Friday, June 21, 2013

The City Council Residency Problem May Be Bigger Than You Think

The residency question for Darden Rice, Dr. David McKalip and possibly Lorraine Margeson could go well beyond the election process.

What happens if one or two of these candidates get elected and seated on City Council?

What if in a major decision such as a new Pier, the Rays, the Mid -Town Redevelopment or some other critical issue, someone on the losing side files a law suit saying one or more Council votes that affect the outcome are invalid because the candidate or candidates are illegally seated because they did not meet the residency requirements?

If that were to happen and the challenger prevail, then what would that ruling do to any previous decisions where the now unqualified/invalid candidates votes would affect the outcome?

Should you think this scenario is a bit over the top, consider the enormous amounts of money council spends each year, and the recent actions of power brokers on all sides of the current hot City issues.

When you are dealing with organizations of the stature of major league baseball on legal and financial issues, I would think the administration would want to be on as sound a legal ground with City Council as possible.

It would seem to me that allowing candidates to proceeded where there are genuine residency questions related to their candidacy, constitutes a significant risk to the City and an opportunity for the entire organization to thrown into chaos during and after any such legal maneuvering.

The City Legal department has the responsibility to protect the administration and the citizens from undue legal risk. If there was ever a time to act this is it.

What would be wrong with City Legal asking a judge to validate the residency requirements of all candidates in the primary election?

Throwing your hands up in the air and claiming the City doesn't "verify the accuracy of that affidavit" but relies on candidates to be truthful", as Mark Winn assistant City Attorney said might be fine if your pretty sure the candidate in question is going to lose, but in this case one and possibly two may have a real good shot at winning.

So it is time to for the Legal department to get off its hands, get its head out of the sand and ask a judge to verify the residency of the entire candidate list. That approach assures there is no favoritism.

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.



Monday, June 17, 2013

The Onset of Political Panic

Political Panic in the air is like blood in the water. It spreads really fast.

Although Kathleen Ford is running a bit of a media stealth campaign to date, she is still poling as the front runner. The political establishment and the downtown power brokers are starting to panic.

How much are they starting to panic you ask?

Enough that one of their principal voices, Blogger Peter Schorsch, is now ready and recommending that the LENS crowd throw the whole thing over the side.

Why? To save the political status quo.

This election is big...it is huge...

It may just mean that the possibility of a power shift from Beach Drive and the Chamber to the neighborhoods and the people is about to happen.

How?

The greatest fear that the insiders and power brokers have in this election is that Kathleen Ford will get elected. If that happens, the power players, the Chamber virtually all of them would have to get in line BEHIND the people to have any influence at City Hall. And further, they would have to play by the rules.

Now that is scary....

Apparently there is also growing concern that in a Ford/Kriseman race, Rick just might not be able to pull it off. Both Ford and Kriseman are registered Democrats, but the State Democratic party has put a bunch of money into Kriseman's Campaign.

I don't think the State Democratic Party is nearly as interested in whose running St. Petersburg, as they are having an articulate Democrat as Mayor of the fourth largest City in Florida with good state legislative credentials available to endorse State House and Senate candidates and raise money for the Party in the next election cycle. They did not put all that money into the Kriseman campaign for nothing, and neither did all those Tallahassee law firms.

That's a problem for Rick.

So what's the deal?

Somewhere between 15,000 and probably 18,000 individuals signed petitions wanting a vote on the LENS. If the LENS is not on the ballot, it's a good bet that a significant number of them will not bother to vote in an off Presidential election. Those votes would likely go to Ford and without them that could tip the election in Kriseman's favor.

So how important is political power in St. Petersburg?

It is important enough for the power players to jettison Bill Foster in a heartbeat, and dump a $50M to $100M project (the LENS) that they pulled every political rabbit out of the hat they could to keep alive into the Bay.

All of this bleating about saving the City all of the anguish of a vote is just so much honey to make the bitter pill of "we don't want you to vote" go down a little easier.

How do they accomplish their task?

Simple. All they need is 5 votes on City Council to cancel the Maltzan agreement in accordance with the Stop the LENS petition. I can count 3 pretty sure votes already, a 4th on the edge and if the typical follower, follows the deal is done.

If they can get that accomplished before the ballots are printed, the LENS will be stopped, at least for the moment, and the question will not be on the ballot.

The loss of voter interest could change the election out come.

Mission accomplished.

Some Posts You might find Interesting

Can Stop The LENS Win and Lose in the Same Breath?

The Pier - Are You New to the Argument

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Time To Follow The Money and Give Some

Money is the oil and fuel  that keeps campaign machines running. If you would like to follow the money for yourself check out 2013 Campaign Treasures Report.
Credit  Public Domain
The current data is for the first quarter of 2013, next round of reports is due at the end of June.
Click on the office on the left of the screen and the filings will come up on a new page. Click any candidate for a list of contributors, amounts and campaign expenses.
Bill Foster, Rick Kriseman and Darden Rice are the most prolific fund raisers so far.
For a non partisan election, the Democratic party is ponying up big for Kriseman along with a lot of out of town donors. Makes you wonder what they know and we don't.
No report for Kathleen Ford, She entered the race after the first filing date.
Most of the City Council campaigns run on relatively small budgets, but Darden Rice who is well connected politically is doing an outstanding job of fund raising.
If your thinking about making a campaign contribution, and I would encourage you to do so, but you may want to wait until after the primary.
On the other hand, if your candidate is a long shot then you should contribute now so they have the best opportunity in the primary.
Individual contributions are limited to $500 per candidate for the primary and for the general election.
Most of the candidates have really easy to use web sites, GOOGLE your favorite candidate and that should get you to their campaign web site. You can contribute by check or credit card. The online credit card sites are really easy to use.
A campaign contribution no matter how small puts you in the game. It lets you vote twice. Once with your wallet and then with your pen.
You will be surprised at how your interest picks up once you have a few bucks invested.
Your contribution is important. Most of the candidates I have known or worked for look at that list not so much to see who contributed how much but to see all the names of the people who support them. It is one of those things that keep candidates going when things are not looking all that good.
So no matter how much your favorite candidate has raised, if you have not supported him or her, make a contribution and let them know you are out there pulling for them.
Your contribution is more than money it is true support.
e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.
Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Darden Rice Campaign