Friday, August 16, 2013

District 2 Candidates on South St. Pete

In the Mayoral debates, South side issues are clearly a main concern. There seems to be general agreement that St. Petersburg as a whole City cannot move forward unless crime, education and jobs in South St. Pete are addressed.

Since the Mayor, whoever that may be, cannot move to solve problems in this critical area without City Council support, it is important that you as a voter know how the City Council candidates line up on recognizing the south side problems and their approach to dealing with them.
It is important to note that Council members are selected first at the district level in the August 27, 2013 primary and then voted on City wide in the November 5, 2013 general election.
I posed this question to the candidates:  What specifically will you do to begin to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in South St. Pete? 
James Kennedy: No response 
Lorraine Margeson:
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.
My ThoughtsJim Kennedy passed on my repeated requests that he respond to the Seven Questions for City Council Candidates. See District 2 City Council Race Updated.
The invitation is still open. Comments will be posted with no editing.
 Kennedy has been primarily focused on the downtown area and specifically the Beach drive corridor. Even though his District runs far north, it often appears his view does not extend much beyond 5th Avenue North.
He has been a LENS supporter from the outset often justifying his votes on the project with some pretty convoluted logic, and consistently in favor of not allowing the public to have input on anything.
On south side issues he sometimes appears more hesitant than supportive.
Kennedy often openly complains about Wengay Newton's antics on City Council, but then reacts in child like fashion with eye roles, sighs, snide remarks and strange body language when he is not sleeping on the dais.
I thought Kennedy was a bad choice when he was appointed to City Council in 2007. Nothing he has done in the last 6 years has changed my opinion.
Loraine Margeson is new to politics but not new to civic involvement, neighborhoods and their views. She lived in South St. Pete, seems to have a feel for the community. Her inclusive and holistic answer to the South St. Petersburg question is refreshing.
Like any political newcomer she will have a lot to learn, but my guess is District 2 would be much better represented and South St. Pete would have a caring advocate on City Council should she be elected.
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
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