Thursday, April 19, 2018
Politics

Former USF adjunct poetry professor files to run for St. Petersburg council

ST. PETERSBURG — Two months after battling the Mayan apocalypse from his roof, Alex Duensing hopes to become a city leader.

Duensing, 39, recently filed to run for the District 8 City Council seat opening up in January as a result of Jeff Danner facing term limits.

The self-described consultant said voters should elect him because he will embrace community efforts, help create opportunities for small businesses and artists and ensure that city codes are enforced with common sense.

"I believe the cost of government would go down," Duensing said.

He said he also favors allowing voters to decide the fate of the Pier and any other costly projects involving tax dollars.

Duensing said he earned an advanced degree in poetry from Columbia University in New York and consults for a firm working to increase longevity through architecture. He said he also consults for the American Academy of Pain Management.

He taught poetry for two years at USF as an adjunct professor. He and his wife currently rent a home and have no children.

A grass roots campaign to energize voters is under way, he said.

Campaign signs come from headboards found in alleys and discarded plants beautify areas around the signs, he said.

In December, he wore a tunic and spent an evening perched on his roof spinning two poles to ward off the Mayan apocalypse. He told two television anchors that he was using "powers moving through him" to save the world.

Spinning the two poles blocked clouds from hovering over the city, Duensing said.

"If nothing else, I'm trying," he told the anchors. "It feels like I'm succeeding."

On Tuesday, Duensing called the stunt "a piece of performance art that was very serious." He compared his pole-spinning invention to a form of tai chi.

He doesn't believe he saved the world, but said he brought hope to many people.

"I don't think we know the limits of our abilities," Duensing said. "I don't think we can fly, but we have powers."

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

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