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Incumbents coast into 4 more years

The faces on the City Council will remain the same for a while.

Incumbents Bill Foster and Rick Kriseman easily won re-election Tuesday.

Foster, a 40-year-old attorney who represents District 3, won nearly two of every three votes against Bill Dudley, a high school coach. Kriseman, a 41-year-old attorney from District 1, won three of every four votes against Dennis Homol Sr., a hospital maintenance worker.

"I'm looking forward to serving the city for another four years," said Kriseman, who declared victory shortly before 9 p.m. at Saffron's restaurant. "I'm excited about what's happened here in the last two years, but I'm really excited about the potential for St. Petersburg and the direction the city is headed.

"We've made great strides at improving the quality of life and expanding economic development in all areas of the city," Kriseman continued. "I'm excited about continuing that effort."

Foster, whose supporters gathered at Beef O Brady's, waited a bit longer to declare victory even though the outcome was never in doubt.

"I'm really speechless," he said. "There's so many unknowns. Coach Dudley ran an excellent campaign. I never took him for granted."

Foster said there is plenty of work ahead for the council.

"I want St. Petersburg to be the most livable city in America, and we're not there," he said. "We've got a long way to go. The city can be better. The people have entrusted this position to me for four more years to make St. Petersburg better, and I'm going to make good on that promise."

District 3, which Foster represents, covers northeastern neighborhoods including Snell Isle and Shore Acres. District 1, which Kriseman represents, is in far west St. Petersburg and encompasses Holiday Park and Crossroads areas. The election was citywide. Council members serve a four-year term and earn an annual salary of $24,758.

Dudley, a 59-year-old Northeast High School coach and driver's education instructor, surprised some in the September District 3 primary by easing ahead of funeral home operator John McQueen. McQueen had received the support of some business leaders and council member John Bryan.

Dudley, who was Foster's football coach at Northeast, touted himself as a grass-roots politician and friend of the "working man" during the campaign. "I'm not a professional politician," he said at one point.

But the two agreed on many issues, including keeping Albert Whitted Airport open and making the police department more attractive to potential recruits and officers.

"It was a great experience," Dudley said from Ferg's Sports Bar on Central Avenue. "But I'm a little disappointed the people who I thought were going to come through for me, they didn't get out and vote."

"But I will be back. This has fueled me."

Tuesday's election marked the second time Kriseman and Homol competed for the District 1 seat. In 2001, Kriseman won 75 percent of the vote.

Kriseman and Homol also offered a contrast in styles. Homol, a maintenance worker at All Children's Hospital, is a founding member of Citizens United for Shared Prosperity, a group spun off the 2001 mayoral campaign of Uhuru leader Omali Yeshitela, whom Homol supported. Homol is a critic of both the City Council and Mayor Rick Baker.

"I had everything against me," Homol said Tuesday night from home as he prepared to leave for work.

"I had the (St. Petersburg) Times against me," he said referring to the editorial board's recommendation of Kriseman.

"Money talks. I didn't take donations," said Homol, who raised about $650 compared to Kriseman's $13,000. "But it shouldn't be about the money. It should be about the issues."

_ Marcus Franklin can be reached at mfranklinsptimes.com or (727) 893-8488.

ELECTION RESULTS

All vote counts are unofficial and reflect vote totals available at press time.

CITY COUNCIL

District 1

Dennis A. Homol Sr. 6,61623.54%

Rick Kriseman 21,484 76.46%

District 3

Bill Dudley 10,980 34.28%

Bill Foster 21,04765.72%

BALLOT QUESTIONS

Referendum 1: Extending the lease of

the St. Petersburg Tennis Center to 20

years.

Yes 26,47978.81%

No 7,11821.19%

Charter Amendment 1: Permanently

keeping Albert Whitted Airport open

through additional charter restrictions.

Yes 25,790 72.59%

No 9,73627.41%

Charter Amendment 2: Supporting

Albert Whitted Airport through charter

amendment authorizing council to

accept future restrictive government

grants.

Yes 23,835 67.57%

No 11,437 32.43%

Charter Amendment 3: Creating

waterfront park in place of airport use on

at least half of airport property.

Yes 7,783 21.94%

No 27,686 78.06%

Charter Amendment 4: Providing a

method for resolving conflicting Charter

Amendments that receive voter

approval at the same election.

Yes 27,323 78.80%

No 7,352 21.20%

Charter Amendment 5: Allowing the

City Council to place perpetual

restrictions on parks in exchange for

grant money.

Yes 20,449 59.43%

No 13,961 40.57%

Charter Amendment 6: Erasing obsolete

language from the City Charter.

Yes 25,964 79.02%

No 6,892 20.98%

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