Monday, October 29, 2007

OSHNA gets new leader

Residents from Tampa's biggest neighborhood association packed into a meeting Tuesday night for an important vote: For the first time in three years, they would elect a new president.

Susan Long ran unopposed, but that didn't take away from the significance of the leadership change. The president is the face and voice for the outspoken 500-member Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association.

Randy Baron was just a computer programmer with little neighborhood involvement before he moved into the neighborhood in 1999. He says Seminole Heights made him a leader.
He became well-versed in everything from code enforcement to development. During his three-year presidency, he ran for the City Council.

Although not elected, Baron will move on to work more closely with the council, as vice president of THAN, a citywide umbrella organization of neighborhood associations. His group will encourage more neighborhoods to form and have a citywide impact on issues such as zoning and transportation.

As the new president, Long plans to work with the neighborhood's commercial corridors, incorporating more businesses into the association. She also wants to increase membership and encourage historic preservation.

Neighbors look forward to her leadership.

"She's very impassioned about what she does, and she's really big into code enforcement," said neighborhood trustee Eric Krause. "She has no problem going up to someone and saying, 'You're wrong.' That's what the neighborhood needs."

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