Friday, August 23, 2013

District 8 Candidates on South St. Pete Quality of Life

Since the Mayor, whoever that may be, cannot move to solve problems this critical 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?

District 8 Candidates: Robert J. Davis, Alexander Duensing, Amy Foster, Steve Galvin

Here are their answers posted as they submitted them, with no editing.

Robert J. Davis:                           

    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

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            

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

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.

My Thoughts

What will be a recurring them throughout this series of Posts will be the City Council candidates reluctance to step up and admit there is a difference between North and South St. Petersburg and that major difference is crime, policing education and jobs.

For example Amy Foster says above "It’s unfair to pinpoint crime and quality of life issues to be a problem just in South St. Petersburg".

If candidates are not willing or lack the political courage to stand up and identify specific community issues, then any Mayor will have a difficult time addressing the problems.

Of these three Mr. Davis seems to have clearest picture of the most imminent problem in South St. Petersburg: crime.

The people who live in South St. Pete know what their problems are. They know that poverty, lack of jobs, poor education and especially crime set on their quality of life like an anvil.

They are NOT offended when you talk about it because they live it every single day. They want you to talk about their side of town, they want to know you understand the problems and most of all they want to hear what you will do to help them so they can cast an intelligent vote.

As a candidate, if you get invited to a debate be ready with a meaningful answer to this question, because the politically correct answer may well be why you lose.

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Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Kathleen Ford Campaign, Darden Rice Campaign, Concern Citizens of St. Petersburg

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