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Steve Kornell to campaign at AIDS Walk

ST. PETERSBURG -- District 5 candidate Steve Kornell will campaign with the Pinellas County Stonewall Democrats on Saturday at the AIDS Walk St. Petersburg.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. The group is meeting at North Shore Park near 12th Avenue N.

All of the money raised by the Walk serves Pinellas County clients affected by HIV and AIDS through the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas.

For more information, go to

Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer

Posted by Times Editor at 10:07:44 AM on September 9, 2009

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Rick Baker, former mayors endorse Bill Foster

ST. PETERSBURG -- A press conference is about to begin on the steps of City Hall where Bill Foster is expected to announcement the endorsements of Mayor Rick Baker and former mayors David Fischer, Bob Ulrich, and Randy Wedding, among others.

The list apparently moving to the Foster camp after his first-place finish in last week's primary is long and accounts for nearly 40 years of city history.

Among those we're told are endorsing Foster, a 46-year-old attorney and former City Council member:

Former mayor Don Jones

Former council member and mayoral candidate Larry Williams

Former council member Rene Flowers

Former council member Earnest Williams

Former council member Bea Griswold

Former council member Jay Lasita

Former council member Dean Staples

Former council member Bill Davenport

Former council member Jim Martin

Former council member Connie Kone

Former council member Frank Peterman

Former council member and County Commissioner Bob Stewart

City Council member Bill Dudley

City Council member Jeff Danner

Most of the endorsements -- particularly Baker's -- should not come as a surprise, and further cement Foster as the establishment candidate. Foster's roster of supporters now includes every living City Council member who served with Ford, a 52-year-old attorney and council member from 1997 to 2001.

The list includes both Democrats and Republicans.

Foster also is endorsed by the police union. Ford is endorsed by the firefighters' union and city blue collar employees union.

Check back later for news from Wednesday's press conference.

UPDATE 11:25 a.m. -- The press conference just wrapped up. While we start to put together a story, here are some quotes from Baker, Foster and Fischer.

Baker: "We still have challenges. I understand that more than anybody else. City building is an ongoing effort. You never finish the job. There is more work to be done. Bill Foster has the experience to do that. He's got the commitment to do that."

Fischer: "Bill Foster, we've seen him in action. He's the right guy to move us ahead."

Foster: "I can bring to the table all of these experiences, over 40 years of institutional knowledge, historic knowledge of the city."

No one took a direct shot at Ford, though Baker did bring up temperament during his remarks. Temperament was his code word in the 2001 campaign to describe Ford as divisive.

Kathleen Ford offered this rebuttal Wednesday:

"Line 'em all up, it's the good ol' boys," said Ford, when hearing about the endorsements. Asked a follow up question, Ford repeated the same line.

Aaron Sharockman, Times Staff Writer

Posted by Times Editor at 10:31:00 AM on September 9, 2009

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Tampa City Council uses funds for food, travel office decor

Accent lamps, a decorative rug, travel to San Francisco and Cuba, office furniture and food. Those are some of the items bought by Tampa City Council members using discretionary money since taking office in April 2007. The council is set to hold its first public hearing on the 2010 budget at 5 p.m. today. The budget includes $3,200 for each council member and their attorney to spend as they please.

Read more about it here. (

Posted by at 10:40:34 AM on September 9, 2009

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Scott Wagman likely won't endorse in mayoral race

ST. PETERSBURG -- Scott Wagman's recent promise to get out of politics after his fourth-place finish in the mayoral race apparently extends to endorsements.

"I'm leaning toward not endorsing anyone." he said last week.

Let us know what you think. Does Wagman's silence matter? Would a Wagman endorsement help or hurt mayoral candidates Bill Foster or Kathleen Ford?

Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer

Posted by Times Editor at 11:51:15 AM on September 9, 2009

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Does Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio have any advice for St. Petersburg mayoral hopeful Kathleen Ford?

ST. PETERSBURG -- During today's Suncoast Tiger Bay luncheon, an audience member asked Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio whether she had any advice for St. Petersburg mayoral hopeful Kathleen Ford.

Iorio, the featured speaker at the local politicos luncheon, said she didn't know Ford, Bill Foster or the St. Petersburg political scene enough to offer any advice.

She did say she looks forward to working with whoever wins the Nov. 3 general election. She also offered a friendly jab at St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, saying she has enjoyed threatening him with a potential Tampa annexation of St. Petersburg over the years.

Iorio tackled several topics during the lunch, including light rail and the Lowry Park Zoo scandal that cost former chief executive officer Lex Salisbury his job.

On light rail she said Pinellas and Pasco county commissions should wait to see how Hillsborough voters decide on light rail before pushing similar tax votes in their communities.

Heather Urquides, Times Staff Writer

Posted by Times Editor at 01:23:36 PM on September 9, 2009

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Mayoral forum scheduled for Sept. 23

ST. PETERSBURG -- Did you miss Tuesday's mayoral debate?

See Bill Foster and Kathleen Ford in action later this month at a forum moderated by historian Ray Arsenault.

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Lakewood High School's auditorium.

District 5 candidates Steve Kornell and Angela Rouson and District 6 candidates Karl Nurse and Vel Thompson are also scheduled to speak.

The South Pinellas Area Neighborhoods, community groups that represent the county's southernmost neighborhoods, are organizing the event.

Posted by Times Editor at 01:40:30 PM on September 9, 2009

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Despite protests, no more Pinellas cash for housing

With Pinellas County's budget due to be approved Sept. 22, supporters of more money for affordable housing couldn't get the County Commission to budge Tuesday night.

Commissioner Karen Seel's attempt to use reserve money and loan repayment revenue to add $5 million couldn't reach a vote. Read more here. (

David DeCamp, Times Staff Writer

Posted by Times Editor at 05:03:33 PM on September 9, 2009