Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Council Member District 6 Candidates Answer Your Questions

A while back I asked you to submit some Questions for the Candidates in the general election  for Mayor and City Council. First let me thank those you who took the time to comment or send me an e-mail.

A word of caution: This is a long Post. The responding candidates have taken the time to provide in-depth answers to your questions.

Below are the  five questions from citizens, critical to St. Petersburg's future.

1. Specifically with details, what you  would do, throughout the entirety of St. Pete, to reduce crime and make the city safe for its citizens?

2. How will you work to bring neighborhoods back into the decision process? What would be your goals for neighborhood participation?

3. Should it turn out that the public's desire is to rehab the existing Inverted Pyramid, how will you support that effort and how will you proceed?

4. We have a number of problem schools in St. Petersburg. Specifically what will you do to help improve those schools?

5. Jobs, education and crime are all problems we agree that affect South St. Pete. What else specifically would you do to improve the quality of life for all south side residents?

Not all candidates have chosen to respond.

Here are the response from the District 6 candidates Karl Nurse and Sharon Ross

The answers were Posted as I received them with NO editing. 

Karl Nurse   

1. Specifically with details, what you  would do, throughout the entirety of St. Pete, to reduce crime and make the city safe for its citizens?
Crime  -  A return to real community policing, combined with the accountability that crime mapping of hot spots, can provide a beginning of a culture to proactively solve problems.  Also, there is a real need to work further up the crime ladder to get the larger drug dealers, gun dealers, and fences of stolen merchandise.  I hope to have a voice in the selection of a new police chief who wants to try innovative approaches and expects make each neighborhood safe.   I also hope to change our policies for dealing with children who commit their first crime.   If we can work to divert them from the criminal justice pathway early, we can have significant long term reductions in crime.

2. How will you work to bring neighborhoods back into the decision process? What would be your goals for neighborhood participation?
Neighborhoods – I was a neighborhood President under Mayor David Fischer and CONA President during Rick Baker’s term as Mayor.  I believe the co-operation between neighborhoods and city administration was best during David Fischer’s tenure.  A high level city employee who is clearly responsible to lead the turnaround of neighborhoods is critical along with additional funds to leverage private investment.  The steady cuts in codes, neighborhoods, public service reps and housing, all contribute to the lessening impact that the city is having to turn neighborhoods around.   I will work to help recreate a model similar to the Fischer years.

3. Should it turn out that the public's desire is to rehab the existing Inverted Pyramid, how will you support that effort and how will you proceed?
I believe the city should have a robust outreach system to encourage citizens to tell us what functions they most want in a pier (air conditioned restaurant, splash pad, docks, viewing area, etc) along with our estimated costs for each.  Then, I would share this with the potential architects and allow them to design a new pier or use the existing pier as their design.  Designs should estimate both the building costs and the subsidy required.   We can then share those with the voters to get their opinions.

4. We have a number of problem schools in St. Petersburg. Specifically what will you do to help improve those schools?
Schools – I have been on the SAC of two schools.   One did well and the other struggled.   The critical difference was how many parents were active in their children’s education.  The city needs to be a partner in this work.  I support aggressively seeking grants that tackle crime, housing conditions and education as a package in the failing schools neighborhoods.  In the meantime, the city needs to work to increase the number of decent jobs, improve housing conditions and reduce crime in the neighborhoods with struggling schools.

5. Jobs, education and crime are all problems we agree that affect South St. Pete. What else specifically would you do to improve the quality of life for all south side residents?

 Jobs, crime and education – See answer above.  Along with housing, these are the four legs of the stool needed to turn these neighborhoods around.  In each case, the earlier we attack the problem, the better the result relative to cost.  I have worked on housing issues the most because I know the most about it.  There is a logical order in the housing field.

First, tear down the worst housing.  Next, increase code enforcement and rehab incentives for the housing that can be fixed.  When, those steps are clearly moving forward, it will be possible to attract builders to begin infilling on the vacant lots.    Every time we lessen the hurdling to starting and growing a business, the more businesses will grow.  We need to more actively solicit business recruitment.   This investment pays many dividends. 

Karl Nurse
City Council
Dist. 6

Sharon Russ : Repeated e-mails and a phone call produced  No Response

Be sure to comment below or you can 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, Rick Kriseman for Mayor, District 2 Lorraine Margeson

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