Thursday, December 29, 2016

Did Rick Kriseman make a strategic political error?

Kriseman was looking to spread the blame as far and as thin as he could while totally excusing himself.


Originally Posted June 17, 2016

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

As the level of concern about St. Pete's sewage problem rose along with the untreated wastewater and raw sewage, the Kriseman administration struggled to deal with the fall out.

Kriseman reverted to the old political ploy of deflect and divert as reported in a Tampa Bay From the Times piece by Charlie Frago: As sewage dumping ends, Kriseman reverses course on BP money.

After the meeting, Kriseman excused his predecessor, Bill Foster, saying the severe recession tied that mayor's hands. But he stood his ground regarding the culpability of Rick Baker, who served from 2001 to 2010 and is rumored to be considering a run against Kriseman next year.

Hard to tell if this less than brilliant ploy was the brainchild of Kriseman himself, his political pocket mouse Kevin King or Ben Kirby Kriseman's personal blogger who first declared the effluent highly diluted only to retract that inappropriate statement.

Kriseman was looking to spread the blame as far and as thin as he could while totally excusing himself.

His decision to take a shot at former Mayor Rick Baker may not have been Kriseman's brightest political move.

Baker responded, "My recollection is that council and I spent $200-$300 million on water and sewer capital projects," Baker texted the Times late Thursday. "And I know that we replaced sewer pipes throughout the city. That is a substantial investment."

I had a good friend in the City administration that used to say, "Be careful when you poke the bear."

Baker would like to return to public service and a lot of us; me included, would like to see him replace a lackluster Mayor, who operates an administration staffed with inexperienced political cronies powered by doling out city money.

There is no strong indication that Baker is seriously considering another run at being St. Pete's Mayor.

Baker needs motivation to make that decision and Kriseman may have just poured a little gasoline on a smoldering fire.

I don't think anyone was particularly impressed by the Mayor's attempt to pass the blame for the crap in Clam Bayou, or the untreated waste water in the Bay. At times like these if you're the Mayor you're the guy responsible and supposedly the person who can get the fix started.

Kriseman had a 10-month head's up alert on the wastewater problem but then there were   brighter and shiner things to focus on.

Will this "poke" be enough to catapult Baker into a run for St. Pete Mayor? Probably not, but I have been around Baker after he has been "poked" and quite frequently the reaction was surprising.

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