ST. PETERSBURG — Watching the three candidates at the St. Petersburg mayoral debate at the Palladium on Tuesday night reminded me of the old 1960s television sitcom “Leave it to Beaver.”
The candidates discussed The Pier, the Rays and traditional municipal issues such as city services, homelessness and economic development. Each also placed significant emphasis on improving public education — so much so I wondered why they all aren’t running for school board if Pinellas County public education is so in the tank.
For her part, neighborhood advocate and former city council member Kathleen Ford was poised, though a bit edgy, toward Mayor Bill Foster and his administration at city hall. She chastised Foster by saying, “Just saying you’re going to [do a job] doesn’t do it.” She also said St. Petersburg needs some fresh ideas — but offered few of her own.
In one of the more peculiar comments of the night, Ford spoke of the existing St. Pete pier by saying, “I like the design of the inverted pyramid; it looks good from all sides.” OK, Mrs. Ford, but many of us believe The Pier is, well, a dump.
As lackluster foot traffic and poor vendor sales at The Pier have demonstrated, it does not draw the volume of people to make it an economic booster to the community as a premier “must-see” destination. Anyone who has been to The Pier in the last few years should recognize that.
Ford’s glossing over of that reality, and her focus on the past as opposed to presenting a vision for the future, earns her the role of June Cleaver.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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