Tuesday, August 14, 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/

Comments

Pasco Political Notebook for Aug. 17

Republican Club hosts candidate forum at meetingThe West Pasco Republican Club will host an "Election Extravaganza" candidate forum at its meeting Aug. 21 at Heritage Springs Country Club, 11345 Robert Trent Jones Parkway, Trinity. A social time will...
Published: 08/13/18
Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting Pasco County begins Saturday and runs through Aug. 25, with 11 locations across the county for voters.Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 20-24, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug...
Published: 08/13/18
Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

LARGO — There will be no suspense in the city when elections arrive Nov. 6. In fact, there will be no election at all, because all four city commissioners whose seats were up were re-elected by default when no one came forward by the end of the candi...
Published: 08/13/18
Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake.

Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake.

The political kerfuffle around Melissa Howard began when a news site reported that the Florida state House hopeful is not a college graduate, as she claims to be. To prove the story wrong, Howard, R, reportedly flew to her proclaimed alma mater, Ohio...
Published: 08/12/18
Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

The war is over, except no one in Tallahassee has bothered to read the news.And so Florida continues its daft fight against medical marijuana. All of which means patients are being left behind, voters are getting ignored, and lawyers are buying fanci...
Published: 08/11/18
Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

TAMPA — Hillsborough County plans to file a lawsuit next week against companies that manufacture opioid drugs, alleging that aggressive marketing of painkillers worsened the opioid crisis.The county joins a number of other local governments nationwid...
Published: 08/10/18
Ex-aide Omarosa says she refused hush money, pens White House memoir calling Trump racist

Ex-aide Omarosa says she refused hush money, pens White House memoir calling Trump racist

WASHINGTON — Omarosa Manigault Newman was offered a $15,000-a-month contract from President Donald Trump’s campaign to stay silent after being fired from her job as a White House aide by Chief of Staff John Kelly last December, according to a forthco...
Published: 08/10/18
Carlton: Sorry, Gov. Scott, but college students can early vote after all. Hey, USF, talking to you here...

Carlton: Sorry, Gov. Scott, but college students can early vote after all. Hey, USF, talking to you here...

Good news, at least for those of us who keep believing in that old-fashioned notion that voting should be open and accessible to everyone who’s qualified.Even if they’re, say, young voters. And even if certain politicians do not like the direction in...
Published: 08/10/18
Sheriff finds himself at center of political stand your ground storm

Sheriff finds himself at center of political stand your ground storm

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has never been one to shy away from tough decisions.He’s also not known to back off from explaining them publicly.So his 30-minute and 55-minute news conferences to talk about why he didn’t arrest Michael Drejka ...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18
Retired attorney and businesswoman challenge two-term Hernando commissioner

Retired attorney and businesswoman challenge two-term Hernando commissioner

BROOKSVILLE — As the District 2 Hernando County commissioner, Wayne Dukes hopes his public service over the past eight years has earned him another term on the board. But two other Republicans on the ballot for the Aug. 28 primary election would like...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18