Real estate investor is latest to join St. Petersburg's crowded District 6 council race
ST. PETERSBURG — The latest candidate in the crowded race for St. Petersburg City Council’s District 6 seat has a platform shaped by his work as a real estate investor ever since Robert Blackmon, 28, graduated from Florida State University in 2011.
“The environment, the economy and public safety are the three real focuses of my campaign,” Blackmon said. “Safety is important for the lifestyle of residents, and the environment ties into the economy. You can’t have one without the other.”
Blackmon said he has been involved in efforts to clean up parts of the city. In April, he and a group of volunteers picked up thousands of pounds of trash from Grandview Park near an apartment building he owns.
But he said a TV interview he gave then created the impression that he wanted to move the homeless out of the park. That’s not true, he said.
“If the homeless choose to be in the park, as long as they’re not engaging in illicit activities, I don’t think it’s a real issue,” Blackmon said. “I’d just like the parks to be clean.”
Blackmon is the 11th candidate to join the race to replace Karl Nurse on the St. Petersburg City Council. Nurse will be term-limited out this year.
He is a registered Republican running in a non-partisan race. But he said he isn’t interested in running for higher office, and he doesn’t see his political affiliation being a part of it, either.
“I love the non-partisan election because it lets you do what’s right,” he said. “I just want to give back to my hometown and make a difference.”
Blackmon said he was born at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, grew up in the city and moved back right after he graduated from FSU. He attended St. Petersburg High School during the tenure of former mayor Rick Baker. Now he supports Baker’s run for mayor again.
“I think he did a good job,” Blackmon said, “and I’d like to see him back in office.”
He said he shares some of Baker’s misgivings about how the city’s iconic pier is being replaced under incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman. The new Pier District is being built in District 6.
“The whole thing just seems to be a disappointment,” Blackmon said. “The costs keep going up. ”
Instead, Blackmon said the city should spend the money earmarked for the $66 million pier district on impro Butving its sewage system.