Bill Foster Talks About the Challenges of Being Mayor of St. Petersburg
(Video courtesy PCREC)
(April 11, 2011) On Monday night, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster addressed the members of the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC) at their April meeting. For those who know little about Foster or what he is trying to accomplish as mayor, it was illuminating.
Speaking in a slow cadence Foster began his address by telling the crowd that the state of the city is excellent, and that although $11 million has to be cut from the city’s budget the city will be able to do this and still provide great services.
The Mayor quickly turned somber, however, when he told the crowd what it was like to lose St. Petersburg police officers Jeffrey Yaslowitz, Tom Baitinger, and David Crawford in the line of duty, how it happened, and what the after-effects were. He ended this portion of his remarks by thanking the crowd for their support of the police during this trying time.
Mayor Foster devoted the greater balance of his 30-minute address to telling the crowd, in his best Chamber of Commerce mode, how he is working for the economic revitalization of his city, and about the values he has brought to the job. In this portion of his address, the Mayor cited apathy and the failure to engage the government as the primary disease that is destroying communities, and how he is seeking to overcome apathy in his city. He also spoke about the negative impacts on the community of erosion of the family, rhetorically asking “Who knew that Dan Quayle was right when he complained about out-of-wedlock births 25 years ago?” although he did not address the role of the Welfare State in creating and sustaining this situation. Mayor Foster cited among his successes voluntary curbside recycling, his mentoring of an African-American man and other city engagement programs involving the schools, and the city policy of “service with a smile.” He also told the crowd that he has several ongoing initiatives, including tax breaks, to bring businesses to St. Petersburg and sustain the businesses that are already in the city. The Mayor placed particular emphasis on relocating sports events to the city and the promotion of cultural activities.