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Deltona mayoral race a gentle rivalry between Masiarczyk, Denizac and Storozuk
Contest could be decided Tuesday, Aug. 26
By Al Everson
posted Aug 22, 2014 - 9:39:30am
The trio of hopefuls seeking to be mayor of Deltona are now in the final stretch of the primary campaign.
The three-way contest has Deltona's founding and current mayor, John Masiarczyk, fending off challenges from a longtime city commissioner and teacher, Zenaida Denizac, and a political newcomer and Army retiree, Jody Lee Storozuk.
As the Aug. 26 balloting approaches, all three candidates say they are pleased with the progress and state of the race.
"It's going well, real, real well," said Denizac in a telephone interview on the run.
"Going good," incumbent Mayor Masiarczyk told The Beacon.
The third candidate, Storozuk, sounded even more upbeat.
“It's going extremely well," he said. "I honestly believe some people are going to be surprised by the outcome."
As they meet voters and seek their support, the rivals say they are hearing residents’ concerns. Denizac says she is gratified by expressions of support and a desire for change.
"People say, 'Thank God you're running.' They're excited I'm running," she said.
Masiarczyk said he wants to expand Deltona's infrastructure, especially "water, roads and sidewalks."
"They want to know what we have planned for the future," the mayor said, referring to voters. "Most of the campaigning, you're educating them. They want jobs and restaurants."
The mayor said he hears from people wondering about code enforcement, both for and against aggressive efforts to deal with violators.
"What can we do about cleaning up our city?" Masiarczyk said, regarding crackdowns to improve the appearance of neighborhoods. "You have people out there that want it. You have those opposed to it.
"Many people think that their home is their castle," he said.
Storozuk, who entered the race following a code-enforcement tangle with City Hall, said the people he meets are worried about the economy and a seeming lack of empathy on the part of city leaders.
"People are talking about the prices of things going up. It seems City Hall is running rampant. The knights are out, and there's no king," he said. "They're worrying about taxes going up."
All three candidates said they are concerned about the economy and how Deltonans are coping with the slump.
“People are certainly hurting," Denizac said. "The economy is getting better, but it's still very fragile. People are having a hard time."
Denizac added she had opposed raising property taxes and increasing water rates in years past.
"People know how I have voted," she said.
Masiarczyk agreed the economy is a worry for many.
"The people are still hurting. They're still struggling," he said. "The taxpayer has been hit too hard for too long."
Storozuk, too, said the state of the economy is such that the municipal government should restrain its spending.
"They should wait until the economy takes hold," he said. "Just because MSNBC says the economy is getting better — they're making $300,000 a year, and it's like the people in Deltona are making $25,000 a year."
As the primary approaches, all three candidates also agree the campaign has been a clean one.
"I don't like being negative," Denizac said.
"If there was any mud out there, they'd be slinging it," Masiarczyk said. "This has been a very good campaign."
"It's been too quiet," Storozuk said.
Denizac has complained about the disappearance of some of her campaign signs, but Masiarczyk said such incidents are nothing new.
"Signs are always going to be gone. They use them for yard signs or tomato stakes. Vandalism's always part of it," the veteran campaigner noted.
Under state-election law, one of the three candidates could be elected mayor of Deltona in the Aug. 26 primary, if he or she cops more than 50 percent of the votes. Otherwise, the two candidates receiving the largest numbers of votes advance to the Nov. 4 general election, continuing their campaign for another 10 weeks.
If he wins another term as mayor, Masiarczyk will likely continue to be virtually a full-time leader, as he is retired and can afford to devote the time to civic service.
Denizac said she does not yet know if she will still teach at Pine Ridge High School if she is elected.
"This is something I'm going to play by ear. I know I'm supposed to be a part-time mayor," she said. "I want to do what is in the best interest of the people."
Deltona has a city-manager form of government, in which the mayor is largely a figurehead and a member of the City Commission. Although the post is mainly ceremonial, the mayor nevertheless wields influence and clout in shaping Deltona's image and fostering the public perception of the city, its people and its business climate.
Should he become mayor, Storozuk, who works as a CSX rail inspector, intends to curtail that work, which often requires him to travel out of state.
"If I should win the primary, I'm coming back to Florida. I've talked to my employer," he said.
Moreover, Storozuk promised he will not accept a paycheck as mayor. Rather, he added, he plans to donate the $12,011-per-year salary to organizations and causes, such as Little League, that benefit Deltona children.
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