District 4 council candidates staying busy
ST. PETERSBURG -- Candidates in the St. Petersburg District 4 City Council race have been busy – with fundraisers, endorsements and a news conference.
St. Petersburg neurosurgeon David McKalip held a news conference near the Pier on Wednesday to discuss his proposal for redeveloping the St. Petersburg icon.
Instead of proceeding with the proposed replacement called the Lens, which he described as “a glorified sidewalk that no one wants,” he suggested opening the process to a private developer. A private business would build a new Pier on its own, without government financing. Options might include a hotel, an entertainment complex, sports facilities, TV studios or some other venture, he said.
The privately financed plan would then go to voters for approval.
McKalip said the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan was developed this way, to great acclaim. And even though it went over budget, it was private developers, not the city, that paid the bills, he said.
With this plan, he said, the city gets a nice new attraction and taxpayers would be off the hook. Also Wednesday, McKalip went to have a fundraiser – at the Pier.
Also this week, Darden Rice gave the City Clerk’s office more than 500 petitions signed by residents of District 4 as a way of qualifying for office. She’s the only candidate in the district who did so by Tuesday’s deadline. The other candidates must pay a qualify fee of $150.
Rice said it was important to her to gather the petitions because it shows her campaign as a solid grass-roots organization. “We wanted to walk the streets, talk to voters directly,” she said.
She also received the endorsement of the Suncoast PBA, which she called an important show of support.
“Ensuring the public's safety and working collaboratively with our city's police force is one of the Council's top responsibilities and we have to get it right,” Rice said in a news release.
Meanwhile candidate Carolyn Fries, who describes herself as a “technology entrepreneur and community leader,” has scheduled a fundraiser for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Doyle Wealth Management, 333 Third Ave. N., suite 300. Attendees are asked to RSVP to (727) 898-3063 and to make a contribution of $25 to $500.
Host committee members are: Hope Botterbusch, Robert and Jillian Doyle, Dr. John Harrison, Chris Kelly, William R. Lane Jr., Daniel James Scott.