The Times offers candidates not recommended by its editorial board an opportunity to reply. Here are the replies in the St. Petersburg City Council races.
Candidate for St. Petersburg
City Council, District 3
I respect that the Times' editorial staff is entitled to contradict itself by endorsing a candidate that they previously stated has "an inability to distinguish between moralizing and making wise public policy decisions," and that "too often, chooses political grandstanding over collegiality." I take exception, however, to the dismissive attitude they have had toward my campaign and my profession. I am an educator with 35 year's experience, with a master's degree in administration and supervision and the ability to understand and resolve complex issues. You have not done your research on me or my campaign. You say my campaign is regressive. I disagree. I say that for our economy to develop, especially in the Midtown area, we must get a handle on public safety. This is a sensitive issue in our community, but hiding our heads in the sand is not going to make it go away. I am the only candidate who has enumerated what future changes I hope to bring to the City Council and our city: preservation and renovation of Albert Whitted Airport; revitalization of the port; re-evaluation of code enforcement, and yes, evaluating our police to insure that all citizens of St. Petersburg may be safe at work and at home. Your endorsement article was entitled, For a better City Council. How can status quo be better than a true vision for the future? I hope the voters make it clear that it is the Times' editorial staff that is out of touch with the people.
Dennis Homol Sr.
Candidate for St. Petersburg
City Council, District 1
The editorial board questioned my position change from supporting the airport to supporting the waterfront park. Did they support council member Bill Foster in the primary? No! But now they do support him. Likewise, as I researched the waterfront park issue, I realized that the citizens would be better served by the park than by the airport. Mayor Rick Baker has already spent $80,000 of taxpayers' money to seek a one-runway airport and put condos on the waterfront. Even the airport's main supporter, Jack Tunstill, has said that the issue of one runway could be debated after the election. I firmly believe that the waterfront park is the right direction for our city to go. Vote yes to Amendment 3. If the citizens will check my opponent's record, they will find that most of what he is campaign promising this time, is the same as two years ago. But none of his promises have become reality. He is careful to ride the fence and fall on the winning side.
If elected, I will fight to keep condos off the waterfront, reduce the need for speed bumps and increase police officer patrols that issue tickets, support a living wage ordinance, secure our city's water resources, increase the capital used for economic development, and will provide leadership through example.
If you ever tried to beat City Hall and couldn't, then you understand why I am running. I am not a bobblehead. I am the little guy, the underdog. I am you.