Tuesday, June 4, 2013

St. Pete City Council District 8

Primary: Council voted by District, Mayor voted City Wide August 27, 2013
General: Voted City wide all offices November 5, 2013

Election Polls open at 7:00AM and Close at 7:00PM

For the past few weeks I have been posing seven specific questions to the candidates. Many have chosen to respond most of the major players have not responded up to this point.

Below is a list of candidates for District 8

I have copied with NO EDITING the responses to the seven questions and posted below under each candidate's name.

District 8

Alexander C. Duensing
4720 31st Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
(727) 289-5106
Email: Lexlander@gmail.com

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) 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) 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 signalling, and other means to make our roadways safer.

4) 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 5) 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 one without a referendum.

7) 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 nuture 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.

8) The Police Chief

We will need to hire a new police chief. Chief Harmon is enrolled in the DROP program.

Amy Elizabeth Foster
2460 Burlington Avenue North, #1
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
(813) 469-2306
Email: amy@amyforstpete.com

1) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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.

William B. Hurley
3027 ½ Burlington Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
(727) 512-5073
Email: LBWB4@Live.com

Bill Hurley, Candidate for City Council District 8
1) 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) I do not support closing the pier until the people have been heard.
3) I would move to end the red light cameras and look at increasing yellow times.
4)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)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) This is truly up to the Mayor. If the Mayor thought he needed to change I would like to know all the facts.

7) 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.

Robert J. Davis
P.O. Box 16924
St. Petersburg, FL 33733
(727) 348-5634
Email: RJD007R@gmail.com

No response

Steve Michael Galvin
3161 12th Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
(727) 323-7303
Email: Galvin4citycouncil@gmail.com

Steve Galvin running for City Council District 8.

As brevity was requested I will keep my responses brief.

1. yes. The public's voice needs to be heard.

2. 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. 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. 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?

5. 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. 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. 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.

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