St. Petersburg Election Day

11/03/09 Mark Anderson
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Today voters in St. Petersburg will decide on 6 races, 5 for City Council and one for mayor. Current mayor Rick Baker is term-limited, and can’t run for reelection. The mayor’s race is between two ex-City Council members.

The mayoral race is expected to be very close, with Kathleen Ford and Bill Foster running a virtual tie in the polls. Ford is running as a change candidate, while Foster is positioned more as the candidate that would continue along the lines of outgoing mayor Baker. Ford was critical of the performance of Baker and Foster.

WMNF invited Foster to respond to this criticism, but he was unavailable for comment. Ford was recently accused of using a racial slur in describing her personal style. Her explanation is that she was quoting Cornell West, a professor at Princeton University, and didn’t know what the acronym meant.

Two issues surfaced with voters consistently. First is the future of Baywalk, the financially-strapped downtown shopping and movie venue. Voter Joyce Sterritt shared her concens.

A second common issue also surfaced, what direction to take with public investment in renovating or replacing the Tropicana Field, the Rays' ballpark. St. Pete voter David Glen listed his concerns; Dave and Bonnie Ruth saw the issue from the opposite side.

Two city council candidates also weighed in on what to do with the stadium issue. District 6 incumbent Karl Nurse opposes direct public investment.

District 8 challenger Leonard Schmiege also opposes any public spending at this time.

Polls are open until 7 P.M. tonight.

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