ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.
It’s been a consistent message from Kriseman in the opening weeks of his electoral contest against former mayor Rick Baker, who held the Sunshine City’s top job from 2001-2010.
Does the city want to be a place where people felt safe to gather after last year's Orlando Pulse shooting, Kriseman asked? A city where all feel included?...
Four weeks remain before the qualifying period ends for St. Petersburg’s mayoral and City Council races, but one question has been formally answered.
Amy Foster is running for reelection.
The District 8 council member filed her paperwork on Wednesday, a day after a challenger appeared.
But that opponent quickly disappeared. Tharius Bethel dropped out Thursday informing the City Clerk’s office that he had discovered he didn’t live in the district, which covers Kenwood, Disston Heights and other neighborhoods west of I-275....
St. Petersburg's ballooning sewage debt could threaten credit rating (but there's a Hail Mary plan to avoid that)05/25/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The city needs a lot of money — $435 million over the next five years — most of it to fix its leaky sewer pipes and aging sewer plants.
Without that cash, St. Petersburg could face steep fines for violating a soon-to-be-finalized consent order with the state forcing the city to fix its sewage problems.
But the huge price tag comes with financial repercussions: It would effectively double St. Petersburg's overall utility debt, threatening the city's utility bond rating — which is used as a measure of a municipality's credit-worthiness....
05/25/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The social media marketing strategy that was met with a chilly City Council reception earlier this year won approval May 18 as council members signed off on Mayor Rick Kriseman's "Influencer" strategy.
By a 5-2 vote (Council chairwoman Darden Rice wasn't present), the council approved a $92,500 request to hire "influencers" — people with large social media followings who are paid to visit the city and tweet or post about its economic development and arts and culture....
Former Mayor Rick Baker's campaign released the first political ad in his quest to regain the mayor's office today.
Rick Baker kicked off a fundraiser Tuesday night at the Morean Arts Center making light of his 40-minute announcement speech two weeks ago on the steps of City Hall.
“I apologize for cutting it short,” Baker quipped. “I’m fully prepared to give the second half of that speech.”
The former two-term mayor didn't quite do that. His speech before several hundred supporters last just over 20 minutes....
In St. Petersburg's mayoral battle, disagreement over funds that could keep the Tampa Bay Rays from leaving05/23/17Growth
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker, now locked in a high-profile mayoral election, have both spent a lot of their time in City Hall dealing with the Tampa Bay Rays' desire to build a new stadium.
That issue has intensified as the race heads into the Aug. 29 primary:
Baker told the Tampa Bay Times he was open to all options to keep the team in the city except for a tax increase. But he would not commit to using financial incentives....
Mayor Rick Kriseman will open his campaign office Friday with Congresman Charlie Crist in attendance.
The new office, 1638 Dr. Martin Luther King St. N, will house campaign staff. The 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. opening will have speeches by Kriseman and Crist among "other special guests," according to a campaign Facebook post Monday.
Kriseman is in a race against former mayor Rick Baker. ...
05/19/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Over the objections of the mayor's office, the City Council voted 5-2 on Thursday to delay buying dashboard cameras for new police vehicles.
City Council member Karl Nurse led the charge, saying the St. Petersburg Police Department is well-trained and doesn't need to keep a visual record of officers doing their job.
Nurse said an officer hasn't been involved in an "unjustified" shooting since 2013. That's when an officer was fired for shooting at a moving vehicle that did not pose a danger to himself....
ST. PETERSBURG — The social media marketing strategy that was met with a chilly City Council reception earlier this year, won approval Thursday. The City Council signed off on Mayor Rick Kriseman’s “Influencer” strategy....
St. Petersburg City Council tells Mayor Rick Kriseman to spend Penny for Pinellas money on housing, transit05/18/17 Blog
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration prepared a $326 million wish list for the city's share of proceeds raised by the next decade of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax. It includes many priorities long clamored for by the City Council: sewage system fixes and a new Shore Acres Recreation Center.
But Kriseman’s list didn’t include money for affordable housing or transit. So in front of a room full of Faith and Action for Strength Together (FAST) members — who last month urged council members to dedicate 10 percent of the city’s portion of the 1 percent countywide sales tax to affordable housing — the council told the mayor's office to tear up that list and come back next month with one dedicating at least $15 million to those needs....
05/18/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — It's no secret that federal agents have been looking into St. Petersburg's sewage crisis since at least 2016, when the issue boiled over into the congressional campaign between Charlie Crist and David Jolly.
Then-congressman Jolly and Sen. Marco Rubio both called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last fall to probe the causes behind the city's discharging 200 million gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay and city streets since August 2015....
ST. PETERSBURG — The "influencers" are back.
In early March, Mayor Rick Kriseman was criticized for a last-minute attempt to get the City Council to approve spending $225,000 on influencers — social media stars — to market the Sunshine City's good vibes.
Council members balked at the request to hire influential individuals who would have promoted the city to their followings on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and other platforms. They complained that the mayor's office submitted the proposal too late for them to vet or debate the idea. They tabled the measure....
Karl Nurse wants to swap Penny money for TIF dollars to free up cash for buses and affordable housing05/17/17 Blog
Council member Karl Nurse, in his last year in office, has been a dynamo of ideas so far in 2017.
Zoning revamps. Affordable housing plans. Energy efficiency. Nurse has been busy.
His latest? Take $21 million in next round of Penny for Pinellas projects slated for St. Petersburg and swap them out into the city’s Downtown Tax Increment Finance district to free up dollars for affordable housing and transit....
It’s no secret that federal agents have been looking into St. Petersburg’s sewage crisis since at least 2016, when the issue boiled over into the congressional campaign between Charlie Crist and David Jolly.
Then-congressman Jolly and Sen. Marco Rubio both called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last fall to probe the causes behind the city’s discharging 200 million gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay and city streets since August 2015....