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Baker denies book is prelude to campaign

In The Seamless City, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker calls the fired Goliath Davis irreplaceable.

Photo by James Branaman (2009)

In The Seamless City, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker calls the fired Goliath Davis irreplaceable.

When politicians publish books, it often means they're preparing to run for a new office. In a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9, however, former St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker says his new book, The Seamless City, won't precede a campaign within the next few years.

Even if U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young retires in 2012, Baker said, he won't run for anything at least until his children are done with high school, which is more than four years from now.

Baker would not weigh in on Mayor Bill Foster's decision to fire deputy mayor Goliath Davis, but he stood by Davis, whom he called irreplaceable in the book.

"He was a very valuable part of what we did to redevelop the midtown community," Baker said. "Anybody that saw midtown St. Petersburg 10 years ago and sees where it is nine years after Go became deputy mayor knows that it was transformed."

The interview airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Bay News 9.

Dead heat

A Public Policy Polling survey released last week found President Barack Obama neck and neck in Florida against likely Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The automated poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent, showed Obama leading Romney 46 percent to 44 percent, and Jeb Bush 48 percent to 45 percent. Obama led Mike Huckabee by 7 points, Newt Gingrich by 8, and Sarah Palin by 13.

Forty-eight percent of Florida voters approve of the job Obama's doing, and 47 percent disapprove. More than eight in 10 Democrats approve, and a similar percentage of Republicans disapprove, of Obama's performance. Among independents, 49 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove.

New digs

From Alex Burgos, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio: "At long last, we just chose our long-term office space. Hart (Senate Office Building) 317. It's the space previously occupied by Sens. Mel Martinez, then Bob Menendez, and most recently by Mark Udall." Rubio had been in temporary offices in the basement of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

What union support?

During committee debate on HB 1021, which would prohibit governments from collecting union dues through automatic payroll deduction, its sponsor, state Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, told lawmakers that individual members of unions had said they backed his idea. Skeptical, Democratic Rep. Ron Saunders took to the House floor last week during debate and dared reporters to make a public records request to Dorworth's office to see if any such proof existed.

So we bit.

The House Office of Public Information provided the Buzz with 12 pages of public records related to "union support" for HB 1021. We found no letter, e-mail or transcription of a phone call that indicated someone supporting Dorworth's bill was a union member.

Shirley Gibson of Lake Mary wrote: "Please vote yes on any measure to decrease the power of teacher unions."

Chris Smith of Orlando wrote: "Please stand strong against the unions!"

James Green of Fort Walton Beach wrote: "I am very anti-union for the ills they have caused in this country. How did we ever get into the business of collecting dues for unions anyway? Has to be illegal."

Times staff writers Alex Leary and Aaron Sharockman contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner

of the week

Alex Sink. After three months of Rick Scott's governing, Alex Sink appears to be looking mighty good to Florida voters. A poll released last week by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (margin of error plus or minus 4.4 percent) found only one in three voters approved of Scott's performance. If they could do over November's election, 56 percent would vote for Sink and 37 percent for Scott.

Loser

of the week

Florida delegates to the GOP convention. It looks more and more like the Florida GOP will buck the Republican National Committee's rules and hold Florida's presidential primary in late January or February. GOP activists across the country are livid. Not only will that mean Florida will lose half its delegates to the convention in Tampa, but those who do get in can count in sitting somewhere in back of the American Samoa delegation.

Baker denies book is prelude to campaign 04/02/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 2, 2011 6:48pm]
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