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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

NAACP grades St. Pete City Council candidates



On Monday, four candidates for St. Petersburg City Council were quizzed by NAACP members and a large audience at the Enoch Davis Center.

The civil rights group, which doesn't endorse candidates, has released a report card on the candidates based on their answers to questions from the group at that event.

In the most-watched race, District 7, Will Newton finished in front of Lisa Wheeler-Brown, getting A's from the NAACP for his answers on how money from Tropicana Field redevelopment should be spent and how development should proceed in  the newly-formed Southside Community Redevelopment Area. 

Incumbent Steve Kornell bested his District 5 challenger Philip Garrett in his answers to how aggressively the city should investigate housing discrimination complaints and on the future of the Southside CRA.

District 1 Charlie Gerdes and Monica Abbott didn't appear at the forum, despite NAACP officials saying the two campaigns had confirmed they would participate.

On its report card, the NAACP excused Abbott for a family emergency, but gave Gerdes straight Fs for not showing up.

On Friday, Gerdes said he had no clue there was even a forum. After stumbling across comments about his absence on Facebook, he searched his private and campaing email accounts and couldn't find an invitation or any mention of the event.

"I didn't know anything about it," Gerdes said. "I would have been there, believe me."

[Last modified: Friday, October 30, 2015 12:44pm]


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