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Steve Kornell

‘Policy wonk’ John Johnson plans listening tour for St. Pete City Council bid

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John Johnson, a research administrator at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, is the latest candidate to file in the crowded St. Petersburg City Council District 6 contest. The 46-year-old native Ohio resident calls himself a policy wonk, not a politician.  “My background is education, so I’m a strong believer in education, and what it can do at all levels,” he said in an interview on Monday. “If we can improve primary education, if we can partner with some of the colleges and…

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St. Pete City Council considers resolution on St. Pete being a welcoming city to all

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A day after a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order blocking President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, the St. Petersburg City Council made its own expression about the divisiveness in the country. Council members Thursday unanimously approving a resolution to bring to committee a declaration that the City of St. Petersburg is inclusive and welcoming for all its residents. The full language of resolution, proposed by Councilwoman Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, reads: A resolution declaring the City of…

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At Holocaust Museum in St. Pete, citizens gather to discuss ways to combat hate and fear of the ‘other’

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Last month, an intentionally set fire damaged a prayer hall at a Tampa-area mosque, the second such fire at a Florida mosque in the past six months. Earlier this month, Joseph Schreiber was sentenced to 30 years in prison for setting fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce on Sept. 11. It was the same mosque that Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen attended occasionally. Mateen shot and killed 49 people last summer at the Pulse nightclub in what was the largest…

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Tampa Bay Times’ Paul Tash says a priority for him is to ‘reconnect’ with Donald Trump supporters

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Although the Tampa Bay Times has a national presence, its greatest impact is, arguably, its reporting on what’s going on in the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida. Yet when Paul Tash, the paper’s president and CEO, came before the usually aggressive members of the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, most of those who got the chance to ask him a question focused on their concerns about the phenomenon known as “fake news” and other related aspects…

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Rick Kriseman formally announces he’s running for re-election

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman filed for re-election Thursday. “I’m asking the citizens of St. Petersburg to continue the progress of the past three years,” the Mayor said in a statement. “Working together, we’ve taken on the serious issues and made a positive impact in all corners of our city.” The announcement comes nearly three years to the day that Kriseman was sworn into office. It had been mostly smooth sailing for the former city councilman and state representative until issues with the town’s…

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St. Pete City Council raises eyebrows at $14M in Pier ‘enhancements’

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St. Petersburg council members had mixed reactions Thursday to a progress report on the new Pier. They generally liked proposed “enhancements,” including family friendly recreation facilities. But the $14 million price tag for those enhancements was another issue. So far, the city has earmarked about $12.5 million for the Pier approach and about $33.6 million for the Pier itself. Pinellas County had agreed to kick in about $20 million, bringing the price tag to $66 million. If all the enhancements…

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St. Pete Public Works Director: Albert Whitted should not have been closed

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The head of St. Petersburg’s Public Works department told City Council members Thursday that he now believes the Albert Whitted sewer plant should not have been closed until the capacity at the Southwest plant had been increased. “I want to make it perfectly clear that it is my opinion, and the opinion of my plant operators [that] the Southwest plant should have been expanded before Albert Whitted was closed,” Claude Tankersley said. St. Petersburg City Councilmembers spent three hours Thursday…

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