Know Your Candidates: St. Petersburg mayor
St. Petersburg Mayor
Despite the incumbency status of Bill Foster, this is a race without a front-runner. Polls show challenger Rick Kriseman and Foster in a neck-and-neck fight to Nov. 5. They're both lawyers and former City Council members. Foster thinks the city is doing well and, as such, voters should give him another four years. Kriseman thinks Foster should have done more to better the city, and his campaign largely reflects that singular theme. Mark Puente, Times staff writer
|Bill Foster, 50|
|Rick Kriseman, 51|
| I am running for re-election to finish what I started and to build |
our successes over the past three years. Four years ago, my vision for St. Petersburg focused on the maintenance of quality city
services, increasing economic development and jobs, growing private-sector investment and continuing budget reductions amid the greatest economic recession of our lifetime. While recovery was slow, the plan is working, and together we realized great progress into 2013.
|Experience||I am running for mayor because the residents of St. Petersburg deserve a strong, decisive leader who can move us forward while looking out for the best interests of every neighborhood in our city. I will be that mayor.|
|Bachelor of science in public administration, Samford University; juris |
doctorate, Cumberland School of Law at Samford University
|Education||Bachelor of science in broadcasting, University of Florida; juris doctorate, Stetson University College of Law|
|I am not a politician; nor have I ever allowed partisan politics to outweigh the best interests of the people of St. Petersburg. Over the past four years, I was ultimately responsible for essential services performed by 2,700 employees and oversaw the expenditure of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. I have led a team of professionals with vision and purpose to provide these services, and helped create environments where businesses and residents thrive. I am the only candidate with a degree in public administration, and with over 13 years of service to the city of St. Petersburg, with the last four being the chief executive of the fourth-largest city in Florida. I am also the only candidate with |
a list of accomplishments, and a vision for jobs and economic development
for St. Petersburg.
|Why should voters pick you over your opponent?||I am the candidate that will move St. Pete forward. I have a track record of protecting and growing our economy, standing up for our neighborhoods, and passing legislation to improve our public education system. I have outlined a clear plan for a better St. Petersburg, and it starts inside City Hall. As mayor, I will implement StPeteStat, based on the CitiStat model of statistics-driven accountability standards to increase efficiency and effectiveness while saving taxpayer money. I want to build on the consortium known as the St. Pete Ocean Team and formalize it as a research park or district. I want to better utilize our port and make St. Petersburg a leader in clean energy technology. I will work with our next police chief to re-establish community policing philosophies while continuing to utilize innovative policing technologies. As mayor, I will focus on all areas of St. Pete. I am committed to bringing much-needed investments to Midtown and working to make the West Central Avenue Redevelopment Plan a reality.|
|The city will build a pier within budget. Incorporating the recommendations of the 8/28 Alliance, a scientific survey will be completed in the next couple of weeks seeking public input as to the desired functions of the pier. A detailed request for qualifications will follow and will incorporate the Pier Visioning Task Force report, survey results, input from the waterfront master plan process, and relevant data from the previous pier process. Qualified teams will be asked to present concept ideas for consideration, giving the jury a glimpse of the vision. This should be accomplished soon after the first of the year. This process will be juried by a greater number of locals, with an emphasis on function, then form. After the selection of the architectural team, a concept will be selected and refined, with numerous holding points for public input.||What should be done about the Pier?||Before taking office and with the cooperation of the outgoing mayor and City Council, I will appoint community leaders who are well prepared to lead a thorough but expedited process. Their work will build on the extensive work done by the original task force and the 8/28 Alliance and will include a final round of public input. I will ask them to submit their recommendations no later than April 2, with the goal of having a final design in place within the first nine months of my administration. With leadership from City Hall, I am confident that the next design, which should emphasize function over form, will meet with the public's approval and will lead to a pier that we can be proud of.|
|I will remain diligent in discussions pertaining to the Rays' stadium needs. Right now, the use agreement is the only reason the Tampa Bay region enjoys Major League Baseball, and with the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars by the people of St. Petersburg and Pinellas, and with 14 seasons remaining on our contract, I will take no action, public or private, that will diminish the position of the city in its future dealings with the Rays. I want to bridge the gap between the objectives of the city and the Rays while protecting the interests of the taxpayers, and I want to find a solution keeping the Rays in Tampa Bay for generations to come. Discussions were fruitful before the owners meeting in Cooperstown, and I remain hopeful that discussions will resume in the near future.||How will you approach/continue negotiations with Tampa Bay Rays officials, who want to amend their contract with the city to allow them to look for new stadium sites across the bay?||Unlike my opponent, I've been very consistent here. My preference is for the team to remain in St. Pete and thrive here. If that proves to be unrealistic, if the Rays simply do not want to be here any longer, then they should be given the opportunity to compensate our city in order to look at other locations in the Tampa Bay area. Throughout the negotiating process I will ensure that our taxpayers are protected. That's my top priority.|
|Yes. These safety devices have effectively modified the dangerous behavior of distracted drivers at intersections, and the statistics show increasing improvement in public safety.||Do you support red-light cameras?||I support them for the purposes of public safety, not as a revenue generator. The most important thing I can do as mayor is keep our residents and visitors safe.|
|I support the 1-cent sales tax in lieu of the PSTA ad valorem tax. I am in complete agreement with the routes proposed by the TBARTA Master Plan and the Alternatives Analysis.||Do you support the 1-cent county sales tax increase for mass transit in 2014? Light rail?||Yes. Light rail and other modes of public transportation are vital to our municipal and regional success and moving us into the future.|
|The city is full of talented leaders and experts, and a succession plan is in place for every administrative position in the city.||What will you do about the coming exodus of retiring city administrators?||This is an important issue. Plans must be in place to prepare for a wave of retirements and transferring vital skills and knowledge. Governments and communities are taking various approaches, such as allowing managers to temporarily rehire retirees, doing phased retirements, and allowing for advance notifications so that an employee can announce his or her retirement several years out without repercussion.|
|Total amount raised through Sept. 27: $208,241.||Fundraising||Total amount raised through Sept. 27: $240,753.|
|Married, two children; lived in city all his life.||Personal||Married, two children; lived in city for 41 years.|
|billfosterformayor.com, Bill Foster for Mayor Campaign; @foster4mayor||website, Facebook, Twitter||kriseman.com; Rick Kriseman for Mayor; @kriseman|
About the job: St. Petersburg's mayor is elected citywide to direct daily operations of Florida's fourth-largest city. The mayor earns about $158,000 a year and serves a four-year term.
CORRECTION: Rick Kriseman, 51, has lived in St. Petersburg for 41 years. Earlier versions of this story appearing in print and online gave an incorrect duration.