Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg candidates differ on the Lens, red light cameras

ST. PETERSBURG — It's not easy to stand out in a crowd of five City Council candidates, but Jim Kennedy found a way: by endorsing the Lens project and red light cameras.

Both controversial projects were mostly panned at a forum Wednesday, including by Lorraine Margeson, Kennedy's Nov. 5 general election opponent. The forum gave candidates in districts 2 and 6 a chance to respond to questions. Here is a look at some of their answers:

What is your position on the Lens design for replacing the Pier?

Kennedy said the process used to develop the Lens was a good one, with "80-some citizen meetings" and an international architectural competition. The stagnation of doing nothing could be bad for the city, he said.

"When you put it to a vote, if 70 percent of the people voted that the Pier was structurally sound, would it become? So I hope the Lens does go forward."

But his District 2 opponent Margeson shot back, "as the office manager for the Concerned Citizens Stop the Lens office… vote yes, stop the Lens."

Among the three District 6 candidates, incumbent Karl Nurse said he didn't think "the Lens works" and that the city wound up with "dramatic, nonfunctional designs."

Fellow District 6 candidate Trevor Mallory said this: "The citizens will vote on it soon and I think that's all I want to say about it." But he did go on to say "the inverted pyramid is proven in the city of St. Pete." Candidate Sharon Russ did not say whether she supports the Lens, and made references to a "contractor dispute."

Should people be refunded for tickets they were given improperly through the red light camera system?

"Absolutely and if I get on council the red light camera issue will be going away," said Margeson.

Kennedy said no, adding that he thinks red light cameras are "safety driven." To back that up, he said the number of red light reoffenders is very small, which indicates "people get one ticket and they learn." Also, he said they prevent dangerous T-bone accidents.

Nurse said the city has worked on two fixes, one regarding people making slow turns on red, another involving the timing of yellow lights. He said these fixes have reduced the number of tickets by about half. However, he said, refunds might be impractical.

Russ said she opposes red light cameras and "anything that's going to take money away from hard-working people. Mallory said people should not have to pay for improperly given tickets.

Do you support the transit referendum scheduled for 2014 in Pinellas?

Kennedy said he is a big proponent of the transit plans, not only because it would include light rail, but also because of how it would increase bus routes along a grid through Pinellas County. Margeson said she supports the concept, but thinks it could be improved with a more regional approach.

In District 6, Russ said she supports it. She has ridden local buses and "traveling across the county from St. Petersburg to Clearwater is a two-hour commute."

Mallory said a light rail system "can help us in a lot of ways in our city. It can get a lot of people from Hillsborough to here a lot quicker and a lot safer." It might even increase Tampa Bay Rays attendance, he said.

"I support the transit referendum," said Nurse, adding that he has pushed for transit reforms through the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

The forum was organized by the Council of Neighborhood Associations and St. Pete Patch, and moderated by the League of Women Voters.

St. Petersburg candidates differ on the Lens, red light cameras 07/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 19, 2013 12:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois

    Blogs

    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.

  2. What to watch this weekend: 'GLOW,' second season of 'Preacher'

    Blogs

    Ready to rumble: GLOW

    Four words: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Yes, the fluorescent, body-slamming soap opera GLOW starring a cast of exaggerated characters is back, this time as a fictionalized Netflix series. Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) stars as Ruth, a down-on-her-luck actor …

    Alison Brie, left, and Betty Gilpin in GLOW on Netflix.
  3. Exploratory Lab Boot Camp provides real-life technology training to students

    Science

    CLEARWATER — At this graduation ceremony featuring some of the brightest local minds in tech, it was the youngsters who stood out.

    Laszlo Leedy, 17, a senior at Shorecrest Prep, presents part of his team's project for SPC's Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. Students presented their ideas at the end of the SPC Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. The program provides real-time business training to students. This year's graduation celebrated 15 students that finished the program. 
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  4. Editorial: Trump, not military, should set troop levels in Afghanistan

    Editorials

    There is no task more solemn for any American president than the decision to send troops off to war. In delegating authority over troops levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has shirked his obligation to own and defend his Afghan policy, while further divorcing America's military strategy there …

  5. North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in U.S. student's death (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday called itself the "biggest victim" in the death of an American student who was detained for more than a year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]