Friday, June 28, 2013

Ford and The Tigers Den

I don't know if Kathleen Ford will finally accept the Tiger Bay invitation to what is not really a debate but just an opportunity for the political insiders to ask snarky questions.

Tiger Bay has been an almost obligatory stop for local candidates on the campaign trail for number of years. I have been to a few of the candidate sessions, members come with loaded questions to make this candidate look good and that candidate look bad.

The person that asks the snarkiest question gets "Fang and Claw Award" that should really tell you all you need to know.

The media usually jumps all over the questions and the answers somehow thinking there is any substance in all of this.

It sounds refreshing to me that a candidate would skip this circus which panders to some of the very power brokers that got St. Pete into the mess it's in and concentrate on more serious things like what the people in the neighborhoods want and need.

Ford is presenting herself as something new, something different. Starting right out by making it clear she's not going to come running when the local power broker political club calls her name may come with a small political cost but to me it makes a very big positive statement.

All of these folks have a place in the City its operation and political structure. It's just time someone showed them where it is.

I haven't picked a horse in this race yet but I am leaning toward Ford.

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.

Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Darden Rice Campaign



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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

828 Should Probably Wait

Mayor Bill Foster is working frantically to get a committee together to move forward with the new Pier.

The real question is: why the rush?

Feelings are running high on both sides of the issue. Letting the election play out and allowing some brief cooling off might be a much better approach.

Ostensibly the effort is to get something moving immediately after the election on August 27.

While everybody here appears to be an adult, I doubt with The Mayors' lackluster leadership style that getting these people into the same room and accomplishing anything will happen.

The other really strong possibility is that Mayor Foster may not even make it through the primary. Although placing a few prominent folks in what appears to be a power position related to the new Pier could shift some money and a few votes.

What St. Pete could end up with is a lame duck Mayor and a lame duck Pier committee that anyone else elected Mayor would be smart to disband immediately.

St. Pete and its citizens really don't need all the drama that could bring.

If Foster's objective is to saddle the incumbent with a committee of movers and shakers to make things difficult for a new Mayor to influence the Pier process, he is doing St. Pete a great disservice.

Members of the 828 Alliance: David Punzack (President of St. Pete Chamber), Shirley O'Sullivan ("Lens" advocate), Bud Riser (Stop the Lens), Fred Whaley (Stop the Lens), Rob Kapusta (President of the Downtown Partnership), Susan Jezek (Urban Land Institute), Ed Montanari (Pier Task Force Chairman), Bob Churuti (Beach Drive Merchants), James Jackson Jr. (City of Tampa's Architect), Phil Graham (Landscape Architect) and Dr. Bill Hogarth (Former Dean of Marine Sciences of USF and former chancellor of USF St. Pete).

Are the Kriseman and Ford camps going to have a spot at the table? They should.

Where is some South side representation and what about West St. Pete?

No Architects in St. Pete interested?

How about a house wife, plumber and maybe a truck driver?

The Mayor has proven that he is neither consistent nor trustworthy, ask Stop the Lens, when it comes to the Pier. Committee members should be very careful.

This sounds more like an attempt to once more stack the deck in favor of the power players and keep the people at bay in the Pier process.

Given the speed at which things move when a new administration comes into office in St. Pete, a couple of months or so wouldn't make that much difference.

828 is just another not particularly well thought out Bill Foster bulldozer.

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request. 

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Monday, June 24, 2013

District 8 City Council Race

Candidates: Robert J. Davis, Alexander Duensing, Amy Foster, Steve Galvin, Bill Hurley
NOTE: Even though Mr. Hurley has announced his intention to withdraw from the primary, his comments are included in this Post.
In the Post It's Time To Go On the Record, I asked each registered St. Petersburg candidate  to answer seven questions:
1.  Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
As candidates responded to Comments section,  the Post has become long and a bit difficult to follow, so I have set up a Post for each race and copied, with no editing, each candidate's responses to date.
Candidates who have not responded,  may add them in the Comments section or e-mail them to me and I will add those comments with no editing  to the Body of the Post.

Robert J. Davis:
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?  
     I am pleased to see that the public may finally get to vote on the LENS referendum at the August 27 primary.  I have long advocated that the public deserves the right to weigh in on a $ 50 million project such as this, especially when there appears to be more than 20,000 people have deep concerns about the projects viability and sustainability, as I do.  However, I am concerned about the latest wording to the LENS referendum.  If the public gets to vote on the referendum and votes to terminate the current City contract with the California architect, does that mean it’s the end of the LENS, or does that just mean the City can find another firm to handle the completion of that project.
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
  I wish that the city had not closed the Pier.  I would hope that now that there is a referendum, that there is no further movement on  tearing down the structure.  However, my suspicion is that the mayor wants this area to look as ugly as possible and use that unsightliness to frighten voters into backing the Lens:  some campaign which would both emphasize how much money has already been spent on the Lens as well as the threat that the waterfront area will continue to be an eyesore.  They will blame these “few” disgruntled people for ruining the city and its beautiful waterfront.  Sadly, even with a vote, this issue will continue to be a distraction that takes focus away from larger concerns.
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
  I am in  favor of ending this program although I do not see it as the top of my list when I would be on the council.  I see this as one of the programs that was ill conceived and, as often happens, sounded good on  paper but was not thought out or implemented in a way which could benefit the city. I was motivated to run for city council by my own frustration at the  ineffectiveness of city council and the desire to “raise the bar” so that there are fewer programs which end up having to be fixed or eliminated.
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
I want very much to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, if at all possible.  They have built a competitive team, play in  a difficult division, and they are fun to watch and talk about.  However, that said, I  understand that its current ownership has concerns about the team’s attendance at home in St. Pete.  If it comes to them considering a move elsewhere, than I would like them to be seen as and treated as a “Regional Asset,” and I would fight to keep them inside the Tampa Bay area.  I would make certain that as a regional asset, the City of St. Petersburg would get something of equal or greater value in return if,  worst case scenario, the team were to move to Tampa.  If that were to happen, and I hope it does not come to that, as a fan I would still go to the same 3 or 4 baseball games I attend annually at the Trop.
  One of my campaign platforms is to work on creating more jobs in St. Pete, the kind of better paying jobs that would allow people and families to have more disposable income so they can afford to do things as go to baseball games and support our reinvigorated downtown.  More better jobs being created would go more to achieving our community goals than fighting over where a baseball team plays, or building a stadium with public funds that this City can not afford to spend.  My focus is on continuing to improve our quality of life here, and to improve it for everyone who lives in St. Pete.
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
     I have long been an active supporter of our Neighborhood Association concept and have been an active participant in these community organizations, from the time I moved with my family to St. Pete about 15 years ago.  I have served as a President of a Neighborhood Association with we lived in Crescent Heights, and I am a member of the Central Oak Parks Neighborhood Association, where we currently reside and own a home.
    I am a graduate of the CONA Leadership program, where I was exposed to the diversity of most of the Neighborhood Associations in St. Petersburg.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
         Yes, I support the hiring of a new Police Chief.
     I first met Police Chief Chuck Harmon when I graduated from the C.O.N.A. Leadership program. As a past president of a neighborhood association, I am familiar with his work history.   He’s someone you want to have on your police force and I have respect for many of the things he has done for the community.
     That said, I don’t know if he’s always been up to the task of being a Police Chief.  I think he did a great job as Assistant Police Chief.  I know about our city’s history and past practices in its previous job search several years ago for new Police Chief and I think that we can improve upon that process.  As I understand it, the current Police Chief Chuck Harmon plans on retiring in 2016, so, in many ways, his past practices and accomplishments may be a moot point by the time I am elected to the City Council.
     In any event,  the City needs to work on a plan of succession for the Police Chief.  It’s a very important position in our community.  We most definitely can improve upon past City practices and my focus during the succession process will be two fold:  (1) I will be looking at ways of bringing our city together and; (2) Ending past practices in law enforcement that have in any way or some way have encouraged our City’s racial divide, North and South, East and West, or in any other regional division, real or imagined.
 In some ways, Chief Harmon has been good for St. Pete, while in other respects, he could have made better choices.  That said, the next Chief of Police, will have to be able to work cooperatively with whoever is elected Mayor in November 2013.  I would like to look at what other model cities (from Charlotte, NC to Seattle, Washington; from Detroit and Chicago and St. Louis) has or have done to increase the overall effectiveness of the Police Chief.
7. What specifically will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
    I support preservation of the Community Police Officer program.  As a past Neighborhood President and member of a Neighborhood Association’s Board, I have seen, first hand, how this program and the Community Police Officers in it have assisted neighborhood associations deal with crime on an up-close and personal level and have helped address related problems in the neighborhoods.
      Recent proposed budget cuts of even one or two percent threaten this program, since any proposed budget cut, I’ve been told, would result in CPOs being reassigned to other responsibilities.  As a City Councilman, I would fight to preserve the CPO program, and work on developing more Crime Watch programs.  Crime in the neighborhoods is a community issue, and our police officers in the streets deserve all the community support we can give them.
Alexander Duensing
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
The Lens will likely come to a referendum, and I will support, if it is the people's will, cancelling the contract.
However, it is important that the public know that canceling the contract will not, in itself, save the current pier or cause another design to be built. For either of these two things to happen, we need to also elect leaders who will actively seek another vote about refurbishment, replacement, or demolition. I am such a leader. Not only will I listen to the public—I will heed its will.
Lastly, I would ask all parties on all sides of this issue to be civil and open-minded. There are a lot of good, smart, and concerned people on every side of this debate. Let's give all the respect that they deserve.
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
I believe that the Pier has been slated for closure prematurely. As it stands, the Pier will close at the beginning of the busy season. In my mind, especially with the fate of the whole project in the air, the closing date should have been set to the end of the busy season. That way workers and business-owners would have a bit more of a cushion to get them through.
That is I feel that date should have been set AT LEAST at the end of the season--if not beyond.
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
 Red-Light Cameras
People should not run red lights. Yet, the red-light camera system is flawed.
As it stands, the signals are not uniform: the lights are not all sequenced uniformly, green lights are only linked with pedestrian crossing signs at some intersections, and the yellow lights are of varying duration. These factors make it difficult to determine when a red light will occur.
Additionally, challenging a red-light camera ticket can be difficult. Tickets come in the mail often long after the incident, which make them hard to contest. Individuals who unsuccessfully appeal their tickets are assessed larger fines.
Moreover, the efficacy of red-light cameras in reducing fatalities and injuries is still unclear. Studies differ on their impact.
For these reasons (and insofar as I adamantly oppose any government's use of law to merely raise revenue), I would vote to cancel the red-light camera contract--unless new strong evidence in support of the current system became available or major improvements were made.
I would support, however, the use of longer yellow signals, uniform signaling, and other means to make our roadways safer.
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
The Rays
Currently, I think we have an obligation to keep the Ray's to their contract. However, as time progresses and the contract nears its end, we need to consider our options.
Before the Rays came to town, there were churches, businesses, homes. True, it may not have been the fanciest part of town, but there was a community.
When the stadium was built, this community was torn down. A great sacrifice was made by many for the betterment of the city.
I personally believe we owe it to these people to honor their sacrifice; I my mind, the Rays should be kept to their contract.
However, we should not wait until the final days of the contract to decide the fate of the Rays. A fiscal impact study should be done to determine more precisely the Rays impact on St. Pete and the region. If it turns out that St. Pete would receive a net benefit from allowing the Rays to look at new locations in Hillsborough or Pinellas, the idea should be seriously considered--particularly toward the end of the contact.
Also, I would note, should there be a push to build a new stadium, I would not support building one without a referendum
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
Neighborhood Associations
Neighborhood associations are an important way for neighbors to come together to express the needs of their community.
To strengthen them, I would support neighborhood association grants--particularly for outreach and social events. I would also, as a community-connector, strive to bring neighborhood associations together with other initiatives that benefit the community.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
Crime Prevention.
Firstly, it is my firm belief that although we should concentrate on preventing crime in hotspots, everyone in St. Pete has a right to be protected and to feel safe.
That said, I strongly believe that strong communities should be the first line of defense against crime.
Neighbors who know each other and look out for each other need to be recognized and valued as first-responders: they often are the first to call in a crime or emergency--they regularly are the first people on the scene rendering aid.
Along this line, I think the police-force should be encouraged, as they were years ago, to forge relationships with communities. Contact with officers should occur as a part of day-to-day life -- not merely after a call, Should this transformation occur, officers would be able to prevent and deter crime in a more impactful way and more criminals would be caught.
I would like to mention, however, that the police-force does currently have some great community awareness programs that should be commended and further publicized.
By getting neighbors to work together better and by structuring the police force to work within the community, great strides can be made toward the prevention of crime.
We will need to hire a new police chief. Chief Harmon is enrolled in the DROP program.
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
The South Side
It is my sincerest hope that someday our city will no longer be divided into a "South Side" and a "North Side".
To nurture a seamless city I would begin by--
1. Advocating for better mass-transit so that residents of St. Pete anywhere can experience the richness of our city everywhere,
2. Acting as a community connector to let people all over the city know about the great things going on throughout St. Pete.
3. Supporting the 34th Street South Redevelopment Plan.
4. Promoting love and working to end all kinds of racism

 Amy Foster
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
Amy Foster, Candidate for St. Pete City Council District 8
I will honor the will of the people and whatever the outcome of the referendum is.
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
Amy Foster, Candidate for St. Pete City Council District 8
The decision to close the pier is Mayor Foster’s decision alone. Major restaurants and retailers as well as the person in charge of marketing have already made other plans and will be departing on May 31. It is not fair to ask the taxpayers to foot an even larger subsidy to keep the pier open
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
Amy Foster, Candidate for St. Pete City Council District 8
I am not a fan of red light cameras and will vote to remove red light cameras. I believe safety is important but would like to explore programs that are genuinely focused on safety and not just revenue. There are issues with the timeframe it takes to deliver tickets and the inability to determine who is driving is troublesome. Red light cameras were also not installed at some of the intersections with the highest volume of traffic accidents. There are alternative programs we should consider to reduce red light running, including lengthening yellow lights or creating special pavement markings.

4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
Amy Foster, Candidate for St. Pete City Council District 8
I think the Rays are a great asset to our city and baseball is an integral part of our history. I think many residents of St. Pete made a lot of sacrifices to build the stadium and I hope we can find a way to keep the Rays in a facility in the current location. Their contract is through 2027 and they should honor this contract. While I am open to exploring other areas in the city, I understand we are weakening our legal position if we allow shopping for another site. However, at the end of the day, I believe the Rays are a regional asset and hope we find a way to retain them in this area. The upcoming transit referendum could also be a real game changer for attendance.

5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
Amy Foster, Candidate for St. Pete City Council District 8
Yes. I believe some of our city’s greatest strengths are the neighborhoods and the people who live here. I have seen first-hand how neighborhoods can tackle issues that government can’t address alone. I will continue to attend neighborhood association meetings to keep abreast of issues and concerns and work with neighborhood leaders and city officials to proactively address emerging issues. I support the return of neighborhood partnership grants, particularly in areas with the greatest need. I will encourage our stronger neighborhood organizations to mentor fledging or struggling associations to replicate success.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
Amy Foster, Candidate for St. Pete City Council District 8
Chief Harmon is enrolled in the DROP program and hiring a new police chief in the near future is inevitable
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
Amy Foster, Candidate for St. Pete City Council District 8
We have to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for ALL residents. It’s unfair to pinpoint crime and quality of life issues to be a problem just in South St. Petersburg. With that said, I believe we have much work to do to ensure that residents in South St. Pete have access to quality schools, services, jobs, and safe neighborhoods.
Some of the things I would support are: more proactive policing, targeting hot spots, working with community stakeholders to determine their needs and find solutions, increasing transit options, addressing blight and beautifying areas, and most importantly ensuring youth have access to out of school time enrichment opportunities, internships and employment.
I also support the creation of a 34th Street South Redevelopment Plan which will drastically increase the quality of life for South St. Pete residents.

Steve Galvin
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
yes. The public's voice needs to be heard
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
No, not until we have a publicly decided plan. It makes no sense to shutter the Pier for the summer, just wait for the referendum!
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
yes. They foster ill will towards the city and reek of greed. Not to mention that the technology just isn't there for the "right on red" tickets they have been quick to issue.
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
no. A deal is a deal. St. Pete is the reason that that Rays even exist. They built the stadium on spec only to be turned down for a franchise by Major League Baseball. St. Pete then SUED Major League Baseball and finally got a franchise. IF the Rays want to buy out their contract to make St. Pete whole on their investment then they can shop for a new venue. The bottom line, play better ball and the fans will come. I volunteered at the Trop for 2 years and witnessed the empty bleachers first hand. Unless the Red Sox are in town. Then the place was packed! What does that tell you?
I will be a strong voice to move forward with Greenlight Pinellas. I believe that a robust public transit system would also increase attendance at the games. Hopefully we can implement their light rail designs and have a high speed connection to the Westshore District in Tampa. This will not only boost attendance, it will also enable Pinellas County citizens to travel to Tampa without driving! Imagine being able to take a train to the airport. This is long overdue.
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
yes. I fully support the neighborhood Association concept. I think that Council members need to engage the neighborhood associations in their districts. Every District has unique needs and they need to be acknowledged and addressed by their Council member. I would schedule a meeting with each Neighborhood Assn. President bi-monthly and attend their regular meetings to hear first hand what is lacking and what they would like the City to do or help with on their behalf. I have been very engaged in my neighborhood, having restored several foreclosed or abandoned homes personally.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
I have only recently been made aware that there has been some dissatisfaction with our Police Chief. I would endeavor to learn all the facts and how the rank and file feel about him as their leader. I believe that it is important for officers to respect and be confident in their Chief. However, the Mayor decides this issue
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
Reducing crime and improving the quality of life is something that is applicable to many parts of St. Petersburg. Jobs creation would go a long way towards achieving both of these goals and if we move forward with the Greenlight Pinellas project, the ability to seek employment from a greater radius should be helpful. Education. It's mighty hard to get a decent job without skills. I would encourage more adult learning opportunities and doing whatever we can to keep kids in school. Additionally I feel that the City could offer some assistance to help people stay in their homes and offer tax breaks and lien forgiveness to encourage homeowners and investors to rehabilitate the countless number of homes that need work. I have personally restored 4 homes in N. Kenwood, 3 of them foreclosures, in an effort to improve the neighborhood where I live and we now have a much safer and more beautiful place to live. I have been personally responsible for making sure that 2 individuals that were breaking into homes in my neighborhood went to JAIL. As citizens we all have to step up and not wait for someone else to do it.

Bill Hurley
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project.
I have been actively involved in both Vote on the Pier and Stop the Lens. As a veteran one of the most important rights we have is our right to vote. It is everyone's waterfront. I am a super voter and vote in most of the elections I can
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
I do not support closing the pier until the people have been heard.
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
I would move to end the red light cameras and look at increasing yellow times.
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
I feel the Rays should pay for the chance to look elsewhere. As a city we need to prepare for the day when they may leave. We have to be proactive not reactive.
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
The people in the neighborhoods will make the most difference in their neighborhoods. We as a city need to get as many people into the association as we can. I graduated from the CONA Leadership today and look forward to working with them to accomplish. I will do this whether elected or not.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
This is truly up to the Mayor. If the Mayor thought he needed to change I would like to know all the facts.
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
To reduce crime I would work to make the neighborhood associations grow by working with CONA. We need to remember we are more than just the downtown area. We need to invest in the whole city. I would look to the Miami area for a program where if we have first time non violent offenders we do not put them into the legal arena but use a city ordinance and community service to get them on the right track. Once they become part of the system we have lost them. Not all people are made for college so we need trade schools that will help the residents with a chance at a job with a living wage.
Please add your comments below. Be sure to include the name of the candidate you are addressing if you comment is candidate specific.
e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.
Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Darden Rice Campaign
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District 6 City St. Pete Council RACE

Candidates: Karl Nurse, Sharon Russ
In the Post It's Time To Go On the Record, I asked each registered St. Petersburg candidate  to answer seven questions:
1.  Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
As candidates responded to Comments section of the Post has become long and a bit difficult to follow; so I have set up a Post for each race and copied, with no editing, the candidate's responses to date.
Candidates who have not responded,  may add them in the Comments section or e-mail them to me and I will add those comments with no editing  to the Body of the Post.
Karl Nurse
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project.
Lens - I support allowing the voters to decide this and have voted a dozen times to put a referendum on the ballot.
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
Closing the Pier - As you know, the Mayor, not the City Council, has the power to close the Pier. If it were up to me, I would have voted to keep the Pier open until the voters decided on the Lens
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
 Red light Cameras - I will support fixing the program rather than ending it. If we focus on the red light runners exceeding 1/2 second, then that is where the safety gains are made. The yellow light timing needs to be checked a each of the locations, and right on red should not be part of the ticketing.
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
Rays - I have played a role to help facilitate discussions with the Rays. I believe we will work out an agreement that allows the Rays to take a serious look at the Gateway location and then look in Tampa.
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
Neighborhood Associations - As a former CONA President, I have a very clear understanding of how neighborhood associations can play a significant and positive role in improving neighborhoods and how they help connect the neighborhood and the city. We frankly need an organizer to help re-launch many neighborhood associations. I have helped get two associations restarted in my district.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
Police Chief - I believe the upcoming retirement of the police chief is an opportunity to inject new energy and tactics into the police department. Many police departments have embraced pro-active, hot spots driven police with very powerful impacts. St. Pete has been slowly moving in this direction but can pickup the pace.
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
Crime & quality of life in South St. Pete - This is the area where I put much of my energy. I believe in pro-active and assertively addressing the hot spots and have worked on a number of those such as Citrus Grove with some success. We need to embrace both new tactics and technology. The mobile police unit and cameras are both good examples of pushing crime out.
The quality of life issues require us to simultaneously address: jobs, education and housing. These are significant and long term challenges. I have recently passed three housing related programs: a foreclosure registry, a lien release process and a "Rebates for Rehabs" program. I am working to bring additional jobs to St. Pete and particularly to South St. Pete. My involvement with Melrose Elementary has led me to push for more pre-K education rather than day care programs. Collectively, this work can make a significant, long term difference.
Sharon Ross: No response
e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.
Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Darden Rice Campaign
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

District 4 City Council RACE


Candidates: Dr. David McKalip, Darden Rice, Carolyn Fries
In the Post It's Time To Go On the Record, I asked each registered St. Petersburg candidate  to answer seven questions:
1.  Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
As candidates responded to Comments section of the Post has become long and a bit difficult to follow; so I have set up a Post for each race and copied, with no editing, the candidate's responses to date.
Candidates who have not responded, may add them in the Comments section or e-mail them to me and I will add those comments with no editing  to the Body of the Post.
Dr. David McKalip                

1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
When the “Stop the Lens” referendum is on the ballot, I will vote to Stop the Lens. I have also called for City Council to stop spending on the Lens architect until the voters have spoken. My opponent so far has refused to make a public call for the same, despite my challenge to do so. It is easy to say “let the voters decide”, but it takes courage and leadership to tell people how you will vote and to work for better policy on the pier and responsible actions on spending until that vote is done. That is what I have done. Read my press release on the matter at http://tinyurl.com/cy8ytry or the “News section” of www.McKalipforCouncil.com. Dr. David McKalip for St. Petersburg City Council.
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
I support leaving the Pier open until the vote on the “Stop the Lens” referendum. More importantly, I am offering an innovative approach to rebuild the pier if the Lens is stopped. The Lens can be converted from an entity that consumes a $1.4 million annual taxpayer subsidy to one that that actually pays taxes and provides a venue and destination people will want. The more than $50 million cost of rebuilding the Pier can be borne entirely by a Private entity with NOT A DIME OF TAXPAYER MONEY. To do this, I have offered a “NO COST PIER SOLUTION” that would be accomplished by leasing the Pier to a private company that would bid to build it to City Specifications and that would ensure open access to all. Read more on this at my website at: http://www.mckalipforcouncil.com/no_cost_pier_solution Dr. David McKalip for St. Petersburg City Council.
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
I will work hard to stop the red light camera program. I will work to stop expansion if I can’t get the votes to stop it. I will work to extend yellow light times if I can’t stop expansion. I will hold up other less important votes until the Red light cameras are banned from our city. These cameras have increased auto accidents and are nothing more than a money-making scheme by a government that refuses to cut spending. I have been analyzing and speaking up against red light cameras when it was not popular to do so unlike my opponent who remained silent at they were implemented. My opponent will not work in the way I will work to stop Red light cameras. Read about my activism against red light cameras at my blog: http://sunbeamtimes.com/2012/12/13/crashes-caused-by-red-light-cameras-hidden-since-may-2012-in-st-petersburg.aspx Dr. David McKalip for St. Petersburg City Council
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
The Rays should be able to talk about other sites IF AND ONLY IF, they agree to an addendum to remove their annual $1.4 million taxpayer subsidy from the city. They should also agree pay the full ANNUAL cost of the 30,000 hours (!!) of overtime that our City Police spend directing traffic for the Rays! I stood up with Councilman Gerdes agreeing with his proposal to amend the contract to allow the Rays to look elsewhere IF they agree to have no subsidy. I did not see my opponent doing the same. They Rays can have a new stadium in St. Petersburg if they pay their own way. The taxpayers can’t afford it any longer but the Rays can. However, I will not allow the Rays to do anything to get off the hook for the enormous costs they owe the City if they try to renege on their contract and leave early. Dr. David McKalip for St. Petersburg City Council
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
A key part of my campaign is to help build a “Community of Neighbors”, not a community dependent on government. Neighborhood associations are vital and valuable asset for our city. We should encourage their growth by ensuring that each neighborhood has a relationship with the Police and Fire department. Out city should rapidly and properly respond to neighborhood representatives that report crime, streets in need of repair, issues with vagrants, sanitation and water issues and the like. I have worked hard in my own Neighborhood to facilitate traffic calming, help to design a neighborhood disaster plan for hurricanes or terrorist events and by supporting our local crime watch. I would also ask the Neighborhood association to focus on more bread and butter neighborhood issues rather than ask the city to push social and political agendas. I also would establish a program to allow people to get tax rebates, free passes for Golf, Rays Games (and more!) and forgiven fines and parking tickets if they volunteer time in their community. This “Good Neighbor Reward Program” is described on my website and would help us build a Community of Neighbors. People helping each other one-on-one will serve our city better. http://www.mckalipforcouncil.com/a_community_of_neighbors. Dr. David McKalip for St. Petersburg City Council
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
This question is difficult to answer as it is so broad. It would be irresponsible for any candidate that has not been intimately involved in the management of the City to comment on whether the Police Chief should be replaced since that would rely mainly on politics. It is clear however that reform is needed in the police department from a number of perspectives with the most important being spending. The Citizens of St. Petersburg need tax relief – a family of four now pays an EXTRA $1,500 per year for the cost of St. Pete City government than it did in 2001 (with 365 fewere workers and 3,500 fewere residents)! While the Police department wouldn’t be the main or first place to find savings, there are opportunities for savings there. We need to support responsible efforts to consolidate the call center if it can improve and not jeopardize public safety. While we need a new police station, it should be affordable to the citizens of St. Petersburg and the City Council should evaluate it critically. We have a high quality, brave and loyal police force and they deserve our respect and support. But they must also ensure that as they engage in their police work that citizens are protected from things like high speed chases and shooting at moving vehicles (which is against city policy and happened recently).
PART I Answer to Q7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
There is no easy way to reduce crime ANYWHERE, not just in South St. Pete which should not be considered a “separate city” but part of the entire community. Crime can decrease naturally as a result of prosperity, freedom and opportunity. For too long the City Council has acted like THEY were the source of the “quality of life” of citizens. This is wrong thinking and it turns out that government “solutions” often cause more problems. The people of St. Petersburg, including South St. Pete, are capable of great things if we allow them to work on their own problems peacefully. But look at what happened with the Sweetbay grocery. The grand visions of a government created grocery store disappeared when the Federal money dried up, but not without harming smaller businesses in the neighborhood (http://tinyurl.com/c9ewgn5). The city has also bought up empty lots with government money and harmed property values (http://tinyurl.com/csgdtev). At one point the put in a house made out of a metal shipping container from a freighter on 13th Ave. S. only to have to spend more money to tear it down (and never checked with the local neighborhood first)!
PART II Answer to Q7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
If we treat people with respect and STOP PANDERING to them, they will solve their own problems. However they need a stronger police presence. Neighbors need support from the City when they are trying to drive drug dealers out. They need to know that we will have their back if they help the city clean out crime and we will have their back when they do the right thing. My “Good Neighbor Reward Program” would also help us build a community of neighbors by sending the message that it is one-on-one help that will rebuild communities, not another government program. This program would reward citizens for tutoring kids, adopting a rehabilitated prisoner returning to society or helping a single mom. We can’t “solve” decades of problems with more of the same failed government solutions that have caused many of the problems to begin with. It is time for a different course and I would help lead the way towards a community of neighbors and a racially unified St. Petersburg by first FOCUSSING ON THE COMMON VALUES shared by various communities: faith, family, freedom, independence, personal ownership and economic empowerment. Learn more at www.McKalipForCouncil.com. Elect Dr. David McKalip for St. Petersburg City Council!

Darden Rice:
The following response is from Darden Rice District 4 City Council Candidate sent to me via an e-mail.
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project.  
YES. It's time to hit the reset button and let the laboratory of democracy settle this one. The City's handling of this project has left much to be desired.  I do worry about what a stopped process says about the City, and I worry about a dragged out process leaving us with no options for a new Pier. This is no way to run a City and the process has left the public divided and distrustful of its leaders and city staff. 
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
 YES. The approach is structurally unsound. I do not support continuing subsidies to keep a poorly managed concept going on life support. It is not evident why there was such a rush to close it with a referendum right around the corner, but the entire City process has been difficult to justify.  
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
YES. 
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
 NO.  Major League Baseball has decades of history of undermining St. Pete and this is one of their typical tactics. I want the Rays to stay and we should support them, and we have to be smart about our protecting our contract agreement. 
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?  
YES. See my website issue page, please.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?  
YES. It's time for someone new at the helm. 
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
Since no other questions are asked about crime, except this particular question that specifically couples it with only one section of the city, I find the premise of this question somewhat troubling.  I will make reducing a crime throughout the entire city a priority without singling out any area or treating it differently.  I support community-based policing and the concept of a police professional that has a responsibility to public service. I received the endorsement of the Sun Coast PBA in this race. 
As for issues related to the southside, I support creation of a Midtown TIF district, supporting a Youth Advisory Council and Task Force, bringing in another CHC (community health center) and the supporting Johnnie Ruth Clark Health Center.
I support historical preservation efforts of buildings in midtown.  
City support for southside cultural amenities should be on par with support for other institutions. I support clear citywide goals that include objectives for midtown as part of a 'seamless mentality.'
Furthermore, in my  community work, I have always worked to promote easy access to and participation in voting, expanded early vote locations and hours, and voting right restoration.
 For more information about my views, please see the issues page on my website. 

Carolyn Fries
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
Yes. I will vote in favor of cancelling the contract with Michael Maltzan, confident that we can together come up with a comprehensive waterfront plan that is affordable for St. Petersburg’s people. I believe a city must be progressive to be successful, but should also listen to the will of the people and take into account the current economic conditions when making decisions. St. Petersburg has had and ideally should have a pier, but can its people afford to pay for it in today’s economy? What other city services will suffer as a result of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Funds being dedicated to this project? While Tax Increment Financing (the means by which any improvement to the pier would be paid for) may not directly raise taxes, there is a definite impact on future tax revenues. To the public: before making your own decision and casting your vote, please take some time to research how Tax Increment Financing works. Also visit http://www.thenewstpetepier.com, http://www.wowstpete.com and http://www.stopthelens.com for information from both sides regarding The Lens design. And, as always, feel free to contact me if you’d like to talk more about it.

2. Do you support closing the Pier?
Yes. While one could argue the pier could safely remain open for a few more years beyond the May 31, 2013 date, a decision to close it has been made and retailers and restaurants have taken action to move their businesses. If elected, I would not take any action to reopen the Pier or halt its demolition. The inverted pyramid approach and head have been determined to be near the end of their useful life. It is impossible to predict exactly when the structure will become a danger to users. Closing the pier is the best and only option to avoid risk to human life.
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
Yes. Given the opportunity, I would vote to eliminate red light cameras in St. Petersburg. Citations are assigned to the car, not the driver. Inconsistent modes and timing of traffic signals throughout the city make it such that a driver’s (same) behavior may be acceptable at one intersection and result in a citation at another. The process to appeal a citation is broken. However, the easy answer is for people to make sure they stop short of the line before the light turns red. Then the problem will resolve itself.

4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
No, the Rays should remain at Tropicana Field until the end of their lease. Aside from the potential for a new stadium at another site, which would serve primarily to increase the team’s value for its owners, I do not see any benefit to the Rays moving elsewhere in Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay families are struggling in today’s economy and should not be forced to pay for a new stadium, especially when the current lease agreement at Tropicana Field does not expire until 2027. All that said, the Rays are one of many amenities that, when combined, make St. Petersburg Florida’s best city and I want them to remain here and be successful. Their idea to build a future fan base by focusing on children today is brilliant (look at what Apple did by donating computers to schools). I look forward to the opportunity for collaboration with community leaders and the Rays toward identifying creative solutions that best achieve common goals of the people of St. Petersburg and their team.
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
Yes, I support the neighborhood association concept. I was Treasurer of the Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association in 2006 and it’s President in 2007 & 2008. We had an active board that worked well together and membership rose by more than three times-from around 30 to over 100-during my involvement. We held porch & block parties, Easter egg hunts, 4th of July in the park, annual fall harvest festivals and luminary walks. We also implemented traffic calming on 5th & 7th Streets and spearheaded the restoration of Crescent Lake leading to a group called The Friends of Crescent Lake who still maintain the lake plantings today. I completed the CONA leadership program in 2008 and am part of the Leadership St. Pete Class of 2013. As a city council member, I will use that experience to support District 4 neighborhoods by listening to and seeking residents’ input, helping them resolve neighborhood issues, assisting dormant associations get started again and regularly sharing news from the city council.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
Personally, I have been satisfied with the performance of Chuck Harmon and would be fine with him serving until retirement. However, if a Mayor were elected that wanted to replace him at an earlier date, I would not oppose the Mayor’s decision.
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
I would focus on the children of South St. Petersburg because they are the future. Children are amazingly resilient and can accomplish great things when given the opportunity. I served as Treasurer/President of the John Hopkins Middle School PTSA in 2009-10 and it’s President in 2010-11. During 2010-11 we had 150 JHOP students participate in the fall fundraiser, selling over $17,000 of cookie dough, a 2x+ increase from the previous year. The profits were used for teacher supplies, the theater program, drum corps uniforms, student awards, and the 8th grade dance, among other things. While I still need to approach and obtain support from all the parties involved, I hope to work with the school administrators, teachers, PTA/SAC groups, the city and the business community to actively engage children (and their parents) in projects to improve their schools and/or neighborhoods. The process of project identification and selection, fundraising and execution would serve as a valuable learning experience, provide a sense of accomplishment and instill pride in their community.
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District 2 City Council RACE - Updated


Note: Reposted as a new candidate has entered the race.
Candidates: James Kennedy , Lorraine Margeson
In the Post It's Time To Go On the Record, I asked each registered St. Petersburg candidate  to answer seven questions:
1.  Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
As candidates responded to Comments section of the Post has become long and a bit difficult to follow; so I have set up a Post for each race and copied , with no editing, the candidate's responses to date.
Candidates who have not responded,  may add them in the Comments section or e-mail them to me and I will add those comments with no editing  to the Body of the Post. 

James Kennedy: No response 

Lorraine Margeson:

1.  Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
We have our vote Aug. 27th, VOTE YES TO STOP THE LENS
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
The Pier must be re opened ASAP, no I do not support that move to put upwards of 400 folks out of work when this city knows quite well that the LENS is going down.  The Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor should be ashamed of themselves for supporting this. Whatever happens after we defeat the LENS it will be years and years before any replacement in whatever form.  Re open the pier NOW on a limited basis, maybe open the first floor to kiosk business in air conditioned space (I know that several businesses who were just kicked out would return in a New York minute), open the top to some small bar/restaurant service, and instead of the $300,000 the city makes from the two parking lots going into the general fund, use that to subsidize a partially opened pier, keep floors two and three closed.  The public would LOVE THIS...........AND MAYBE A FEW MORE FOLKS WOULD BE PUT BACK TO WORK!!  Refurbishment should definitely be an option when the LENS is defeated.  The city is simply telling un-truths when they say that refurbishment "is impossible"..the city is simply telling un truths when they say it would cost 87 MILL to refurbish because IN THEIR REFURB PLAN THEY WIDENED THE APPROACH BY 50 FEET, yep they sure adds a LOT of cost to a pier approach rehab, that should be NARROWER not widened, what was this city thinking????..look at the engineering reports to see the other side of the truth on the possibility of repair and renewal. Refurbishment would be the most environmentally friendly and likely the least costly option in the end. 
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
 Absolutely
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
The Rays are a private concern and can do whatever they want as long as contract issues are met with the city and it's on their dime.  We have far more important issues on the table for this city than the Rays to address at this time.
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
Absolutely, paying attention to the neighborhood association process would be helpful, it seems that this important component of city support services has been ignored in this administration.  The Neighborhood Partnership department for the city used to be very vital and very helpful, that department needs to have the resources and support to once again be an effective outreach and support system to the neighborhood association concept.  Council members need to make regular visits and NOT just to their district meetings, but go to meetings all over the city, we must keep our ears to the ground in order to gauge the feelings and desires of our constituents.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
Since I hear that Chief Harmon is retiring, of course!!!
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
One of my priorities if I have voter support to sit on council will be a focus on public safety issues and the  quality of life enhancement and economic development that a safe atmosphere brings to a neighborhood or business district.  From approximately 1996 thru 2001 I ran the 34th St Corridor Crime watch.  We had a VERY active volunteer group that worked successfully hand in hand with the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, our group carried out weekly anti drug marches along the corridor when I still lived in that neighborhood before moving to my current location in NE St. Pete.  We helped establish nuisance abatement cases for the police department to pursue, and recorded drug dealing and prostitution cases for the officers to act on, neighborhood cleanups, the whole nine yards. I participated in anti drug marches throughout the city as well.............I know how neighborhoods can support each other.  That kind of partnering needs to come back strong to create vibrant neighborhoods, neighbor helping neighbor in conjunction with strong neighborhood policing initiative partnerships,  economic development AND code enforcement/nuisance abatement pursuits.  Neighborhood watch programs where telephone trees and regular communication is part and parcel of the commitment along with regular visits with the crime watch coordinator and the community policing officer/officers in charge are VITAL to success along with the Neighborhood Partnership department at City Hall.......just putting up signs is a useless pursuit.  Volunteers keeping watch with city government/law enforcement support is the formula that will move a neighborhood to a safer situation.
e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.
Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Darden Rice Campaign
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St. Petersburg Mayor's Race


Candidates: Anthony  Cates, Paul  Congemi, Kathleen Ford, Bill Foster, Rick Kriseman
In the Post It's Time To Go On the Record, I asked each registered St. Petersburg candidate  to answer seven questions:
1.  Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
As candidates responded to Comments section of the Post has become long and a bit difficult to follow; so I have set up a Post for each race and copied, with no editing,  the candidate's responses to date.
Candidates who have not responded,  may add them in the Comments section or e-mail them to me and I will add those comments with no editing  to the Body of the Post.
Anthony Cates : No response
Paul Congemi:
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project. Of course. I believe in carrying out the will of the people.
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
 Not now. It should be kept open until we know what comes next. That means after the referendum vote.
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
      See my website.
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
No, but I don't think I can stop them from talking.
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
Yes, neighborhood associations are wonderful. The energy to make a good association must come from the residents, though. This isn't something you can bring about from city hall. I support neighborhood policing as one way to bring more cohesiveness to the neighborhood.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
Yes. There were several actions taken by the police that were just really bone-headed, like bulldozing a house to get to a criminal holed up in the attic. We don't need bone-heads in city government.
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete? Not nice to insinuate that one part of town has the only crime problem. Steve Galvin had the best answer, so ditto what Steve said.

Kathleen Ford:
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
The citizens of St. Petersburg value their waterfront. Accordingly, I believe that they should have a vote on the Pier, especially where the current mayor sought permission from the Southwest Florida Management District to bulldoze the inverted pyramid before any plans for a new pier had been finished or approved. The 78,000 sq ft of commercial space located at The Pier is a significant City asset that is structurally sound. No engineer has opined that either the inverted pyramid or the foundation upon which it rests are not structurally sound. Meanwhile, architect Ken Kroger has stated that it would cost the City over $35 million to build this inverted pyramid today.  I believe the citizens of St. Pete should vote on whether this icon should be saved. I think the Charter requires referendum approval if the City wants to permanently dispose of it by demolishing and not replacing the pier building.

After Vote on the Pier obtained the required petition signatures I suggested ballot language to the City attorneys and City Council which would give the citizens an opportunity to vote on the future of the waterfront. I suggested a primary with all choices: park only no pier, pier only, renovate inverted pyramid building, looping figure 8 sidewalk over water (Lens) or something else.  I suggested that the two choices receiving the most votes then be voted on in a general election to determine the winning choice for the waterfront.
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
I did not support closing The Pier.  When Parsons Brinkerhoff performed its engineering analysis of the pier approach, pier head and inverted pyramid, it suggested a staggered construction schedule so that the Pier shops could remain in business during construction and renovation and the City would maintain a revenue stream through the construction. That makes sense to me. The Pier has required a subsidy because it has been poorly managed and the maintenance costs have
increased because the pier approach, the bridge portion, needs so much attention. These would be significantly reduced or would disappear altogether with a new bridge structure and better management.
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
I do not like red light runners. As a registered nurse I cared for people injured in car accidents as a result of red light running and the personal injuries can be devastating. Rather than make the intersections safer, however, the City has implemented a program that shortens the yellow light making the incidence of red light running more likely. This is stupid and wrong. There are standards for lights in intersections to allow the safest passage and these should be followed. This mayor, city council and administration have lost all credibility in this area. No one trust City Hall since they fail to advise the  public that the number of accidents actually increased.

Considering this, I think the program should be scrapped.
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
The City, County and State have a significant investment in the Rays baseball team here in St. Petersburg. I know we have some very loyal fans in St. Petersburg. I also know that millions of dollars in bonds issued by the City will not be paid off until 2025. Thus,  this investment warrants significant attention in any such discussions. It is hard to understand, at times, where the Rays want to be. On the one hand, the Rays wanted a half a billion dollar stadium on the City's waterfront. A few months later, however, the Rays said they were having difficulty in St. Pete and wanted to look outside of St. Petersburg, outside of Pinellas County and some have rumored outside of Florida. How in that short period of time could the economic conditions have changes so quickly? I understand that the Rays have a business decision to make. I am always open to discuss our relationship with the Rays. I understand my fiduciary duty to the citizens of St. Petersburg on these matters.
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
As a former neighborhood association president, member of the City's first neighborhood plan planning committee, and liaison to other neighborhoods considering neighborhood plans (Bartlett Park, for example), and as a result of my involvement with the City's Housing Roundtable, State Housing Initiatives Program (SHIP) and as the creator of the City's Homeless Task Force (at the request of Steve Kersker, the first Chair of the City's Homeless Task Force) and participant in the Visioning 2000 program, I am a champion of our neighborhoods. This program has been steadily defunded and staff reduced until very little remains today. And, it shows in our struggling neighborhoods.  I would restore it and the neighborhood partnership funding. Our city has many, many caring neighbors in many diverse, unique and special neighborhoods. They should be supported in their efforts to restore all of our neighborhoods in St. Petersburg. I would reenergize the program with additional support from all relevant
departments, such as police, codes, sanitation, traffic, etc
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
Every position will be evaluated, including that of the police chief.
7. What specifically what will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
We need to support education, summer jobs programs, after school activities and vocational and technical education to ensure that everyone finds a place to work and be successful in our community.

The citizens of St. Petersburg deserve open, honest and accessible and accountable government. I will work to restore our neighborhoods, revive and support our commercial districts, ensure that every child has a successful education, seek out sustainable environmental opportunities and demand fiscal responsibility. We can do better and I ask the citizens of St. Petersburg to  vote for me, Kathleen Ford, on August 27, 2013.
Thank you!
Kathleen Ford 
 
 
Bill Foster: No response 

Rick Kriseman:
1. Should the LENS come to a referendum, will you support voting to stop the project?
Yes.
2. Do you support closing the Pier?
I support keeping the approach and pier head open to pedestrian traffic for residents and visitors to enjoy until we move forward with a new pier (not The Lens).
3. Will you move to end the red light camera program?
No.  If utilized properly, the use of red light cameras should be for safety purposes only, not for the purposes of making money (the goal is for driver behavior to change, which would ultimately result in revenues dropping and eventually no revenues flowing into the city for the use of the lights).  Red light camera placement priority should be at the intersections with the highest incidents of accidents.  I also don't support right on red tickets being issued via cameras.
4. Do you support the Rays talking to anyone in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County about a stadium site?
My preference is for the team to remain in St. Pete and to thrive here. If that proves to be unrealistic - if the Rays simply do not want to be here any longer - then they should be given the opportunity to pay an exploratory fee in order to look at other locations, provided those locations are in the Tampa Bay area. Throughout the negotiating process, I will ensure that our taxpayers are protected. While a sense of regionalism is important, especially in tough economic times, my primary duty will be to the residents of St. Petersburg. 
5. Do you support the neighborhood association concept and what will you do to specifically help rebuild this City asset?
St. Petersburg is home to many unique, culturally rich, and historically significant neighborhoods. These neighborhoods deserve the full support of city hall.
As mayor, I will encourage effective and influential neighborhood associations by funding the Neighborhood Partnership Grants program and support staff and treating our Codes Compliance Assistance Department as a budget priority.  As we continue to emerge from the economic downturn and related budget cuts, we must look to restore funding to the areas that were hit the hardest, and that includes Codes.
My goal is for each neighborhood or area to have its own vibe, to be its own destination. Visually appealing signage at neighborhood entrances and wayfaring signage in populated areas is an easy first step and a resource for both residents and visitors.  But to truly strengthen the identity of a neighborhood we must better promote its distinct flavor and help tell its story.
6. Do you support hiring a new Police Chief?
I’m not going to discuss specific personnel changes while I’m campaigning, but with a much-needed new police station on the horizon, an opportunity exist to rebrand our department in order to boost morale and to rededicate our department to its three major tenets – Respect, Accountability, and Integrity.   I believe that this is an ideal time to begin a new chapter for the St. Petersburg Police.
7. What specifically will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete?
First, I am a supporter of the traditional community policing philosophy which emphasizes the relationship between the police officer and the neighborhood in an effort to promote trust and cooperation.
But one of the most important things we can do is focus on education. A strong public education system fuels our economic engine and has a positive impact on public safety. That’s why the mayor and all municipal leaders must work with our schools to help our young people succeed.
As a state representative, I passed legislation requiring the Department of Education to make service-learning curriculum available to our public schools. Integrating meaningful community service with instruction and reflection, service-learning enriches the learning experience, teaches civic responsibility, and strengthens communities. As mayor, I will work to have service-learning implemented in all of St. Petersburg’s public schools.
I will continue and strengthen the Mayor’s Mentors & More program and seek out additional corporate partners to assist with volunteering, resources, and strategic planning. And because not all students and young adults take the same path, protecting the Job Corps program located in Midtown will be a priority of my administration.
Finally, as I believe crime is the outcome of many unfavorable conditions, including the lack of jobs paying a living wage, we must do what we can to understand and address these root causes in order to create a safer St. Pete for future generations.
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