St. Pete: District 8 candidate: Council members should be nicer
ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Duensing said he believes there’s a place in City Hall for a councilman with a poet’s heart.
And he said he’s a helper -- which is why he’s a full-time candidate for a District 8 City Council seat opening up in January. A poet and graduate of Columbia University, Duensing, 39, has made waves with his unusually vibrant, hand-painted campaign signs. But he wants voters to know he’s serious about representing them.
He believes his model of governing -- simply listening to what people want and acting on it, even if he disagrees -- is what people want. A fiscal conservative, he believes many government efforts could be handled by the community. “For me, taxation should be the last resort, after innovation, grants, catalyzing community efforts and reducing waste,” he said.
His major problem with the City Council is how “they sometimes get uncivil.” And Mayor Bill Foster, he said, is “good on some things,” though they don’t always agree. Duensing has raised just under $5,000. Here's where he stands on other issues:
On mass transit: He said he would be active in supporting the Greenlight Pinellas referendum, which would increase sales tax by a penny to fund a transit overhaul, because mass transit improves a community, and because tourists would shoulder much of the tax.
On red light cameras: Unless it can be shown red light cameras operate as safety mechanisms rather than revenue generators, Duensing said he won’t support them.
Curbside recycling: Duensing said he’d support universal curbside recycling if it is low-cost, fair to workers and effective.
On the Lens: He believes all capital-intensive projects that would alter a landmark -- such as the Lens project -- should be required to go to a vote, again emphasizing his commitment to voters’ desires. He said he would support the Lens if voters do, and if not, he said the city should study other options.