Thursday, February 22, 2018
Politics

St. Pete council candidate moves to comply with redistricting plan

Call the movers

Neurosurgeon, blogger and St. Petersburg City Council candidate David McKalip is on the move.

McKalip announced last week he is selling his home in order to run for office. The city's Redistricting Commission redrew council boundaries and it's likely McKalip will be forced off the ballot in District 4 because he no longer lives in the district. (The council hasn't adopted the commission's recommendations, but approval is likely at a March 21 public hearing.)

To counter that, McKalip listed his home for sale and already took up residence a few blocks away.

Candidates can qualify for office by ensuring they have continuous residence in the old and the new district over 12 months prior to the primary, according to an opinion by Chief Assistant Attorney Mark Winn.

McKalip believes the commission redrew boundaries to protect incumbents. Leslie Curran is currently the District 4 council representative but can't run again because of term limits.

A potential opponent, Darden Rice, president of the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg, also is considering moving in order to run in the newly redrawn district.

Feeling excluded

After St. Petersburg City Council members thanked the nine members of the Redistricting Commission at Thursday's meeting for volunteering, neighborhood activist Theresa "Momma Tee" Lassiter erupted with anger.

"I'm sick of being left out," she told the council, noting that she isn't dumb and has an associate's degree. "I'm tired of being played. I may not be rich, but I do care . . . You always get vanilla, white folks."

Hail to the Pinellas County chief

There's the State of the Union address and the State of the State address and soon there will be the State of Pinellas County address.

Don't yawn just yet. The idea, which came from Commission Chairman Ken Welch, would have him delivering quarterly updates on the county's goings-on, geared to residents who want to be engaged without devotedly following every hourslong commission meeting.

The county will post the addresses on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, Welch said.

"One of the things I wanted to do this year was use social media more productively to let folks know what we're doing," he said. "Here are the things we've accomplished, here's what we're working on, here's what's important."

Each address will be 10 to 15 minutes long and will likely be delivered to the camera in the same style as the State of the Union. Along with potentially reaching new people, the speeches could also increase Welch's visibility, which certainly wouldn't hurt if he does eventually run for mayor of St. Petersburg.

Welch said he is hoping to put out the first video by the end of this month.

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.

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