Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Politics

A look at the lighter side of St. Petersburg mayoral candidates Bill Foster and Rick Kriseman

Number of the week

9

That's the day the campaign talk stops. St. Petersburg voters will pick the city's leader for the next four years. Will Mayor Bill Foster keep his job on Nov. 5? Will challenger Rick Kriseman unseat the incumbent?

Lighter side

As Foster and Kriseman battle for votes, Buzz learned a few tidbits about each man on the campaign trail.

Hizzoner doesn't dress flashy or like a king, but Foster did make the homecoming court at Northeast High School in the first year that males landed on the court.

His yearbook said this about him: "Bill claims to be an optimist, believing one should always look at the good side of everything."

Foster's patriotism started as a youth. An entire wall in his bedroom was covered with wallpaper resembling an American flag. And the switch plate for the light? An American eagle, of course.

And no All-American boy's room would be complete without a poster of Farrah Fawcett. Foster still has the poster, but his wife says it's stored in a closet. Wendy Foster couldn't keep a straight face discussing hizzoner's love for the poster.

Kriseman, on the other hand, has gone to the dogs.

In 2010, his daughter suggested the family train guide dogs as part of her bat mitzvah project. Three years later, the family is training its sixth for Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Kriseman is the main trainer in the home. At a recent campaign stop, Kriseman ushered Petey, a Labrador retriever, into a cafeteria at St. Paul's Catholic Church.

Petey sat under a table as Kriseman and his family talked with voters. When Kriseman told Petey it was time to go, he flopped over and pointed his paws in the air. It's unknown if Petey grew tired of campaign talk.

And how does Kriseman unwind at home?

He takes guitar lessons and jams to Pink Floyd and the Eagles in his den. He's also a Jimmy Buffett Parrothead and Star Trek and sci-fi nut.

Debate over

How many debates and forums have St. Petersburg City Council candidates had to attend? Just enough to push typically cool and composed people over the edge, apparently.

At a recent, sparsely attended debate held at the Wildwood Recreation Center, the candidates were asked to say something nice about their opponents. After months of campaigning, that's a bit like asking two playground enemies to shake hands.

Buzz couldn't make the event, but Steve Lapinski, campaign manager for Amy Foster, relayed the conversation on his Facebook page. Rather than speak well of her opponent, or say nothing at all, District 6 council candidate Sharon Russ, went on the offensive against incumbent Karl Nurse.

Then it was Nurse's turn to compliment Russ: "Sharon is a master of the cheap shot," he said.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow @markpuente on Twitter. Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779. Follow @annamphillips.

   
Comments
‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

Sun Sentinel (TNS)PALM BEACH — About 500 Haitian-Americans and their supporters used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to protest derogatory comments President Donald Trump reportedly made about immigrants from majority-black countries."What do we w...
Updated: 7 hours ago

U.S. forced to renew DACA permits as furor over Trump’s immigration slur persists

Los Angeles Times (TNS)WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, under court order, said it would resume taking applications to renew temporary protections from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the country illegall...
Published: 01/14/18
GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

A Republican senator is insisting that President Donald Trump did not use a vulgar term in referring to African countries during a closed-door meeting on immigration that he and five other senators attended last week.Georgia Sen. David Perdue called ...
Published: 01/14/18
Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

A Florida Ethics Commission staff attorney has drafted an order denying Hillsborough County’s request for reimbursement for attorney fees from one of four citizens who filed unsustained ethics complaints against Commissioner Ken Hagan.The commission ...
Published: 01/12/18
Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur:

Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur: "It’s very racist"

Fadia Richardson had just finished dinner Thursday when she sat down to watch the news and saw a report she didn’t want to believe.In an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration policy earlier in the day, President Donald Trump repor...
Published: 01/12/18
Sen. Durbin says Trump said ‘hate-filled things’

Sen. Durbin says Trump said ‘hate-filled things’

WASHINGTON — A senator present at a White House immigration meeting says President Donald Trump used vulgar language to describe African countries, saying he "said these hate filled things and he said them repeatedly." Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois D...
Published: 01/12/18
Trump denies he used vulgarity to describe African countries

Trump denies he used vulgarity to describe African countries

WASHINGTON — In bluntly vulgar language, President Donald Trump questioned Thursday why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "sh--hole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway, as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, ...
Published: 01/12/18
Africa startled by Trump’s ‘extremely offensive’ comments on immigrants

Africa startled by Trump’s ‘extremely offensive’ comments on immigrants

JOHANNESBURG — Africans woke up on Friday to find President Donald Trump had finally taken an interest in their continent. It wasn’t what people had hoped for.Using vulgar language, Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigran...
Published: 01/12/18
Hillsborough Republicans off to a rocky start in 2018

Hillsborough Republicans off to a rocky start in 2018

The Hillsborough County Republican Party is having a shaky start to election year 2018. Chairman Deborah Tamargo has been ousted over a seemingly petty squabble that reflects the long-standing division between East Hillsborough conservatives and esta...
Published: 01/12/18
Clearwater City Council Candidate Tom Keller says he’s a voice for the ordinary resident

Clearwater City Council Candidate Tom Keller says he’s a voice for the ordinary resident

Editor’s note: Ahead of the March 13 election, the Tampa Bay Times is publishing profiles on Clearwater City Council candidates for Seat 4 today. Profiles on candidates for Seat 5 will appear next week.CLEARWATER — Tom Keller is the first one to admi...
Published: 01/12/18