Meet the Candidate: Robert 'Bobby' Saltzman
Three candidates are running for the vacant City Commission seat in November. Today Safety Harbor Patch sits down with Robert “Bobby” Saltzman.
Bobby Saltzman, 65, was born in New York City but lived much of his adult life in Chicago. He spent 25 years in the machine tool industry, where he followed the intense Illinois political scene and rooted for his beloved Bears.
After moving to Safety Harbor in 2001, he went to work as a customer service rep for the county before retiring three years ago. The experience taught him the value of communicating with people, a trait he believes is vital as an elected official.
“Be proactive and let everybody know what is going on,” he said of his political style.
Saltzman's concern over staples being used to tack posters to the trees on Main Street turned into somewhat of a crusade; he actually went so far as to remove the staples himself and deliver them to City Hall in an envelope to try to get the situation resolved.
Today the city uses tape and elastic bands to hang the posters, and Saltzman, having caught the political bug and wanting to do more for his community, decided to run for the vacant City Commission seat.
“When the seat came open I said, let me try it and see what else I can do,” he recalled. “I’m not a politician, but I’ve been a part of the process before.”
Saltzman’s Plans For Safety Harbor
In addition to being “passionate about the environment, Bobby is also a avid writer and father of a 14-year Air Force vet.
Coupled with his work experience, which included some input on department budgets, he believes he is able to help make decisions that will benefit his community.
Here's where Saltzman stands on some key issues affecting Safety Harbor today:
"It’s going to be challenging. We’re a bedroom community We don’t want to become too big. That’s when you run into problems.”
“We need to attract businesses, but also support them. I’d like to see more antiques and boutiques downtown. I don’t think we need to see any more bars, in my opinion.”
“We get a lot of people from other towns here, walking around Main Street, using our library. We’ve got that kind of community, and we’ve got to protect it.”
“I think it should be just that — a park. No large commercial development, no restaurant — the Spa has a beautiful restaurant, why compete with them? It’s a park. Plant trees, put up shelters, maybe a playground or a gazebo. Not a commercial venture.”
“I would like to see the Christmas festival move down there and add a boat show like they have in Treasure Island. ... People could go to the craft show during the day, bring a lawn chair and cap it off with the boat show at night. The cost would be low to the city.”
“We live in a waterworld and we can’t let it get away from us; we have to stay ahead of the curve. We have to be diligent and upgrade (resources) consistently.”
“The residents I’ve spoken to said they’re not opposed to a stormwater fee. I think without that, we’re in trouble.”
"I have mixed feelings. On one hand, yes, 296-plus people to contribute to the city. On the other hand, this is going to put a lot of pressure on the the SR590-McMullen Booth intersection. Not to mention the environmental loss."
"I can only hope the city acts wisely, also that the developer and builder follows all the required processes."
Though he has no real political experience, Saltzman is confident and passionate about his run for commissioner.
He knows some people will question his inexperience, but he wants everyone to know he plans on making decisions that are necessary to benefit the good of the community.
“People are going to expect me to make touch decisions, and I’m going to ask some tough questions.”
"I want to let people know what's going on and be proactive. I want to see crowds showing up to commission meetings whether the issue is good or bad. The residents are our customers, and we need to have them involved."
Note: Salzman's son is a veteran of the Marines, not the Air Force. Also, regarding the stormwater tax, he believes residents think they will be in trouble without it, as long as it is spent wisely. We apologize for the errors.