There’s always a moment of trepidation when I receive the Google Alert notifying me that my name is in the St. Petersburg Times. But this story wasn’t bad, although I wish they used a better description than “St. Petersburg blogger.” Actually, I like the description David DeCamp used on the blog version of the story: “…a political consultant and Florida press corps member.” That’s more like it.
I just had to call Howard Troxler this week after his writing such a strong column on Saturday, calling the Republican members of the Florida Legislature as “Whores of Babylon.” Trox says the volume of responses he received was up there with some of the most controversial columns he’s written in his career. I want to add a thought to Trox’ argument. Sponsors of the bill re-enacting leadership funds talk over and over again about transparency, about how these bill add transparency to the campaign finance system…transparency…transparency…transparency. Transparency is not my primary concern with campaign financing. You can being transparent about robbing a bank, but that doesn’t make the act any less wrong.
Michael Van Sickler puts on his book reviewer’s cap and take a look at former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker’s new book, The Seamless City, (which I offered my first thoughts about here).
It’s an interesting perspective in a book that Baker said is intended to serve as a how-to guide for mayors of other American cities. The chapters are divided into topics of concern for any mayor ?downtown, public safety, homelessness, jobs. For each category, Baker makes the case that his approach made St. Petersburg more seamless, where all parts of the city are safe, clean and have adequate services to accommodate the people who live there.
He intermingles these urban policy treatises with his own testimonials about how a city’s fate can be determined by God.
Van Sickler is right on target here because much of Baker’s book does focus on how his faith played such an important role in his political career. In fact, in my opinion, those are the best chapters of the book.
While the book is short on juicy revelations or the settling of scores, Baker’s section on Midtown provides the most fodder for City Hall gossip hounds and politicos.
But the book indisputably puts Baker in Davis’ corner. Of all the people who worked in his administration, Davis is lauded in the most glowing terms in Baker’s book. Top administrators like Mike Connors, Rick Mussett and Tish Elston are barely mentioned.
“Go had an irreplaceable level of experience, history and understanding of our city,” Baker said. “If we were going to succeed in the effort to redevelop Midtown, we would need a leader who understood the community, and who had the talent and character to relentlessly pursue success. . . . Davis was the only person I believed would make the effort succeed.”
There is simply no issue I disagree with Rick Baker more about than his support for Goliath Davis. But Baker’s loyalty to him in the book is commendable.
As for Van Sickler’s verdict about Baker and his book:
In retrospect, the Baker years seem rather lucky. No economic collapse on the scale of what happened in 2008. No major hurricane or civic crisis like the recent police shootings. In Baker’s view, his book makes clear, he had an assist from above.
I take strong exception to that and believe that Baker was smart and hardworking, rather than lucky. In fact, that is the point of the book, that Baker became St. Petersburg’s greatest Mayor because he simply worked his tail off.
Yesterday’s rather scary rainstorm (which knocked over a 50 foot tree in my front yard) was a truly hyper-local social media event. Eric Deggans details.
It’s Opening Day for the Tampa Bay Rays AND the St. Petersburg Times’ editorial board rains all over the parade.