Now that qualification season is over, here’s a recap of the town commission candidates.
Seven candidates have qualified for next year’s Town Commission election, three incumbents and four newcomers to the commission race. Some have lived on the island for decades and others moved here just a few years ago.
All are men who range in age by a factor of 30 years. One is a Florida native.
Four will find their way to the Town Commission in March.
Over the past month, the Longboat Observer has introduced its readers to these candidates in hopes of giving voters a peek inside the lives of those who hope to lead the town during the next two years.
Each of them took different paths, but all of them ended up on Longboat Key. To get the campaign rolling, the Longboat Observer asked each of these commission hopefuls one more question before the candidate qualifying season ended Nov. 20: “What do you see as the top priority for the town in 2018?” Election day is March 20.
Clair, 78, moved to Longboat Key more than 20 years ago after he’d retired at 58 from a law practice in Chicago. This Country Club Shores resident has served as an At-Large commissioner twice before, from 2005 to 2009, and now in the District 1 seat since his appointment earlier this year.
2018 Priority: There are many important competing issues such as beach nourishment, north end flooding, traffic and undergrounding of utilities. However, I believe that the No. 1 top priority should be the completion of the total review and update of the Town’s Zoning Code.
Schneier, 65, moved to Longboat Key in 2009 after retiring from practicing law with Bank of America in the wake of the recession. This Bay Isles resident, a self-proclaimed problem solver, spent most of his life in New Jersey and New York City and now serves as the Planning and Zoning Board vice chairman.
2018 Priority: Many important issues face our island, including traffic, beach renourishment, canal dredging and flood control. In my view, however, the highest immediate priority will be getting the Colony plan right. As a fully developed community, LBK’s future is either renewal or decline. This critical 2018 project will set our course.
Weber, 58, moved to Longboat Key three years ago after retiring from the insurance industry. This Connecticut native and self-proclaimed optimist has served as president of the condominium association at the Islander Club of Longboat Key.
2018 Priority: Increasing enforcement over short-term rentals on LBK. Why should Airbnb, VRBO and others continue to skirt 30-day minimum occupancy periods, thumbing their noses at our zoning regulations, disrupting our quality of life AND then pay no taxes? Short-term, “transient” occupancy leads to increased noise/nuisance complaints, parking violations and most importantly, traffic density. More stringent and smarter enforcement is key to preserving and protecting our beautiful island.
Zunz, 81, moved to Longboat Key more than 20 years ago toward the end of his career-long tenure as a litigator in New Jersey. This Lands End resident has served as a District 5 commissioner for two years, vice mayor for one and was formerly on the Zoning Board of Adjustments.
2018 Priority: I could name 10 top priority challenges for 2018, as we enter the new year with a new town manager, planning, zoning and building director, public works director, mayor, and at least one new commissioner. Top quality individuals are not enough. Working together and blending with existing top quality department heads, staff and volunteers, we must continue to be the best team to meet all challenges. With optimism, I see that as our top priority.
Langley, 51, moved to Longboat Key full time 10 years ago when he “semi-retired,” he said, from his career as a mid-Florida developer. This Florida native, former owner of the Cedars Tennis & Fitness Club and former prospective developing partner for The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, is new to town governance.
2018 Priority: I could narrow it down to fiscal responsibility and infrastructure. Due to my youth, I probably have a different outlook.
Pastor, 75, moved to Longboat Key some 15 years ago after retiring from the Pepsi business, a family operation he’d worked in since his youth. This New York native has served as an At-Large commissioner since 2014 and president of the L’Ambiance At Longboat Key Condominium Association.
2018 Priority: The revision of the LBK Comprehensive Plan with particular emphasis on the land-use and land-code ordinances. This must be well-defined to solve the conformity and nonconformity status of all properties for future development. The goal is to preserve the unique character of our island while protecting the health, safety and welfare of the residents.
Wilson, 80, moved to Longboat Key in 2004 after selling his collectibles business and relocating to the United States from the United Kingdom. This Canadian native, now a United States citizen, spent much of his life in England where he sold collectible dolls and teddy bears internationally.
2018 Priority: Start of plans to end LBK traffic strangulation. IT WILL WORSEN with new homes planned north and south. From S.R. 70 build a road to Sarasota Bay. Connect to a toll tunnel/ bridge/causeway to the Whitney area. This third crossing must be private for LBK residents, families and employees.