Sunday, April 22, 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
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott’s first policy idea as a U.S. Senate candidate won’t happen and most of his fellow Republicans don’t support it.But it’s a surefire applause line at political rallies.Scott wants term limits for members of Congress: 12 ye...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18