Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Politics

Know Your Mayoral Candidates: Rick Kriseman vs. Rick Baker

Mayor Rick Kriseman edged out former Mayor Rick Baker by 70 votes out of 56,509 cast in the Aug. 29 primary. Kriseman, a Democrat, is serving his first term. Baker, a Republican, served as mayor from 2001 to 2010.

The race is officially non-partisan and has shattered all previous fundraising records for a mayor's race in the Sunshine City, already raising a combined $2 million.

About the job: St. Petersburg's mayor is elected citywide to run Florida's fifth-largest city. The mayor earns about $180,895 a year and serves a four-year term.

Rick Baker

Profession: 

President, the Edwards Group

About the candidate: 

Baker, 61, an attorney, served two terms as mayor from 2001-10. He is also a published author and is currently president of the Edwards Group, a sports and entertainment company that owns the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Education: 

Florida State University, B.S. management, 1977; M.B.A., J.D., 1981.

What are your top three priorities? 

Address the sewer issue, launch a public school support effort and energize the Midtown redevelopment program while addressing overspending.

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

Baker supports reopening the Albert Whitted Water Reclamation Facility. The City Council voted to close the sewage plant in 2011, a move carried out by the current administration in 2015. But first Baker said he would need to know how much that would cost before making a decision.

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

Will work to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg as long as it does not require raising taxes. If the Rays choose to build a new stadium on the site of Tropicana Field, the value of the land development will likely be a component of financing the construction of a new stadium.

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

The people of Midtown need access to the same goods and services as everyone else in the city and they need the things that provide hope for a good future for them and their children — access to quality education, safe streets, and job prospects.

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Assets: $4.3 million; house, condo, investments Liabilities: None Income: $294,756; salary, investments, book royalties

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $450,055 Expenditures: $419,970 Seamless Florida PAC contributions: $838,803 Expenditures: $756,639

Personal: 

Married with two college-age children

On the web: 

bakerstpete.com @bakerstpete Facebook: facebook.com/BakerStPete/

Rick Kriseman

Profession: 

Mayor of St. Petersburg

About the candidate: 

Kriseman, 55, an attorney, joined the St. Petersburg City Council in 2000 and was elected to two terms. He then served three terms as a state representative in the Legislature. He was elected mayor in 2013.

Education: 

University of Florida, B.S., broadcasting, 1984; Stetson University of College of Law, J.D., 1987.

What are your top three priorities? 

1. Eradicate poverty in St. Petersburg; 2. Upgrade our infrastructure, both wastewater and stormwater systems, to prepare for rising sea levels; 3. To finish projects such as the Pier District; St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters; Skyway Marina District; Commerce Park and the redevelopment of Tropicana Field.

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

We have already spent tens of millions of dollars resolving it. The city has completed several upgrades. We are currently using the Albert Whitted sewage plant for additional storage capacity. After studying the issue, for the near term, it was decided that our current plan makes more sense than upgrading and reopening Albert Whitted, but that remains a possibility.

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

It is anticipated that the new ballpark funding plan would, at a minimum, consist of a public-private partnership between the Rays, the city of St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County. Funding sources could include the Rays' contribution, tourist development tax revenue, revenue generated by the redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site, and St. Petersburg and Pinellas County tax increment financing (TIF) revenue (for site redevelopment only). I have consistently stated that no existing taxes will be raised or new taxes issued to pay for a stadium. I do not believe it is wise to negotiate or offer specifics prior to the Rays organization deciding where they would like to build a new stadium.

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

Our areas of need extend beyond "Midtown" to neighborhoods throughout south St. Pete, such as Childs Park. South St. Pete continues to be a primary focus of my administration, and while I am proud of how far we've come, there is much work to do.

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Assets: $650,000; home Liabilities: $319,495; mortgage Income: $304,077; mayoral salary, legal income

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $475,089 Expenditures: $449,805 Sunrise PAC contributions: $422,450 Expenditures: $361,047

Personal: 

Married with two children, ages 20 and 14.

On the web: 

kriseman.com @Kriseman Facebook: facebook.com/Kriseman/

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