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St Petersburg Mayoral Race August 27, 2009

Posted by shaferfinancial in Finance.
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The wrong person is winning the St. Petersburg Mayoral race.  Last year the Tampa Bay Rays offered to spend $150m in downtown in exchange for building a waterfront stadium and getting $300m in future tax revenues.  This would have opened up another large tract of land for future development.  Kathleen Ford led the charge against it.  Her previous public service was on the city council in which she was condescending, angry, and mean spirited.  And that was just to her fellow council members.  Her treatment of city employees that came up before the council was legendary.

What St. Petersburg needs is a leader.  We have 11% unemployment, falling tax revenues, and a myriad of issues that will require the cooperative effort of many to solve.  Having someone treat everyone as if they are naughty children that can’t possibly understand the issues like she does is a recipe for disaster.  As to the stadium issue, I only have one thing to point out.  If the stadium issue had made the ballot and if it passed [a big if on that one], then we would have around 20,000 workers cranking up to work in the downtown area this fall.  Would that had improved our economy?  What would our unemployment drop too?  How many small businesses would have been able to make it, or even hire workers?   How many foreclosures would that been able to eliminate?  We need a mayor that understands that job creation is the most important item today.  We need a mayor that is willing to work with private businesses in a partnership [and yes this sometimes requires tax money to be used] to produce good paying jobs.   I can’t imagine any business person putting up with Ms. Ford’s attitude.  I can’t imagine any person would move to St. Petersburg because they have a penny-pinching mayor [as she calls herself].

I am voting for Scott Wagman.  A political neophyte, he successfully built a business and has given both time and money back to the community.  He understands how important the art world is to our city.  He understands how important the Ray’s are to the city.  He understands that cooperation and mutual respect gets things done.  He understands that sometimes you have to spend money to make money [no one ever saved themselves into a job].  For example, he wants to put 100 more police officers on our streets.  If you want to solve the crime problem, you are going  to need more policing.  The rest of the candidates are still pretending they can police on the cheap and solve the crime problems.  Boots on the ground is what is needed and Mr. Wagman understands this.

There are other fine candidates, but no one close to having the qualities we need right now to solve the cities problems.  Does St. Petersburg want to take a step backwards to the time when downtown was a ghost town and the people moving here did so because we were a cheap place to live?  Does St. Petersburg want a mayor who thinks creationalism should be taught in our science classes and gay folks should be shunned [another candidate, Bill Foster]?  These back to the future candidates would severely damage the great things that have happened to St. Petersburg over the last decade.  Or does St. Petersburg want a mayor who will move us forward to a bright cooperative future where everyone is valued and needed?  Are we a city of the future or are we a city trying to recreate an imaginary past?  The choice is clear.

PS  For city council I am voting for my friend and neighbor, Karl Nurse.  Since being appointed a short time ago to the council, he has become the de-facto voice of reason.  He has been willing to tackle our most thorny issues with style and grace.  Although I haven’t agreed with him on every issue, he genuinely puts the people first and demands of his fellow council members accountability.  You can’t ask for anything better from a politician.

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