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The Buzz: Foster and Kriseman on music, Sharon Russ on borders, Wengay Newton on punctuality

'Worst-kept secret'

While hard hats and tape measures have invaded Midtown's Tangerine Plaza, no one has officially said Walmart is moving into the former Sweetbay Supermarket space. Until now.

"It's the worst-kept secret in St. Petersburg," Mayor Foster said last week at a candidate forum.

Still, the developer and retailer are mum.

Surveyors measured the store and a row of spaces on Sept. 6. A recent legal filing shows Walmart plans to name the space at 1794 22nd St. S "Walmart store No. 6400." The company also has leased a nearby gym to interview and hire workers.

Foster has taken hits on the campaign trail for not preventing Sweetbay's closure.

Of strains and men

Mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman differ on many topics — including music.

At a candidate forum Wednesday at Studio@620, Kriseman said he played classical music for his young children while they slept to stimulate their brains.

Foster jokingly replied: "My parents sent me to bed with Led Zeppelin."

"That explains a lot," a woman quipped at the back of the room.

Buzz wonders if hizzoner ever counted sheep to the 1969 Zeppelin hit Communication Breakdown. He also mentioned his other favorite groups: Queen, the Eagles and the Beatles.

No parking

How do you silence 10 political candidates at once during a forum? Pull a tow truck into the lot.

When a man walked into Studio@620 on Wednesday to say a gray Hyundai was being towed, Foster roared proudly. "It's not the city towing," he told 100 residents. "We don't do that."

Kriseman then passed his keys to his campaign manager. It ended up being a false alarm, but Kriseman's car was moved to avoid the $150 hook.

Stumped on the trail

District 6 City Council candidate Sharon Russ might need a geography lesson. She couldn't tell voters the borders of the district she wants to represent.

"I would assume it would include downtown," Russ told 50 voters last week during a forum at the Birchwood on Beach Drive. "Mr. Nurse could answer that better since he redrew the districts."

Her opponent, City Council Chairman Karl Nurse, shook his head and said: "No, I didn't."

The city's Redistricting Commission tweaked the borders, and the City Council approved the maps.

On time!

Last week, Buzz reported that council member Wengay Newton frequently arrives late for Pinellas Suncoast Transit Association meetings. Resident Vince Cocks sent Newton an email demanding that he correct his tardiness. Newton arrived early to Wednesday's meeting.

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

The Buzz: Foster and Kriseman on music, Sharon Russ on borders, Wengay Newton on punctuality 09/12/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 13, 2013 12:39pm]
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