Sunday, August 21, 2016

It only took $531 to expose the highly partisan St. Pete City Council for what it is


Many people think since City Council election races are "non partisan" that the Council is not politically motivated.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

The request by the Pinellas County Democratic Party for a Grant from the City of St. Petersburg's South St. Pete Community Development Area (CRA) has created a bit of a firestorm and some well-deserved  consternation for the Kriseman administration.

The St. Pete City Council is composed of seven Democrats and one Republican, Ed Montanari.

Council Member Kornell (D) tried to remove the request for the Pinellas County Democratic Party, but his motion failed for lack of a second.

You would have thought Montanari would have been the second. Logical thought does not apply here.

At this point, the whole mess was too good a story to pass up so here are some links you must read.

Charlie Frago Tampa Bay Times Staff writer: Pinellas Democrats get TIF dollars to spruce up HQ.

The Democrats were enraged that anyone would be concerned at their attempt to raid a CRA dedicated to improving the lot of south side residents.  See Charlie Frago Tampa Bay Times Staff writer: Pinellas Democrats switch course on TIF grant.

At this point, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board spoke up: Editorial: Bad start for St. Petersburg CRA.

In the end, the Pinellas Country Democratic Party wisely decided not to take the money.

You could take this as a tempest in a teapot, but it does emphasize the cavalier approach of the Kriseman administration when dealing with high-visibility  issues.

Kriseman’s chief of staff Kevin King said about the Democratic Party grant, “Outside the legal ramifications, we were kind of indifferent.”

One would wonder if they are equally indifferent about issues favorable to Republican organizations.

There is enough basic stupidity in this whole mess to go around and cover everyone. The Democratic Party of Pinellas should have been smart enough to see this as a really dumb idea.

Rick Smith the City's lead CRA Official should not have taken his bosses political status into account when he authorized the grant.

Mayor Kriseman should have put a stop to it when it came to his attention.

The problem here is it appears the staff is intimidated by the administration to the point of not challenging things that are obviously wrong.

There are many people that think since City Council election races are "non partisan" that the Council is not politically motivated.

This little flare up should put that argument to a complete rest.

Next election cycle you might want to pay just a little more attention to who is a Republican and who is a Democrat.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to Like or share on Facebook.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

3 comments:

  1. e-mail from St. Pete City Council member Ed Montanari
    Hi Gene,

    I hope you are doing well. Just finished reading your story.

    I did not second Council Member Kornell’s motion for several reasons. There are multiple other items on the list that I did not agree with, and the process that the administration used was flawed. We were told that city staff sorted through the list of applications for fund and noted the pro’s and con’s of each request. The list then went to the Mayor’s office where the decision was made as to which organizations received funding. City Legal advised City Council not to remove an organization off the list.

    I objected to the process and the funding and was the only City Council member to vote no on the agenda item. It was a 7-1 vote.

    Your story implies that Council Member Kornell was against the spending, and that the rest of us voted for it. That was not the case.

    Ed Montanari
    City Council - District 3
    City of St. Petersburg
    P. O. Box 2842
    St. Petersburg, FL 33731
    727-551-3306 / Fax: 727-892-5360
    ed.montanari@stpete.org

    ReplyDelete
  2. e-mail from St. Pete City Council member Ed Montanari
    Hi Gene,

    I hope you are doing well. Just finished reading your story.

    I did not second Council Member Kornell’s motion for several reasons. There are multiple other items on the list that I did not agree with, and the process that the administration used was flawed. We were told that city staff sorted through the list of applications for fund and noted the pro’s and con’s of each request. The list then went to the Mayor’s office where the decision was made as to which organizations received funding. City Legal advised City Council not to remove an organization off the list.

    I objected to the process and the funding and was the only City Council member to vote no on the agenda item. It was a 7-1 vote.

    Your story implies that Council Member Kornell was against the spending, and that the rest of us voted for it. That was not the case.

    Ed Montanari
    City Council - District 3
    City of St. Petersburg
    P. O. Box 2842
    St. Petersburg, FL 33731
    727-551-3306 / Fax: 727-892-5360
    ed.montanari@stpete.org

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete