John Curci Throws Hat In The Ring For Panama City Beach's Mayoral Race

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PANAMA CITY BEACH-- Several spring break ordinances unanimously passed their first reading at Tuesday night's Panama City Beach City Council meeting.

The crackdown on spring break has already brought three mayoral candidates into the race, and the election is nearly a year away.

Veteran journalist and former NewsChannel 7 anchor, Joe Moore has stepped up. Also, two others with a vested interest in spring break have thrown their hat into the ring.

First, Brandon Caldwell, the marketing manager for Hammerhead Fred's became a candidate, and now another member of the service industry, John Curci decided to join the race.

Meet John Curci. "Welcome to Sharkys, where are y'all from?," said PCB Mayoral Candidate, John Curci.

He works as a server at Sharky's, and a bartender at Hammerhead Fred's.

"Can I get you something to drink? A Coke? Sure."

Curci says before this spring break the thought of running for mayor never crossed his mind.

"I will be honest, I never thought about public service until this last spring break," said Curci.

Panama City Beach's mayoral race is a little less than a year away, but three candidates have already thrown their hats in the ring.

Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Anderson says there tends to be more activity in an election when incumbents hit their term limits.

Anderson said, "There's energy, and whenever there's energy, usually there's candidates, and whenever there's candidates, hopefully when it comes time in the next election cycle, they'll have a large turnout."

If many of the proposed spring break ordinances pass, Curci believes many jobs are in jeopardy.

"We hire almost 2,800 people for spring break," said Curci. "If we eliminate spring break completely, those people that are in the service industry that work this company won't be able to go back until middle of May you're looking at them being unemployed for five months."

Curci doesn't agree with some of the city's moves to control spring break, like banning alcohol on the beach.

Curci said, "Have a limit in other words you can only have beer or wine, no hard alcohol or anything else. Something that allows families to still come down and not be confused about what our tourism is here."

He has some other ideas of how to reign in spring break.

"I want to extend jurisdiction to these condos and businesses because they already have a lot of security," said Curci. "Why not get some of those security guards to be able to work on the beach and get them life guard certified so they can patrol the area."

Curci says his experience behind the bar during spring break has given him a better understanding of how to solve the problems.

When asked why people should give him their vote, Curci said, "I love this town. I love everything about it. I don't like the things that have been going on and I believe if we all work together, and come to an honest compromise to save our industry and to make our beaches clean and safe year round."

Now all of the mayoral candidates must either qualify for candidacy by paying a qualifying fee, or by petition, which means they have to get a certain amount of signatures from voters. Anderson says we won't know who's on the ballot until February.

Curci says he has several other ideas on how to control spring break and bring more family tourism to the beach that he hopes to share with the community.

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