SURFSIDE BEACH — Three island challengers are looking for a slot on Surfside Beach City Council while three incumbents hope to keep theirs during the May 14 municipal elections.
The ballot will include incumbents Mark Corey, David Osgood and Georgia Keeney, and challengers Chris Jeannott, Louis Golish and Lisa Bailey.
Early voting is today through May 10.
Bailey, 50, is self-employed and this is her first campaign for public office. She once served as Surfside Beach city secretary and is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. She volunteers with the Save Our Beach Association and the Surfside Beach St. Patrick’s Day parade committee.
Corey, 59, has served three terms on council. A former business owner, Corey also serves as the committee president for the Surfside Beach St. Patrick’s Day parade committee and volunteers for the Save Our Beach Association.
Golish, 64, is seeking his first position in public office. The retired chemist served 20 years in the U.S. Army’s intelligence service. He has volunteered in several positions, including a board member and medic for Clear Lake Emergency Medical Corps. He also is board president for a housing project for elderly and disabled persons.
Jeannott, 46, also is making his first run for public office. He works as a line technician at the Brazoria County Airport and volunteers with the Surfside Beach Fire Department.
Keeney, 55, is seeking a fifth full term on council. She first was appointed in 2002. Keeney works as an inventory specialist and volunteers as a member of the Save Our Beach Association.
Incumbent Osgood, 50, works as a retail sales manager. He is campaigning for a fifth term on the council, which he’s served since 2001. Osgood also is a volunteer with Surfside Beach EMS.
The three candidates with the most votes will win an unpaid, two-year term.
Why should someone vote for you?
BAILEY: As the previous city secretary, I have experience in handling both the daily and long-term issues within the village, and I would welcome the opportunity to apply this experience in serving the community and citizens in a different capacity.
COREY: It would be an honor to serve a fourth term as city councilman of Surfside Beach. My past three terms have been held with an open ear to our residents with concerns regarding the well-being of a unique and fragile island we all love to call home.
GOLISH: I have an advanced degree in physical science from University of Houston at Clear Lake. I also have been the quality assurance chemist for a subsidiary of Dow Chemical for over 20 years. I worked as a volunteer with the city of Houston Homeland Security Department, assisting in the revision and training of the Harris County Citizens Emergency Response Team as a member/medical trainer for Denver Harbor Citizens Emergency Response Team.
JEANNOTT: As a resident of Surfside Beach and an active member of the fire department, giving to the community is something I am used to. I do give my time without any expectation of benefits for myself. I am an open-minded individual who believes everyone is entitled to their opinion. I want to represent the citizens of Surfside and make them feel their opinions do matter.
KEENEY: In my terms of service on Surfside City Council, I have always taken the cares and concerns of my constituents very seriously in my decision-making. I feel I have made myself available to any and all citizens to express their views on current issues.
OSGOOD: I feel I am a good choice for council due to my 10 years on council and my willingness to have an open mind on all issues. I am a volunteer for the Surfside Beach EMS, and I believe this helps me to stay more in touch with our residents. I am very excited to see the positive impact our recent beach renourishment program will bring to Surfside.
What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek?
BAILEY: The village’s aging infrastructure and the need for expanded and new services, coupled with our current limited fiscal funds, demand resourceful thinking. We need to address these issues and consider the creation of a sensitive economic development plan that will maintain the “small town” feel of Surfside without placing the entire financial burden on local taxpayers.
COREY: I shall continue to help pursue infrastructure improvements, i.e. road repairs, water quality, sewage, street lights and the creation of a skateboard park for our kids by way of available grants.
GOLISH: Managing the budget of a small town that has twice as many vacationers as residents.
JEANNOTT: Surfside Beach has the same challenges as other cities, infrastructure, budget concerns and involvement from its citizens. In these economic times, money is an issue for everyone — watching how it is spent in relation to necessity versus things we want. Ensuring the entire infrastructure is meeting the needs of all citizens should be top priority for City Council. With proper, reliable infrastructure, the city can flourish. The citizens of Surfside Beach should feel their voices carry the same weight, whether they own one house, multiple houses or a resident who contributes to the city’s economy by renting a property. Surfside Beach is a community that needs all its citizens’ involvement to prosper.
KEENEY: In light of the financial situation of this country, I foresee issues in obtaining state and federal money for major upgrades to our infrastructure. Working with these agencies is critical in receiving the funds necessary to ensure we continue to move forward.
OSGOOD: Like our neighboring cities, we will need to be sure we stay within our budget in this uncertain economy. We have been hit hard not only with the economy, but with the devastation to infrastructure and property from Hurricane Ike. We are coming back strong, and I am confident we will continue to do so. We have seen the return of new construction, improvements to many structures and increased beach permit sales. We have recently revamped our city website, which I hope will be instrumental in increasing tourism.
How should Surfside Beach capitalize on the beach renourishment project which recently was completed?
BAILEY: Most notably, the village’s Public Works Department is doing a wonderful job of keeping the new pedestrian beach clean. The placement of portable restrooms and trash barrels along with the proposed construction of palapas contribute to the public’s enjoyment of the beach. The best way to capitalize on this project is to continue maintaining the beach. The positive reviews from visitors will generate increased use as the news of our nice, clean beach spreads.
COREY: Our beach renourishment project has been a complete success. However, we must remain diligent. We are still losing beach east of our main entrance at an alarming rate. We must continue to petition the General Land Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and our navigation district for ways and means of saving our beach from further erosion.
GOLISH: The beach attracts so many one-time visitors on the Memorial Day weekend that trash the beach. Instead of selling annual car stickers on the holiday weekend, temporary passes should be sold to those who do not have the annual pass to defray the cost of cleanup.
JEANNOTT: Surfside should not look at the renourishment as something to capitalize on. It was all of us taxpayers who paid for the project. Surfside should be promoting itself as a town that cares about its citizens and property owners to fight for something that was not totally caused by Mother Nature. The concerns of the citizens should be showcased to reflect what a caring community we are, thus prompting people to want to live here, not just vacation.
KEENEY: Through the hard work of Mr. Jerry Patterson and our city officials, the beach renourishment project was a much-needed and welcome sight. I would like to see Surfside continue to pursue a more permanent solution to our erosion problem.
OSGOOD: I believe we will capitalize in several areas. We have already seen an increase in tourism with our beach permit sales, and I strongly believe it is a direct result of our “new” beach. Families want sand to build sandcastles in and put up beach umbrellas; that is difficult to do with no beach. I think this will also help to increase rentals on that side of the island. Understandably, buyers are nervous to purchase property with no beach in front of it. This also has a negative effect on lenders, insurers, the list goes on. Tourists love it, surfers love it, residents love it, the city leaders love it. It is a win-win situation for all. We need to continue to get the word out that the pedestrian beach is back open for business.