03/12/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The decades-old strain between the black community and the Police Department has permeated the agency's rank-and-file.
Roughly 125 black police officers, city activists and clergy members met behind closed doors late Tuesday with Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin to discuss widespread racial turmoil. Tensions ran high during the 90-minute meeting held at Mount Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church on 20th Street S. ...
As polls closed Tuesday, Republican David Jolly had overtaken Alex Sink's initial lead, setting up a cliff-hanger.
By 7:20 p.m. Jolly was leading with 48 percent of the vote to Sink's 47 percent. But the race is expected to be close, with scores of voters casting ballots in person Tuesday.
The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections estimated voter turnout at 39 percent through 6 p.m. That includes the unofficial early voting turnout of 27.6 percent and 11.4 percent turnout at the polls....
While campaigning to be St. Petersburg mayor, Rick Kriseman stressed the importance of building relationships with federal officials.
He's heading to Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin will attend the "Mayors in Education Convening" hosted by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation....
03/09/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration will now serve taxpayers from satellite offices to provide Midtown residents better access to City Hall.
Starting this week, residents will be able to get information on city services at the Enoch Davis Center and Childs Park YMCA. Various city staffers will rotate between the centers, said Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin.
"By design, it's going to be responsive and reflective of what people are asking about," said the deputy mayor, noting that hours will fluctuate to better serve the community....
03/04/14 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — Police are conducting an investigation into a speeding ticket issued to Vader Green, a former star football player at St. Petersburg High School.
An officer cited Green for speeding on Feb. 10 for driving 50 mph in a 35 mph zone on 34th Street S, police records show.
Last week, Green, 46, said a detective brought a replacement ticket to his house and told him "something was wrong with their computer system." The investigator also asked whether Green called Assistant Chief Luke Williams to complain about the ticket, Green said. ...
03/04/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Since Pinellas County oversees solid waste services, City Council members recently wondered whether the county would help pay for the city's new universal curbside recycling service.
That isn't likely to happen.
"The economic climate has changed significantly," Pinellas Commissioner Ken Welch said Tuesday. "The millions of dollars are not in the budget."
"I'm not opposed to it, but I'd have to see more details," said Commissioner Charlie Justice. "We are in a tight budget year." ...
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is headed to Tampa to socialize with Mayor Bob Buckhorn at the Oxford Exchange.
The men will attend a private event Monday evening to help Al From promote his book, "The New Democrats and the Return to Power." From is the founder and former leader of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council based in Washington, D.C....
03/03/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is delaying the bidding process for the city's new universal curbside recycling service after a council member raised concerns that it wouldn't be competitive enough.
The request for bids was scheduled to go out to private trash haulers today.
But the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday that council member Darden Rice feared that some trash haulers wouldn't seek the work if the city combined processing and collection into one contract....
02/28/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — As the city prepares to bring universal curbside recycling to its 76,000 homes, questions are being raised about how the city will select a vendor for the service.
With the city requesting proposals from private haulers on Tuesday, council member Darden Rice fears homeowners won't get the best rates if the bid combines processing and collection into one contract.
She pointed to Hillsborough County getting multiple bidders and competitive prices when it awarded contracts for its recycling and residential trash services in 2013. The county bid out processing and collection separately....
02/25/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The Police Department could have a new leader within 90 days.
After vowing to make it a priority for his administration, Mayor Rick Kriseman picked the Mercer Group to lead a nationwide search for the next police chief.
The Atlanta-based firm will be paid $14,750 — the lowest of eight bids received by the city. The Mercer Group is expected to recruit, screen and check the backgrounds of candidates. It also would arrange interviews between officials and candidates....
In his continued quest to learn more about the Sunshine City, Mayor Kriseman plans to roll with a former leader.
The new mayor is scheduled to take a 90-minute car ride Wednesday with former St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer, who served from 1991 to 2000.
The topic: Beauty.
"Mayor Fischer was a staunch proponent of beautification," said Ben Kirby, Kriseman's spokesman. "He is going to show Mayor Kriseman opportunities for enhanced beautification."...
02/21/14 Local Government
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman proclaimed he wouldn't sit at the dais for every City Council meeting, and he wasn't there for the start of Thursday's meeting.
During the public comment period, Dr. David McKalip railed about the cost of the proposed curbside recycling program and noted that Kriseman wasn't there to protect the "struggling, vulnerable and voiceless."...
ST. PETERSBURG — When Mayor Rick Kriseman visited Brigitte Whitaker's coffee shop on Central Avenue this week, he got an earful from the new proprietor.
Whitaker, 54, said it took her almost three months to jump through all the city's hurdles before she was cleared in February to open Brew D Licious at 667 Central Ave.
She told the mayor that codes workers classified the shop as a restaurant — although she doesn't cook food. The designation forced her to spend more than $5,000 to add a grease trap and second bathroom. Now she said she's been told she needs a new permit to clean the grease trap, which isn't used....
02/20/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Within the next seven months, the Sunshine City will lose its distinction as the largest Florida municipality without a universal recycling service.
Under the leadership of new Mayor Rick Kriseman, City Council members on Thursday voted unanimously to move forward with a plan to create a citywide program for the city's 76,000 residential customers.
"It should have been done a long time ago," said council member Wengay Newton....
02/19/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Recycling containers could soon become a familiar sight at every home in Florida's fourth-largest city.
After years of political debate, city staffers will unveil a detailed plan to the City Council today about how to make citywide curbside recycling a reality. St. Petersburg remains the only major Florida city not to offer a universal curbside recycling service.
The proposal calls for residents to mix recyclable material like plastic containers, metal cans, glass jars and paper into a single bin that would be picked up weekly....