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St. Petersburg City Election 2013

Update: Foster and Kriseman headed to runoff

After an extremely close primary race on Aug. 27, incumbent mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman will face off again in the Nov. 5 general election. Foster garnered the lead by fewer than 1,000 votes, with 41 percent of votes compared to Kriseman's 39 percent. With only 19 percent of the votes, candidate Kathleen Ford lost her third bid for mayor.

Scroll down to see how Foster and Kriseman responded to our questions about their vision for the city and what they'd do if elected.

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Bill Foster, 50



Mayor

Family: Married, two children

Lived in city: All his life

Education: Bachelor of science in public administration, Samford University; juris doctorate, Cumberland School of Law of Samford University

Campaign info: billfosterformayor.com



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Why you?

I am running for re-election to finish what I started and to build on our successes over the past three years. Four years ago, my vision for St. Petersburg focused on the maintenance of quality city services, increasing economic development and jobs, growing private-sector investment and continuing budget reductions while in the midst of the greatest economic recession of our lifetime. While recovery was slow, the plan is working, and together we realized great progress into 2013. We have much more left to do.

Much has been said about the city needing a leader with vision. What’s your vision for the city? Be as specific as possible.

St. Petersburg has had a leader with vision. While other cities have faltered, just look around at our progress. Property values are up, sales prices are up, and new construction of commercial and residential units are everywhere. This hasn’t happened in every city, and it didn’t happen by chance. Over the next four years, I will continue my emphasis on economic development and job creation, public safety, neighborhoods and housing, strong relations with Pinellas County and education. We will maintain positive environments and quality spaces of art, culture, parks, and sporting and cultural events to ensure that residents, visitors and private employers invest in the growth of the Sunshine City.

Three things the city is doing right and I’d continue:

I will continue to focus on leadership. It allowed us to navigate the great recession with focused budget cuts and tax reductions in fiscal years 2011 and 2012 and reductions in government staffing, including over 50 administrative and professional positions. Leadership led to the reduction of crime in 2010, 2011 and 2012, coupled with policies and partnerships leading to the reduction of panhandling and the creation of Pinellas Safe Harbor for the compassionate care of the homeless. Leadership removed impediments to development, thereby engaging the business community as a key partner in the growth of St. Petersburg.

Three things the city is doing wrong that I’d change:

If I believed that the city was doing something wrong, I would have addressed it already.

Rick Kriseman, 51



Lawyer

Family: Married, two children

Lived in city: Moved here at age 3

Education: Bachelor of science in broadcasting, University of Florida; juris doctorate, Stetson University College of Law

Campaign info: kriseman.com



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Why you?

I am running for mayor because the residents of St. Petersburg deserve a strong, decisive leader who can move us forward while looking out for the best interests of every neighborhood in our city. I will be that mayor.

Much has been said about the city needing a leader with vision. What’s your vision for the city? Be as specific as possible.

I love our city, but I love the potential we have even more. My vision is for St. Petersburg to once again be known as a city made up of strong, vibrant neighborhoods, sound infrastructure, which includes an easily accessible public transportation system, and quality public schools. We will grow our economy and create more jobs in both the marine sciences industry and health care fields. In addition, while I intend on establishing better working relationships with Pinellas County and with those municipalities that abut our city, such as Gulfport and Tampa, I intend on taking those steps necessary to further cement St. Petersburg’s status as a cultural destination with world-class galleries and museums.

Without vision and forward-looking leadership, the positive changes which have occurred in the past will become a thing of the past.

Three things the city is doing right and I’d continue:

I will continue to ensure that we are a welcoming community that embraces and celebrates every individual regardless of race, class or sexual orientation. I will continue our efforts at being a city of the arts, and I will continue and build on the progress we’ve made in becoming a Green City. We’re doing a lot right, but there’s a lot we can be doing better.

Three things the city is doing wrong that I’d change:

Instead of waiting until their lease ends in 2027, I will engage the Tampa Bay Rays about the future of baseball in this city and region. I will change the Police Department’s chase policy and return us to the traditional community policing model. I will bring civility to City Hall.

  1. Kriseman rejects campaign chief's remark about the black vote

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman denounced a comment from his campaign manager that he could have won the election without conquering 19 precincts populated by African-African voters.

    Rick Kriseman fared well on the ballot in black precincts.
  2. St. Petersburg Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman announces transition team, priorities

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — Fifteen hours after stopping Mayor Bill Foster's re-election bid, Rick Kriseman walked into City Hall for the first time with his new title: mayor-elect.

    During a press conference at St. Petersburg City Hall on Wednesday, Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman, center, announces transition plans and introduces his two transition team Co-Chairs: Andrew M. Hayes, left, and Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich.
  3. Good-enough mayor not good enough for St. Petersburg voters anymore

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's been more than 26 years since a St. Petersburg mayor lost re-election.

  4. Rice, Foster and two incumbents elected to St. Petersburg City Council

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Two members will be new. Three will be under 50. And three will be openly gay, the most in the council's history.

  5. It's decision day in St. Petersburg's mayoral race

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman have made countless arguments on why each should lead the city for four years.

    Polls opened at 7 a.m. across St. Petersburg on Tuesday morning, including this voting location at Pilgrim Congregational Church on Central Avenue.
  6. Did politics cause Mayor Bill Foster to not honor two longtime police officers?

    Blogs

    When two leaders of the St. Petersburg Police Department retired in September, elected officials from across the region sent proclamations to be read at a retirement party attended by more than 500 people.

  7. St. Petersburg voters have returned 44% of absentee ballots

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — More than 27,000 residents have already voted in Tuesday's election for the next mayor and four City Council seats.