St. Petersburg: District 8 City Council candidate Steve Galvin on the Pier and his solution to Williams Park's woes
Steve Galvin, 55, a candidate for the District 8 seat on the City Council, and a music producer in St. Petersburg, stopped by the Times’ building for a meeting with the editorial board this afternoon. Galvin is running on his background in construction and historic preservation, experience he says the City Council would benefit from as it debates what to do with the city’s Pier and how to revitalize its neighborhoods. He moved to the city eight years ago from California to be with his now-wife, who is an assistant attorney for the city. Here are a few of the issues he discussed:
On the city's Pier: As he goes door-to-door in the district, Galvin says he hears a lot of frustration with the city’s current Lens design. "Many people are as upset by the way we got to the Lens, as with the Lens itself," he said today. Galvin plans to support the August 27 referendum, voting against the $50 million Lens -- a move he hopes will send the city back to the drawing board. He would support looking at other designs, he said, as well as refurbishing the current pier. If the city keeps the inverted pyramid structure, he suggested adding another floor and bringing in a national seafood chain, as well as new businesses that wouldn’t require a city subsidy.
On Williams Park: The first step to clearing St. Petersburg’s green square of transients and spice smokers is to approve a one-cent sales tax for mass transit improvements, Galvin said. Doing so would fund an overhaul of the county's bus system, allowing PSTA to move its buses and shelters away from the park, where they've contributed to the chaotic atmosphere. Galvin's next move: bring in a carousel. "With the closure of the Pier, there is nowhere to bring kids downtown," he said. "People love carousels."
On Red light cameras: "I think they have to go," Galvin told the board. The stream of stories about artificially shortened yellow lights and people who’ve been ticketed for taking a right faster than 12 mph has eroded the public’s confidence in the system, he said. "It's just gotten too screwed up."
On crime: Most of the complaints he hears center around the 34th street motels and the crime that seems to plague that area, he said. Galvin said he and his wife like to walk around their North Kenwood neighborhood, but they won’t venture far after dark, when the prostitution and drug-dealing on 34th gets going. So far, he said, the city has done little to address it.
On the Tampa Bay Rays: Would Galvin support a new stadium for the team? "It would really depend on how it was being funded," he said. Most of the team’s attendance woes are related to their performance and who they're up against, he said, noting that when teams like the Red Sox play at the Trop, more people turn out to watch. Unlike Mayor Bill Foster, Galvin said he would take a softer line on negotiations and allow the Rays to scope out other locations, but would hope they stay in Pinellas.