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Longboat Key Election 2013: Profile on Gene Jaleski

MELISSA REID
Associate Publisher
mreid@lbknews.com

On March 12, 2013, Longboat Key voters will decide the winner in the three contested seats up for election. The new commission will be charged with forming the town’s future direction, especially when it comes to redevelopment and the revitalization of Longboat Key.

A total of four seats are up for election with Commissioner Jack Duncan as the sole candidate running unopposed for re-election to his District 2 seat.

The contested races are comprised of incumbent Mayor Jim Brown being challenged by resident Larry Grossman for the District 4 seat; At-Large incumbent Commissioner Phill Younger against former Commissioner and Village resident Gene Jaleski and the  At-Large seat held by Terry Gans is being challenged by south Longboat Key resident Irwin Pastor.

Longboat Key News is publishing the third in a series of in depth interviews in the coming weeks prior to the March 12 election. 

This week, profiles of Commissioner Phill Younger and Gene Jaleski are featured. Here is what Jaleski had to say:

Gene Jaleski

Gene Jaleski has served previously on the town commission for one and a half years; he stepped down and did not complete his term due to political tensions, but assures voters that he will serve his entire term if elected on March 12.

Jaleski was born and raised in Larchmont, Westchester County, New York. Jaleski’s family originally came to the United States in 1629 and settled in the New Haven, Connecticut area.

Jaleski attended the Hotchkiss Preparatory School, and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brown University and later received his Masters Degree from the University of Washington. His first job was with Boeing Aircraft as a trouble-shooting engineer in the quality assurance division. While he was living in Seattle he volunteered as a community organizer for the Federal Office of Economic Opportunity and he spent a number of years in the arts and entertainment industry as the technical director of the Seattle Opera and then as production manager for the singer Helen Reddy in the early 1970’s. Jaleski also later started and operated Combined Systems Group, a Nevada corporation that designed and manufactured large-scale automation systems for the gaming industry.

Jaleski first came to Longboat Key in 1980 when he visited his parents. He discovered the north end of Longboat, the Village, and found it particularly interesting.

Jaleski sold his company in 1984 and moved to Longboat Key shortly thereafter, stating that the beauty of Longboat is what drew him to the island.

“I found Longboat Key is a lush, ideally developed, island community, with a diverse demographic, that immediately attracted me on my first encounter with our community. Longboat Key represents a unique combination of beautiful amenities and low-density development. Longboat Key feels like a friendly neighborhood. I particularly like the island’s low-key natural ambiance and profile, without the intrusion of intensive commercial tourism that detracts form the lifestyle of adjacent communities such as Bradenton Beach and Lido Key,” said Jaleski.

Jaleski said he has always participated in any community he has lived in,

“I have always participated in community affairs wherever I have lived. In my twenties I volunteered to be a community organizer for the Federal Office of Economic Opportunity. Then I wrote grants to establish community centers for returning Vietnam vets in the northwest. When first on Longboat Key I worked with local non-profits and foundations on streamlining operations and improving communications.”

Jaleski says his education and business background at Boeing and Combined Systems Group made him able to find the best solutions to complex business operations.

“I am a curious person drawn to understanding whatever I am involved in, including local government. My technical training and experience help me to participate in resolving multi-faceted issues that have no easy answers. In this modern age, communities such as ours are increasingly faced with highly technical challenges that require a rigorous examination of many variables. My engineering background, along with decades of active participation in community affairs, allow me to work with local government staff to achieve optimal results,” said Jaleski.

Jaleski has worked both as a resident and former commissioner to find better solutions to the beach renoruishment projects, as well trying to find alternatives to a cell tower at the north end, such as using a Distributed Antennae Solution (DAS) in other words a series of smaller, antennae. Additionally, Jaleski has pursued town-wide internet accessibility through island-wide WiFi.

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