene Jaleski who qualified this week.

Jaleski stepped down midway through his term the first time he was elected Commissioner and said he did so to avoid liability. Jaleski says the Town Commission was breaking the law in approving the Islandside redevelopment project and he did not want to take part in the process and face the possibility of being held personally liable.  Jaleski at the time was told by the Town Attorney that he was indemnified from such a liability so long as he acted and voted within the bounds of his role as a commissioner. Jaleski says that the Town Attorney and Commission did not believe it was breaking the law but later the approval was overturned.

“It was outrageous what was going on,” said Jaleski.

In the District 4 seat is current Mayor Jim Brown who qualified for the March 2013 election, and Larry Grossman who is in the process of filing his paperwork to be qualified.

In the District 2 seat is current Commissioner Jack Duncan who has qualified for the election and is currently the only person who has taken out papers to run for the seat.

Ray Rajewski ran last year as well in the March 2012 election, and ran against Vice Mayor David Brenner. Brenner retained his seat on the Longboat Key Commission by narrowly beating Rajewski by 90 votes.

In the 2012 election, 38.75 percent of registered voters in Sarasota County turned out to cast their ballots, while 33.45 percent of registered voters in Manatee County voted.

The deadline to have all paperwork turned in to Town Hall and be qualified for the March 19 election is Nov. 19 at 12 noon. Check the town’s website at www.longboatkey.org to see the referenda on the March ballot.

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