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Hood wink



God love Tom Levine. As a politician, he's not the least bit practical. But at least he's got passion. And he's at it again.

The barefoot mayoral candidate brings a mixed bag of policy proscriptions, some wise, some whimsical, some just wacky, to his effort to foment a "peasant revolt" and take over City Hall from Mayor Glenda Hood, against whom Levine ran for a short while in 1996 and who is expected to seek a third term next year.

Levine, who also ran unsuccessfully to fill the District 1 City Council seat that Hood vacated in 1992 to become mayor, is so far the incumbent's only announced competition. (Hood ran virtually unopposed in 1996, too, challenged only by Levine; Steve Villard, whose write-in "campaign" was meant to draw attention to his plight as a divorced father seeking custody of his daughter; and a woman in a Carmen Miranda head dress calling herself Bonita Conchita Martita Havana Banana-Poluvsky. Call it "randomocracy," wherein the incumbent is challenged by citizens chosen as if by lot.)

Levine describes his candidacy as "Democracy's current chance for redemption," and hopes to inspire "not only regular voters, but those who don't vote because they're disgusted." In 1996, Hood collected 7,475 votes -- 81 percent of those cast but less than 11 percent of those eligible. "I think it shows the confidence level the people have in my administration," Hood said at the time.

So what would a Levine administration bring?

No new taxes, he promises, and no light rail. And no road improvements either, because wider roads bring more people, which makes life tougher. "Inadequate infrastructure is not a problem," Levine writes in what might generously be called a "position paper." "It's the solution to population control." He's for ending "frivolous projects" and saving Ben White Raceway. He would stop the demolition of 84 houses to make way for a Boone High football field. And Levine would stop the "Limo" bus service, replacing it with "rickshaws pulled by police bikes, with quick release feature."

Married and the father of two boys, Levine "sells outdoor stories to magazines," according to his website. Other personal details from the site: "`P`ut himself through four years of university at the now unheard-of F.T.U., majoring in everything from physics to ping-pong, emerging with a B.A. degree. ... After graduation he used his college education to continue in manual labor, mostly construction, with one magical year teaching sports and tutoring at a private school for little kids ... `D`id some traveling on foot in other tropical parts of earth, living with natives of these places and seeing that there's other ways to do things, by jingo! ... `M`ember of the `U.S. Hang Gliding Association`, the only organization he ever joined besides the Columbia Record Club."

A campaign account is set up at First National Bank of Central Florida.

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