PALM HARBOR – Three candidates are vying for the seat of honorary mayor of Palm Harbor.
The honorary mayor’s race was started by the Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce in 1982 and has been a long-standing tradition since that time. This year’s winner will be announced at the chamber’s annual dinner, Oct. 5, at The Centre.
The candidates will raise money for the Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce Foundation and for a charity of their choice. Each candidate will host their own fundraising events and ask contributors for $1 or more per vote. The proceeds will be distributed equally among the charities.
“The Foundation is educational and provides scholarships for teachers and students of the month luncheons,” said Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Connie Davis.
Davis said that mayoral races in the past brought in between $3,000 and $10,000 annually. This year, anyone in the community can contribute to the race.
Bob Pictor, owner of Pictor Marketing Solutions, has lived in Palm Harbor for six years and is gearing up for the campaign.
“It’s not for any of us who are running for mayor; it’s for the charities that we support that we’re doing this,” he said. “The important thing is to get money for the two charities. I’m not in it for personal gratification. I’m in it to raise money.”
Pictor’s fundraising will benefit the FEAST Food Pantry, which helps 3,200 North Pinellas County residents each month.
“I’m very happy to be working hard because I feel that both of these charities deserve help – especially FEAST – when you go down and see the people coming in and how many people are being helped every day,” Pictor said.
Pictor is selling insurance policies to homeowners for $10 to raise funds.
“This is unbelievable,” he said. “Ladybugs will appear on people’s yards – five or six at a time – with a sign that says ‘you have just been hit by a ladybug invasion.’”
For homeowners with no insurance, the one by 3-foot metal lawn decorations will be removed after a $10 donation is made. For a $15 donation, the ladybugs will be sent to a neighbor’s yard.
“I think it’s going to be a very unforgettable campaign,” Pictor said.
Patriot Bank Manager Arlene Tracht has chosen to raise funds for The Jessica Dover Foundation, which was started by Dr. Lisa Marsh, a chiropractic physician in downtown Palm Harbor. The Jessica Dover Foundation offers alternative health care treatment to underprivileged children with autism.
“Dr. Marsh is a wonderful doctor. She does a phenomenal job with the children,” Tract said. “The results have been incredible.”
Tracht is handing out autism bands with a donation of $5 or more.
“I can’t think of a better or more worthwhile way to make these children whole,” she said. “That is the theme of our campaign – to give back to the community, especially the little ones.”
Tracht will be a guest bartender Aug. 9 at the Thirsty Marlin Grill & Bar, 1023 Florida Ave.
Ed McCallister, 49, is an assistant bank manager at Cadence Bank and lives in unincorporated Clearwater. He is knocking on doors and attending other meet-and-greet events to acquaint himself with the citizens of Palm Harbor.
“It’s really a great opportunity,” he said. “All three charities that we’re raising funds for are great community charities.”