Archive for the ‘Pinellas County’ Category
Commentary by GH Khan
The nonpartisan race for Mayor of St. Petersburg matters, and the time has come for conservatives of all stripes to fully and without reservation back the re-election of Bill Foster for Mayor of St. Petersburg.
That is the message emerging from a series of polls that show Foster trailing challengers Kathleen Ford and Rick Kriseman in the run-up to the August 27 St. Petersburg primary. Conservatives need to set aside their disappointments with Foster over his often folksy, rather ambiguous, and sometimes downright mushy approach to many of the issues facing our fair city. In particular, conservatives will have to overlook His Honor’s deficient leadership over issues surrounding The Pier.
This is a nonpartisan race with far-ranging consequences. The chief executive of Florida’s third-largest city has influence far beyond City Hall, and far beyond the city limits. This means that the more conservative the mayor is the more favorable the political environment will be for conservatives and their ideas, and that is why this race matters to conservatives.
It is extremely unlikely at this point that any candidate in the mayor’s race will receive the required 50% of the vote plus one to win the race in the August 27 St. Petersburg Primary, which means that there will be a November run-off between the two top vote getters. The two biggest threats to Foster’s re-election are Ford and Kriseman. The other two candidates in the race, Anthony Cates and Paul Congemi, are unlikely to have any statistically significant impact on the race. Ford and Kriseman each show stronger polling strength than Foster, and Foster will have to beat at least one of them in the primary in order to be in the running in the November election. Kriseman, an unremarkable garden-variety liberal Democrat, is seen by some as more beatable by Foster in November than remarkable progressive Democrat Ford would be, making Ford the candidate Foster must best in the primary.
To know Bill Foster is to like him. The Mayor has done a lot of good campaigning to date, and has garnered a lot of important endorsements, but there is a lot more to be done. Foster needs to shore up his base and, to the extent possible, expand his appeal to other voters. He needs to send to voters a sharp, clear message of accomplishments and the path he will take to further accomplishments in his next term. He needs to define his candidacy and the issues of the election, and not cede the initiative to his challengers to define things for him: E.g., The Pier is only one of many issues facing St. Petersburg voters, and not the most important one in this election. No more muddled, ambiguous pandering that appeals to all and satisfies none. He needs to reconnect to social conservatives of all types, and not just the local Republican hierarchy (Foster is a Republican). He badly needs to repair his relationship with St. Petersburg’s African-American community, which has a history of being very forgiving of political trespassing. He needs to raise a boatload of money and use it to saturate the available media with his improved message. Perhaps Foster also needs a new consultant, one who has an intimate understanding of the politics of The Burg and can generate a winning strategy that will get Foster through the primary and on to victory in November.
So, what’s not to like about Ford?
Kathleen Ford has unsuccessfully run for Mayor of St. Petersburg twice previously, losing the first time to Rick Baker and losing the second time to Bill Foster. She has previously served on the City Council. Ford is presently riding a wave of notoriety arising from her litigation over The Pier. This will give her an edge with many of the voters who will be voting on The Pier in the August primary. This popularity is, however, very thin and is undercut by several of Ford’s strong negatives. To know Kathleen Ford is to have strong feelings about her; indeed, one of the jokes going around town lately is that “Will Rogers never met Kathleen Ford.”* Ford has been described as being self-righteous, condescending and rude to those who disagrees with her. She also has been criticized for being reluctant to admit when she is wrong, and being given to blame others for her failings, as when in her 2009 campaign for mayor she disingenuously tried to blame her use of the racially offensive term “HNIC” on the radio host who was interviewing her when she used it. It was this insensitivity and ignorance that earned Ford condemnation from distinguished St. Petersburg Times columnist Bill Maxwell and effectively destroyed her bid for mayor that year. Her overall judgment and competency as an attorney is also questionable in light of the debacle she made of her lawsuit against the City of St. Petersburg over the closing of The Pier, in which she made an ill-fated attempt to join as “indispensable parties” in the suit the more than 15,000 persons who signed the petition to get The Pier on the August ballot.
Ford also has been accused of being self-serving, and some have opined that Ford’s initiation of this ill-fated lawsuit was just a gimmick to get her name in the press and heighten her visibility prior to her run for mayor. She also has been accused of being a loose cannon, which is one of the main reasons that the pro-abortion group Ruth’s List Florida will not back her in this election, despite her credentials as a progressive.For conservatives, there is a lot about Ford to dislike. During the June 28 mayoral candidate debate sponsored by the NAACP, Ford prattled on about, among other things, the need for “affordable” (read: taxpayer-funded) housing, her opposition to police chases, and her belief in (Republican) voter suppression. In past elections Ford has been enthusiastically supported by the SEIU, the Suncoast Sierra Club, and the Florida National Organization of Women Political Action Committee. Ford can fairly be described as a pandering progressive who favors big government with an authoritarian bent, making it very unlikely that she would be willing to work with members of the City Council to forge the sort of consensus that allows city government to serve its citizens effectively.
There is not much time left for conservatives to get in the game. St. Petersburg has chosen not to do early voting, but voting by mail is an option. The deadline to mail ballots to overseas and absent military voters is July 13; the deadline to begin to mail ballots to domestic voters is July 23. The voter registration deadline is July 27. The polls open on August 27 at 7:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM. Don’t forget to bring some identification.
* American humorist Will Rogers is famously quoted as having said that he never met a man he didn’t like.
By GH Khan
Who is Anthony Lenardo Cates and why is he running for Mayor of St. Petersburg?
Cates, age 23, is a newcomer to St. Petersburg politics who is not known to have had any prior interest in the subject. In the balkanized demographics and byzantine politics of the great City of St. Petersburg, some see the Cates campaign as part of the effort of supporters of the incumbent mayor to split the opposition among the city’s African-American voters, who tend to vote in a block and have a history of supporting the winner in mayoral races. There currently are 5 candidates in the race, including the incumbent Bill Foster, Rick Kriseman, Kathleen Ford, Paul Congemi, and Cates, making it unlikely that any candidate will get the required 50% plus one vote to take all in the August 27th primary election. This, the speculators allege, provides an incentive for the incumbent campaign to encourage vote-splitting that prevents the strongest challenger, Ford, from surviving the primary. No one is accusing His Honor or any of his supporters of doing anything illegal, and many brush off such speculation as nothing more than election-time paranoia. At the same time, no one in the neighborhood is saying that Cates is running because this is America and everyone deserves a shot at becoming mayor.
Still, there are a few odd things that do bear mentioning.
Atty. Brian P. Battaglia has filed with the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Elections, to run for Circuit Judge in the 2014 elections. Battaglia is seeking the Group 16 seat in Florida’s Sixth Judicial Circuit. That seat is currently occupied by Judge Walter Logan, who is expected to retire when his current term expires at the end of 2014. If elected, Battaglia will take office in January 2015. The Sixth Circuit comprises Pasco and Pinellas counties. Battaglia filed his initial paperwork on June 28, 2013. There currently is no other candidate in this race.
Battaglia has practiced law in the Sixth Circuit for over 25 years. He has a Avvo rating of 10, which equates to “superb,” and has a Martindale-Hubbell peer rating of 4.9 out of a possible 5.0, which equates to “preeminent.” His practice has included representing clients in criminal and civil matters in state and federal court, through all levels of litigation up to and through the trial and appellate stages. He also has considerable experience in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He is married and has two children.
The primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, and will be preceded by absentee and early voting. The general election will be held on November 4, 2014. The absentee “send” deadline for the primary will be July 12 and for the general election will be September 20. Early voting for the primary will be August 16-23, and for the general election will be October 25-November 1.
Further information about Brian Battaglia can be found on his law firm website and his LinkedIn Profile. As of June 30, 2013 his campaign had not yet posted a public campaign website or social media campaign sites.
UPDATE (July 21, 2013): The Battaglia campaign has added a campaign website.
By Allah Palooza
Some of us have already started wondering (and even hoping) about who the next First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) will be. Most of us are thinking that Michelle Obama won’t be getting another four years, and that just about anyone else would be an immense improvement.
With the critical 2012 election still more than a year away and Texas Governor Rick Perry surging in popularity among Republicans, Governor Perry’s wife, Anita Thigpen Perry, came to Pinellas County Saturday night, September 17th, to be the keynote speaker at the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC) Reagan Day Dinner.
According to her official biography, Anita Perry is a native Texan from Haskell. Mrs. Perry earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from West Texas State University, now West Texas A&M University, and a master’s degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She worked as a nurse for 17 years in surgery, pediatrics, intensive care, administration and teaching. She and Gov. Perry have been married for almost 30 years and have two grown children. She has been a strong partner with her husband, who presently is the longest-serving governor in the history of Texas, and she has been actively involved in supporting a variety of economic initiatives and innovations in her home state.
So, is Anita Perry ready for prime-time, in the sense of filling her place on the national and international stage, should her husband become the next President of the United States?
If her Reagan Day speech is an accurate measure of her talents and abilities, she has great promise but still has some work to do.
Anita Perry is a good person, and goes out of her way to make those around her feel comfortable. She is sincere, down-to earth (unlike the current FLOTUS), and very family-oriented. She devoutly believes in her husband and shares traditional American values. She is smart, and did an excellent job setting out her husband’s record as a jobs creator. She was, however, a bit too folksy, spoke about five minutes longer than she should have, told the audience too little about her husband, and had some difficulty wrapping up her speech. Yet, it was refreshing to listen to a person speaking from the heart who connects with ordinary people, and who shows neither aloofness nor a desire to take on the trappings of elitist condescension. I, like many others in the room, went away from her speech hoping that she will be the one measuring the drapes in the White House in January 2013.
Mrs. Perry’s speech in its entirety may be viewed in the following video [Courtesy PCREC]:
By Spartacus Thrace
(September 18, 2011) It looks like United States Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young (R-Fla.) will be running for re-election in 2012.
State Senator Jack Latvala (R-St. Petersburg) made the announcement as he was introducing Congressman Young before a crowd of hundreds of wildly enthusiastic Republican activists at last night’s Reagan Day Dinner at the Marriott St. Petersburg. The dinner is an annual fundraising event put on by the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC).
The money quote came at about the 4:23 mark in Latvala’s six-minute introduction of Young, when he made the somewhat oddly-worded statement:
And you know some of the best news that I’ve had in the past few weeks is when it became apparent to me that [Young is] preparing to run again.
Sen. Latvala’s remarks in their entirety can be seen in the following video [Courtesy PCREC]:
Young, for his part, appeared aged but unbowed and looked to be in remarkably better health than he did when he last addressed the PCREC at its Lincoln Day Dinner in February (another annual fundraiser put on by the PCREC). Among other remarks, Young told his audience that he had undergone back surgery, spent almost three months in the hospital, and had lost 50 pounds in weight and four inches in height (he used to be about as tall as Ronald Reagan) as a result of parts of his spine being fused. Although he walked slowly and with a thick cane, his mind appeared to be as sharp as ever. His remarks, which perhaps comprise his first campaign speech of the 2012 election season, can be viewed in their entirety in the following video [Courtesy PCREC]:
Rep. Young has been in public service as an elected official for more than half a century. He is considered by the pundits to be unbeatable in 2012, even at this early stage in the election season, barring a sudden decline in his health. The backstory of this announcement of his plans to run for his twenty-second term in Congress is that the throng of those who have long hoped and planned to take Young’s place when he leaves the political scene (Sen. Latvala is among these) did not get the news they had hoped for and will have to bide their time a bit longer. Some predict that if Young’s exit is not a “controlled crash” guided by political insiders, it will trigger one of the biggest political brawls in the history of Pinellas County politics.
By Spartacus Thrace
With the coming retirement of Sheriff Jim Coats the office of Pinellas County Sheriff will be on the 2012 ballot. The five announced candidates to date are Bob Gualtieri, a Republican; Randy Heine, a Democrat; Stephen W. Reilly, another Democrat; Greg Pound of the Constitutional Party of Florida; and former Pinellas County Sheriff Everett S. Rice, another Republican.
More information about Gualtieri can be found on his campaign website. Candidates Heine, Reilly, Pound, and Rice did not have identifiable campaign websites as of June 13, 2011.
On June 13, 2011 Gualtieri made the following statement about his candidacy to the members of the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC):
(Video Courtesy PCREC)
On June 13, 2011, Rice made the following statement about his candidacy to the members of the PCREC:
(Video Courtesy PCREC)
By Spartacus Thrace
Florida State Senate District 13, comprising parts of Pinellas County, will be up for grabs in 2012 due to term limits precluding incumbent Republican Dennis Jones from running again. There presently are two announced candidates, and both are Republicans.
The first announced candidate is James C. “Jim” Frishe, currrently State Representative for District 54 in Pinellas County and Majority Whip in the House of Representatives. More information about Frishe can be found on his campaign website. On June 13, 2011 Frishe made the following statement about his candidacy to the members of the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC):
(Video Courtesy PCREC)
The other announced candidate is former state representative Leslie Waters. More information about Waters can be found on her campaign website. On June 13, 2011, Waters made the following statement about her candidacy to the members of the PCREC:
(Video Courtesy PCREC)