Holic Faces Abburuzzino in Venice Mayoral Race



Spending at City Hall has cast the mayoral contest this year in fiscal terms. Mayor John Holic faces a challenge from media activist Frankie Abbruzzino, who promises greater fiscal restraint and government responsiveness.

Abbruzzino says city officials, including Holic, haven’t interacted enough with the people, and if nothing else, challenging the incumbent boosts that dialogue, which is part of why he went for this seat rather that going for a less competitive City Council seat. Beyond that, he wants the city to pursue controllable and sustainable growth policies and abandon the current “aggressive” stance on development. “I am tired of the council allowing developers to buy property under x zoning, knowing that they are going to lobby the council to change the zoning for their condo project in a residential area,” he says. But he has also been irritated by fiscal policies, like repairing a parking are near Sharkey’s or putting $3 million into repairing trolley systems while police and fire buildings remain in disrepair. “Stop kicking the can,” he says, promising voters prompt action on pressing issues while guarding the city’s tax dollars. Abbruzzino runs the local watchdog website The Venice Scoop, as well as the nationally focused The Uncensored Report.

Holic is running for a third term as mayor; he defeated incumbent Ed Martin six years ago and won re-election unopposed three years ago. He notes that while there has been consternation about growth around Venice, much of it occurred outside city limits. He notes that the City Council recently approved a planned development unit, but on land already zoned for development and at a lower housing density than had previously been approved. He has also pushed for a change in how Venice citizens are taxed, hoping a municipal special taxing district could be set up so Venice residents to pay for Sheriff’s services in addition to supporting the city police department. “It’s to try and make the taxation more fair,” he says, noting similar tactics have been used successfully in Charlotte and Pinellas counties. He hopes having new voices at the county commission, where two existing members are term-limited this year, will help spur that conversation anew.

The Venice mayoral election is scheduled for November 8.

Pictured: John Holic, Frankie Abbruzzino

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