Another call to draft Rick Baker to run for Mayor of St. Pete in 2013

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Bob Wilson of the Bill Foster Watch echoes my call to draft Rick Baker for Mayor in 2013, albeit for different reasons than my own. Here’s his post:

Earlier this week there was a news story done by ABC news about how downtown St. Petersburg can be a model for other cities looking to revitalize their downtowns, and it got us to thinking about just how much former-Mayor Rick Baker did for our city, and how instrumental he was in orchestrating the downtown and waterfront renaissance here in St Pete. The opening sentence pretty much sums up how good Baker is at proudly showing off our downtown:

“On a cloudy, dreary day in St. Petersburg, former mayor Rick Baker was all sunshine as he took a group around downtown.”

Even though he has been out of the Mayor’s office for over two years, in a lot of ways he hasn’t stopped being our ceremonial Mayor, presiding over dozens of conferences, groundbreakings and store openings. If you go to the Saturday Morning Market, you will still see him there talking with the people about the issues of the day(none of us can remember the last time we say Mayor Foster there).

Just so you know, we don’t have rose-colored glasses on about Baker’s time as Mayor, we did disagree with some of the things he did: the back-room deals, his poor record on LGBT issues, and his willingness to bend the rules to get a development project going. Those were all things that we really didn’t like about him at the time. But now that we have two years of Mayor Foster to compare Baker’s time in office to, we really miss Baker’s optimism, his ability to talk to anyone and really listen to them without a sarcastic glance or tone to his voice, as well as how he would tell you where he stands on an issue without having to needle it out of him, and in spite of Baker himself being a lawyer, he never got bogged down in lawsuit-phobia like Mayor Foster does in just about every situation.

So what about Baker for Mayor in 2013? He could do it, the only restriction in the city charter about the Mayor being reelected is two consecutive terms, not total time in office. As for the question of “would he?”, he is more of an acquaintance of Bill Foster’s, not a friend or ally, and we have covered the differences between them as well as how they tend to back different candidates in Republican elections. Thearticle above even mentions that Baker likes the current Pier better than the Lens pier plan that Foster has been pushing. Baker hasn’t ruled out running for Mayor next year, and if he did choose to run, you would see all sorts of Foster supporters jumping ship to get on the Baker boat.

We have been asked many times if Bill Foster Watch is just some kind of political precursor to someone’s race for Mayor in 2013, and the answer is a definite NO. Our primary goal with this blog is to expose what Mayor Bill Foster is doing, we have no political affiliation with anyone who would be running for Mayor next year, and just about the only thing we really want is for someone, anyone, to come forward and be a serious challenger to Foster in 2013. Whether that is Rick Baker, or Rick Kriseman, it doesn’t matter to us, we think either of those guys would be a big improvement over what we have now.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.