ST. PETERSBURG — No topic was off limits, not even skin color.
The five City Council applicants vying for Earnest Williams' vacant District 6 seat fielded questions from the public Monday night.
More than 50 people showed up at City Hall to pose questions about budget cuts, the Tampa Bay Rays' proposed stadium and whether race matters when representing a predominately black district.
The applicants are:
• David Welch, 80, former council member, owner of Welch Accounting Services and a St. Petersburg Housing Authority board member.
• Karl Nurse, 53, owner of Bay Tech Label, founder of the Pinellas Living Green Expo and a former mayoral candidate. He is the only non-African-American applicant.
• Gwendolyn Reese, 59, chief executive of InFinite Solutions; chairwoman of Close the Gap, an education nonprofit; and former co-chairwoman of the city's Community Alliance committee, which advocates for diversity issues.
• Cassandra Jackson, 48, former District 6 candidate, president of the Pinellas Black Republican Club and former Pinellas County Housing Authority board member.
• Deborah Green, 45, youth minister, case manager for Hospice of the Florida Suncoast and president of Earth Mission Ministries.
The council will interview the applicants Thursday before selecting Williams' successor. Williams, who represented District 6 since 2000, resigned last week after an unsuccessful campaign for a state Legislature seat.
Cristina Silva can be reached at (727) 893-8846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It is very imperative that we provide the adequate public safety that we need for this community."
Cassandra Jackson on St. Petersburg's problems
"I believe St. Petersburg is in a very good place to have its best days in front of it; however, there are a number of challenges we need to deal with. The city needs to continue to attract new and good jobs."
Karl Nurse on why he should be appointed to the council
"We need to come and let drug dealers know we want our neighborhoods back."
Deborah Green on how to improve neighborhoods
"The Rays are asking us to give much more than they are giving. We need to be concerned about that."
Gwendolyn Reese on the Tampa Bay Rays' proposed stadium
"My life experience is out there for the community to see and the community to know and that's why I am here because the community wants me here."
David Welch on why he should be appointed to the council