A crowded field just got a little more space in one St. Petersburg City Council race.
Eight candidates had announced so far in the district, which covers the eastern part of Midtown and extends through downtown into parts of Old Northeast.
But John Johnson, a grant writer for the Universit of South Florida St. Petersburg decided last week to call it quits. He withdrew from the race after raising $100 dollars, half of which was a donation from himself....
ST. PETERSBURG — A lower than expected bid and better return on investment persuaded St. Petersburg City Council members on Thursday to support a solar panel project for the new police headquarters.
City staff presented a bid from Miller Electric for $2.3 million, about $400,000 less than previous estimates. The company is also offering a 25-year-warranty on the panels.
The panels would be paid off with reduced energy costs after 27 years, about six years faster than previous estimates....
Former Mayor Rick Baker came to the Tiger Bay luncheon Wednesday to talk about the Tampa Bay Rowdies' bid to join soccer’s big leagues.
Pretty much everyone else wanted to know if he plans to run for mayor of St. Petersburg against incumbent Rick Kriseman.
“Which would you rather be? The president of a major-league soccer franchise based in Tampa Bay? The governor of Florida? Or the mayor of St. Petersburg,” asked Peter Schorsch, a political consultant and owner of SaintPetersblog who also introduced Baker to the smallish crowd at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club....
For nearly a decade, City Council member Jim Kennedy avoided endorsing candidates in other council races, saying that he didn't think it was appropriate and could damage working relationships on the council.
Now Kennedy, who is stepping down as District 2 council member at the end of year, has endorsed one of two candidates vying to replace him: Barclay Harless.
So far, Harless and Realtor Brandi Gabbard are the only two candiates in the race to represent the northeastern neighborhoods of the city. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — A group of advocates for pedestrian safety recently strolled through the city and found themselves dodging distracted drivers, navigating sidewalks that petered out and traversing darkened thoroughfares lacking proper lighting.
The Florida Consumer Action Network presented its findings from those excursions to the St. Petersburg City Council last week. They rated the city's streets as fair-to-middling overall but in need of improvement — especially for disabled residents....
04/20/17 State Roundup
Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
TALLAHASSEE — Voting rights advocates and civil rights attorneys cheered the Florida Supreme Court's unanimous ruling Thursday approving language of a proposed amendment that would restore voting rights for convicted felons, saying the decision is a major step toward erasing a lingering vestige of Jim Crow.
"It's a game changer," said Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political scientist who said the ruling could alter the state's political landscape by opening elections up for hundreds of thousands of new voters. If supporters collect the needed signatures to get on the measure on the 2018 ballot, it could energize Democratic-leaning voters in a year when Florida will elect a new governor and a U.S. senator....
Creative Loafing, craft rum distillery could be the tenants for new 'town square' in St. Petersburg's Warehouse Arts District04/19/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — How does sipping a craft locally sourced rum in the city's artistic epicenter sound? A proposed "town square" built to green specs and designed to bring together artists, hipsters and journalists in a cluster is being discussed for the Warehouse Arts District.
The city is negotiating to sell vacant, city-owned industrial land at 600 26th St. S to a development group that wants to buy it for $150,000 and build a "town square" within toasting distance of the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail....
James Scott, a 29-year-old graduate student and community organizer, told about a dozen supporters Tuesday on the steps of City Hall that he had done his homework and was ready for City Council.
Active in the city’s Sustainability Council and local Sierra Club, Scott said the city needed to prioritize sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change and rising seas that threaten a city surrounded on three sides by water....
St. Petersburg Council member Ed Montanari has a keen eye for items tucked away on the City Council's consent agenda, a document usually containing dozens of purchases, contracts, and other city business.
Consent agendas are usually approved in full; usually without discussion.
It's called consent, after all, because the items on it are not considered to be controversial....
Mayor Rick Kriseman stood in front of a modest home in Midtown Thursday, saying progress fighting poverty in St. Petersburg would be reversed if state Legislature and federal government's plans to cut poverty funding and limit the power of local community renewal areas becomes law.
The mayor, running for reelection, singled out House Bill 13 and Senate Bill 1770 as threatening the city's two-year-old South St. Petersburg CRA....
Solar panels on new police headquarters would take 1/3 of a century to make good on cost, council hits pause button04/13/17 Blog
Faced with estimates that placing solar panels on the roof of the new police headquarters would take 32 years to start making good on the $2.7 million cost, St. Petersburg City Council members decided to hit the pause button Thursday.
Several council members questioned whether it made better sense to wait for technology to produce more efficient panels in a few years.
“Thirty two year rate of return. That’s not impressive to me,” said council member Jim Kennedy, chairman of the Budget, Finance and Taxation Committee....
04/13/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — City officials believe the waste flowing through private lines into the city's public wastewater system is a big part of the Sunshine City's sewage crisis.
Officials don't know how big of a problem, though, partly because the city doesn't have an ordinance to require private homes and businesses to allow their lines to be inspected.
At Thursday's St. Petersburg City Council meeting, council members and city attorneys wrestled with how to get on (or under) private property to assess how many private pipes are rotting away, allowing storm and groundwater to leak into the system and overwhelm St. Petersburg's three sewer plants....
Justin Bean has been active in city politics for the past several years.
Appointed by Mayor Rick Kriseman to the Pier Uplands Selection Committee, Bean is also part of the Complete Streets Committee, which seeks to make the city’s streets safer for bikers and pedestrians.
He worked as a consultant on a proposal to redevelop Tropicana Field.
Bean, 30, is also spearheading a fledgling business district for the downtown Williams Park area. He also recently served as chairman of the St. Petersburg Young Professionals....
ST. PETERSBURG — The historic Manhattan Casino has sat empty for nearly a year.
And it will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future now that Mayor Rick Kriseman has rejected two proposals to turn the page on the iconic two-story structure which once hosted Ray Charles, Nat King Cole and Cab Calloway.
The city took over the property in June, after former tenant Larry Newsome struggled to establish a Florida outpost for the Harlem soul food mecca Sylvia's and fell behind in rent. Once the city's foreclosure was upheld in court in October, officials sought formal proposals for the space....
Paul Congemi has run for mayor a lot. The perennial candidate has never received more than a handful of votes in his previous runs in 2009 and 2013.
Congemi's latest mayoral bid was marred in January when he was charged with felony elder abuse. Police said his elderly mother ended up in intensive care in the hospital because of bed sores. Congemi said his mother had been without home care for three days while he changed providers. ...