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Shores Town Council race could be one to watch

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of January 22, 2015)

It looks like there’s going to be a Town Council election in Indian River Shores on March, and possibly an interesting one.

That’s happened only twice in the past dozen years, in 2003 and 2013.

Somehow, the whole representative democracy thing seems to get worked out ahead of time in the Shores, with the preferred candidates receiving the nod, and being elected by acclamation.

Or sometimes, as in 2011, one or more of the challengers backs out soon after the qualifying period ends, making the number of candidates equal to the number of seats available – nice and tidy, no election needed.

But if Richard Haverland, Mike Ochsner and Linda Bolton all stick it out, Shores voters will have a decision to make at the polls on March 10, picking two out of the three people running.

Incumbent Richard “Dick” Haverland is actually running for the first time, as he and former mayor Tom Cadden were the only two remaining when it came time for Supervisor of Elections Leslie Swan to print the ballots in 2011.

Councilman Mike Ochsner, who was selected by the council in December to serve out the last three months of Cadden’s four-year term, didn’t have to run his first time either in 2009. Then he narrowly lost his re-election bid in 2013 when there were four candidates for three seats.

Incumbent Vice Mayor Jerry Weick, Brian Barefoot, who was selected as mayor, and Tom Slater were victorious challengers and Ochsner was unseated.

The day he was tapped for the interim seat, Ochsner said he didn’t intend to run. The retired CEO said he yearned to get back to serving on the Town’s Finance Committee in March in time to start working on the 2015-16 budget. But then Ochsner filed paperwork and qualified last week.

The hot issue in 2013 was whether or not the Shores should install a cell phone tower on Town property. Ironically, two years later a handful of alternate plans have come to naught and there’s still no tower.