Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Politics

Know Your City Council Candidates: Jerick Johnston vs. Darden Rice | District 4

College student Jerick Johnston is making his first foray into politics by challenging incumbent Darden Rice, who is running for a second term on the City Council.

About the job: City Council members serve four-year terms and earn $44,452 annually.

Jerick Johnston

Profession: 

President, CEO of Johnston Consulting

About the candidate: 

Johnston, 21, is a student at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the president and CEO of Johnston Consulting, a company he created in 2015.

Education: 

St. Petersburg Catholic High School, 2014; currently enrolled at USF St. Petersburg.

What are your top three priorities? 

Ensuring fiscal responsibility, addressing the sewer issues of the city in an environmentally responsible way and promoting and developing economic growth throughout the entire city.

How will you fix the sewer system? Would you reopen Albert Whitted sewage plant? 

St. Petersburg should start by reopening the Albert Whitted sewage plant until other facilities can handle the volume of waste created by the current population.

What city resources would you use to keep the Rays in St. Petersburg? 

I would hope to explore the use of resources to build a new facility closer to the major bridges to Tampa and the Clearwater/Safety Harbor communities . . . to encourage better attendance to the games by fans . . . I want the Rays to stay in St. Petersburg. I don't agree with raising taxes for a new stadium.

What are the biggest needs in Midtown and how would you address them? 

The Midtown community should have all the essential services they need, such as a grocery store. I would like to see more educational opportunities available throughout the Midtown community. One way would be expanding SPC's footprint.

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Assets: $29,921; vehicle, company Liabilities: $8,468; vehicle loan Income: $6,903

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $4,331 Expenditures: $2,320

Personal: 

Single

On the web: 

meetjerick.com/ @JerickJohnston Facebook: facebook.com/MeetJerick

Darden Rice

Profession: 

St. Petersburg City Council Chair

About the candidate: 

Rice, 47, chairs the City Council, sits on the boards of Forward Pinellas and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, is past president of the League of Women Voters and an adjunct professor at Eckerd College.

Education: 

Eckerd College, 2000; Harvard Kennedy School of Government's senior executives in state and local government program, 2014.

What are your top three priorities? 

Fixing our sewage system and related infrastructure, improving our transportation system; and continuing to protect our environment and advance sustainability and resiliency.

How will you fix the sewer system? Would you reopen Albert Whitted sewage plant? 

Rice said she leans toward reopening Albert Whitted, but hopes to have the city's master plan guide the decision. She supports spending $326 million to fixing water treatment plants and collection systems, and will vote to raise wastewater fees to help pay for infrastructure investment.

What city resources would you use to keep the Rays in St. Petersburg? 

I want the Rays to stay in St. Petersburg, and think it's in our best interest to provide the team with an attractive plan to help make their decision easier. The Rays should pay a significant part of a new stadium; it cannot all fall on the taxpayers.

What are the biggest needs in Midtown and how would you address them? 

Rice supports the Southside CRA, which she said brings $120 million in development and services to Midtown. She said she launched Pinellas' wage theft program and supports spending $15 million of Penny for Pinellas money on affordable housing.

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Assets: $1.1 million; bank accounts, mutual funds, property, vehicle Liabilities: None listed Income: $292,664; salaries, home sale

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $107,133. Expenditures: $ 34,652

Personal: 

Rice's partner is Eve Epstein.

On the web: 

votedardenrice.com @DardenRice Facebook: facebook.com/votedardenrice/

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