I am running to become mayor of St. Petersburg once again, after serving as your mayor from 2001 to 2010.
We had a remarkable run during my previous terms – renaissance downtown, historic improvements on 22nd Street and throughout Midtown and Childs Park, public school grades and performance rising at impressive levels, crime down, a thriving arts community, neighborhoods improving and a city that was united.
Why do I want to be mayor again?
First, the failed administration of Rick Kriseman is doing harm to our city. While a few people are benefiting handsomely from the Kriseman Administration’s political handouts, the majority of the people are suffering under the weight of failing schools, a closed grocery and drug store, rising crime, and a lack of opportunity for youth and the gentrification of their neighborhoods.
Mayor Kriseman has even shoved out a locally owned soul food restaurant at the Manhattan Casino and replaced it with a Cuban chain restaurant business from outside St. Pete. One minister recently summarized it when he said, “the mayor just does not want us here.”
Kriseman’s failures in Midtown are mirrored throughout our city – he crippled our sewer system by closing one of our four sewer plants, transferring the sewage to south St. Pete while dumping 200 million gallons of sewage in our bay and Clam Bayou. He is building a police station that is $35 million over budget, yet refusing to secure a grocery store for Midtown.
He is receiving more tax money then our city has ever received, yet has spent so much, he’s spending our emergency reserves. He has watched passively while our public schools have become labeled failures and he has done it in an atmosphere of bullying and intimidating city employees and others who have dared to question him.
In this campaign, Krisman’s only defense is to try to get you to ignore his record and convince you to vote based on partisan politics – screaming from your television sets and mailboxes that I am Donald Trump. He wants you to ignore my proven track record of focusing on improving St. Pete for the residents of St. Pete.
Kriseman is lying to you.
Last Sunday, Tim Nickens, the Tampa Bay Times editor of editorials, called Kriseman out when he wrote:
“Rick Baker has never met President Donald Trump. He has never contributed money to Trump’s campaign or attended a Trump campaign event. He didn’t attend Trump’s inauguration, and he has not set foot inside the White House since Trump took office…there is nothing to tie Baker to Trump besides their Republic Party affiliation.”
Most importantly, regardless of party affiliation, I will take on anyone who seeks to harm the City of St. Petersburg and our residents.
There is much to dislike about the state of our national partisan politics, which is why it is imperative that we ignore poisonous partisan politics and focus on working side by side to move our city forward.
While I am deeply concerned with the harm Rick Kriseman has caused, the primary reason that I am running to become your mayor again is because I still believe in the mission of building a Seamless City – where every child in every corner of our city has the opportunity to dream, hope and achieve the American Dream. And where we erase the seams that divide us – whether they be gender, race, color, religion, orientation or other.
We will work to bring both resources and opportunity to the residents of south St. Petersburg.
I believe education and job training are the keys to opportunity. We will build additional programs like the Associated Builders and Contractors paid apprenticeship program so students have paying jobs and opportunities immediately following high school.
I will not accept failing schools in our community and will partner with the school system to make sure the Mayor’s office is focused on improving our schools.
The best evidence of the priorities of someone’s heart is to look at what they have done. You know me, and you know my heart. My heart is the same place where it was when I served you before – with you. If elected, my commitment is to work every day to deserve your trust and to continue our dream of building a Seamless City.