Rick Baker speaks at Tiger Bay

01/15/09 Seán Kinane
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This afternoon, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker spoke to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club at the Feather Sound Country Club. Baker, whose term expires in a year, did not indicate whether he would run for a higher office.

In a controversial move two months ago, the city of St. Petersburg annexed part of the island of Tierra Verde. It had been part of unincorporated Pinellas County. Many of the residents of the rest of the barrier island community opposed the idea.

In an opinion column in Thursday’s St. Petersburg Times, Baker outlined the reasons the city went ahead with the annexation. But he did not address the fact that the eight-story building slated for the annexed property is on an island prone to the effects of sea level rise and the ensuing financial costs.

Baker jokingly asked St. Petersburg City Council Chair Jamie Bennett and Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch whether the city should annex Feather Sound from the county.

On Tuesday, the Pinellas County School Board voted to close eight schools. That was a decision that Baker didn’t like because, he said, the schools inside city limits are improving.

Baker, who quoted a Bible verse and said he would pray and ask for god’s guidance on what to do about running for higher office, was asked whether St. Petersburg would follow Gainesville’s lead and emphasize solar energy. “Yes, we do.”

The next Suncoast Tiger Bay Club meeting will be Jan. 23. Martin Dyckman will speak at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

WMNF coverage of Tierra Verde annexation

WMNF coverage of Pinellas school closures

WMNF coverage of solar at Albert Whitted Park

Suncoast Tiger Bay Club

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