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Minutes trickle in, goodbyes go out in St. Pete

Published Dec. 21, 2013

Broken pledge?

As soon as mayor-elect Rick Kriseman announced his 44-member transition team, he pledged to release minutes of the meetings.

The team broke into subgroups to look at various issues facing the city, including the Tampa Bay Rays stadium, community safety, arts, the Pier, the economy and neighborhood revitalization.

Some documents trickled onto the city's website. Others didn't. As of Friday morning, minutes for only two groups were listed on the clerk's site.

The groups were repeatedly asked last week for their minutes, but the only new form that appeared was one where team members touted their accomplishments and backgrounds in a final report.

The refrain from Team Kriseman last week was that they were all working other jobs and were pressed for time.

Final farewells

The mood at Thursday's St. Petersburg City Council meeting — the last of the year — matched the agenda: light.

Council members cracked jokes and teased each other, while others thanked outgoing Mayor Bill Foster and council members Leslie Curran and Jeff Danner, who are leaving city government at the end of the year.

During the meeting, Foster accepted an award for his work creating the African American Heritage Project. Foster served two terms on the council and another four years as mayor.

Curran and Danner, both known for their criticism on the dais, showed a softer side.

They read a lighthearted poem about their tenure patterned after "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Its last line: "Happy Christmas to all/We hope we got a few things right."

Curran served residents for 16 years, split between two eight-year periods. Danner served eight years. They were frequently inseparable at public events and often cast similar votes on legislation.

For his next act

Danner may be leaving office, but he's not leaving politics or his favorite local issue: transportation. The outgoing council member said he has agreed to take a job as one of a team of paid advisers who will oversee the campaign to pass a sales tax increase for mass transit next year.

Up until now, Tucker Hall, the Tampa-based public relations firm, has managed the publicly-financed education campaign for the transit initiative, which it branded "Greenlight Pinellas." Shortly after the new year, mass transit supporters are expected to announce the creation of a privately funded campaign — one that, through a political action committee, will focus on persuading residents to support the referendum.

The details have yet to be worked out, Danner said, but under the tentative agreement, he would be part consultant, part campaign manager. The team that will oversee the campaign will include other people with expertise in political campaigns, media relations, polling, and other areas, he said.

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Times staff writer Kameel Stanley contributed. Mark Puente can be reached at or (727) 893-8459. Follow @ markpuente. on Twitter.