Saturday, February 24, 2018
St. Pete Times News

St. Pete mayoral candidate Rick Baker goes to church

ST. PETERSBURG -- Mayoral candidate Rick Baker took his campaign to Bethel Community Baptist Church on Sunday. It's not uncommon for politicians from both parties to stop in at the church and speak to the congregation -- Gov. Rick Scott visited in 2014..

Baker entered shortly after the service had started, and brought with him his wife and a group of supporters: former Southern Christian Leadership Conference chapter president Sevell Brown, former assistant police chief Cedric Gordon, reitred police sergeant Al White.and retired major Donnie Williams

Before Baker got up to speak, a musical group had performed a song called "All In His Hands." When Baker stood up, he made reference to that by saying, "I put it all in His hands," and then talked briefly about his own religious faith.

After introducing the former police officers who accompanied him, Baker mentioned former deputy mayor and police chief Goliath Davis. When Davis was police chief "I had such a confidence level" that the police department "would treat everyone with respect,"  Baker said.

Baker said that when he was mayor before for nearly nine years, "my job was to make sure that every part of the city would have the resources and assets that all the other parts  have." 

He blasted his opponent, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, for cutting a deal that would put a Floribbean restaurant in the historic Manhattan casino:  "What’s been proposed to replace it, I completely disagree with." He accused Kriseman of pushing to get the deal done "before I get elected." 

"Everywhere I go people are talking about crime," he said, shifting gears. "I was in Snell Isle last night and people were talking about how we need to do something about the auto theft problem. If you give kids a job then they won’t go steal a car. If there’s nothing they’re risking, then they’re going to do it."

Baker boasted of raising thousands of dollars for college scholarships for at-risk kids, and added that he's been talking to the contractors’ association about set tingup a program for kids who have a GED,to be trained for a job as an electrician, a carpenter or a plumber. He said he hopes to figure out a way for Uber or Lyft to transport such kids to various job sites because transportation is often a problem for them.

He complained about the partisan turn that the campaign has taken, with Florida Democrats tagging him as a supporter of President Donald Trump  and meanwhile Kriseman getting an endorsement from former President Barack Obama.

 "The whole campaign against me is that I’m not in the party that Rick Kriseman wants me to be in.But that’s not what the mayor’s race is about."

Baker emphasized once more his prior service as mayor, telling the congregation,  "I’m no different than I was back then. You know where my heart is."

Kriseman attended Christ Gospel Church on Sunday. He also canvassed door-to-door, said Jacob Smith, Kriseman's campaign manager. The mayor has visited at least 13 churches during the campaign, many of them two or three times. He visited Bethel in July, Smith said.

Comments
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Published: 02/23/18

Gulfport candidates draw stark contrasts

GULFPORT — One candidate is a plain-spoken, straightforward technology consultant who preaches "conservative fiscal responsibility" and votes Republican in national elections.The other is a self-proclaimed "progressive liberal" who practices law, pro...
Published: 02/23/18
New play focuses on the dangers of seniors falling

New play focuses on the dangers of seniors falling

CLEARWATER — The actor is playing out a common moment. She is an elderly woman, one who cherishes simple possessions — her cat, a favorite rug, her own home. She loses her balance while leaning over. She tumbles to the ground. The stage fades to blac...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000 position as business services director. Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that CareerSource...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Jolley Trolley offers free rides to Clearwater Beach

Jolley Trolley offers free rides to Clearwater Beach

CLEARWATER — Spring break kicked off this week with a program offering free rides on the Jolley Trolley between downtown and Clearwater Beach until April 29.The Park N Ride service will pick up riders at two lots downtown every 15 minutes and drop th...
Published: 02/22/18

St. Petersburg Shuffleboard club to hold soiree

ST. PETERSBURG — "Cocktails on the Courts" — an evening of Florida cuisine, libations, music, auctions, live mermaids, a two-headed calf and shuffleboard — will benefit the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The event will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Ma...
Published: 02/22/18

Pastor invites public to service at Manhattan Casino

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rev. Basha Jordan, grandson of St. Petersburg’s pioneer African-American businessman Elder Jordan, who built the historic Manhattan Casino, is inviting the community to join him and other pastors for a service at the facility on ...
Published: 02/22/18

Celebration at Enoch Davis Center is Friday

ST. PETERSBURG — The Enoch Davis Center will host a free Black History Month celebration Friday. The program, which will run from from 6 to 8 p.m., will include activities for the entire family and food, entertainment, music and prizes. There will a...
Published: 02/22/18

Crescent Heights neighborhood working to save historic church

ST. PETERSBURG — The Crescent Heights Neighborhood Association says it wants to save one of the area’s historic buildings from demolition.The association says the American Baptist Church of the Beatitudes, at 2812 Eighth St. N, is being sold to a loc...
Published: 02/22/18
Saving trees a passion for some St. Petersburg neighborhood leaders

Saving trees a passion for some St. Petersburg neighborhood leaders

ST. PETERSBURGBeth Connor, a longtime neighborhood environmental advocate, is alarmed at what she views as the destruction of the city’s trees in the name of development.She points to at least three properties that have been scraped of trees in recen...
Published: 02/22/18