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Will St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster keep all those promises he made on the campaign trail?

ST. PETERSBURG — The new year comes with a new mayor for the residents of this city.

Mayor Bill Foster was sworn in as the city's 53rd leader Saturday. He is the city's third strong mayor and previously held a nine-year post on the City Council, representing a district that included Shore Acres.

The longtime lawyer takes office Monday with an overwhelming to-do list. As a mayoral candidate, Foster released his "Foster Forty," an ambitious outline of his vision for the city. He also made other promises in various media interviews and campaign stops.

Here's a list of promises you can clip and save to see whether Foster keeps all the pledges he made to voters:

 Increase enforcement of the city's panhandling laws.

 Create a task force to review the Mahaffey Theater's management agreement and help broaden the public downtown venue's reach.

 Host a Mayor's Night Out eight times a year to give residents face time with the mayor.

 Consolidate city departments. He has already announced plans to merge the city's park and recreation departments, and the city's development services and economic development departments.

 Host a public safety retreat to discuss best policing methods. Foster wants to relax the city's no-chase policy, giving officers more freedom to decide which criminals to chase. Police Chief Chuck Harmon does not.

 Return to the community policing model where officers are assigned to certain neighborhoods.

 Place a greater police focus on smaller crimes to prevent bigger ones.

 Use city employees as a crime watch.

 Install security cameras in "hot spots."

 Require police to have a public presence along streets in commercial corridors.

 Establish a downtown police substation.

 Host volunteer cleanup efforts throughout the city.

 Meet regularly with neighborhood leaders.

 Hold semiannual business summits.

 Modify the city's procurement policy to favor St. Petersburg businesses.

 Change the budget process to a service-level system that requires all city employees to justify expenses.

 Host budget summits to gauge public sentiment.

 Establish a volunteer and intern coordinator to get students and residents more involved with City Hall.

 Create a volunteer support group to help firefighters reach out to the community.

 Establish an annual education fair to help students prepare for post-graduate careers or college.

 Create a tutorial program for city residents staffed by city employees and volunteers.

 Recruit volunteers to spend time in schools.

 Work with private businesses to establish a social destination for teenagers.

 Establish a new shopping district along Central Avenue from 16th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street called "the Edge."

 Host a monthly "breakfast with the mayor" event for the public.

 Attract international baseball teams to Al Lang Field.

 Create an amnesty program for first-time parking violators and reduce meter enforcement hours.

 Meet with the Tampa Bay Rays at the appropriate time to discuss a new stadium.

 Consider council ordinances that effectively would stick any future polluter with the cleanup bill.

 Explore extending domestic partner benefits for all city employees.

 Implement curbside recycling if the county pays for the program.

 Create a separate mayor's action line solely for businesses.

 Allow for a binding voter referendum on the Tampa Bay Rays' proposed new stadium.

 Expand the city's tree-planting initiative.

 Expand the reclaimed water system.

 Help create a new convention center.

 Change the policy on tickets to the city's Tampa Bay Rays suite and allow local nonprofit groups to use the room instead of City Council members and city staff members.

 Initiate the Manhattan Casino building as the heart of a new music district in Midtown.

Will St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster keep all those promises he made on the campaign trail? 01/02/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 4, 2010 10:23am]
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