Friday, March 24, 2017

Is St. Petersburg stuck with four more years of Kriseman?

There may be an even bigger issue that Baker and any other serious candidate could be weighing.


St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:
In Search of Robin
So far, the St. Petersburg race for Mayor has yet to produce any significant challengers for current Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Speculation is any serious contenders are waiting to see what former Mayor Rick Baker is going to do. Baker is currently a key player in the Rowdies Stadium referendum, and it is unlikely anything would come from the Baker camp until after the May referendum.
A Baker run for Mayor seems unlikely to me, given the complex City relationship of the Edwards Group where Baker is a key player, the Rowdies project, Sundial and the Mahaffey Theater (Edward's Big Three Entertainment). 
That being said, I think there are very few people who would want to be caught up in a primary race between Baker and Kriseman. It could be messy and very expensive only to end up in third place.
However, there may be an even bigger issue that Baker and any other serious candidate could be seriously weighing.
Kriseman has the City in a significant mess.
The office of the Mayor, over paid, over populated, totally in effective and not very popular with City staff would take care of itself if Kriseman lost, most if not, all would simply be gone.
The City’s new $80 or $90 million police building now getting under way will probably not be much of a problem but should something go wrong it could quickly become a big financial issue.
The Pier is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode, and while any new Mayor could blame Kriseman, he or she still must figure out some fix for a series of inexcusably poor decisions by the Kriseman Administration.
There is no way this project can or will go smoothly. Watched over by everyone from the arts community to the environmentalists, this one will be an ongoing nightmare for most of the next mayoral term. The result is likely to typify the ultimate compromise – no one will be happy.
Then there is the whole wastewater/sewage debacle. Kriseman has pledged $300 plus million to a fix, but I am not sure anyone knows where all that money is coming from. Given that, any real problems are likely to occur right around election time who knows what the Kriseman team may be pumping down those new injection wells, assuming they are complete.
Furthermore, looming large is what many consider Kriseman’s complete failure in south St. Pete: lots of words, plans and promises but few results.
The list goes on.
There is a new school of thought emerging that says the best approach a serious mayoral candidate should consider is just setting this one out and let Kriseman stew in his own sewage based mess. There is really no sense in climbing into the hole Kriseman has dug.
 If he manages to fix everything no matter he term limits out.
If, as most expect, things are worse four years from now, then the time is ripe for a strong change agent candidate without the political impact of incumbency.
For now, it is a waiting game, but the drumbeats from anyone with the financial clout, reputation, and desire to take on the current Mayor are very faint not so much due to his success as his failures.
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