PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Voters in the Pinellas County waterfront residential community of Redington Beach will soon choose a veteran town commissioner to become their first new mayor in more than a decade.
The question is, which one?
What You Need To Know
- Fred Steiermann vying for Redington Beach mayor seat
- David Will running against Steiermann for mayor
- Both have served on Redington Beach Commission for over a decade
- Election day is Tuesday, March 9
New Jersey native Fred Steiermann is a realtor who has served on the Redington Beach Commission since 2007, and lived in Redington Beach for 22 years.
Chicago native David Will heads a construction company and has served on the Redington Beach Commission since 2010. He’s lived in Redington Beach for almost 30 years.
The winner will succeed incumbent Nick Simons, who has served as mayor of Redington Beach since 2007.
On the issues, there’s not that much daylight between the two men. Both say that problems with stormwater and flooding are top concerns – as was made clear from the toll that the city endured from Tropical Storm Eta back in November.
“I’ve been in my house for 20 years and never had water over the seawall before,” said Steiermann. “The house across the street from me took in nine inches of water. The one next door, twelve inches of water. The rise of the sea level …are things that we need to address.”
”During our last storm, we were woken up to how bad our flooding situation is and our drainage situation,” he says.
Steiermann says that one of the biggest complaints he’s heard from residents as he canvasses the neighborhoods is about the permitting process.
“Contractors can’t get permits out of Town Hall on time,” he says. “I’ve heard from residents that it takes seven weeks to get a permit. These are things that need to be addressed.
Will says that was a problem, but believes the city has addressed it.
“We’ve had some issues with our building department - they had a situation with COVID, so they had to evacuate their building,” he says. “But we have re-worked that, and we are not behind with any permits right now.”
The race is nonpartisan, but Will, a Republican, says on the campaign trail that some voters care a lot about his political affiliation.
“Some people, as soon as they open the door, they hit you with that question – and they either open their arms wide or they slam the door,” says Will, who says he has conservative values and “I’m not going to hide that.”
Steiermann is a registered Democrat. He says that it’s been rare when anyone has wanted to talk about politics when he greets voters.
Will recently earned the backing of Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters and five mayors representing beach communities in the county.
“They all know me, and they want to work with me in the future,” he says. “Part of why I wanted to run is that they were encouraging me.”
Steiermann isn’t that impressed, saying his candidacy is about Redington Beach and the folks who live there.
“I know the mayors from the surrounding towns, and when we have issues that we can all get behind, I’m the first guy on the boat. But for day-to-day problems for our residents on Redington Beach? It’s done here. It’s done at Town Hall.”
Over the past few years, a handful of cities in Pinellas County (Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Gulfport, St. Petersburg, and Largo) have passed resolutions committing to transition to a 100 percent clean, renewable energy future over the next 10-25 years. Both candidates said that they were open to the idea for Redington Beach, but neither would commit themselves to it.
“We can look into anything,” said Will. “I’ll do anything that will help the town. But we need to gather some more facts, apply some logic and reason and see if it works for us.”
Steiermann says he is supportive, adding however that “we shouldn’t be in a position where they regulate that, as much as encourage that.”
Election Day is Tuesday, March 9.