Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Meet the candidates

Williams hopes voters remember him

ST. PETERSBURG — Larry Williams hopes people remember what made him popular almost a decade ago.

His work in the southern neighborhoods of St. Petersburg. His quest to make education a part of the city government's portfolio. His ability to mediate often tense and bitter council exchanges.

But when it comes to running for mayor, Williams is hoping for different results.

Williams, who finished a disappointing third in the 2001 mayoral primary, is again seeking the city's top job.

"I think I did a pretty good job on council," said Williams, 64, who served from 1995-2001. "People that know who I am, know how I handle things. I think that's pretty important right now."

For Williams, the question is how many people still know who he is.

A city resident since 1964, Williams largely disappeared from the public scene after the 2001 election.

Getting reintroduced to city voters could be difficult in such a crowded field, which includes four former or current City Council members and two local businessmen who could spend $200,000 or more on a primary campaign.

"Larry's still well known in all parts of the city," said Williams supporter and former Mayor Randy Wedding, explaining how he thinks Williams can combat a fundraising disadvantage. "Mostly what he has to do is remind people of his service and get their recollection up to speed."

On the council, Williams was thought of as a peacemaker who forged compromises out of potentially bitter disputes. He also focused on the neighborhoods he represented at the southern end of St. Petersburg, building a new library and expanding recreation and ball fields for children.

He pushed adding education to the city's agenda — before it became Mayor Rick Baker's pet issue, he says — and organized the first meeting between the Pinellas School Board and City Council.

Williams also opposed some subsidies for groups like the Florida International Museum and was among the first on council to criticize large taxpayer subsidies at the Pier.

His history mirrors some of his priorities for the next four years — eliminate the subsidies at the Pier, rebuild BayWalk and stop panhandling downtown.

"People who pay their taxes should expect to be safe in their downtown," Williams said.

Williams held his first fundraiser at a BayWalk restaurant in April, he said, to make a statement. When he addressed the crowd, he stood in front of the ceremonial gold shovel he used to break ground on the downtown entertainment complex.

"Quite frankly, we messed (BayWalk) up," he said. Williams wants to solicit ideas from entrepreneurs nationwide.

On the Pier, Williams said he will not spend the $50 million in city and county tax revenue available for upgrades unless the money completes the renovations and a plan is in place to reduce or end annual Pier subsidies of nearly $1.5 million.

He invokes a traditional Republican phrase, saying taxes are "your money."

Williams, who is married and has five children, has built a sleek Web site with the help of a former employee and friend of one of his sons. Wedding said he's been enthused by the number of young people getting behind Williams' campaign.

Williams is the owner of a diagnostic imaging company with offices in St. Petersburg and three other Florida cities.

Among his clients: the Tampa Bay Rays, the baseball team seeking a new stadium financed in part by city tax dollars.

Williams provides X-ray imaging equipment for the Rays at Tropicana Field. He has badge access to the team facilities and says the Rays' business makes up between 1 and 3 percent of the company's overall sales.

The contract has been in place since the Rays started playing in 1998. "It's not a conflict," he said.

Officially, Williams says he would support a new stadium if it is needed to keep the team in St. Petersburg. But his first preference is to keep the team playing at Tropicana Field.

"Baseball for St. Petersburg, I think, is critical," said Williams, a Rays lifetime season ticket holder. "I've got no questions in my mind what this baseball team does in our community. How we support this team in the next couple of years, that's the key issue."

.Fast facts

About the job

St. Petersburg's mayor is elected to a four-year term and is paid $162,314. As the city's chief administrator, the mayor oversees an operating budget of roughly $217 million and 2,800 municipal employees.

Key dates

Sept. 1: primary.
Nov. 3: general election.

Larry Williams, 64, president of Diagnostic Outpatient Centers

Education: graduate of the Mound Park Hospital (Bayfront Medical Center) School of Radiologic Technology.

Family: wife Pam, five children.

Web site: www.larrywilliams
formayor.com.

Williams hopes voters remember him 05/08/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 23, 2009 4:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest

    Health

    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]
  2. Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian election meddling has requested extensive records and email correspondence from the White House, covering the president's private discussions about firing his FBI director and his response to news that the then-national security adviser was under …

    In a photograph provided by the Russian foreign ministry, President Donald Trump meets with Sergei Lavrov, left, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, May 10, 2017. Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in this meeting, where Trump said dismissing FBI Director James Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him, the New York Times reported on Sept. 20. [Russian Foreign Ministry via  New York Times]
  3. 'We will find our island destroyed': Hurricane Maria demolishes Puerto Rico

    News

    SAN JUAN — Sleepless Puerto Ricans awoke Wednesday knowing to expect a thrashing from the most ferocious storm to strike the island in at least 85 years. They met nightfall confronting the ruin Hurricane Maria left behind: engorged rivers, blown-out windows, sheared roofs, toppled trees and an obliterated electric …

    Rescue vehicles from the Emergency Management Agency stand trapped under an awning during the impact of Hurricane Maria, after the storm  hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria has lost its major hurricane status, after raking Puerto Rico. But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by Thursday. [Carlos Giusti | Associated Press]
  4. Obamacare repeal bill offers flexibility and uncertainty

    Politics

    The latest Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act would grant states much greater flexibility and all but guarantee much greater uncertainty for tens of millions of people.

  5. Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign, report says

    Nation

    Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports.

    Paul Manafort, then Donald Trump's campaign chairman, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. [Associated Press]