St. Petersburg City Council: Stick with incumbents or vote in change?
ST. PETERSBURG — Downtown businesses are closing at an alarming rate. Neighborhoods across the city are struggling with crime. And city leaders are trying to balance community needs with shrinking coffers.
If you ask the four City Council members running for election on Nov. 3, now is not the time to vote for untested candidates.
"There will be a new mayor for the first time in eight years. Regardless of who wins, we need a strong council to move us forward," said council chairman Jeff Danner, who hopes to be re-elected to District 8, which includes Historic Kenwood. "You need people who have been up here for a while that have experience."
To hear the newcomers tell it, however, the sitting council is composed of out-of-touch bureaucrats responsible for many for the city's ills. They have turned the campaign trail into a continuous roast of City Hall's most controversial moments.
Take the $170,000 dog park built with the last of the city's recreation dollars fund despite the demand for a new playground on the edges of Childs Park. Or the annexation of a sliver of Tierra Verde in the face of regional opposition.
Or the growing perception that streets are unsafe even as the incumbents continue to praise the Police Department.