As any of you know, the economic issues of south St. Petersburg have been for a long time the subject of both controversy and scrutiny. Politicians and community activists alike have made many suggestions over the years as to how to address the economic needs of the area.
Most residents would agree the answers to this economic plight have been few and far in between in terms of sustainability and significant impact.
The stability of any economy (local or national) depends on two basic economic principles of production and sales. For decades, local officials have promoted and often celebrated the grand opening of supermarket chains, retail outlets and restaurants in south St. Pete, all of which were geared towards the aspect of sales and dependent upon the consumption of the poor and economically challenged residents.
With the abrupt closing of retail titan Walmart on 18th Avenue South, it is safe to say that the experiment with sales in the poorer districts of south St. Pete has failed to empower and effectively impact the economic needs of local residents. However, the production aspect of economic prosperity has yet to be explored.
The idea of factories and mass line production of products and goods has yet to be explored in the corridors of south St. Pete. Tropicana Field has been a concern for many local residents who are bitter about what is perceived as “deception” by past officials who unearthed years of African-American heritage interred in Moffitt Cemetery to make way for development.
Clean energy production is the economic revolution of the 21st century, and south St. Pete residents are poised to take part in the economic boom of manufacturing clean energy products. However, local officials have refused to listen or even consider the demands by residents who support the marketing and soliciting of clean energy companies to invest in south St. Pete.
Tropicana Field has the potential to provide more than 20,000 local jobs if transformed into a clean energy manufacturing factory of parts and products. This along with local ports, airlines and an extensive highway system could distribute manufactured products around the world.
St. Petersburg has the potential to lead the nation in clean energy manufacturing and production, according to studies. However, this aspiration by south St. Pete residents will continue to be short-lived under Mayor Kriseman’s and Congressman Charlie Crist’s administrations because the “exploitive politics” played on the residents of south St. Pete is volatile to both their campaign strategies.
With that said, not only do residents deserve better representation, but residents also deserve economic prosperity that reflects the rest of the city. How long will the so-called black leaders turn their backs and suck their thumbs when it comes to the economic needs of south St. Pete?
Why is it that these “black leaders” consider it a privilege to attend events and be photographed with the very people that are economically oppressing their friends, family and community?
Kriseman and Crist both have the resources at their disposal to bring about economic prosperity to south St. Pete in an unprecedented way—resources that come with the office. Yet no one even mentions the fact that Crist has been silent on economic prosperity (for residents in his district) since being elected to congress, and Kriseman may speak on prosperity, but refuses to solicit or allocate the funds that will bring the idea to fruition.
Given the fact that many residents voted for both Kriseman and Crist, it may be a wrong assumption by me and many other residents that economic prosperity is important to the south St. Pete community. In fact, some residents seem to enjoy the “economic beat down” this community is receiving from both administrations.