Friday, October 20, 2017

The rationale for electing Rick Baker Mayor of St. Petersburg

Baker never picked “his” solution over the solution the citizens wanted.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.


Previously Posted August 27, 2017

To get a feel for how Rick Kriseman sustains his positions read these two Posts from a 2013 interview I did with the then potential candidate Rick Kriseman.



Looking at what has transpired in the last three-plus years of the Kriseman administration it can truly be called unprecedented. Beginning within hours of his swearing, Rick Kriseman began a deliberate process of politicizing the office of Mayor of St. Petersburg.

Hiring his two longtime political cronies, Kevin King and Ben Kirby, who remain on the city payroll through this election cycle, to populate his office of the mayor was just the beginning.

Kriseman’s attempts at making the political stage by tweeting a ban against now President Trump while possibly cute was really stupid. It had no place in City Governance and only made St. Pete look small not the City it is.

Kriseman’s careful manipulation of the Pier Selection process to get “his Pier” approved not the voter’s choice clearly indicates his complete disregard with how the citizens of St. Pete feel.

This should be a warning that all those south side leaning platitudes are just another Kriseman scam. All he wants is your vote, if you don’t believe that ask yourself this question: what has he done for you in the last three-plus years?

Finally, there were the lies. The sewer system the sewage leaks, the nature of the problem and never taking responsibility. And a hastily constructed plan with no currently long range dedicated funding.

And now an endorsement from Barack Obama that is very hard to believe because there is no doubt the former president has little or no knowledge of what Kriseman has done or the lies he has told or the promises he has failed to keep.

More misdirected partisan politics from  Rick Kriseman.

Rick Baker has done what he said he would do. He put practical solutions in place for south St. Petersburg. He had a significant impact on quality of public education in all of St. Petersburg. He worked to fix the infrastructure problems existing during his two terms.

Baker never picked “his” solution over the solution the citizens wanted.
Baker choices for his staff were never made on cronyism but on competency.

Rick Baker built the strongest neighborhood association structure the City of St. Petersburg has ever had.

Most of all when Rick Baker gave his word, you could believe it.

Four more years of Rick Kriseman and his politically inspired approach to local government will leave the City of St. Petersburg in the biggest mess we have seen since the beginning of the strong mayor form of governance.

Your vote for Rick Baker can put St. Petersburg back on the path to a higher quality of life, better schools, sustainable infrastructure, respect to all citizens and recognition of the world-class city St. Petersburg is.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

Please comment below. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

St. Petersburg Mayoral Campaign - The Baker Blueprint for City Services

We will immediately put back online the City Scorecard


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

This is the eighth of a eight-part series detailing the Rick Baker Plan for St. Petersburg


For more than eight years as Mayor, Rick Baker worked to transform St. Petersburg into a modern, prosperous, safe, neighborhood- friendly and seamless city. From jobs and economic empowerment, to schools, neighborhoods, the arts, our environment, and public safety, this “blueprint” will guide Rick Baker’s efforts to restore competence, commitment and honesty to City Hall.

Any successful city must have great jobs and a vibrant economy so all residents can earn the type of living that provides the greatest opportunity for themselves and their children. That is why I want St Pete to once again become a dynamic leader on this front, leaving no one behind.

A city must provide great services in the most cost efficient way. Our city should and will track how it is doing and how we can improve.
CITY SCORECARD:
We will immediately put back online the City Scorecard, performance measures in readable, graph form measuring significant aspects of the city’s success in accomplishing the plan moving forward. The scorecard becomes a management tool to improve all operations of the city – across the board. I don’t understand why our current mayor removed the City Scorecard and I believe that every taxpayer has a right to know how our government is performing.
Examples of City Scorecard metrics include school performance, crime rates, permitting turnaround, emergency response time, sidewalk and pothole repair time, tax rates, trees planted, sewer repair progress, bridge replacement and others – 160 measures altogether across the five strategic areas of Public Safety, Neighborhoods, Schools, Economic Development and City Services. This information belongs to the people of St Petersburg, open and available for all to see. It will be constantly reviewed by our internal auditors to prevent political tampering.
SEWER SYSTEM: The criminal and civil investigations of the Kriseman administration’s sewage spill, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife report that followed, have made it clear the cause of the crisis was Mayor Kriseman’s premature shut-down of the Albert Whitted Treatment Plant, along with his refusal to re-open the plant after his first spill of 31 million gallons occurred four months after the closure. Trust me, I will be rolling up my sleeves and aggressively addressing this area on Day One.
We will immediately work with state environmental regulators toward the goal of reopening the downtown sewer plant (treating up to 25 million gallons per day) which
was prematurely taken offline by the current mayor. The problem is complicated by his efforts to dismantle portions of the plant.
We will continue efforts, accelerated during my administration, to repair and upgrade our sewer plants and distribution system. This includes seeking budget support from the state for new infrastructure, and devising a plan to reduce the financial impact on the rate paying public – especially those in low income categories – who now face soaring utility bill hikes.
Most importantly, I will openly and honestly tell the citizens what’s going on, even if it’s bad news, in contrast to the current mayor who consciously and purposely misled, misinformed and lied to us about the cause of the spills and the existence of sewage pollution in Clam Bayou and in our west side neighborhoods. We will also create an atmosphere where employees can feel safe telling the truth; today employees are seeking whistle-blower protection from City Hall insiders so they won’t be punished for telling the residents what’s going on. I will also work closely with City Council, keeping them informed and in the loop – not treat them as afterthoughts as has happened in the recent past.
REAL ESTATE TAX RATE: The real estate tax rate under the current administration is about 14%+ higher than my last budget in 2010. During my term I had reduced the tax rate by almost 20%. We will evaluate opportunities for tax rate reduction in light of recent record levels of revenue coming into the city, but record expenditures going out by our current mayor. There has been an indifferent disregard by our current mayor of the costs he is putting on the taxpayers and ratepayers of our city. That approach will end!

STORMWATER SYSTEM: We will work with USF Marine Science and others to evaluate and modify the existing storm water improvement plan in consideration of existing needs and projected sea level changes!

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
 See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

Please comment below.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Climate Change – How Serious is Rick Kriseman?

Climate change will not be part of Rick Baker’s politics, but it is a real part of his concern for the City he loves and cares bout.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

Rick Kriseman has made a big issue out of Climate change in the St. Petersburg Mayoral election.

Unfortunately, most of his concerns are more political than practical. “Outraged” by President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and also energized by the political opportunity, Kriseman set out on an effort to tie his opponent, Rick Baker to the Climate Change controversy.


What is important is the fact that Kriseman’s practical efforts have been more politically grandiose than effective and in reality, his actions would indicate a complete lack of understanding of the primary ingredients of climate change on Florida: sea-level rise and storm surge due to tropical storms.

WUSF Jim Nash June 22, 2017: St. Pete Mayor Picks Up Climate Change Banner.

Here is a quote from a Kriseman Campaign Flyer: “Because of the dangers climate change poses to our city, I pledged to transition St. Pete to a 100% clean energy city. We are preparing for rising seas, volatile weather, and increases in the number of powerful storms.”

Let’s look at two of the most glaring examples in this lie:

Downtown development – Pier Park
If you really believe in climate change, then you must accept the fact that the sea level is going to rise.

When you are the Mayor of a low-lying coastal City, your climate change concern should not be headlines, talk show appearances and national conferences it should be how do I protect my City. And how do I make development decisions that are not compromised by the impending results of climate change.

Kriseman has pushed the $20+ million development of Pier Park, which essentially sets at sea level. Is that a wise utilization of public funds?

Thinking in the climate change/sea level rise community says that Beach Drive will likely be somewhere between 2nd and 3rd Avenue if the sea level rise predictions are even close to being accurate.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “water park.”

Maybe a better expenditure of those funds would be to begin to provide some protection from sea level rise for what Mayor Kriseman sees as the “heart” of St. Petersburg. Like a seawall.

Renewable energy, green buildings and all the rest of the climate change hoopla make great political fodder, but a Mayor, who believes that the climate is actually changing will not waste his taxpayer’s money on things the results of climate change may swallow.

Wastewater treatment – The South West Wastewater Plant


Kriseman must not bother to read his own press clippings. The South West Wastewater treatment plant literally sets at sea level. Yet he is pouring millions into this sea level endangered facility and making plans for it to become the major wastewater treatment facility for the entire City.

What happened to the climate change argument in this scenario?

More importantly what will St. Pete do when the water level starts to rise at the South West plant or a major storm surge makes it inoperable?
 
That’s a climate change question that deserves an answer.

These are just two of the climate change issues Rick Kriseman has created while he “worries” about climate change.

Climate change with Rick Kriseman is the same as it is with all Democrat politicians. It is a great stump speech issue, and it is easy to tie up clear thinking opponents in a nonsensical argument about believing climate change or not, but when it comes down to applying the climate change problem to real decisions, Rick Kriseman does not have a clue.

A real leader will consider the effects of a changing climate and not ignore them.

Rick Baker is not a climate change denier, and he is also not a climate change exploiter. He knows the climate is changing, and he understands the effects on St. Petersburg.

Climate change will not be part of Rick Baker’s politics, but it is a real part of his concern for the City he loves and cares bout.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign


Please comment below.