The Bay News 9/Tampa Bay Times Debate was one of the best yet for all of the St. Petersburg Mayoral candidates. The format was good. Al Rochelle and Adam Smith did a great job.
Check out Mark Puente Foster, Ford and Kriseman square off in St. Pete mayoral debate.
Near the end of the debate, the Candidates were given an opportunity to ask each other a question.
Kathleen Fords question was: I would like to know what you learned from the sensitivity training you were forced to take following the Krispy Kreme Donuts calendar issue when you were on City Council?
The moderators looked surprised, the audience snickered a bit. After some stumbling Mayor Foster came up with "I guess we learned not to print calendars", and Rick Kriseman, in true politician form, puffed up and indicated his surprise and disdain that a question "like that" would be asked in a Mayoral debate.
The Calendar in question was a promotional piece put together by Krispy Kreme Donuts featuring obese females. It was printed and passed around among Council members as a joke. The City Legal department didn't think it was very funny and asked Council members to attend a formal sensitivity training session.
The answer to Ms. Ford's question is: apparently neither of her opponents learned anything from the incident or the sensitivity training.
Foster's flippant answer shows a disregard for not only for the question but hints that it's ok to mock, ridicule or make fun of people if you don't get caught.
Kriseman's answer is all bluster and political double speak. The mainstay of his campaign.
If these two candidates feel this way about obese women, how do they really feel about African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Gays, Lesbians and others that don't look like or act them?
The question becomes if you are a 250 pound female and show up at the Mayor's office with a complaint about Codes enforcement, just how seriously will you be taken, and could you even get into see Mayor Bill Foster or Mayor Rick Kriseman?
If you are a man you should be shocked by this blatant display of disregard and disrespect for people; and if you are a woman you should be outraged.
This one question and these two men's failure to recognize the question, express concern and compassion and admit they made a mistake and promise they would never look down on anyone again, should be enough to totally disqualify both as worthy of your vote to be St. Petersburg's next Mayor.
The Mayor is supposed to represent everyone, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and let's add size.
To lead St. Petersburg forward, the person setting in the Mayor's office must see everyone as equal. Must be willing to treat everyone as equal and respect every citizen of S. Petersburg.
Just the fact that Foster and Kriseman would dismiss Ford's question the way they did indicates they apparently got nothing out of the sensitivity training and they should not get your vote.
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Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Kathleen Ford Campaign, Darden Rice Campaign, Concern Citizens of St. Petersburg
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