Friday, October 4, 2013

Mayoral Candidates Answer Your Questions


A while back I asked you to submit some Questions for the Candidates in the general election  for Mayor and City Council. First let me thank those you who took the time to comment or send me an e-mail.
 A word of caution: This is a long Post. The responding candidates have taken the time to provide in-depth answers to your questions.

Below are the  five questions from citizens, critical to St. Petersburg's future.

1. Specifically with details, what you would do, throughout the entirety of St. Pete, to reduce crime and make the city safe for its citizens?

2. How will you work to bring neighborhoods back into the decision process? What would be your goals for neighborhood participation?

3. Should it turn out that the public's desire is to rehab the existing Inverted Pyramid, how will support that effort and how will you proceed?

4. We have a number of problem schools in St. Petersburg. Specifically what will you do to help improve those schools?

5. Jobs, education and crime are all problems we agree that affect South St. Pete. What else specifically would you do to improve the quality of life for all south side residents?
Not all candidates have chosen to respond. Here are the response from the Mayoral candidates Bill Foster and Rick Kriseman.

The answers were Posted as I received them with NO editing. 

Bill Foster. Repeated e-mails to the Foster campaign and a telephone call resulted in NO RESPONSE from the Mayor.

Rick Kriseman:

1. Specifically with details, what you would do, throughout the entirety of St. Pete, to reduce crime and make the city safe for its citizens?

It starts by making sure our police force is led by a strong chief and that they are working out of a station that is modern and allows them to do their jobs better.  I have talked a lot about the need to return to more of a community policing model, but I am open-minded to whatever approach ensures responsiveness to our residents and also strengthens the officer-resident relationship. Moving back toward community policing does not mean abandoning the use of innovative technologies like predictive policing.

I support ending the current chase policy in order to keep our streets free of unnecessary high speed pursuits.

Finally, there are a host of other issues, such as code enforcement and the demolition of condemned homes, which will contribute to a safer St. Pete.  Education is also a key to reducing crime.

2. How will you work to bring neighborhoods back into the decision process? What would be your goals for neighborhood participation?

This is important. St. Pete is strongest when CONA (Council of Neighborhood Associations) is strong. Neighborhood leaders will have a seat at the table when I’m mayor.

3. Should it turn out that the public’s desire is to rehab the existing Inverted Pyramid, how will support that effort and how will you proceed?

I am committed to spending our taxpayer dollars wisely by moving forward with a new structure that will last much longer than a rehabbed one. I believe we can get this right and that the next design will be well-received if it emphasizes function. However, I’ve always strived to have both an open door policy and an open mind and that won’t change on this issue.

4. We have a number of problem schools in St. Petersburg. Specifically what will you do to help improve those schools?

We’ve lost our way under the current mayor. Mayor Baker recognized the power that the mayor’s office and the city could have on our schools. I want to take it a step further by working closely with our school system to implement service-learning in our classrooms. Integrating community service projects into the curriculum improves both the student and the community and has proven to be a success elsewhere. 

I will continue and strengthen the Mayor’s Mentors & More program (now under the St. Pete’s Promise umbrella) and seek out additional community partners to assist with volunteering, resources, and strategic planning. 

5. Jobs, education and crime are all problems we agree that affect South St. Pete. What else specifically would you do to improve the quality of life for all south side residents?

I like this question because it gives me the opportunity to talk about the bigger picture. I want to knock down these ‘walls’ that too often divide us by making South St. Pete and Midtown cultural destinations. These neighborhoods are home to many historic buildings, great parks like Dell Holmes, and museums like the Carter Woodson. There’s been progress, but we’ve also seen false starts and setbacks. We need to sustain the progress by working to bring in more amenities and conveniences. 

Reducing poverty by 30% by 2020 will better allow the residents of South St. Pete and Midtown to find opportunities and then keep their hard-earned money local. 

Be sure to comment below or you can e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.

Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Kathleen Ford Campaign, Darden Rice Campaign, Concern Citizens of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman for Mayor, District 2 Lorraine Margeson

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