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Jamie Bennett: Mayor Baker needs to speak up on BayWalk



ST. PETERSBURG-- City Council member Jamie Bennett said today much of the uncertainty surrounding BayWalk can be chalked up to Mayor Rick Baker's low-key approach to discussing the faltering downtown attraction.

"In his last year he needs to be out there communicating, just like the police chief," said Bennett, referring to the council's recent demand that Police Chief Chuck Harmon show his face in public more. "He's the mayor."

Bennett, who is running for mayor, said he told Baker recently that he needs to be more vocal during his last year in office. If this were Baker's first year in office, Bennett said, the mayor would probably have held numerous public discussions on BayWalk.

"The city is doing things about BayWalk that the residents should know about," Bennett said.

Baker could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bennett, who has been labeled Baker-lite by his opponents, said he doesn't mind comparisons to the popular Republican mayor, but his campaign is also eager to point out the ideological differences between the two.

"He and I have not agreed on everything," said Bennett.

Meanwhile, Bennett offered up some fighting words for his mayoral opponents: "Where are you?''

He contends the other candidates have not been as active as he has.

He also dismissed the long list of endorsements that candidate Deveron Gibbons released in January, although the Bennett campaign has yet to name any prominent supporters.

"That was last month,"  Bennett said of Gibbons' announcement.

-- Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:45am]


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