Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Council candidate James Scott sees a green future for St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg City Council District 6 candidate James Scott. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]

St. Petersburg City Council District 6 candidate James Scott. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | TIMES]

Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — James Scott's central tenet is sustainability.

He told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board on Monday that his "vision" for St. Petersburg is to build on its reputation as "Florida's first green city."

Sometime in the future, he could see some of downtown's streets being shut down and filled with green space broken only by sidewalks.

"Sustainability has kind of been my thing," said Scott, 29, one of eight candidates running for the District 6 seat on the City Council.

Scott said he wants to help the city build a green, sustainable economy that develops jobs for the modern age.

"I see a lot of my friends leave this community because there are no opportunities for them," he said.

Born in Daytona Beach, the second-generation Floridian once wanted to become a veterinarian, but that was scuttled when he dropped out of high school. Eleven years later, equipped with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and policy, and an interest in public service, he decided to delve into city politics.

"I've known for a long time that I wanted to do this," Scott said, calling St. Pete his "forever home."

Scott touts his experience as student body president at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and his negotiation skills in getting a health clinic and a new student center on campus. Later, as an employee with the university, he helped to establish its first office of sustainability.

His ideas for District 6, which covers downtown and parts of Old Northeast and Midtown, include "integrating and streamlining" the workforce by creating an education system from preschool through high school, training and higher education to fill jobs.

Scott said he believes that, for now, the city is on the right track in its attempt to solve its sewer problems. "Long-term, we need a really comprehensive plan," he said. "We need a much better plan."

St. Petersburg must make sure that the millions of dollars that will be spent to repair the system will result in a fix that's going to last through future challenges, including rising sea levels, he added.

Scott commented on two initiatives — the 2020 plan to reduce poverty by 30 percent and the creation of the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area — aimed at the mostly poor, predominantly African-American Midtown neighborhoods. He said he would like to see better coordination between the plans and their advocates. Many of the ideas and tools overlap, he said.

Speaking about the pier, Scott said he generally supports Mayor Rick Kriseman's hopes for the attraction: "I want it to be a destination, too, for everyone."

But Scott said he is not in favor of the extra millions being sought by Kriseman for "bells and whistles." He added: "There are a lot of other community needs."

Citing "two different realities" in Midtown and the more prosperous downtown, he said, "I'd rather see that money spent on economic development," or sewer repairs.

Scott would like to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, but said redeveloping the 85-acre Tropicana site is "a once-in-a generation opportunity." Any new development should reflect both the needs of Midtown and the city's Innovation District, he said.

The first-time City Council candidate said it is complicated running in a race with eight candidates, but that he's "more motivated than ever to be in public service." He spoke of his knowledge of the issues and of Florida law and history. According to the latest campaign figures, he has raised, $4,640.

Scott said he admires outgoing City Council Member Karl Nurse, who cannot run for the District 6 seat again because of term limits.

"I'll try to emulate his style of leadership, his political agenda," Scott said.

But Nurse has endorsed Gina Driscoll, another District 6 candidate and president of the powerful Downtown Neighborhood Association.

Joining Scott and Driscoll in the race for District 6 are Robert Blackmon, Justin Bean, Eritha "Akile" Cainion, Corey Givens Jr., James "Jim" Jackson and Maria Scruggs.

The Aug. 29 primary will determine the top two candidates who will go on to the Nov. 7 general election.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes

Council candidate James Scott sees a green future for St. Petersburg 07/20/17 [Last modified: Friday, July 21, 2017 10:41am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: Rubio, Bilirakis owe Floridians answers on drug law

    Editorials

    Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor have some explaining to do. They were co-sponsors of legislation making it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to go after drug companies that distribute prescription pills to unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists, contributing to the deadly opioid crisis …

    Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor has some explaining to do. He was a co-sponsor of legislation making it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to go after drug companies that distribute prescription pills to unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists.
  2. Former Hillsborough school official files lawsuit alleging high-level corruption

    K12

    TAMPA — The fired human resources chief of the Hillsborough County School District is accusing district leaders and two School Board members of committing corrupt acts and then punishing her when she would not go along.

    Stephanie Woodford rose through the ranks of the Hillsborough County School District, then was fired as Chief of Human Resources on April 28. She's now suing the district, alleging numerous acts of corruption. [EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times]
  3. District 6 Council candidate Justin Bean crisscrosses St. Petersburg

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG – City Council District 6 candidate Justin Bean spent Thursday crisscrossing the city by bus, electric car and bike as part of a campaign to get his message out.
    His final stop was City Hall, where he spoke on the steps of the historic municipal building about what he referred to as the …

  4. Accident or murder? Jury soon to decide fate of Deandre Gilmore

    Crime

    TAMPA — Deandre Gilmore has never disputed that it was a mistake to leave his girlfriend's 19-month-old daughter unattended in a bathtub on May 7, 2014.

    Tampa police Officer James Parsons testifies as a photograph of 19-month-old Myla Presley is displayed Tuesday at Deandre Gilmore's murder trial. The photo was taken before the girl's death. .[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Deputies: Dunedin man had an arsenal and images of schools

    Public Safety

    Deputies executing a search on a Dunedin home on Wednesday expected to find signs that a 24-year-old resident was in possession of child pornography.

    Pinellas deputies say Randall Drake, 24, left, had an arsenal of weapons and images of schools.