ISLAMORADA -- Three more people have declared their intent to run for a seat on the Village Council in November.
Former councilman Mike Forster, who owns Mangrove Mike's Café and is a partner in Plantation Key's Rain Barrel; real estate agent Jim Mooney, who is also a former councilman; and political newcomer Todd Chandler, who manages the Harbor Lights Motel, all filed in June for the race.
They join incumbents Ken Philipson, Dave Purdo and Ted Blackburn, as well as hoteliers Paul Bates and Deb Gillis, who had previously entered the race.
Forster, 52, will vie for Seat 5 on the council. He was to run against Bates, but currently faces no opposition since Bates decided last week to switch away from the Seat 5 race and instead challenge Philipson and Mooney for Seat 3.
Forster served on the council from 2002 until 2006, when he did not seek re-election. He said he's running this year so that he can reduce the divisiveness that so often permeates Islamorada politics.
"I believe in moving forward and building consensus with the town," he said.
Forster said that if elected he would support pushing forward with the villagewide sewer project. The project was once again thrown into limbo last week when the Village Council decided not to do business with contractor Veolia/AECOM due to a contract dispute.
Forster also said he would push for replacing the Weiss Serota legal team.
"I'm definitely for having in-house legal," he said.
Mooney, 61, is an agent for Moorings Realty. He was elected to the first Village Council in 1998 and served until 2002, when he was defeated in his second run by Chris Sante.
Mooney filed to run against Philipson, whom he described as his political "polar opposite." But he'll now also run against Bates, the owner of Coconut Cove Resort and a fierce village critic.
If elected, Mooney said he wants to reduce the number of village meetings as well as what he called the "micromanagement" of village staff.
He supports moving ahead with the sewer system, but criticized the council for what he characterized as its emphasis on wastewater to the exclusion of everyday village functions, such as improving roadways and bike paths.
"There are things sitting on the shelf to this day that can be done to enhance Islamorada," Mooney said.
He also said he would push to protect local businesses rather than large corporations like Winn-Dixie.
Chandler, who did not return Free Press phone calls for comment, is a new presence in village politics. He has filed to run against incumbent Ted Blackburn for Seat 4 on the council.
Villagers have until Aug. 7 to sign up for a council run. At present, Purdo, Forster and Gillis have not drawn opposition. Council terms last for two years.