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Know Your Candidates: St. Petersburg City Council, District 2

St. Petersburg City Council | District 2

For months, it appeared that incumbent Jim Kennedy would be unopposed in his bid for a second term. But his support for the Lens project drew a challenger in Lorraine Margeson, an environmental activist who helped lead efforts to persuade voters to kill the Lens in a referendum. Despite their disagreements, the race has been a civil one, with Kennedy reminding voters of his familiarity with the city's budget and operations and Margeson promoting the outsider's perspective.

Anna M. Phillips, Times staff writer

James R. 'Jim' Kennedy, 56


Lorraine Margeson, 56

Environmental activist

The New Jersey native was appointed to the council in 2007 and voters chose to keep him in 2009. Kennedy, who has his own law practice, is known on the council for his grasp of the city's budget and his scrutiny of its contracts. He has supported extending bar hours, using red-light cameras to cut down on traffic accidents, and, last year, backed a proposed fire fee. He was a longtime board member of Community Action Stops Abuse, or CASA.Experience Margeson moved to St. Petersburg in 1987. She made her name as a public safety activist and was an artist in residence for local schools. She has worked on environmental issues, such as the Pinellas County Environmental Lands Charter Amendment, and runs a small business with her husband. She was a leader in the anti-Lens movement, her last bid for council was in 1997.
Bachelor of arts in political science and economics from Rider University in New York, law degree from Stetson University College of Law.EducationStudied music at Queens College in New York for two years.
I have kept a watchful eye over city finances while maintaining services as chairman of the Budget, Finance, and Taxation and Investment Oversight committees. I am fighting to make regional transportation a reality in Tampa Bay and I work to ensure that we maintain EMS response times. I would like to continue serving my community and focusing on these issues.Why should voters pick you over your opponent?I have 20 years of volunteer advocacy experience including environmental policy expertise, crime watch coordinator and neighborhood association leadership. I have ideas to address impending sea level rise and infrastructure needs, as well as rebuilding neighborhood partnership support and community policing.
The future of the Pier is too important not to get it right the second time. Going forward, we need to move quickly with a process that adequately takes into account public opinion so that we can have a pier that works for everybody.What should be done about the Pier?We should follow the 828 Alliance's suggestions and seek submissions for a new or a refurbished pier. We must redevelop our waterfront in a fiscally sound manner with a fair opportunity for public scrutiny.
As a Rays season ticket holder from the inaugural season, I want to keep baseball here. However, we need to acknowledge our citizens' investment in the Rays. We must be careful, however, that any modification of the contract does not detrimentally affect the enforceability of the use agreement.Should the city amend its contract with the Tampa Bay Rays to allow them to look for new stadium sites across the bay?Yes, the Rays should have an opportunity to better their situation, but the fiscal responsibilities associated with the city's contract must be addressed in order to protect taxpayers. Any new stadium should be the sole responsibility of the Rays. No taxpayer dollars should be involved.
Yes, I do. Statistics show a decrease in T-bone accidents, which are the most dangerous. More importantly, it changes people's behavior as evidenced by the small percentage of drivers who receive a second red-light camera ticket.Do you support red-light cameras?No. Our city gets little of the revenue, the cameras aren't at intersections with the most fatalities from red-light running, and broken cameras have given unfair tickets our city wouldn't refund.
Yes, I enthusiastically support it, including the light rail component. Strong and functional mass transportation is vital to the growth of our community. Mass transportation, in the form of bus rapid transit and rail, is an integral component to attracting jobs and improving the quality of life.Will you support the 1-cent county sales tax increase for mass transit in 2014? How about light rail, specifically?Absolutely. Remember, the tax currently assessed for PSTA would go away in favor of this new tax. It would bring a minimum 500 new jobs and would make mass transit attractive to use. Light rail is icing on the cake. We must do this to grow in a sustainable manner.
He has raised $21,825, including $4,500 in personal loans, and spent $21,329.FundraisingShe has raised $7,055 and spent $6,123.
He and his wife, Norma, live in the Renaissance neighborhood and have two daughters.PersonalShe and her husband, Don, live in Mangrove Bay.,
website, email, Facebook,,

citycouncil, @lorraineanewday

About the job: The council member for District 2 represents the northeast area of the city, from Sawgrass Lake to Weedon Island. Council members serve four-year terms and are paid $38,000 a year.

Know Your Candidates: St. Petersburg City Council, District 2 10/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 4:52pm]
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