ST. PETERSBURG — Robert Davis remembers watching the City Council vote three years ago to extend bars' last call and thinking the proposal was lacking. The city would need more cops, he reasoned, or at least have to pay more overtime.
Now a candidate for the District 8 council seat, Davis said he was motivated to run after watching the council vote up proposals without thinking them through. The Lens design for the pier is another example, he said, where he disagrees with the council's direction.
Davis, 53, has worked for the city as a library assistant for the past seven years. Born in Sarasota, where some of his family still lives, Davis grew up on Long Island in New York, and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. After college, he moved to St. Louis and began working in health care.
He and his wife moved to St. Petersburg in the late 1990s and eventually bought a house in the Central Oaks Park neighborhood and sent their two children to public high schools. For three years before he began working in the city's main library, Davis worked for the federal nutrition program Woman Infants and Children.
"I have a passion and a vision for the city, as well as quite extensive experience working with the government," he said recently, adding that this set him apart from the other candidates.
Three other people are vying for the seat being vacated by Jeff Danner: Alex Duensing, a poet and consultant; Amy Foster, a program manager for a Seattle-based nonprofit; and Steve Galvin, who records songs for toy manufacturers.
Davis named safety and unemployment as two issues that he would focus on in his campaign. He also pledged to fight to preserve the community police officer program.
"We've seen a spike in the neighborhood crime," he said. "That's one of the things people are most concerned about."
On the pier, which has become a major wedge issue in the mayoral and council elections, Davis said he doesn't see the attraction of the Lens design.
"I just don't see how it's going to be sustainable as far as people going to it and using it for things," he said.