Every Sunday the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement holds a community meeting at 4 p.m. Two weeks ago, the rally was all the buzz in because of the fierce battle brewing between mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel and the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9.
Nevel threatened the Times with a lawsuit. Why you ask? Because they along with Bay News 9 have decided to only invite Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker to the only televised mayoral debate.
Bay News 9 is violating FCC equal time rules that state that all candidates have the right to equal time on television, especially if a news agency covering a debate is also sponsoring it. They both have stated that the only invited candidates who had raised over a million dollars.
In the 2009 mayoral debate, all official candidates were present, so Nevel’s campaign and the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement claim that this is because they are trying to keep reparations and economic development for the black community off of the ballot.
The community meeting was packed with approximately 100 Nevel volunteers and concerned citizens. It opened up with a video of Nevel at a press conference talking directly to the Tampa Bay Times. He roared at them that what they were doing was an attack on the citizens who want to go against the “status quo” and “big money land grabbers.” When the video finished the crowd burst into applause and chants of “let Jesse speak”
The first speaker was Eritha Akile Cainion who is running for City Council District 6 City. She has been running alongside Nevel building what they call a “people’s movement.”
Cainion began by stating, “Jesse Nevel is the only viable candidate.” She stated this because unlike the other candidates, he is the only candidate that qualified through getting 2,000 signatures while his competitors wrote a check.
“The people signed that petition because they want to hear a candidate whose top priority is reparations and economic development to the black community,” she said.
“We don’t want to drive to the north side and see wealth and luxury and then drive to the south side and see despair and oppression.”
Cainion mocked Tampa Bay Times who called St. Petersburg a progressive city.
“Can’t be progressive by mulling over the fact that St. Pete is a city that lives at the expense of the black community,” she said.
The crowd was in support and chanted “Unity through reparations,” which is Nevel’s slogan.
“This campaign is a product of the people and the consistent support we have gotten by going door to door,” Cainion proclaimed. “No amount of money can defeat the people! We do not represent the interest of big money land grabbers, the status quo, gentrification and a corrupt city government.”
Cainion closed with a defining statement: “If the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 know what’s good, they’ll let Jesse speak!”
Nevel came to the podium enthused by Cainion’s passionate speech.
“Tampa Bay Times is an enemy of the people. They slander black children, black families, and black organizations,” said Nevel. “I’m glad they are attacking me because that means I am on the right side of the question.”
Nevel responded to articles that said Cainion and him were too young and inexperienced for office.
“I’m 27 years old and Akile is 20. We are old enough to be tired of police brutality, failing school systems, corrupt politicians, rigged elections and the status quo!”
He said his main goal was to make St. Pete the most progressive city in the country “by making it a community united in reparations to the black community and economic development!”
Nevel noted that “Rick Kriseman had a pandering cookout in the black community and Rick Baker posted photos on his social media of him playing basketball with African-American men.”
“No matter which community I’m in, white or black, I’m talking about reparations to the black community. I am not interested in pandering.”
He closed out his speech with the concerns he has on how both Ricks are deciding to use the city’s budget.
“Their top priority for the $500 million is what they call public safety, which is basically flooding the black community with police,” said Nevel. “I will feel safe when no one is starving! Reparations is public safety.”
The primary is Aug. 29.