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Local elections: Before the campaigns begin

in city hall/news
(Photo/Kathryn Malaxos)

Campaign season has formally begun in Safety Harbor for the 2020 municipal election. Have you ever considered how the officials in our town get on the ballot?  Most of us are too busy to spend time learning how the process works, so the Safety Harbor Sun is delving into the procedural process to become a candidate in our city. 

Our next municipal elections will be on March 17, 2020, the same day as the national primaries. Safety Harbor typically schedules elections to coincide with presidential primaries and other state and county elections as this offers significant savings on printing and other fees. Safety Harbor will have two open seats; Mayor and Commissioner Seat Four, each of which is a three-year term. All Commissioners and the Mayor are elected in non-partisan, at-large elections. There are no term limits in Safety Harbor.  These are not full-time positions and commissioners typically have continued their careers while serving. Compensation for these positions is:   

  • Mayor:  $9,587.16/annually ($6,000/year + $3,587.16 per diem/year). 
  • Commissioners:  $8,387.16/annually ($4,800/year + $3,587.16 per diem/year

So, how does a resident get on the ballot for the March election?  A potential candidate must be a registered voter and a resident of the city for at least one year. The qualifying period for the upcoming election ran from noon on December 2 to noon on December 9. The qualifying period is when announced candidates have to finalize all the requirements to run for office in Florida. The requirements are mainly dictated by state law and are significant; the handbook runs to hundreds of pages.  

Before December 2, each candidate must purchase the Candidate Handbook for $40, appoint a Campaign Treasurer, designate a depository for a campaign account and submit an official Candidate Statement. This is just the beginning of a list of forms and required fees as mandated by the state of Florida.

Interested candidates meet with City Clerk and Safety Harbor Supervisor of Elections Karen Sammons to review all the requirements and begin the process. Some of the other steps include returning 100 petition cards from registered voters and filing eleven additional forms. There are fees to be paid from the campaign account established for this purpose. They are $160 for Mayor and $123 for Commissioner. Financial statements are required to identify sources of income and disallow someone who may want to profit from their position in government. Campaigns can be financed by the candidate or from declared donations.

Once a person meets all the qualifications for candidacy, they can begin campaigning. Signs may be posted 90 days prior to election (12/18/2019) and must be removed by March 24, 2020. Clearwater and Dunedin have very similar processes for qualification.

There are currently five declared candidates in Safety Harbor. These people have completed the initial steps for candidacy, opened campaign accounts, and submitted the necessary petitions. For Mayor, incumbent Joe Ayoub and Tanja Vidovic are qualified. For Commissioner Seat Four there also three declared candidates; incumbent Carlos Diaz, John Estok, and David Roth.

Residents must be registered by February 18 to vote in the March election.  So far, there are seven voting locations in the city. These election precincts are listed here.

Pinellas County currently has 685,996 Active Registered Voters. Safety Harbor has 13,553, consisting of 4248 Democrats, 5304 Republicans, 3860 with No Party Affiliation and 141 Other.

Statistics courtesy of the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.

shamc safety harbor sunday morning vegan market going on! / jarine dotson photography

in photos
shamc safety harbor sunday vegan marketing going on! / jarine dotson photography

Harbor Happenings: Week of August 26, 2019

in events
A variety of lowers on display on Main Street, Safety Harbor.
Flowers for sale at Market on Main on Sunday, August 25, 2019. (Photo/Janet Lee)

Submit events to our calendar: newsroom@safetyharborsun.com.

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August 2019

Wednesday Night Drum Circle

August 28 @ 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, happening 30 times

Palm Tree Courtyard, Main Street
Safety Harbor, 34695 United States
+ Google Map

"On Main Street by the Happy Salmon Restaurant in the Palm Tree Court Yard. Drumming is good for you in every way. Come enjoy." (Facebook) Please check the Facebook page for cancellations before heading over.

Find out more »

Books and Brews

August 29 @ 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Crooked Thumb Brewery, 555 10th Ave. S.
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 United States
+ Google Map

Crooked Thumb's August Book selection is Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict. Read more about the book on Goodreads.

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Rachel’s Law: The Movie

August 29 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Safety Harbor Resort & Spa, 105 N. Bayshore Drive
Safety Harbor, Florida 34695 United States
+ Google Map
$15.00

Rachel's Law is a documentary about Rachel Hoffman, a 23 year-old college graduate from Safety Harbor who lost her life due to the corrupt practices and use of confidential informants. All proceeds go to the continuation of the Rachel Law. Tickets through Eventbrite.

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2nd Safety Harbor Art Walk

August 31 @ 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Safety Harbor Art & Music Center, 706 2nd Street North
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 United States
+ Google Map

Start at Safety Harbor Art and Music Center and start your tour (self guided or with a tour guide) of local art in local businesses. Print out a map, or use an online map. Live artists creating art thru out downtown.

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Ocean Odyssey CAS Project

August 31 @ 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Safety Harbor Public Library, 101 2nd Street N. FL 34695 United States + Google Map

Teens from Palm Harbor University will raise awareness for oceans all around the world with a presentation, crafts, games, and snacks. (SH Library Facebook)

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September 2019

Market on Main

September 1 @ 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
John Wilson Park & Gazebo, 401 Main Street
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 United States
+ Google Map
Find out more »

First Sunday Greyhound Meet and Greet

September 1 @ 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every month that begins at 12:00 PM on day First of the month, happening 6 times

Crooked Thumb Brewery, 555 10th Ave. S.
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 United States
+ Google Map

Meet greyhounds available for adoption at Crooked Thumb on the first Sunday of each month. GCGA also participates in Safety Harbor's Third Friday event and First Fridays in Tarpon Springs.

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Open Mic with Josh Plummer

September 3 @ 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Troubled Waters Brewing, 670 Main St.
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 United States
+ Google Map

Tuesdays at 7pm

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Wednesday Night Drum Circle

September 4 @ 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, happening 30 times

Palm Tree Courtyard, Main Street
Safety Harbor, 34695 United States
+ Google Map

"On Main Street by the Happy Salmon Restaurant in the Palm Tree Court Yard. Drumming is good for you in every way. Come enjoy." (Facebook) Please check the Facebook page for cancellations before heading over.

Find out more »

InPrompt2! A Prompted Open Mic Night

September 4 @ 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Safety Harbor Art & Music Center, 706 2nd Street North
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 United States
+ Google Map

What's the strangest, oddest, weirdest experience you've ever had? Do you still think of that moment or that thing that happened to you that you were never able to explain? We want to hear it in the form of a story, song or poem. You get up to 7 minutes at the mic. One project…

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Latin Thursday in the Lobby Lounge

September 5 @ 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Safety Harbor Resort & Spa, 105 N. Bayshore Drive
Safety Harbor, Florida 34695 United States
+ Google Map

Live Latin music and dancing every Thursday night.

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Taylor Fletcher Band

September 6 @ 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Harbor Bar, 840 Main Street
Safety Harbor, 34695 United States
+ Google Map
Find out more »

Market on Main

September 8 @ 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
John Wilson Park & Gazebo, 401 Main Street
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 United States
+ Google Map
Find out more »

Wednesday Night Drum Circle

September 11 @ 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, happening 30 times

Palm Tree Courtyard, Main Street
Safety Harbor, 34695 United States
+ Google Map

"On Main Street by the Happy Salmon Restaurant in the Palm Tree Court Yard. Drumming is good for you in every way. Come enjoy." (Facebook) Please check the Facebook page for cancellations before heading over.

Find out more »

Fake Blues

September 13 @ 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Harbor Bar, 840 Main Street
Safety Harbor, 34695 United States
+ Google Map
Find out more »
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