Kathleen Ford: I'm not racist
ST. PETERSBURG -- A recent newspaper story depicting mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford as a racist has caused quite a stir in some black neighborhoods.
"True or not, the perception was that Ford had spent her four year on City Council in an endless-- and racist-- tirade against then Police Chief Goliath Davis," writes Gypsy Gallardo, a magazine publisher and political activist, in a recent issue of the Weekly Challenger, the city's African American newspaper, describing the lukewarm turnout in the city's black neighborhoods for Ford during the 2001 mayoral race.
Ford said she is not a racist and her criticisms of the police department under Davis' leadership stemmed from the many legal hurdles facing the department during that time, not her doubts about his abilities.
UPDATE: Ray Tampa, president of the St. Petersburg NAACP branch, said Gallardo's article was inappropriate.
"Kathleen Ford is not a racist and to try to paint her as a racist is unfortunate on the part of the people who are trying to do that," he said. "She shouldn't have to defend something stupid Gypsy wrote. Just because Gypsy says she is racist doesn't mean she is a racist."
Cristina Silva, Times staff writer