By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - Three incumbents of the Vero Beach City Council have four challengers seeking their council seats.
Brian Heady, Karen Kozdra, Nick Thomas and Dan Stump are looking to take a seat on council from incumbents Jay Kramer, Craig Fletcher and Mayor Pilar Turner. All seven candidates will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Mr. Heady and Ms. Kozdra are featured in this article.
Ms. Kozdra has lived in Vero Beach for 38 years and this is her first time running for public office.
Political issues are often topics of conversation at home, and her desire to run for a council seat this election season came from her interest in politics and the realization that other people in the community aren't aware of the issues.
"By running, I'm hoping to inspire citizens to vote and to be aware of the issues and know what's going on," Ms. Kozdra said.
One of Ms. Kozdra's platforms is a strong desire to review business-related ordinances and improve the relationships between businesses and the city.
"I believe there are a lot of code enforcement issues that could be reviewed," she said.
Without some of the ordinances currently on the books, businesses would be able to grow and thrive in the community, Ms. Kozdra said.
She believes the city council could do a better job of balancing the budget by not subsidizing the general fund from other funds.
During her campaign, she has gone door-to-door in the community talking with residents about what impacts them and where they stand because she believes the best government is one that represents the will of the people. Ms. Kozdra believes listening to what citizens have to say is a big part of what city council members should do.
She demonstrates this by favoring a voter referendum to see if residents want the city council to approve a sale of the electric utility to Florida Power & Light. A previous referendum approved by voters only asked for permission to lease the power plant, not sell the whole system, Ms. Kozdra said.
"The best choice is for the people to decide," Ms. Kozdra said.
She believes she could be a fresh new voice on council if voters give her a chance to sit on the dais.
Ms. Kozdra is married with two children.
Mr. Heady, a former Vero Beach city councilman, is running for election again to hold the city accountable to the people.
The biggest issue in Vero Beach is clearly the sale of the electric utility, Mr. Heady said.
The sitting council is on track to vote on some contracts with FP&L later this month, but he is very concerned about the details of the contracts.
"Nobody has seen those terms and we won't until they vote. People shouldn't enter into a contract and say they will agree to the terms when they don't know what those terms are," Mr. Heady said.
"The council is making the determination that contracts will be available on Oct. 16 to vote on and approve. As I see it, they've got three votes," Mr. Heady.
Mr. Heady is in favor of asking the public if they want to sell the electric utility to FP&L in the form of a voter referendum.
"We promised them they would have that opportunity," Mr. Heady said of his previous tenure on council.
"We're going to have to deal with the aftermath of what this council does. It's going to take some serious thought and input from the community," Mr. Heady said.
However, he doesn't believe the sitting council respects what the community has to say.
"The city council's job is to listen to the public and represent them, not dictate to them," Mr. Heady said.
He doesn't approve of the way the current council has worked with the police department or of the way public employees and their jobs are attacked.
Some people say that privatizing certain areas would be the best thing, but Mr. Heady thinks differently.
Privatization has the potential to bring in lower- wage employees who exist in subsidized housing and on food stamps and end up costing the public more than the city employing members of the community who buy homes and otherwise invest in the community.
Mr. Heady said he would listen to the public and represent their voice on council if elected.
Hometown News is attempting to contact all candidates for City Council for a profile.
To see more candidate profiles, read Hometown News or search online at www.myhometownnews.net.