ST. PETERSBURG — David McKalip is usually one of the first residents to lambaste the City Council and mayor on controversial issues.
Now, the neurosurgeon, blogger and tea party activist wants on the council.
McKalip filed paperwork Tuesday to seek the current District 4 seat opening up in January. Term limits prevent council woman Leslie Curran from running again. One possible challenger for McKalip includes Darden Rice, president of the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg.
If elected, McKalip said he wants to stop the city from prying open the wallets and checkbooks of citizens.
"It's time for the citizens to own their own city," he said. "It's time for the political class to stop treating their citizens like walking ATM machines."
The qualifying period for the municipal elections runs June 11 through 24. The primary is Aug. 27.
McKalip said he hired Tampa-based Strategic Image Management, a political consulting firm run by Anthony Pedicin and Thomas Piccolo. A campaign manager is being sought, he said.
Many residents might not know McKalip, but have likely driven by his creation.
In 2011, he unveiled what he calls Founders Corner at Fourth Street and 62nd Avenue N. Four 6-foot-tall granite and limestone monuments sit at the lot's edge with labels such as "individual liberty'' and "free markets.'' An American flag flaps from a bronze 35-foot pole.
In 2009, McKalip stepped down as president-elect of the Pinellas County Medical Association after forwarding an e-mail image that portrayed President Barack Obama as a witch doctor. He later apologized.
The current council boundaries could change in coming months. The St. Petersburg Redistricting Commission is in the process of creating new boundaries for all eight council districts as a result of population declines from the 2010 census.
Mark Puente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.