Keys to the City: A Guide to the Kriseman Era
St. Petersburg 2016: Keys to the city have become a thing.
Last week, Mayor Rick Kriseman made news by declining to award a key to the city to Dr. Jamal Bryant because of the ant-gay comments made by the nationally-known Baltimore minister.
The honor had been requested by Angela Rouson, president of the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women Inc., who had invited Bryant to be the keynote speaker at the 30th Annual MLK Leadership Awards Breakfast on Jan. 18.
Kriseman administration officials said that Bryant's comments disqualified him from receiving a key, but that he might not have made the cut anyway.
Bryant, a former NAACP high-ranking official, has taken a leadership role in the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically in the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.
So what is the criteria for bestowing a key to the city under Kriseman?
There is no written criteria. It's completely up the mayor. And it boils down to someone who has "made a significant contribution to the city" or is an "extraordinary visitor," said Kriseman spokesman Ben Kirby.
Someone might also receive a key as a sort of lifetime achievment award. And departing council members get them, too. Bill Dudley and Wengay Newton received keys to the city when they officially stepped down from the dais on Jan. 2.
Here is a list of those who have received the honor so far under Kriseman. (Caveat: The city is still checking invoices and may have an addition or two, Kirby says);
Willie Rogers, Tuskegee Airman
Paula Williams Madison, filmmaker
Linda Osmundson, longtime CASA executive director
John Wolfe, longtime City Attorney
Marreese Speights, NBA basketball player, member of world-champion Golden State Warriors, St. Pete native
Tim Wise, keynote speaker at YWCA Stand Against Racism event. (Key typically given to keynote speaker at this event)
Edie Windsor, LGBT activist
Dave DeKay, police chief
Julia Ruth Stevens, Babe Ruth's daughter
Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives