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Levine: a moving story


Count neighborhood activist Tom Levine as among those unhappy with the redistricting process.

The reason? His south Orlando home was redrawn from District 1 into District 4. Levine, though, wants to run against District 1 Commissioner Don Ammerman in next spring's election.

Levine, a freelance writer and engaging oddball who won 3,000 votes in last year's mayoral election, has continued his politicking with periodic appearances at council meetings in his trademark shorts, sandals and untamed hair. He alleges that Ammerman worked behind the scenes during the redistricting meetings to ensure he was forced out of District 1.

Not so, says Doug Head, head of the Orange County Democratic Party and a member of the city's redistricting committee. Levine's neighborhood was among those needed to help District 4 gain 12,000 residents after its loss of the Naval Training Center, he says: "It's not that anybody hurt Tom. It's that nobody would help him."

A Levine-Ammerman showdown would no doubt interest City Hall observers. Levine, who says Ammerman is too pro-development, gained almost all of his mayoral votes from the east side of I-4. Ammerman, meanwhile, received only 958 votes the last time he ran, in 1998.

But Ammerman says he isn't worried about Levine. "Tom has run before," he says. Indeed, Ammerman spanked Levine during the 1992 commissioner race, 1521 votes to 534.

Even so, Levine is ready for a rematch. He's moving from his home of 15 years so he can face Ammerman next spring.

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