The Longboat Key Town Commission will have at least one new face following the town’s March 25 general municipal election.
Vying for the District 3 seat, which Vice Mayor David Brenner will vacate after four years, are At-Large Commissioner Terry Gans and Bayou resident Ray Rajewski.
Gans originally planned to run for another at-large seat but opted to run against Rajewski, who was previously unchallenged, after reading Rajewski’s comments in a Nov. 14 Longboat Observer article titled “ULI study: worth $133,816.35?” in which Rajewski said:
“It was worth it, because we now understand we have almost a perfect island. The recommendations they came up with, for the most part, are so farfetched I don’t know how you implement anything. We already have a town center. It’s called St. Armands Circle. That’s where you go to walk around, see residents and get a cup of coffee. The other way to answer is, it’s a waste of money. If that’s all they can come up with, it tells me we have a pretty nice place with not a lot to improve upon.”
Gans said he chose to run for the District 3 seat because he couldn’t let Rajewski’s position go unchallenged.
“In that edition (of the Longboat Observer), the comments attributed to Rajewski about the ULI study and Longboat Key served as a wake-up call to me, because his reported views are basically a negation of the work the commission has been doing for the past four years, and what I see as the spirit and desire of our community,” Gans said.
Gans’ switch leaves Country Club Shores resident Armando Linde, a retired economist who serves on the town’s Investment Advisory Committee and Firefighters’ Retirement System Board, to face off against L’Ambiance resident Irwin Pastor, a retired CEO, who serves as vice president of the Islandside Property Owners Coalition.
The commission selected Gans for the at-large seat following the resignation of Commissioner Hal Lenobel in July 2012.
In the town’s general municipal election in March 2013, Pastor challenged Gans for the remaining year of the term. Gans won by just 27 votes.
Rajewski ran for Brenner’s District 3 seat in March 2012 and lost by 90 votes.
Voters will face another choice when they cast their ballots March 25: They’ll have to decide whether to delete from the town’s charter the requirement that the town maintain a permanent Zoning Board of Adjustment, a possibility the commission began considering because of the board’s longstanding difficulty to obtain a quorum.
The town’s voters will pick two commissioners and determine the future of the Zoning Board of Adjustment in March.
Contact Robin Hartill at firstname.lastname@example.org