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Distrct 5 and District 6 candidates debate economic development, youth issues



ST. PETERSBURG -- City Council member Karl Nurse and rival Vel Thompson both want to see changes in City Hall just not the same changes.

Asked about the city's fiscal woes during a candidate forum at Lakewood High School Wednesday night, Nurse said the city needed more energy efficiency programs that would help save money in the long run and proposed pooling resources with Pinellas County. Thompson, a student, called for salary reductions and eliminating unnecessary positions.

Asked about gangs, Thompson said neighbors and parents need to keep a close eye on the children who live in their area. Nurse said the city needs to identify hot spots and pursue criminals.

Both District 6 candidates said the city needed to help young people find summer jobs.

District 5 candidates Angela Rouson and Steve Kornell continued to agree on most city issues. Both said teenagers need more areas to congregate and vowed to sell the district to potential business investors. Rouson said she would chase national chains. Kornell said that hasn't worked and instead vowed to go after individual business owners.

Kornell, a social worker, stressed his experience as a former city recreation manager as a selling point while Rouson, a Pinellas County Housing Authority Commissioner, pointed to her skills as the mother of five sons.

Cristina Silva, Times staff writer

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