First time for everything
There's no shortage of candidates for the District 8 council seat in St. Petersburg. They'd all like your vote in the Aug. 27 primary. But what about their vote?
County records show that, for whatever reason, some of the candidates in District 8 appear to have had a civic awakening only recently.
Before this coming election, when she'll presumably be voting for herself, candidate Amy Foster had never voted in a municipal election in St. Petersburg, where she's lived for 10 years. A registered Democrat, Foster also didn't vote in the 2010 election that ushered in Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio.
"For a long time I thought local government was about orange barrels and speed bumps. Then a few things happened that got me more involved," Foster wrote in an email, listing a few examples like her involvement in St. Pete Pride, which showed her the inner workings of local government.
"I can assure you I won't be missing another election," she wrote.
Steve Galvin, also a District 8 candidate, has a slightly better record. He moved to St. Petersburg in 2003 and has voted in one municipal election — in 2011.
Galvin said he closely watched the city's mayoral race between Kathleen Ford and Bill Foster in 2009, even attended a Suncoast Tiger Bay debate. But he never made it to a voting booth.
"I was back and forth to CA a lot, my mother was living there alone. I've now moved her to FL," he wrote in an email. "I have since registered to vote absentee and haven't missed one since."
For Alex Duensing, this will also be his first year voting for mayor. Duensing moved to Pinellas five years ago and has never voted in a municipal election here.
All of which makes Robert Davis look like a citizen extraordinaire. Davis has lived here for about 15 years and has voted in three city elections.
Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche is on the move, but where he'll run in 2014 is still an open question.
Roche and his wife have a contract to sell their 2,100-square-foot home in Clearwater, giving them a few weeks to move out and into the Dunedin home they're renting for a year. Their new address puts Roche within the boundaries of his current District 2, an at-large seat. But Pinellas has a mix of at-large and single member districts that have overlapping boundaries. So that means he also will now live within the lines of District 4, a seat that Commissioner Susan Latvala has held since 2000.
All he will say, for now, is that he's definitely running again. And if he wins a second term, it would be his last.
"As for which seat, I honestly have not made a decision," he wrote in an email.
The Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 will partner to produce a live, televised St. Petersburg mayoral debate before the Aug. 27 primary. "A Conversation With the Candidates," is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 6 at the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College.
Free audience tickets will be distributed beginning at noon Wednesday through the Palladium box office, 253 Fifth Ave. N.
The news organizations also will host a second, general election mayoral debate in October at the Palladium. Both events will be moderated by Times political editor Adam Smith, top, and Bay News 9 senior anchor Al Ruechel in a special edition of the show Political Connections.