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Safety Harbor Candidate Forum Tonight at City Hall

Safety Harbor City Hall
Safety Harbor City Hall will host a candidate forum on Thursday, January 15, at 6:00 p.m.

Two weeks into the new year, it’s time to put the presents and pies behind us and focus on the most important event that will affect Safety Harbor in 2015: the upcoming countywide municipal election on March 10.

The holiday season officially segues into election season tonight, as the four candidates vying for two open City Commission seats will take part in a public forum at City Hall.

Here is the breakdown of the candidates, in alphabetical order, and the seats they are vying for:

  • Seat #1 (incumbent Rick Blake): Janet Hooper; Chris Logan
  • Seat #2 (incumbent Cliff Merz): *Cliff Merz
  • Seat #3 (incumbent Andy Zodrow): Joe Ayoub; Andy Zodrow
Joe Ayoub.
Joe Ayoub.

*Note since no one applied to run for Vice Mayor Merz’s seat, he does not have to attend the forum, as his name will not appear on the ballot. Merz will automatically be sworn into office after the election.

According to the city’s website, the doors to City Hall will open at 6:00 p.m. for a half-hour meet and greet session with the candidates.

After the informal introductory session is over, the four candidates will answer questions that have been submitted by those in attendance, as well as any that have been sent directly to city officials via the website and email.

Andy Zodrow.
Andy Zodrow.

The event will be moderated by representatives of the Pinellas County League of Women Voters, who will vet out any repetitive queries as well as keep the time on the candidates’ responses.

This is an important election for the city, as it will change the composition of Safety Harbor’s City Commission for the second time in a year; the outcome ensures there will be at least one, and possibly two, new faces on the dais come March.

Ayoub, a former Safety Harbor mayor and commissioner, and Zodrow, who has been in office since March, both have city government experience, while Hooper or Logan would be the newcomer to the five-person commission if elected.

But the two longtime community leaders believe they are up for the challenge.

Janet Hooper.
Janet Hooper.

“I have been involved and engaged in the City of Safety Harbor for some time both professionally and as a volunteer,” Hooper, the director of the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center who also serves on various boards and organizations in town, said recently.

“I believe I have the expertise and the skill set to help move the City forward.”

Logan, who has served on the city’s planning and zoning board for the past ten years, was equally as anxious to have the opportunity to contribute to the city in a new capacity.

Chris Logan
Chris Logan

“I am excited to run for City Commission and look to continue giving back to my community through public service,” he wrote Safety Harbor Connect last week.

“I have served on the Planning and Zoning Board for 10 years and now it is time to move on.”

Safety Harbor City Hall is located at 750 Main Street in downtown Safety Harbor.

For more information on the candidate forum, visit the city’s website or call 727-724-1555.



  1. I can’t make the forum tonight and don’t see a way to submit questions online, so I hope someone will ask the candidates what they think of the city’s tax rate increasing by about 10% each of the last 2 years and if they would like to take this opportunity to commit to not raising the millage rate during their term.

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