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Sarasota Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009 8 years ago

TOP STORY March: Elected Mayor referendum defeated

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Throughout the holiday week, will be counting down the top 12 stories of 2009 (one from each month) from our Longboat, East County and Sarasota Observers. Check back each day fro a reprinting — and any relevant updates — of the biggest news items of the year.


One issue was decided, but another will have to wait until next month for a final resolution.

City residents were asked to vote whether to have a mayor elected by the people and to choose two at-large commissioners.

The hotly debated elected-mayor referendum, which would have allowed voters to choose their mayor and increased the size of the City Commission from five to seven members, was defeated by a nearly two-to-one margin.

More than 4,400 voters cast their ballots against the measure, while nearly 2,400 supported it. The most votes for the referendum, 302, came from Precinct 1, which runs roughly along the bayfront from 10th street to Golden Gate Point.

Precinct 49, which includes the Indian Beach, Sapphire Shores and Tahiti Park neighborhoods, carried the most votes in opposition, 666. (See chart below for complete precinct breakdown.)

Because no City Commission candidate garnered 50% of the vote, a runoff election will be held April 14 between the top three vote getters, Terry Turner, Paul Caragiulo and Suzanne Atwell.

Turner received 41% of the vote. Caragiulo got 36%. Atwell had 31%.

Precinct 49 gave Turner 368 votes, the most of any precinct. He received just one vote in precinct 153, which is in North Sarasota between Myrtle Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Caragiulo received his highest vote total in Precinct 1, 296 votes. His lowest total, 9 votes, came in Precinct 31, which includes the Amaryllis Park neighborhood in North Sarasota.

Atwell’s largest vote total, 262, came from Precinct 94, which is Atwell’s neighborhood of Bird Key. Her support was lightest in Precinct 153. (See chart below for complete precinct breakdown.)

Current Vice Mayor Ken Shelin finished fourth and will not be re-elected. Shelin seemed to take the news in stride, shrugging his shoulders and saying with a smile, “That’s politics.”

Asked what he’ll do now, Shelin said, “Look for a job, I guess.”

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

To see how each precinct voted, click here.

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