League of Women Voters hosts St. Pete City Council debate

10/19/11 Janelle Irwin
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City Council candidates continued their campaign efforts in St. Petersburg last night with a debate moderated by the League of Women Voters. All of the candidates were there to talk about plans for tackling problems like jobs and foreclosures.

Incumbent district five council member Steve Kornell is running unopposed after his opponent dropped out of the race. Now Kornell finds himself with a different kind of challenger. Voters will have the option of voting for him or choosing to hold a new election. Kornell told voters he has plans to bring an item before council that would immediately stimulate job growth throughout the city.

And district three candidate, Brent Hatley has plans for job creation too. He wants the city to go green.

Hatley’s opponent, incumbent Bill Dudley, said he is a better listener and that’s what residents need.

The race for that seat is an interesting one. Dudley, a retired teacher, knew Hatley when he was a student. Hatley has said he is conflicted by challenging a former mentor for his chair in the council chambers. Nevertheless, he continues to face off with his opponent on topics like foreclosures.

And Dudley said he wants to continue work on the Pinellas Safe Harbor shelter to include programs that will help people out of shelters and back into society.

The candidates were asked about their position on tax hikes. Everyone gave a blanket ‘no’ to the idea of raising city revenue through tax increases except district one candidate Charlie Gerdes.

Gerdes is running against former city council member Bob Kersteen.

Wengay Newton who is running against Gershom Faulkner, is the current district 7 council member. He said voters should research what each candidate has done for their city by using a very popular search engine.

The general election will be held on November 8th. The seven candidates will be on the ballot along with three amendments and a referendum authorizing city council to grant economic development Ad Velorem tax exemptions.

Previous coverage of this race:



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I have watched the candidates in District 3 in 3 debates. I didn't know much about Brent Hatley other than his work role but I now have voted for him as have several close friends based upon his debate answers. I don't watch Coach to just listen. I want him to be pro active.